Saturday, October 22, 2011

Opening Day of Ducks 2011

Given that scouting and field reports indicated low numbers of ducks on Cayuga Lake and higher numbers on small ponds, creeks, etc, I decided for the first time since living in Canoga-land to open the duck season somewhere other than the Double Black blind.  I am glad I did (except that Rich was short by half the required team mental power in the "sheer-force-of-will-to-conjure-ducks-from-nowhere" department... but that is his story to tell).

The idea was to conduct a methodical, calm, safe, fun hunt for Danielle's (Eric's daughter) first duck opener as a licensed NYS hunter. No typical opening day "whipped-up-into-a-frenzy" blood-lust, no assault-style Mexican army barrages against hapless Wonder-bread eating young of the year mallards from up the lake, where one not quite green-headed fowl is claimed by 5 shooters who have all emptied their guns.  No, we'll have that fun later (and that IS fun sometimes).  This hunt was for Danielle.

We (Eric and I) debated about whether we should try the ponds at Kuneytown, at Log City, the new ones in my back fields, or at the Morehouse Bait Ponds (see Jim's map here  (cat icon)).  We decided, once again, for the "sensible route"... go to the place most likely to produce.  Pre-hunt scouting confirmed the choice.

In the end, Danielle shot three ducks on her own, and "participated"  in others.  I was hoping to be a videographer, but lighting and vegetation made it difficult.  So, I called ducks, encouraged, and took shots that Danielle and Dad (Eric)  passed on (or rarely, missed).  It was novel, challenging, and fun.  I ended up with some memorable solo successes on multiple species, nice and unexpected rewards for patience and deference.  We ended the day day with 11 birds-- 1 gadwall, 1 green wing teal, 1 black duck, and 8 mallards. Danielle's smile at the end of the hunt was priceless.


Anonymous said...

As if you ever thought about going anywhere besides the Moorehouse Bait Ponds...righty-o.


~just keeping my lonely vigil at double black...SOMEONE had to be there to confirm that there were no ducks...


KGT (aka Cagey) said...

The decision to break 9 years of tradition came easily after scouting/driving up and down the lake and seeing no ducks all week before the opener... bit I did labor over it. Eric was getting impatient with my indecisiveness in fact. It is weird, since the waterfowl science mavens are saying this year is a bumper crop year for ducks. There was one or two volleys right at shooting light this morning (heard from the deer stand)and then nothing. They are just not here yet on the big water.

Thanks for manning the listening post, Rich...and all was quiet on the eastern front.

Alex Metcalf said...

The news from MT seems to be that the weather is still too nice in Canada so there has been little movement in the flyway. I saw piles and piles of ducks in the national refuge on Saturday. Yes, inside. All bobbing, none on wing. What a place to hunt, though. Why is my interest always piqued by the most gear/time intensive endeavors?

Yeoman said...


We've been getting in a lot of waterfowl hunting here, but we're not having a lot of success actually filling our bags for some reason. Oh well, getting in the shooting is fun.

Yeoman said...

Can I beg the indulgence of this esteemed community and beg that a thread on waterfowling guns be posted? A poll, I suppose.

The reason is that my son is ready to leave his short barreled 20 gauge 870 behind and get something else. He'll likely stick with a pump, but I prefer double barrels. It occurs to me that, around here, I hardly ever seen anyone using a double barrel for ducks, save for me.

Now, for geese, I'll admit that I use a 10 gauge BPS, which I've had for years. But apparently this makes me an eccentric, as a fellow at the sporting goods store, upon learning that, called me a "Man among Men" for using it. Surely they are not that uncommon.