The second day of season seemed to promise cooler temps and some weather, so a field hunt was organized on the Hoster field. Rich was in on this one, a tough, muddy, hardcore layout hunt in which we knocked down 9 geese and 1 duck. Three of the geese we knocked down made the end of the field and crash-landed in the gully behind my barn. They were unfortunately not found (no dog).
Day three found us accompanied by Dan DeLaywer of NY Ducks Unlimited ensconced in the comforts of Double Black blind on Cayuga Lake. Due to very late carousing the night before with Dan, we all shot very poorly for the first flights, but finally managed to scratch down a half dozen mallards between the group. Brant did the the retrieving and performed well. It was great reconvening the old crowd- Ernie, O'Connor, Riegel, Dan, Danielle, and myself.
Day four found us back in the bait ponds, taking advantage of a hard freeze that occurred overnight. We had planned ahead for frozen water and had set up a blind near a spring fed pond that almost never freezes, leaving a duck magnet when all other inland water is locked up tight. We shot 5 ducks- 2 gadwall and 3 mallards. Nick was on duty for the retrieves.
Day five, it was back in the ponds, as Rich had reported having been frozen out still at Double Black. Conditions were milder, but the ducks were still few and far between. We again shot five ducks, the bag consisting this time of 2 black ducks and three mallards. Brant did some nice retrieving, but there was nothing spectacular in that department.
Day six, the last hunt of 2011, found us once again in warm temps and very little wind. Though we were ready for a change of season, the ponds were the choice. the early flight was slow, but the action turned on after 1000 and we, once again, scratched down 5 ducks- 1 gadwall and 4 mallards. Brant made some great finds in heavy cover, including two blind retrieves, demonstrating a kind of coming-of-age wherein he is developing instincts and beginning to use his nose where needed. It was a great way to end the year.
Happy New Year to all grousers. Here's to a happy and healthy 2012.