Day 55: Lots of ducks today

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 6.41.24 PMI probably saw more ducks Tuesday morning than I’ve seen an a long time.  Between the first light of day and legal shooting hours, I bet there were 2,000 ducks coming into the field. The bad part is that none of them were coming near the decoys. We had to scratch out a limit, but we got 18 ducks and three geese in a couple of hours and had a good morning. We did some good shooting.

Lindsey hasn’t been able to much this season, but she got to take off and go with us, which was fun. She got her limit so we all enjoyed that. We had mallards, pintails, gadwalls and a couple of teal.  A good mix for sure. We had good reports from others that hunted today as well.

The ducks are really decoy shy. They did not work well at all. If it wasn’t so much work, I’d get out and move all the decoys out of the field except for about six. But I don’t think that will happen this late in the season. I did have a couple of folks tell me they’ve backed off and just aren’t calling and that is working some. I gotta tell you, I can’t do that. I can back way off, but if I had to sit there and not call and just hope they’d come in, I’d just have to load up and go home.

It looks like it’s going to be a good end to the season. It’s been kind of mediocre overall so far, but this week could kick it up a notch. If you get a chance, get out there and get after them.

 

Day 54: Quick limit

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Monday morning was a good duck hunt. There was no wind early, but we saw lots of ducks. We were wrapped up with teal early and then the wind picked up and the big ducks started working better.

Three of us got a limit of 18 ducks and five specks pretty quickly and we saw lots more ducks.

We’ve got six more days, so take advantage of the favorable weather conditions and the good numbers of ducks. It’ll be over before you know it.

Here’s a quick note from the latest LDWF duck survey:

“We have experienced continued delays in completing the January mid-winter waterfowl inventory due to weather and to date have completed only the coastal transect and Catahoula Lake cruise surveys and a portion of the coastwide goose survey. NW, NE, and scaup surveys, will be flown later this weather allowing.  Despite limited data, the estimate of 3.07 million ducks on this survey is essentially the same as December’s estimate of 3.02 million. It is 50% higher than last January’s estimate of 2.05 million, 17% higher than the most recent 5-year average of 2.61 million, and slightly higher than the long-term average of 2.98 million.  Large increases from the December survey were seen for mallards (94,000 to 188,000), green-winged teal (364,000 to 623,000, all in SW LA), shovelers (146,000 to 372,000, also all in SW LA), and lesser scaup (106,000 to 273,000).

Most of the ducks, more than 70%, showing up in the survey were in SW La.  As stated, the crews were not able to fly north Louisiana, where large numbers of ducks are located in the last week of the season. 

 

 

 

Day 53: Tons of ducks; hard to work ’em in

Screen Shot 2018-01-21 at 7.08.43 PMWe had an okay day. We saw tons of ducks. It was non stop ducks flying or working the field from daylight until 10 a.m. The only problem was it was still and cloudy and they got right up to the edge of the decoys and peeled off, never to return. Some of them would land at the end of the field or over by the road. We even got out and moved the decoys right up by the blind. It didn’t help. They still wouldn’t get close.

How many times have I said “if we only had some sun”. Well, add today to that list.  We did end up getting 20, but we had to make some long shots. It was good to see so many, but frustrating to not be able to get them in.

There are a lot of ducks here. Mostly, it’s gadwalls, but some fields have big numbers of mallards. When this rain gets out of here Sunday night and the sun comes out next week, I think it is going to be on.

 

Day 52: Decoy “skirters”

Screen Shot 2018-01-20 at 6.11.55 PMIt was that kind of morning. We saw lots of ducks, but it was cloudy and still. The ducks were flying, but they were skirting the decoys. We’ve reached the point of the season that the ducks are skittish if things aren’t just right. They’d get close, but most of them got out of there before they were in range. We got 10 ducks but should have had 20. We didn’t exactly shoot like we were on the skeet team this morning.

By the time the wind had picked up and the sun came out, the ducks had pretty much quit flying. We did ride around to a couple of other blinds we’ve got nearby and it looked like we went to the wrong spot. There were quite a few ducks at those blinds and we saw quite a few mallards there. We will relocate to one of them tomorrow and see if our luck is better.

It was a mixed bag for most folks I talked to. Some did pretty good and others struggled. The good news is that it may rain tomorrow night, but it looks like the wind will blow, it will be sunny and the temperature will be cooler again next week. That should give us a good end to the season.

Day 51: Still thawing and lots of ducks

Screen Shot 2018-01-19 at 8.08.54 PMWe didn’t go out until about 10 a.m. Friday, but we had a pretty good day. It was cloudy so some of the ducks would fly in and then flare off before getting in shooting range. When it is cloudy, they can see every little thing — like us in the blind and the decoys frozen in the ice.  Six of us did get 28 ducks and a speck. Half of them were mallards and a lot of pintails. That’s a good day.  We would have had an easy limit if we had a little sun, but that just didn’t happen.

We heard good reports from all over. It’s still frozen up pretty good in south Arkansas, but it has thawed a lot down around Mer Rouge. By noon Saturday, it should be pretty well thawed. I’m expecting things to bust loose the next few days. We have lots of ducks and they are itching to get back in those fields and feed. We walked out on the ice all the way to the decoys this morning and the ice didn’t even crack. We had birds trying to land on the ice and the dogs had to slide out and get the ones we shot. It was crazy.

Time’s running out on this season, but it’s lining up to be a good ending to this story. I’m thinking there will be loads of hunters and loads of ducks this weekend. Be safe out there.

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Day 50: Lots of late morning success

mallardIt was so frozen up Thursday morning I went deer hunting. I didn’t see the one I was after so I came home. But I got a call from one of my buddies and he said the ducks were thick, so I grabbed my shotgun and we went in the middle of the day. Six of us killed 36 in two hours. The ducks were piled up at a big reservoir and they were coming in on the ice where we were. They knew it was starting to thaw and it was something.

We got mostly mallards and pintails. We heard the same from others. It was a good day for hunters that stayed late.

A couple of friends have been really getting them up in the middle of the day. Here’s the deal. It’s just fixing to start getting better tomorrow and I think it is going to be really, really good the last part of the second split.

Be safe out there. The ice and cold water are a hazard we aren’t much used to. It should thaw on out tomorrow, but be safe.

 

Day 48: Not many out there

I didn’t go out this morning because of the weather and from I hear, not many others did either. We didn’t hear but a handful of reports and it was slow.

Wednesday and Thursday morning it will be frozen solid and may not thaw out enough to hunt again until mid-day Friday. That’s a tough blow this late in the season, but I’m sure some folks somewhere will find some water to hunt in. I’m betting most of the ducks are headed to the Mississippi River or other big waterbodies that won’t freeze up solid.

The good news is that when this thing thaws out, the last week or so should be really good. I’m betting that it will be on.

In the meantime, I’ve tried my hand at deer hunting. I’ve been spotting a big 170 class buck on my camera. I’ve seen him once at about 400 yards, but that was just too far to get a good shot. I didn’t go Tuesday morning and wouldn’t you know it, he showed up in the shooting lane at 7:30 a.m. on camera.  I’m hoping he tries that again tomorrow. I might just surprise him.

Stay tuned.

Day 47: A great day and…then…

screen-shot-2017-01-01-at-7-08-18-pmMonday was a great day. Lots of ducks and they were on the move. We didn’t have much wind, but there continue to be new ducks in the area and they work fairly well. We’ve still got a good mix of teal, gadwall and mallard ducks. Tons of flight ducks are still heading south ahead of the massive cold front. Duck hunting up north of us has pretty much slowed to a standstill with the freezing temperatures and ice.

Monday night’s cold front will freeze up many areas and that will continue through Tuesday and into Wednesday if the forecast is correct. The precipitation will be over, but it won’t get above freezing to thaw everything out. A lot of folks we talked to were really looking forward to Monday and there is a chance it won’t be frozen up Tuesday morning too bad, but travel conditions for hunters could be hazardous.

Enjoy the ducks. Be careful out there. And stay warm and dry.

 

 

Day 46: 15-day countdown is on

IMG_0358The 15-day countdown on the end of duck season is beginning. It doesn’t seem like it was but a few weeks ago when the 60-day season started. But here we are, heading into the “fourth quarter”. The east zone second split began Dec. 16 and runs through Jan. 28.

Duck hunting is pretty good. Hunting Sunday was good. There were a lot of hunters out in the region, probably because there are a lot of ducks and also because it’s gonna freeze up big time the next couple of days. There are a lot of teal still in the area and gadwall as well. A mixed bag for most hunters includes a few greenheads as well. Some spots have a lot of mallards. We’ve still got tons of geese.

Look for some deep water areas the next couple of days after Monday. We are in for a few deep freeze days Tuesday and Wednesday. Hunters may have to resort to going later in the day as well so it can thaw a bit. The last time this happened, the ducks laid up in big water and then started flying closer to mid day.

Keep that in mind if hunting is slow early. Be safe and stay dry out there.