On Tuesday Sept 8, the southern portion of Alberta opened up. It has been a tradition to get out opening day, usually it falls on a weekend but this year it was after the Labour Day Weekend. Oh well, good thing Lyle S. and myself can make the time off. Lyle had heard from his uncle by Granum Alberta that there were a large amounts of honkers and ducks on a hailout pea field. His uncle Dave had seen them feeding every day, so we knew where we hunting on opening day. We drove out Monday afternoon, had a great meal in Claresholm with Lyle’s family and went to scout the field and oh, yeah there were honkers on it alright. All we had to do is wait until the birds left and set our equipment up.
The birds left the field and we decided set up our spread since there wasn’t a high chance of a heavy dew to get those decoys all wet & shiny. We noticed that there was a dark spot on the pea field and what we found was a little ridge about 3 feet high that ran west to east. We set our blinds up on this ridge as it broke up our profile (see the first image of this blog). We placed 2 doz full bodies out, 21 magnum shells, 3 doz standard shells, and 4 dozen duck deadly-decoy windsocks out in the field. We were able to get a lot of field stubble with our rake and since it was a hailed out field, there was a lot of extra stubble to blend in with. After it was complete we both stood around and took in the scenery that only early season can provide. A clear, warm star filled night. This is why we hunt.
We had a great sleep and drove out in the morning, the wind had changed a bit and we had to move a few decoys out, there was a little dew on the decoys but nothing too major, I moved the truck, walked back to the blind, and I didn’t drink a quarter of my coffee before the first ducks arrived. They landed 2 feet off the foot of Lyle’s blind. Since I would have had to shoot Lyle to kill those ducks, we let them go and a few more came in a we were able to get 4 ducks down fast. Then around 7:00 the honkers started to come.
The honkers came in with small numbers and then in larger groups. One pass worked us so close we were able to drop 5 big canadas. By 7:58 we had 15 down and it was time for me to watch Lyle finish off our great morning. After being a little picky and birds not working his side well, He was able to spank the last bird. A full 16 bird 2 man limit by 8:15am with 7 ducks as well.
We had a great day and it came down to great scouting and good shooting by our party. Time to move east and get into the flyway and try and catch some migrators around Hanna AB. Here are a few pics of the rest of the hunt.