I break down my fall hunting experience into 2 parts. Part 1 is the start of the season till we head east to Saskatchewan in October. Part 1 includes hunting local birds, staying within 2 hours of home and having OK success. This time is a practice time to get ready for the later hunts of the season. Part 1 involves us taking out first time or newer hunters which is very rewarding. Part 2 however is different. It’s the beginning of some epic bird slams…THE MIGRATION HUNTING.
We loaded the trailer with all of our snow/specklebelly decoys, E-callers, and rotary machines. We are missing a few items which will be purchased or taken out of storage and then we are ready to rock! This is what I wait all year for.
I wanted to end Part 1 of the season off well. This weekend I was to be alone or at best with a good friend Tim in Hanna. Lyle wasn’t feeling 100% and Matt was super busy. So I called Tim and we made plans to try our luck on a harvested grain field in Hanna which he lined up. The weather report was calling for rain and thunderstorms on Saturday. It appeared that the rain was to start late in the morning so we thought we would give it a try.
At 3:00 a.m. when I woke up I noticed a low thick fog, it felt like it could rain at anytime. I decide to press east and head to Hanna. I hit dense patches of fog and then heavy rain with lightning in the distance. It didn’t look good and an early morning call from Tim relayed to me the bad news. The fields were going to be a mud-holes around Hanna. We cancelled our morning hunt. I quickly devised a Plan B, keep driving east. I knew that Marengo Saskatchewan was going to be dry and might even escape any moisture. I was half way to my aunt’s farm so eastward I drove.
At worst I was going to deliver the trailer and cargo to the farm. At best I was going to drop off gear and solo hunt my aunt’s slough on her property. I texted my aunt and she gave me the OK to hunt the slough. Auntie said that there was a thick fog and let me know that I might not see the birds. PERFECT! I informed her that I was going to pickup my floater ducks from her shed where I through them last weekend. After a quick pitstop of unhooking the trailer and loading decoys, I was off to the slough. Just after 1 hour of shoot time.
There was a stiff wind and a very low cloud/fog ceiling that day which should have the birds flying low. I rolled up to a out of the wind spot on the slough and there were over a hundred ducks sitting on the water where I wanted to setup. As I parked to unload the truck the sitting ducks bolted. I quickly setup my floaters unloaded my gear and put on my waders. By the time I got back in the truck to move it, birds were hitting the decoys. “This is going to be fun”, I thought as I moved the truck. When I got back to the decoy spread there were birds hitting the decoys. I got my shotgun loaded sat down and waited less that 30 seconds before 2 Canvasback ducks dove into the spread. I lucked out and pounded both of em with 1 shot. Gotta love how close those birds fly to each other. I decided that I wanted to hunt a few hours and shoot only birds that have landed in my decoys or were in process of landing.
I could have shot my limit in 30 minutes if I shot at all the birds in shooting range. I stuck to my original plan. I got my limit and nailed 2 specks from a larger group of birds doing a flyby the slough. You will see from the pictures that one of the specks has a good portion of it’s back removed from a shot. That’s thanks to a Muller UFO choke and a closer range ‘double tap’.
I got my duck limit of 3 Canvasback, 4 Mallards, and 1 Green-wing Teal drake which landed 10 feet in front of where I was sitting. I haven’t shot a Green-wing drake in years. I had the spread cleaned up and was back in the truck in 30 minutes. Birds were landing in my little hole on the slough and I was thinking that I could hunt this pond for many days in a row.
I untangled some of the decoys rigs that I couldn’t use in the morning, said good bye to my aunt and drove home. I made it home before supper and officially closed off Act I with success. Now for Act II!