For the last few years we have kicked off the Southern Alberta region’s fall waterfowl season in the Granum/Claresholm area. Although there are areas close to where we live, this area has been a great place to kick things off. Lyle S. has family down here and his Uncle Dave has some great hunting land just off of Willow Creek. Two years ago Lyle and myself smashed a 2 man limit of honkers(16) in an hour. You can read about that HERE.
This year was not to disappoint. The area’s harvest is completed and it has been incredibly dry for the summer. Air quality was crap due to forest fire smoke drifting in from Montana and British Columbia. Opening day was to be in the low 90’s to make things interesting and almost no wind was to be expected. Sounds like a great hunting conditions does it not? The Ace in our hand was the scouting that Lyle’s uncle Dave was able to provide and the night before the hunt scouting that Lyle was able to provide.
Friday Morning was dead calm, everyone in our party arrived to the field early and we got setup done in great time. The ducks were hitting the spread before legal shooting time. At 6:28am we opened up on groups of ducks so close we shredded the face off a poor pintail. We weren’t to be skunked on opening day. We tangled with ducks and dropped 8 real quick. Dave who had come out to check out the action informed us that that Geese didn’t fly till till 7:30-8:00 am. He was bang on with this info as the first group of hungry honkers came to visit our pea field. The shooting was fast and furious with a few rusty shots but mostly great close-in decoying and accurate shooting. We had another round of ducks hitting the spread and then a break in the action. I was able to shoot 2 honkers that strayed into my kill zone with my X-tra full Muller Choke Tube and some Browning 3.5 inch BB ammo. I was pleased as the birds were well over 60 yards away. We hunted the evening and shot 2 more honkers and 3 more ducks. The grand total for opening day was 31 Geese (1 bird short of a 4 man limit) and 23 ducks. There were no Loser-Excuses about heat, no wind, or poor air quality. We got it done this morning.
We were able to scout our next field and we had a place chosen on another large pea field. The weather was to be cooler, less smokey, and with a slight breeze. We got ready for an early morning duck buzz which never came. All we shot was 1 little mallard that Matt P. dropped easily. We had a couple of larger groups hit our spread and with good shooting we dropped a good amount quickly. The majority of the morning was packed with singles, pairs, and groups of three which we dropped happily. We scratched out a three man limit(24) of honkers and one little duckie. At 11:00 we decided to call the hunt for the weekend. We got packed up and took our pictures and drove home. It was a great time and a weekend I will not forget soon. We were able to take 55 honkers and 24 birds on season opener with not so favourable conditions.