After an amazing solo-hunt at the end October, I had resigned myself to the fact that my season was done, our Alberta season does go until. We just have not put much effort into finding those hotspots still holding birds. There are thousands of ducks & geese that winter on the 3 major rivers in southern Alberta. There’s the Bow River around Calgary, The South Saskatchewan River near Medicine Hat, and the Old Man River near Lethbridge. These rivers do not freeze over in the winter (The Bow and Old Man for sure) and the birds sit on it all winter long. Lyle and myself have said for years that it would be awesome to hunt in December. We just hadn’t put much effort in it.
It’s Friday evening on November 17. I have a list of things that I want to do for the weekend. I get a text from Lyle which reads, “I realise this is short notice but there’s thousands of birds on my uncle’s field I am going after em in the am. You want in?” My son and myself were going to spend the day together and after some quick change in plans we decided to spend time together in the field. My son Quinn doesn’t want to hunt but he loves coming out and using the camera. I raced downstairs to get my blind bag out of storage and tried to throw the remainder of my ammo together. I knew I was going to forget something but the BIG THREE items were packed : Gun, Ammo, Pants.
There was no rush to get out before light, our contact told us the birds showed up around noon and loafed all day on the pea-field. We showed up at the field around 11:30 and there were birds ALL OVER it already. We setup our decoys and moved trucks. We settled in and it wasn’t 10 minutes till we popped our first honker. The hunting was steady and we were able to shoot 11 honkers and 8 mallards. It was nice to field hunt some ducks, we really hadn’t shot many on the field.
We would have shot a limit or two but the weather changed. We knew being in Southern Alberta that the wind gusts were probably going to hit us. What we didn’t know is that at 4:00 the winds were to gust around 100 KPH. Our decoys were flattened in fact some of our decoys went airborn like kites. Quinn and myself chased down a bunch of shell decoys and I had to gather 4 of them that blew 1/2 mile away from our spread. I will never forget seeing a magnum shell go airborn and sail into an incoming group of honkers trying to work our spread. We decided to pack up the spread and call it an early day.
We had a great & memorable time and planned on coming back if the birds stuck around.