Lyle and myself have always discussed hunting birds in December. It has never happened. Most of this is due to the hustle & bustle of the Christmas season. We haven’t put much effort into scouting and finding the birds in the southern portion of Alberta late season. One may think that we are crazy but we start our season September 1st and we old guys get tired. This season was different since we were still getting reports of big Canadas still loafing down south near the Old Man River.
I had to finish up some work this Saturday morning but Lyle and Randy decided to drive down and do a setup later in the morning for an afternoon hunt. They had gotten everything setup as I rolled in just before noon. I setup some mallard full bodies and stubbled my blind with the pea stubble which was thick on this field. Randy and Lyle told me that 2 honkers landed at the far end of the spread before I had arrived. It would have been a longer shot so the boys let them go unharmed.
The first few hours were quiet, we did have the occasional straggler buzz in and we able to take a few big honkers down. Once again we did not see any ducks all day just big Canadas. As the 2:30 time came the birds started moving and we had more action. We had some birds decoy perfectly but most would not lock in closer than 30 yards. So we were content to shoot them at 30 yards. The birds were very comfortable and familiar with this field. They were not pressured and acted like early season local birds. I do believe these birds are locals that will be wintering here.
We shot our last bird one minute before the end of legal shoot time. For this afternoon hunt we had shot 22 Canadas, we joked that if the lads would have shot the 2 birds that landed at the start of the day we would have had another full 3 man limit of honkers.
Our first December bird hunt went well. Any time you get to slam 22 birds in an afternoon is a great day. We were looking at the weather forecast fro the next week. It looked like winter was right around the corner.