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Opening weekend results.

orchidmanorchidman Senior MemberA true 'Southerner'. NZPosts: 8,401 Senior Member
Headed out to spot 'X' at 9pm friday night ( high tide) as I calculated we would not be able to get there until 2 hrs after daylight on opening day cos the tide would be out.... 2 boats/3 people. Weather was fine and clear, not a cloud in the sky. Night before there was 3 deg frost!!!

Set the dekes by moonlight as Nick and BH watched......45 dekes in 2 groups with a gap between them for birds to land. Finally parked my boat in the mangroves as the water left us. It was such a clear night that the moon made it like daylight.....and what a moon it was. ( For those that didnt know, it was the closest the moon has been to 'Mother Earth' for a long time.)

Now that the boat was clear of dekes it gave us enough room to fix up the sleeping arrangements. Nick curled up on the seat in the 12' alli and BH and I laid down on the deck in my 13'. The race was on to see who could get to sleep the quickest and not be kept awake by the others snoring.......... I lost damnit!!!! The dulcet tones of both BH and Nick soon echoed out across the harbour.....it sounded like a forestry gang pre warming their chainsaws in stereo. After dozing for an hour I was aware of a scratching noise about 3' away and opened my eyes to see a water rat perched on the gunwale. I swiped at him with my arm and he took off. I gave up trying to sleep and as the tide had gone out, I went for a walk in the mangroves . Didnt need a torch and although it was a mud and mangrove habitat I spent a peaceful hour just enjoying the beauty under the moonlight.

The only thing spoiling the scene was the sound of the 'chainsaw chorus' which was audible from well over 300yds away.

I headed back to the boats and found a large mangrove tree about 30' feet away, climbed up about 25-30', found a place where the branches forked, settled in and dozed off....to be woken by the most ungodly screeching/groaning that was heading in my direction. It was so loud it woke up BH!! It came closer and closer and then I saw that it was a White Faced Heron which promptly landed about 3' away from me on the branch I was on. I reached out and almost touched it before it became aware of me and after whacking me on the arms with its wings as it took off, it departed. BH turned his H7 on to see what the hell it was and I gave my best impression of a 'Possum in the headlights' when he lit me up. Things settled down for a while after that and I sat and dozed before climbing down from my perch about 5am.

I woke the other 2 up as I cooked breakfast, (hot bacon & cheese sandwiches) followed by fresh brewed coffee with a nip of Glenfiddich to chase away the chills. We drank our coffee and watched the moon turn orange as it dropped below the horizon......it was the most spectacular 'moon set' I have ever seen.

The first gleam of light from the rising sun poked its way over the hills and we loaded up ready for the start time of 6.30am. The first birds flew over shortly after and I called them into range. They set their wings about 80 yds out and lined up on their final approach when all hell broke loose from another stand which was approx 2 miles away. Boom ...Boom....Boom Boom Boom Boom. The birds flared away out of range. For the next 2 hours, everytime I had birds coming in over the decoys, this scenario was replayed. It was as though the guys on the mainland could see what was happening ( they couldnt) and were deliberately scaring the birds away. It was so still and calm that even gunshots from 4-5 miles away would send decoying birds off in a panic.

We managed to shoot 16 mallards over the next 5 hrs however before the outgoing tide forced a retreat from our stand.
I only activated the 'gun cam' on one lone single and will try and post that up..............but having watched the vid it showed a number of mistakes I made. The first was that I let the bird get in too close and then I hurried the shot to shoot it before it landed. The first shot broke its wing and then it took 3 more finish it while it swam through the decoys.. I aint too proud of that incident.

Day 2.

Declined to sleep out in the boats so had a leisurely start and headed out at 7.30am when the tide was coming in. Had to push the boats the last 400yds to get into position. I then found out that I had left my callers in the Jeep!!!! Nick and BH had bought theirs so I gave Nick a few pointers and he started calling like a professional. Again it was a clear still calm day but we had the harbour to ourselves as the other shooters cosest to us had gone home. ( The guys shooting about 2 miles away... Marks SIL and his mate......decided that it was too calm and went home on sat night after shooting 9 birds for the day.........judging by the number of shots it took between 7-9 shots per bird)

With some good calling from Nick & BH we managed to shoot a further 18 mallards including 2 banded birds. One of the banded birds was BH's first bird with 'Bling' and he was happy to finally get one.....

34 birds for 2 days effort was great considering the conditions and when we returned to the ramp on sunday I spoke with most of the other hunting groups in the area who didnt get over single digits if that.

It was a great weekend and the memories, like all the previous 50 opening weekends, are indelibly imprinted in my mind.

( apologies for length of post and not getting more vids/pictures. I miss having a digital camera so have put that at the top of my purchase list)
Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....


  • beartrackerbeartracker Senior Member Posts: 3,116 Senior Member
    I enjoyed the read and it sounds like a lot of fun. Yes, you got to get a digital camera. Man that was good but would have even been better with a few pictures. I do like your line where you said, "It was a great weekend and the memories, like all the previous 50 opening weekends, are indelibly imprinted in my mind." How true the many opening weekends to hunting are indelibly imprinted in my mind. Thanks again, good stuff.:beer:
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Pensacola, FLPosts: 10,826 Senior Member
    orchidman wrote: »
    . It was such a clear night that the moon made it like daylight.....and what a moon it was. ( For those that didnt know, it was the closest the moon has been to 'Mother Earth' for a long time.)

    I saw that when I took the dog out at 11:30pm. I guess they call it a "Super Moon''. Supposed to look 16% bigger and 30% brighter than normal, and I believe it. Could have read a newspaper in the back yard.
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • hawk18hawk18 Senior Member OrygunPosts: 742 Senior Member
    Forget the camera. Your words and my memories are better than any digital pics.

  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,429 Senior Member
    Yeah, this really pertains to memories like mine.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • orchidmanorchidman Senior Member A true 'Southerner'. NZPosts: 8,401 Senior Member
    Please don't quote spam.

    Sorry...........it was bacon and cheese sammiches..........not spam!!!!!!!
    Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....
  • NNNN Senior Member NCPosts: 25,221 Senior Member
    Some hunt and of course story.
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Eastern NebraskaPosts: 8,155 Senior Member
    It's soooo tough and frustrating when you have your birds spooked out of the spread before they have a chance to decoy in. On that note, be glad you don't live in Nevada, land of hunters who would rather take pot shots at birds 100 yards up that are headed to your spread than let them finish in within reasonable shooting distance of someone else. At least in your case, they weren't cognizant of the fact that they were screwing someone else up. Sounds like a helluva day regardless: 34 birds is a season's worth in this state and you guys pulled that in two days!
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
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