Last weekends duck hunting report..

orchidmanorchidman Senior MemberPosts: 7,701 Senior Member
Decided last friday night to head out sat morning for a hunt. Tide was good for the morning and the weather forecast was for gale force winds so I figured the birds would be moving around.
Unfortunately of the 2 guys I usually hunt with, one was still in South America ( due back Sun) and the other was scheduled to be a 'soccer mum'.
While I really enjoy hunting with my buddies, I always enjoy a day out on the salt by myself so I duly arrived at the boat ramp after picking up my boat, loaded my gear and headed out.

I was surprised to find that I was the only car in the carpark.......I guess the 35-45knot winds put everyone off

As I came out of the river mouth just on dawn I was confronted by 4-6' waves whitecaps and a 30-40knot squall with heavy rain. The area I was heading to meant I had to punch my way into it for the first 2-3 miles and in a 12' ally boat I knew I would take a pounding so I stopped in the last bit of shelter, checked that everything was secured, then set off.

It was a wild ride, but having shot the area all my life I knew that after the first couple of miles I would be able to take advantage of the shelter provided by the mangroves and the ride would ease.

Got to within 400yds of where I wanted to shoot before I ran out of water ( incoming tide) so I walked the boat in and set the decoys. There was just enough water to float the boat into the shelter of the mangroves so out with the 1187, 5 shells and I was all set....... then the wind dropped off, the clouds and squalls disappeared and the sun came out!!!!!! The contrast of conditions was unbelievable.

The boat was not quite under the mangroves so I put the gun down and dragged it further under cover then turned back to find 2 mallards had landed in the decoys. Luckily the 1187 was within reach and as I picked it up they saw the movement and took off. I swung on the drake and at the shot both birds dropped stone dead. ( I guess even a blind squirrel can find nuts sometimes)

Here is a video I took after the shot......( forgot to hit the camera switch before the shot)

th_SolodayMovie1.jpg

After picking them up a few minutes went by and then a pair of greys hovered over the decoys. I picked out the lead bird and for the second time, at the shot, they both dropped stone dead.

Four birds for 2 shots........doesnt get any better than that.
The flight was sparse with pairs and singles but no big mobs.......... yet despite that, I had 6 birds down in the first 45 mins, and I let 3 -4 pairs of greys go. Here is another vid which shows how the weather changed. From the calm conditions in the first vid to cloud, wind and a rocking boat. ( I was in shelter behind a large mangrove island)

th_FILE0007.jpg

The last bird, a mallard drake, flew past about 75 minutes after the first birds were down, and a quick call turned him back into the decoys. At the shot he dropped, splashed for a few seconds then dived under. Now one thing experience has taught me when shooting without a dog is that if a bird dives, unless he is between you and the mangroves, it is sometimes better to wait a few seconds before starting the outboard and trying to retrieve it. They will often come up to see what had happened. (If they are between you and the mangroves then its better to start the outboard and patrol along the mangrove edge to cut off their escape.)

Luckily this drake was hit hard and popped up a few seconds later.. Heres the vid.

th_soloday2.jpg

10 birds in just on 75mins. I retrieved my dekes, made sure everthing was secured for the ride back to the ramp and again had to deal with a squall and 4-6' waves which was exacerbated by the tide. ( It had turned and with the wind opposing the tide had shortened and steepened the troughs etc.

Got back to the ramp just under 3 hrs after I first launched the boat.
5 mallard drakes, 2 mallard hens and 2 greys.......A typical Kaipara limit.

Now it may seem that to be successful on 'big water' like the Kaipara is easy but I have served an 'apprenticeship' ever since I first started hunting and believe me, every bird has to be earned. Its not a question of just heading out in a boat, finding a spot to drop your decoys and shooting birds. If you want to make it back safe and sound you have to plan for every eventuality and build up both your skills and knowledge over a period of time. Knowledge of the area is a must as is the ability to both handle a small boat in adverse conditions and read the weather.

During the week I have been thinking about the conditions (weather wise) and mentioned to my sister that I went out in the gale conditions when she asked..... The end result was she went and told my Mum who then gave me an earful about being careful etc. The upshot is that Mum gave me a cheque to go buy myself a lifejacket. ( I always carry a couple in the boat but rarely wear them as they are too bulky for shooting)

Just got back from my LGS where I bought myself one of these... http://www.atlanticsports.co.nz/shop/marine/97-north-ridge-life-jacket-manual-navy.html

Got the camo colored one. It lies flat on the shoulder and I dont think it will interfere with shouldering the gun. Will try it out this weekend.

Dont know if 150 Newtons of buoyancy will be enough to keep me afloat in waders..........might have to find a heated swimming pool to test it in lol.

I need to save some money and replace my digital camera.......I miss taking pics of the places I hunt etc.
Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....

Replies

  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 25,759 Senior Member
    Sounds and looks like you had a good hunt! Wind and tide can sure make for some rough riding. :silly:
    That life preserver should do O.K. if you wear a belt on the outside of your chest waders to trap air in the legs should you go overboard.
    And you need to save up some of those NZ dollars and buy another camera. I miss visiting NZ through your pictures.:applause:
    Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.


  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 7,224 Senior Member
    That is an awesome hunt, but you are a helluva lot braver than I am! No way I would brave that squall.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • QuinianQuinian Senior Member Posts: 707 Senior Member
    Nice man I gotta save up some US dollars and come be your camera man some time. I've been wanting to go to NZ for a while now.
  • orchidmanorchidman Senior Member Posts: 7,701 Senior Member
    Quinian wrote: »
    Nice man I gotta save up some US dollars and come be your camera man some time. I've been wanting to go to NZ for a while now.

    My door is always open and you are more than welcome.
    Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....
  • beartrackerbeartracker Senior Member Posts: 3,116 Senior Member
    You are a good duck hunter indeed, like you stories and pictures you have put up this season.:beer:
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 21,802 Senior Member
    orchidman wrote: »
    My door is always open and you are more than welcome.

    Fe and I have been talking and if I get another overseas job, she's going with me. Then, if it's in Asia or Mid East, which it probably will be one of the two, we can come see you.

    Your hunting there is just about like bay hunting here. You can never bank on the weather. Sometimes when I left the boat ramp there would be a strong south wind and maybe misty rain. Then the wind would lay perfectly still for a few minutes and a strong cold front would blow in. In the first 5-10 minutes the wind can be very strong, sometimes aproaching 60 MPH for a brief period. This is the truly dangerous time. If you get caught on a wide expanse of relatively deep water, 5'-10' Deep, the waves can be gargantuan for a bay. Almost every year at least one party of people will drown on these bays because they don't watch the weather report, they get complacent, and they go out on a big expanse of water. Then a front will blow in, capsize the boat and they drown. Actually sometimes they drown in water they can stand up in. But due to the waves and the onset of Hypothermia, they succumb to the elements.

    When I was a kid, I lucked out on more than one occasion because I didn't pay attention to the weather and got caught in the open. I remember one November morning we went out on Chocolate bay. It was warm, about 70 degrees when we went. The wind died down and we could see a black line along the north horizon. That's a tell tale sign of an impending front. We were already up into Tiger Lake and in the stream that empties into it. We had set our decoys out and actually shot a couple of ducks when the front blew in. The wind was really high for a few minutes and the rain was coming down almost horizontally. In my infinite wisdom I didn't even have a rain coat. I got soaked from head to toe. Thank goodness when you're young you are strong and almost impervious to the elements. It rained like this so hard that it stung your face and hands. Then after about 30 minutes the rain stopped and the clouds were blowing out to the south. The sun came out and with a cold north wind blowing up my butt, I was bone dry in about 20 minutes. I know nowadays I would probably die. I can't stand that kind of cold anymore.

    We made out fine, got an assorted limit of ducks, everything from Pin Tails, to Widgeons, and Grey ducks to a couple of beautiful mallard drakes. We got in the boat to go outt of the creek, across Tiger Lake, and back across Chocolate Bay, which was about a mile and a half run, and got out of the creek, across Tiger lake and then about a hundred yards out into Chocolate and the old 7.5 HP Evinrude gave up the ghost, LOL!!! We had to poll and row all the way back to my friend's pier on the North side of the bay against the wind. We were cold, but we were alive. That's more than can be said for two brothers that were in a small boat across the big bay, Lavaca, by the Alcoa plant out of Point Comfort. They got caught out in open water just as the worst of it hit and it capsized their boat and they drowned. They found their bodies floating about three or four days later.

    It's almost a yearly occurance and sometimes it happens more than once in a year. You have to respect the water. Those boys had been raised on that bay and I had done the same things they had. But it doesn't matter how experienced you are, all it takes is one mistake, getting caught at the wrong place at the right time.

    Anyway, this brought back memories, and I'm glad you survived.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
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