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Another hunt report.........
Tides were looking good for wed and thurs along with the weather so earlier in the week I suggested to BH that we do a quick morning hunt for ducks..Unfortunately wed came and went so I planned to head out today.......Unfortunately BH couldnt make it so I figured a solo hunt was in order. Left home at 4.45am, launched in complete darkness at 5,30 and headed out onto the harbour, stopping in the river to cut some mangrove branches for camo.
Headed to the same place we shot on the second day of the season, set the duck decoys and included 3 full bodied Canada goose floaters in the spread in case the geese turned up.
Was settled in by first light and had a couple of birds swing past but for some reason didnt want to come in. Figured that the decoy spread was the problem and went for a drive to view them from the approach angles ie a ducks view. Sure enough, while they looked good in the dark they just didnt seem right in daylight so I reset the string line and moved the Roboduck. Had a text from BH asking me to keep him up to date with the tally.
Parked back in the mangroves and 5 mins later 3 swan showed some interest, so I whistled and one turned and came straight in. It decided to stay for dinner after the first shot. while I was contemplating retrieving it a Mallard drake flew past......a quick call and he turned and set his wings. One shot and he was invited to dinner.
Decided to retrieve the downed birds and as I untied the boat, a loud quack sounded from overhead. As I looked up I saw a Grey duck set its wings and I dropped him as he put his landing gear down on his final approach. While I was reloading another Grey Duck flew in and I dropped that with another shot.
3 ducks and a swan and it was looking good.
After the retrieve I sat back and waited about 15mins.......then saw a mob of 9 mallards about a mile out. Did a quick 'Hail' call and they swung around and gave every indication they were in a hurry to get to the party. As they flared about 30 yds out I dropped 3 with 3 shots.
6 Ducks down.
A single drake turned up about 30 mins later and I connected on the second shot breaking a wing. He dived as soon as he hit the water so I quickly untied and motored out to get between him and the mangroves. I succeeded but he didnt surface fully just poked the tip of his bill out to grab a breath before he dived again. Managed to get one shot away but he slipped through a hole in the pattern at about 30yds. 2 mins later he did the same thing and although I fired twice he dived again. Spent another 20 mins looking for him with no luck. One thing ducks do here is they sometimes dive and grab hold of a mangrove root to hold themselves under. While I was looking for him I had birds flying around me about 300yds out. In the end I figured the drake had managed to make it into the mangroves, and while I dont like leaving wounded birds, there was no way that I could find him in there.
Headed back to the decoys and had just tied up when another single flew past. A quick call and he came in and dropped at the first shot.......
Wasnt till I got home that I realised he was wearing jewellery..........
First banded bird this season. Will send the details away and let you know when I get the results back.
Another pair showed up 15 mins later and seemed reluctant to come in.....probably had been shot at earlier in the season. 15 minutes of calling and watching them circle around 200yds out and finally the drake turned and came in.......the female was still reticent so I dropped the drake in the decoys. She quacked her head off at the shot, almost as though she was telling him off for being so gullible and flew away......
Took a coupe of pics before I packed up( the wind was getting up at this stage although where I was it was sheltered)
After picking up the decoys I headed out into the harbour and had a wild ride back to the ramp. My 13' boat tops out at 33knots according to my gps ( The outboard looks identical to a 1990 25hp Yamaha, but My marine buddy GB managed to shoehorn a brand new 30hp powerhead into it) and although the waves were up to 2 1/2 foot high, I gave it full throttle and skipped my way across the wavetops back.
An enjoyable morning hunt..........the bonus was that BH texted me when I got back to the ramp to say that our goat culling, deer stalking trip down south was now on and we leave on sunday if the charter that is booked gets cancelled.....Wooohooo!!!!
8 ducks and a swan. No one else was out and I didnt hear any shots on my side of the harbour.
Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....