Once again the time is upon us to go out and do our part of controlling the snow goose population. We will be setting the spread this coming weekend. Most of the geese have are already started to stage at the Nebraska Kansas border and at Squaw Creek.
Thankfully I was invited to hunt with some friends last weekend in southern Nebraska. There was no birds staged in the area we hunted, but they were flying out of Kansas into to Nebraska to feed. I have never seen so many geese at once. It was not uncommon to see several fields in our area that had 100k to 10k bird feeds. With so many birds in the area it was very hard to compete, our 1,200 decoy spread was no competition compared to 10,000 live birds. We were able to scratch out 18 birds for the weekend, not too bad considering 95% of the birds we saw were adults.
The mild temperatures have got everyone antsy, but we are anticipating a normal spring. I am sure we will start to see geese this weekend especially if all the snow melts, however the big masses will probably not be around until the first weekend of March with the Juvies starting to show up around the second week of March.
Check out our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Kopecky-Hunting-Club/160754683988356
for live hunting updates.
Here is the mid-season update.... SLOW! Unseasonable warm weather has killed us for most of the season with little to no cold weather north of us at this point. Mostly all the ducks and geese that we have been taking the last 3 weeks have been locals. At this point most of the birds have us pegged and are very decoy shy. There has been a trickle of birds starting to migrate at this point, but nothing to write home about. It has been so slow that my dad, brother, and I took a road trip to Bismarck, ND.
The Bismarck trip was a good time, however the birds were very scattered. The Cacklers and Hutchies were just starting to show up, but no big migration had started in the area we were hunting. It was a short trip and we had to put the miles on to find the "X" but we did manage to get access to a wheat field where 400 geese were feeding the night before. The wheat field hunt was one those hunts that should have only taken about an hour, however, our shotgun shells got the best of us and we ended up a few shy of the limit. The best part of the trip was watching CJ's friend Tait chase a goose down and tackle it.
Back in Nebraska, the opener a few weeks ago was about what was expected, tons of ducks in the morning, good times, and a quick hunt. Between the opener and now has been slow, there have been a few double digit days, but mostly 1-5 bird days.
Things should start to pick up in the next couple weeks as we get later in the year. Looks like another front is forecasted to come through mid-week and give us some strong north winds, hopefully it brings some new birds with them.
Bismarck, ND wheat field hunt.
Well it’s that time of year again... clean the gun, dust off the shotgun shells, and charge the spinners, only 9 more days to get the honeydue list complete.
We are all very excited for this year to start, duck numbers are at their highest ever (http://www.doaoutfitters.com/2011/07/12/duck-numbers-explode-in-2011/
) and we anticipate one of our best seasons in recent years. We’ve been seeing new ducks around on just about every cold front in the last few weeks. The local goose population seems a lot larger this year, C.J. counted three large strings of geese flying the river last weekend and the occasional flock has taken notice of our lake already.
We look forward to seeing all of our returning members and new members on opening day and wish everyone a safe season. Make sure to check out our facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Kopecky-Hunting-Club/160754683988356
) for live migration updates and hunting reports right from the blind.
What a spring it has been! Birds started to move around March 9th and did not stop until 20th. Bird movement has decreased every day, but you can still come up and see a few flocks of geese moving north. There have been reports of 92K still staged around Squaw Creek. We will continue to hunt as long as we can, but we feel the season has pretty much wrapped up at this point.
The high light of the year was a 92 bird day. This day was great, we had a few first timers, hopefully they don't think it is that easy all the time. The Spring 2011 season has been one for the books and one no one will forget anytime soon.
Thanks for all the great pictures, John, CJ, Tait, and James.
Pictures below are all from the last two weeks, enjoy!
Hunting has been hit and miss up here at the pit. You are guaranteed to shoot birds, you just have to put your time in. Over Thanksgiving break we had hunters hunt four days straight all day long, if you are patient and your schedule allows it, you will be rewarded.
Turkey day was just for family, we had a good bird count for only getting into one bunch of ducks and one bunch of geese. There were 6 of us hunting in the morning, we managed 10 mallards out of one flock. It never fails once someone leaves the blind the other hunters will get some birds. Right after my brother in- law and father in-law left we had a group of about 60 honkers come right in belly up, got to love the west wind days. Four of us put 12 on the water belly up or so we thought, one ended up getting away but everyone was so excited they didn’t have time to reload and get the 12th for the limit. We ended the day with 17 mallards, 11 honkers, and 1 snow goose. Not too bad.
Friday was full of surprises, biggest surprise was that we only got a few birds. The good news was what came in didn’t leave.
Saturday we made a few arrangements to the decoys, moved the spinners to the field behind us and it seemed to work out. Only managed a few still, but a few is better than none.
Sunday was the worst. Lots of ducks around, as a matter of fact I am told they had four 100+ bunches of mallards give the guys four times to shoot their guns. From what I hear that’s all the guys did was shoot their guns as they ended the day with one mallard and three geese.
Lots of birds are in the area, it appears that the ducks are finally using Desoto Bend again and there is still a ton of ducks on the river. Out of the four days we hunted ducks moved all day from all directions. Hopefully it stays warm and the ducks stick around, this might be the first year we shoot ducks all the way to the end of the season.
Friday was the start of a small migration that only lasted 1 day. Guys in the blind Friday managed to take 19 birds, not bad for 5 hunters. Ducks were moving good on Friday, but not many geese were seen. We did have one bunch of snows work our spread for about 5 minutes and then they took off and headed south. I highly doubt the birds that we saw migrating were out of SD or ND or even Canada. Most of the time when we see migrators out of the norhern states the entire bunch commits right away, however we were only pulling 10-15 ducks out of a flock of 100 which leads me to believe that these ducks were not coming from very far away.
Saturday was hot and heavy for the first hour and half of shooting time. The blind ended up with 25 ducks, only 11 short of the 6 man limit needed. Probably should of had the limit, but thats how it goes. We did end up with three snow geese as well. Saw only a handfull of ducks moving down the river, but it pretty much shut off after 1pm. Out of all the ducks we shot only 1 or 2 bunches that were migrating most of the other ducks came in Friday night.
Sunday was a total bust, what ducks were around were gone. We saw maybe two or three flocks of ducks, no geese, and ended up with two singles in the bag.
Every north wind day we should start seeing new birds since it is late enough in the year, however with little to no snow in the forecast for the Dakotas, I doubt we see any major migration.
A lot of anticipation has been riding on this weeks storm and with some patience things defiantly paid off.
Tuesday the guys sat at the blind all day long only to bag three ducks. Most everyone thought they would see new birds showing up in front of the cold front with the hurricane winds that came through the area, however not much moved.
Wednesday had to be the day new birds moved in, blizzard warnings around the Devils Lake North Dakota area and winter weather advisories around the northern parts of South Dakota. Wednesday had to be the day. The guys stuck it out again all day long hoping that eventually something would happen. The first part of the day a single came into the decoys, a barrage of shots, one single flew away, oh boy, today is going to be one of those days, or so they thought. Not much moved for the first part of day, only Sandhill Cranes, but about 2:30pm things started to pick up. Some new birds were starting to push through and within the last 2 hours of the day a 5 man limit of ducks was taken plus four Honkers. Most of the ducks taken were Wigeon, Gadwall, and a few mallards. The Whitefronts started to move later that evening, I would imagine there will be birds in the kill hole the next few days.
I would like to say that this weekend is going to be decent, but I will just say it will be terrible so we don't jynx oursevles.