So far the season has starting off with a bang. There have been plenty of ducks around, usually we are getting a few shots every morning. The wetlands around us are holding a considerable amount of birds, hopefully the colder weather in the next week will not push them out.
Last weekend we spotted our first whitefronts, there were 30 or so that got off the pond when we walked down to the blind. We also saw a larger flock fly over just before the wind switched to the north. Last Saturday the wind kept swirling around in the morning so the ducks were having a hard time figuring out where to land, however for only two guys hunting we managed just 3 short of our limit. Sunday was another good hunt for only two guys, however it ended quickly as the warm temps kept the ducks from moving around too much.
Towards the end of next week looks like we might get a little weather pattern change so hopefully we start to see some more puddle ducks start to make their way down from the Dakotas. We still have not harvested any geese yet this year, opening day seemed to be our best shot, however the season was not opened yet. We did have a nice family fly over us last weekend, however I was out of the blind working with my 5 month old pup. Oh well, it was worth missing a flock to watch what you have been teaching a puppy unfold right in front of you.
5 month old Avery with one of her first retreives without any help, didn't even have to throw a mud ball out in the water for her to see the duck.
Ol' reliable also got some work in too.
Wetness has been the theme for summer 2010 and water is something we do not have to worry about at this point for our lakes. The west lake usually dries up every summer, however this year we have been worried about our blind getting flooded. The east lake looks very natural this year and hardly any work needs to be done for its habitat. The West lake has lots of millet growing which should make an interesting opener. This could be the most water our property has ever had entering the 2010 duck/goose season. There are currently A LOT of Bluewing Teal mixed with a few bigger ducks using our lakes and a nice family of 30 Canada Geese.
The season is upon us and we are less than 2 months away from the opener. Everyone here at Kopecky Hunting club is very excited for the 2010 season, please remeber to get your applications turned in as space is limited in the blind.
All the pictures posted are taken by John Hakola. John is a Kopecky Hunting Club member and takes great photos. Enjoy!
All the snow geese are gone and the Spring 2010 season is in the books. It was an average season if that, lack of sun and south winds played a major role in this year’s season. Our best days came on warm sunny days. The second week of March is when we started to see our first waves of geese, some call these geese “Ice Eaters.” Ice Eater Geese are the adults that push the snow line and are near impossible to decoy. Last year’s season was different due to the lack of water, when the geese first started to show up we decoyed them no matter how old they were. However, this year water was everywhere and the geese had their pick of liter when it came to water holes. Towards the end of the second week most of the adults started to move north and new geese started to move in. Soon as the juvenile geese and Ross geese started to show up the hunting really picked up. Last year we had multiple double digit days and for those who know us, we do not have 10-15 guys hunting on a regular basis. Last year the best day was a 55 birds with 5 guys, imagine if we had 10 guys, or even 3, it probably would have been a 100 bird day. This year the best day was a 44 birds with 4 guys, unfortunately it fell in the middle of the week so most of us had to work. There were a few other double digit days, but nothing to write home about.
This year is probably the most geese that I have been associated with harvesting. However, this is the first year that I have hunted from Southern Nebraska to Northern South Dakota. Hunting for me started the first weekend of March in the Rainwater Basin and ended the last weekend of March in middle to Northern South Dakota. After this experience I do not envy the guides who chase these geese from Missouri to Canada, especially if it’s a muddy year like this one. I should rephrase that statement, “I envy how many geese they shoot and respect how much hard work goes into it.”
All in all it wasn’t a bad year, but it did have some challenges. Below I have listed some of the highlights from the 2010 spring season.
- One banded Ross Goose.
- One Electrical Fire.
- Three days of nice weather (i.e. sunny, warm, south wind)
- 65 degrees and 44 geese one day, 35 degrees and 4” of snow the next day.
- One ultimate Slick Willy.
Thanks to all the members for the 2009/2010 hunting season memories, we look forward to seeing you all again next Fall and Spring.
South Dakota Hunt
Typically we start to see our first waves of geese the first weekend of March. The second weekend most of the big wads have moved north and we start to catch the migrators. This year has been delayed about a week. While we were waiting for the geese we decided to go back to my old college stomping grounds in Kearney. I have a few buddies who farm south of Kearney around the Funk area. For those of you who have never heard of Funk Lagoon, it is a 1900 square acre Wildlife Mangement Area. I have heard stories of Funk from people who remember when it used to hold water all year around, lets just say there used to be quite a waterfowl show there. I have only had the chance to witness Funk full of water once and it was my senior year of college. Thank goodness that I only had one class because I was hunting that area everyday and shooting regular limits. Well enough of the stories, I had a friend set us up on a field with about 50k geese feeding on it. CJ and Dad hunted on a Saturday and harvested 20, and to CJ's credit he did most of the killing, I guess my Dad is too soft from the luxury pit blinds when it comes to shooting out of layouts. Sunday we hunted the same field and harvested only 10. The weather really didn't cooperate with us, if we would have had wind and sunny conditions all weekend there could have been some major train wrecks. Speaking of train wrecks...
Thursday 3/18/10 -- Migration Alert, mass wads of mature geese have moved out of Tekamah river bottoms. Juvies and Rossies are starting their routes back north. Four guys hunted 3/18 and harvested 42 birds. From what I hear, if you didn't hunt you missed one heck of day. Apparently the birds were decoying very well and most shots were within 20 yards. Hopefully with the dim weather moving in on Friday and Saturday the remaining geese south of us are held up. Sunday looks good with temps close to 50 and sunny skys. If you want to hunt, Sunday will probably be the last day where we could have a potential train wreck on our hands. Hopefully the guys took pictures from Thursdays hunt, if they did I will post them.
Dad shaking CJ's hand thanking him for being such a good shot, otherwise they would of only shot 5.
CJ with a wad of snows. Total weekend take in Kearney was 30.
The weather is starting to break and the snow is melting. Mother Nature spoiled us all last year by giving us dry fields. However, this year it is going to be a muddy mess. I highly recommend mud boots if you want to hunt with us this year.
We are currently booking spring memberships and daily hunts. If you are interested please give us a call. We typically have 1-2 weeks of fast and furious goose hunting.
Right now there are no snow geese in our location, but they are not very far off. A snow goose count taken on 3/2/10 from Grand Pass CA (Missouri) by the Missouri Games and Parks has estimated up to 1.3 million snow geese in and around the area. The snow line is located right around this area, so the geese are starting to push the snow line rapidly. We anticipate our first geese in our area sometime next week (weather pending). We are planning on setting our spread up this weekend and trying to pump the lake. The pumping this year may not be necessary with all the snow run off, but we want water right away to catch any front runner flocks.
We look forward to seeing you all in the next few weeks, please contact us before you come. No one will be allowed to hunt without a guide.
Picture Taken by CJ Cerise -- Spring Barbellies
Well it is time to move on and look forward to spring. The blind will be closing this weekend for the season. All in all we had a decent year for the lack of ducks that we saw. This might be the first year ever, that I can remember, that we never had a good mallard day. One of the best days that we had was the season opener, but that was the only snow storm that blew through the Dakota’s this year.
We had very high expectations with the duck numbers reported in the Dakota’s, but since the Dakota’s had so much water the birds were very much spread out, and when they migrated it was very hit and miss.
On a positive note this year was the best year we have ever had on dark geese that we can remember. This is the first year that we have shot more dark geese in the last weeks of the season than ducks.
This might be the worst time of the year. Hunting season is over and we have to wait three more months until we can shoot the dirty white birds on their decent back north. If you have never taken place in a spring shoot, I really recommend it. Who can pass up a season with no limits and no plugs?
Everyone from Kopecky Hunting Club would like to thank all members for creating some great and fun memories for the 09’ season. We wish everyone a great and safe holiday and cannot wait to see you all next spring.
CJ and Tate, Wow these guys are crazy spring breakers who live on the edge! Spring cannot come fast enough!
Thanks for the pictures Jon.
This is a retrieve from 12/4/09.
Beener with a Honker
Big snow storm in the forecast, better get out while you can and get your hunting in.
Sunday 12/6/09 -
Well I really hoped today was going to be the day. We had a decent wind and a big group of hunters, so if we would have had some birds we could have done some damage. We witnessed dark geese fly all day until the snow hit. We only managed 3 geese. There was a flock of 5 that came in and gave us a decent shot, with 6 hunters most of us thought all 5 were dead. Well the geese had other plans as only 3 went down and the others went sailing all the way back to the river. We could tell that the other 2 were hit, but not good enough. Later in the day when the snow started to pick up we could not see anyting. We heard a group of geese and it sounded like they passed right in front of us, then all of a sudden they were right in our face. This might have been the largest flock of Honkers I have seen work us in quite some time. The Northeast wind really hurt us with this flock, the geese did not want to finish over the ground behind us, they kept swinging our Southwest side of the island. The geese gave us maybe a 50 yd shot, but we opted out. Once the snow really picked up I picked up. There were a few guys that stuck it out, I will have to check with them to see how they did.
No ducks! We watched snow geese fly the hundreds all day long, but no ducks. The temps increased and the wind switched, but our luck on hunting ducks is still very sour. The hunters did get some snow geese. Right away in the morning the hunters were walking down the the blind, when they noticed a bunch of white birds running around in the decoys. The hunters waited until it was shooting time and formed a line that walked up to the blind, but the birds did not move. Finally the geese flushed like pheasants and the crew harvested 9 total birds.
As most of you who hunt with us know, one of our family members goes to school in SD. He gives us weekly waterfowl reports and any time it gets cold or wind starts to howl out of the North we get a phone call asking how the hunting is. Well on Tuesday the wind switched and started howling out of the North for 2 stait days. Wednesday morning reports from blind were stating A LOT of bird movement. However, mid morning the birds shut off. The snow geese have been migrating consistanly for the past week, with dark geese mixed in, but very, very few ducks. Thursday hunters were very optimistic, but not one shot was fired all day. Friday the wind switched to the south, the optimism turned to pessimism. But, the waterfowl god's were looking upon the hunters today. The blind took 5 honkers and ended up pulling an all day hunt. Good thing they did, because they got into some late day Mallard migrators. They ended the day with 5 honkers and 6 mallards, and from what I am being told they should of have some more ducks, because they got busted out side of the blind by a flock of 50.
Warm temps and south winds are forecasted for Saturday, but they way the ducks have been acting all year it could be the biggest duck migration of the year. The only way you will know is if you hunt.
There was a lot of hunting going on last week so I will jump right into it.
These three days were a big let down to some of the hunters. Monday and Tuesday there was low to fairly low success. Wednesday, there was a great wind. What more could a hunter ask for when there is a 20-30 mph NW wind? Oh yeah fowl to shoot. Hunters did get a few this day and started to see some late day migrators.
11/26 - Thanksgiving Day:
Well were do I start? Great day to be out in the blind, NW breaze of 10-20 mph. After the report given yesterday of the late day migrators, we all thought there would be some early shooting, and there was, one lonely mallard dive bomded the set and never flew out. Around mid morning we started to see a consistant flight of Honkers. We did have a flock of 30-40 honkers ball up on us and start their descent, with three of them wanting in so bad they left the group and were the first ones within shooting range. Three came in and three did not leave. With only three of us hunting we only needed six more honkers for a limit and the way they were working it seemd very possible. Well right before we quit for Thanksgiving dinner, there was a bunch of 10-15. This bunch worked us really well, a little too well. The birds gave us a shot at 30 yds, we were greedy, the birds never came back. Someone threw the flag they were so mad, but for dignity sake I will not name names. No other game was taken the rest of the afternoon.
With warmer temperatures today, no one really was to optimistic. The amount of ducks that flew off the east lake was incredible this morning, however none of them will stick around long enough for any shots. Honkers were still around today and the crew took four.
More warm temperatures did not have anyone getting out of bed early today. We were set up by 7:30am. However, someone left the pump off last night, so there was no open water. I think we counted 5-6 flocks of honkers and had two ducks work us, but with no open water of duck decoys out it was tough to finish them. We did have one group of honkers work us, and they gave us a shot, but without mister itchy trigger finger hunting, we waited for the money shot, which we did not get. Everyone had to leave at 12:00pm for more family events, a couple hunters hunted the afternoon, but did not see much.
Finally some more cold weather and a wonderfull NW wind. However, no migrators. We did manage to harvest 3 honkers and 1 snow goose, but no ducks. Hunting ended at 2pm. Besides the four geese, the day was a bust.
A major cold front is among us that will change the weather from early fall to mid winter this week. With the cold temps up north things should start freezing up. hopefully the birds migrate south instead of to the big water. If you want to hunt you better get it out of your system, becasue the season is almost over. Every NW wind day from here on out could be the money day, but my bet goes to whenever SD gets a major snow storm.
Sorry for the grammar or spelling errors, this was