Friday, October 23, 2009

Goals & Dreams for the 2009 - 2010 Waterfowl Season...Part I - Assessing 2008-2009

Waiting for geese foolish enough to cross the PA/MD border, January 2009
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To answer your first question, no, I do not have enough energy to work up an original blog post right now! But it's that time of the year where I spend a lot of time outside...pursuing fish, birds, waves, and sometimes deer, so let's get our priorities in order.
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As part of this effort, I realized that I never re-visited my goals for the 2008-2009 season....so let's take a look:
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1) Avoid any preventable serious injuries or damage to hunters, dogs, and gear.
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2) Be conscious of my shooting - avoid lapsing into bad habits.
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3) Follow the birds, instead of following my own habits and favorite spots. Be willing to travel as far north or south as required, especially during the late season.
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4) Evaluate invitations a little closer - don't waste a day off on a horrible hunt. It's OK to graciously decline.
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5) Take advantage of waterfowl hunting on state forest properties. Regulations and hunting pressure are far less than they are on nearby wildlife management areas, and the habitat isn't all that different.
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6) Enjoy the hunt. Don't go just to go. Make real memories. Be patient and make it count.
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OK, so how did I do?
1. We had a safe season. Only a mojo decoy (broken foot) and a cell phone (fell in the drink, same day) were busted up. We hunted some extremely cold days, but were well equipped.
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2. I shot OK, but not great. Since last season started, I bought a used 20ga. Browning Gold Hunter and have shot that extensively to work on my lead-in (I frequently shoot behind birds).
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3. We did this to some extent, but late open water on the Great Lakes prevented a serious migration into PA, MD, or VA, until a severe freeze in early January sent all the birds from NY, MI, and Canada straight to the NC/VA border and beyond. At that point, we decided to forget duck hunting and focus on geese for the rest of the season, which was not what we really wanted to do....but it was an excellent decision in retrospect. We paid attention, and it paid off.
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4. I got burned a few times by hunting with buddies (their rigs) on warm, moonlight mornings, and then started to stick to my guns. I hunted in the rain, hunted in the snow and ice, hunted in the cold, and tried to avoid hunting during the full moon and during warm spells. Seemed to work, as our harvest was much better in poor weather.
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5. Refer to #3. We didn't really go chasing ducks like we had planned, because we never had a significant flight of ducks to really take up residence in Maryland for any significant length of time. So pursuant to #4, instead of "pushing the issue" and trying to hunt places were "ducks should be," we paid attention to the migration maps, weather maps, and others' hunting reports, and stuck with geographic areas and species (namely: geese) that we thought were most likely to produce.

2 comments:

{nUtTyPrOfFeSsOr} said...

avoiding any non permitted hunting.....

Swamp Thing said...

that's you, not me!