Thursday, December 1, 2011

Luck of the Draw and Plenty of Missed Shots

Thanksgiving week is usually pretty hectic with family and so many places to be. I didn't bother with adding to my wife's worries with even mentioning the word "hunting" Thursday. Friday and Saturday were another story, however.

In Oklahoma, we have a split waterfowl season. I'm not sure why, but we can hunt almost the entire month of November, then there is a 2 week break, then it opens again on December 10th and continues through January 29th. The first part of the season is usually too warm for hunts to be very successful. The first couple of weeks were pretty slow, but cold fronts and north winds started pushing in the last 2 weeks and really had the birds coming in.

Friday morning, we decided to meet at 5am to try and get the blind location that we wanted. It was a south wind at around 20 mph and due to availability of the public waterfowl hunting areas, we were going to be facing west and playing the wind left to right. Matt and I setup and saw 2 other hunter walk in several hundred yards to the north and locate themselves in a spot with the wind hitting them in the face. Matt's dad showed up with his decoys and we set out 2 dozen with 2 baby mallard Mojos and a teal Mojo.

Shooting light came and went without a bird showing itself. Finally, around 7:30 birds started moving. A group of birds work there way in and we knock down 2 teal. It's obvious that we're all a little rust. To prove my point, we had 9 teal come in and land directly in the decoys. All 3 of us stand up and unload our guns. All 9 birds get the hell out of our spread without losing a feather. We all had a good laugh over how awful that performance was. One thing I did find pretty interesting was that I had my teal mojo mixed in with widgeon decoys on the right side of the spread. We had two teal come screaming in and land directly behind the teal mojo. I stand up and draw down on the one directly behind the mojo and wait for him to jump off the water. Matt quickly says "don't shoot the mojo!" No kidding? It's mine. About that time the bird jumped and I took him while Matt tapped the one on the right and his dad came across and laid the second teal out.

We had a few group of 15+ mallards come toward the spread, but they wouldn't commit. We ended the day with 5 teal, 2 gadwall, and 2 pintail.

Saturday we again met at 5am. There were already a few other hunters in the parking area milling around, so Matt and I hurried to the spot we chose as the wind was out of the north and forecasted to be 25 mph. I built the blind while Matt and Mark set out the decoys.

The wind didn't pick up like it was forecasted to do, so we were battling to get birds to come in. We had a couple of groups work in, but only 3-4 birds max. Most of them were grey ducks. There were 2 birds that worked in and landed outside the decoys on the left. We stood up and jumped them, immediately dropping both right back to the water. All of 1 mallard was seen all morning and the birds just quit flying by 10am. We walked out with 2 widgeon and 7 gadwall.

That concluded my weekend of hunting but Matt and Mark made it back out the next day for a continued north wind. They limited by 10am and their first bird of the morning was a male wood duck. I managed to miss or not have a chance at 2 of my most wanted birds for mounts in 3 days, a pintail and a male wood duck. That's hunting though, all luck of the draw and plenty of missed shots.

FYI, there will be a video or two coming, but there are a few hold ups in editing currently.

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