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I was hunting with my grandson and it was supposed to be a snowy day. So "JJ" and I put on warm clothing and prepared for a day of goose and duck hunting. We went out to our lake in Wellington, Colorado, but it was frozen and we said heck with it lets hunt on it. We set up the decoys. We had 4 dozen shells, all of them green head gear shells and full-bodies. Then we got in the pit blind that we had dug. It was already snowing and little did we know that there was already geese on the ice. We scared them off and started hunting again. We didn't see the first flock until 8:30 with just a few clucks and moans they slid off. Then we called in a flock of 4 and none of them left after the take 'em call. Then we called in a huge flock of 30 or so, but our limit would only amount to 2, so take 2 was called to my grandson and 3 shots later 2 geese. Needs to work on his shooting. That was the geese. The ducks were coming lightly and only resulted in 4 greenheads because of no open water. Oh well 10 birds will do.
Provided by J.W. Looft of Fort Collins, CO (6/22/2005)
Just this last summer, my family and I went to Lake Powell for a week. We rented a nice 52 foot house boat. The trip started off right, not too hot and not too cold. It took us about a day to drive the house boat to Escalate Canyon. Where we were planning on staying for the week. After all the excitement of arriving to the camping spot, my dad and I tossed out some fishing poles to start the night fishing. After about an hour of fishing I decide to go get something to drink at that time I hear my dad say he caught a fish. I ran back there to see my pole head straight to the water. So I grab my pole and start to reel it in. I look to the left of me and my dad was trying to put the fish on the stringer but it slipped from his hands and was bouncing off the boat. But like I fool I set my fishing pole down to grab the fish and there goes my fishing pole straight into the water. So first reaction I jump into the water swam for about a foot and grabs my pole. I swam back up to the house boat and hand my dad the fishing pole. I notice about 10 feet away in the water there was the fish my dad caught. So I had my mom throw a bucket to me and I started to swim after the fish. Since the fish had air in its lungs it could not swim down. So I scoop up the fish with the bucket. My dad reeled in my fishing pole and got a 12 foot Bass. We had caught two fish, one with a fishing pole and one with a bucket.
Provided by Kyle Stodola of Golden, CO (8/31/2005)
A few years ago, I was hunting with my dad and his best friend Drew. It was right before sun up we started to head up to the pond to jump it and go into our blind. The morning started off a little slow we each had one to two ducks. By late morning Drew wanted to walk to the far right corner of the pond and set up his blind in the reeds. As he was walking up, two ducks started to fly from the north. Drew got down and one shot hit one of the ducks and fell twenty yards from him. As he was walking up to pick up the duck, a little coyote comes running out of the reeds and grabs his duck and runs off. We figured he must have been sitting there all morning long just waiting for the one chance. Sure enough we say him the next day. But we just scared him off.
Provided by Kyle Stodola of Golden, CO (8/31/2005)
"Last Laugh" by Cocoa Brossia, New First State Dog.
As the "New State First Dog" I can't help it, I just love that title. I am writing an article from my point of view. I hope you find humor, humility, real dog insights & some Ole Hunter tips that only come from many years of experience & waterfowl hardships and successes. See if you can distinguish the tips from the "rest of the story"
First, I want to make it clear; I am not a "New" Chocolate Labrador. My dad prefers Ole instead of that other word. He thinks it is much more distinguished. Suffice it to say that my muzzle, ankle socks & posterior are no longer their original chocolate color.
The white hair (for you young dogs) denotes many years of applicable experience. It is not polite to ask a lady how many. I have hunted all over the US & Canada. I retrieved thousands of doves, ducks, geese, quail, pheasants, grouse, and other stuff. I have done it in every kind of weather & environment imaginable. The first important tip for you younger dogs is don't retrieve skunks to hand.
My Dad's brother in law (one of my uncles) & his hunting partner, Loren, were hunting their "Erie Hilton Blind" situated on a secret Lake Erie island a few years ago. My uncle knows almost everything about hunting waterfowl anywhere, in any environment or conditions too. So the following incident is completely inexcusable.
He certainly knew the unbreakable duck law, that next to setting the decoys where the ducks want to be and putting them where the ducks can see them best; WIND DICTATES EVERYTHING, particularly on big water. They had done the usual call to FFA Flight Services, with a friend's airplane tail number, and inquired about current and forecast winds & weather at the surface, 3,000 & 6,000 AGL, for the next 6 hours over their "flight path". I tell you this not only as an important tip, but they ---- well knew better than to hunt the Hilton that windy, frigid, sleeting morning, with the wind exactly backwards for that blind.
You could rationalize that the wind chill was way below zero & the propane heater was a nice touch to lay a wet Lab's insulated pad near. The hot fresh cooked food would also have been a nice touch. I would not have even needed my wool blanket or neoprene vest in the cozy "Hilton". But this was a duck day unlike few others. The big, full plumage, red legs were down in huge numbers. They wanted to land and rest, sheltered from the fierce, cold wind & ruff water urgently. This was one of those days you couldn't drive them from the decoys, or was it.
Paul & Loren shot a nice green head & a big black duck before the teeth of the storm struck the bay. Shortly after that, is when the two teenagers beached their boat on the lee end of "their island". It was long after legal shooting time.
Within two minutes, they had set their ½ dozen, all broken billed, some headless, broken pressed paper decoys. These were courteous youngsters. They took the opposite end of the island. It is unknown and irrelevant, if they understood it was clearly the right spot for the day's awesome wind or they just wanted their backs to the severe weather. I do know they had been watching and studying the Ole Duck Hunters all season form near by islands.
The following events were very tough on my uncle's attitude and Tim, my cousin, had only enjoyed retrieving two birds. It was down right insulting as well as disgraceful watching those kids decoy huge flock after flock away from the "Great Ole Duck Hunters".
Rather soon, both of their egos could no longer stand it. Loren said "we can't have these kids thinking they are out doing us." (Paul responded something about they were kicking our -----) This was a matter of extreme honor and theirs was under severe challenge. It was truly a desperate situation, requiring immediate assertive response. A game plan soon developed. It was decided they would harvest "imaginaries" on the way to the kid's spread.
Some of your may never have busted a cap on an imaginary. I'll share the secrets of how it is done. First you check the kids in the island's lee; the key point here is being sure they aren't looking. Quiet conversation is important; remember these kids are down wind. The next step is throwing the two ducks you shot earlier as far as possible into the foamy chop, they will drift to shore fast. Immediately fire two single shots in the air. Send Tim or your own dog to retrieve them. Walk out on the beach. In loud voice, Thank Tim; tell him what a great mark & retrieve he just accomplished. Hold up both birds for all to see. Compliment each other loudly on the great shots & super size of both ducks. Ham it up to suit your own taste & imagination. After all, you can create your own imaginaries.
That is how you hunt them. Now the lesson/tip I learned from this particular experience, even when gunning imaginaries, keep track of your limits. Uncle Paul & Loren were enjoying the shooting & joking around so much, they kind of over did it. The kids, after very quickly limiting & getting out of the miserable weather, called the game warden from the dock. They told him about two outlaws shooting fifty ducks. They had seen it all??????. They had them dead to rights.
The reason this is important is egos were at stake. Unfortunately, the kids got the last laugh. The game warden searched every nook & corner of their boat, unloaded every decoy, ammo box etc. three separate times.
Apparently, he was a new warden, because he had never heard of imaginaries. He was completely unaware of the huge migration flights which had arrived that very morning. Eventually, well actually, only after they confessed the ego embarrassment & bruising, the warden finally accepted the concept of "imaginary" gunning. As you can see, this sport takes little to no practice. You could easily become an accomplished imaginary gunner yourself.
Now here is a question for you. How many real, legitimate duck hunting and cold weather dog care tips can you count in my article? I included at least 10, not counting the imaginaries.
Cocoa, You're New State First Dog
Provided by Cocoa of Durango, CO (9/13/2005)