Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Duck Band...

It looks possible that the Duckforce may get into the water Saturday morning, but I'm toying with the idea to attend the resident only deer opener.  Having gone from a guy who took a buck ranging from ten points & 200 pounds in 1993 to my last spike horn in 2008 that made for a 28 minute season, I find my time quite limited.  Family, jobs, and life seem to cut into the prior role sets that I used to enjoy.  On any account, I've got the basic goods on the small banded eider taken two weeks ago.  Here goes...

Where banded: Upper Woods Harbour, Nova Scotia
When banded: 05/17/2001

I marked the location as the red point A.

View Larger Map

That makes for one old duck and second only to my 13 year old hen
taken back in 2008.  Here's the write up from my old blog.

Have a great day


Friday, October 15, 2010

First Sea Duck of the Season!!!

So we've been pounded with this pleasant nor'easter which has put power out at different times today and my hopes for putting the duck boat into the Atlantic were literally blasted out of the water.  However, I did have a plan for at least today-  Get home and once my wife landed, I'd try for a black duck.  She got home at 5:11 and legal shooting ended at 5:51 so my time to act accounted not for much.

The forecast went like this and it wasn't pretty...


So my plan was to work the high tide on a western point in hopes that a successful shot would drift in my efforts.  If the ducks were stationed on the windward side of the point this would work, at least it should.  As I loaded the Xtrema2 with my Kent Fasteel pellet fury, I noticed a small flock of eiders on the northern side of the point, but moving away and around the point as they quickly picked me out.  This situation in my eyes became a staunch possibility and I quickly made headway towards the end of the point.  

Concealed by the thickness of a large low lying spruce branch, I quietly watched two young drake eiders fight the wind and turn the point.  They were a bit too far and a chance at best.  Then I noticed a female working to my left much closer to the shoreline than the male pair.  They joined mid-way as I worked my way out from the cover of the giant spruce and shifted quietly behind a large blow over.  Once the hen dove to feed, I lurched out and readied for the shot.

The first shot made it mark, but the hen was determined while the drakes that were still out of range took off.  The other eiders off the point took to the air as did some black ducks that caught me by surprise.  A bleak shot with bad timing was quickly offset by the renewed focus on completing the effort on the hen eider.  With two more following shots in a fair sea swell, the eider subsided.  

All else went according to plan as the wind and chop pushed the eider into shore.  As I reached down for the hen, I noticed the ever exciting bird band.  Upon this, I bolted for home to take some photos.

What is most impressive about this particular hunt was that this banded hen eider was taken exactly how I usually pursue black ducks and mallards.  For today, a sea duck stalk proved worthwhile and the attainment of yet another banded duck has been one fine beginning to a blustery and absent sea duck season.

I'll post later with the data.

Take care,

The Downeast Duck Hunter

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Opening Day Photos...

Weekend two has been pretty much been a blowout, figuratively and literally speaking.  I am almost finished with the Duckforce and should be ready for some sea duck action by next weekend.

Here's some of the pics of last weekend's jaunt, let's hope for some great weather, smaller tides, and less wind.

Unloading the gear

Waiting for coffee after a restless windy night

Skybuster stew with the single burner after the fire was doused

Wet, wet, wet, & wet

Ambush in action, off on a sneak hunt

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

That's how I roll... (Photos to come)

Even though it actually isn't the 2010 opener as I hunt sea ducks in January, the new season began with much anticipated excitement and a forecast that honestly should have made us stay home.  So rather than go into a telling rendition of how we managed, I will provide an abridged and blunt force presentation to the things that hit me like a hurricane (major pun intended).  I apologize for the lack of photos, there was no way that I intended to bring my camera to the fun and games for this foul weather trip.

1) Rabid stuck me on the remote island to set up camp with a quickly dropping sun, while he went back to help some dude get his gear off of another island.  Paying it forward didn't help me set up the entire camp on our first night.

Base camp
2) I'll huff and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house down.  My god didn't it blow the first night, I honestly thought Rabid and I were dead men.  It was so bad, I video taped my last will and testament on my cell phone in the event that a rogue tree became my widow maker.  My wife informed me that gusts in the area we were camping were above 50 mph, she said she also pulled my life insurance papers out.

3) Your duck hunting partners complain about the coffee you specially brewed up in the duck blind.  My guess is that our Duckpower reunion might be a few years from happening again, may I say that one of them is hard to chew while running with the pair is like being with hungry wolves in Yellowstone.  Next time I'll let them drink water, and the coffee was quite excellent if I must say.

4) Matt Diesel and his adage of "you miss 100% of the shots you don't take" should be "you miss 100% of the shots at ducks 87 yards away".  Sky busting took on an a life of it's own throughout the entire area fast.

5) Rabid's one-winged and powerless MoJo decoy proved about as effective as well, nothing.  It didn't even make an appearance while other MoJo's across the way brought in the mallards like a moth floats towards the light.

6) If it doesn't blow, it pours.  Day two brought more rain than I want to admit.  The dutch oven sky buster stew almost didn't happen if I hadn't brought my single burner propane stove, and the brothers had the gall to tease about my readiness.  Local reports gave us almost 3 inches of rain from the afternoon to the next morning.  I'm happy I brought the monster tarp, my all-terrain aerobed, and extra gear.
7) Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.  The ducks had no interest in us at all the next morning, I took two shots at an impossible target just to appease the one they call Diesel.

8) Did I mention that next time I'll let the bastard brothers starve, get wet, and potentially die next time?

On a more positive note, here are the top great factors in the annual trip.

Rabid looks good here, but Sparky wan't succeeding...
1) The sky buster stew was amazing, it made a crappy downpour into more of an enjoyable mission that resulted in one of the better meals I've ever prepared.

2) We each took a mallard on the first day, factor in the pressure and early sky busting I would say that anyone who got a duck did well.

3) I did accept a challenge to start a fire with my firesteel, and little did I know that my efforts were being timed.  Within 9 minutes I got some dry material to spark up, and if anyone would like to ask Rabid how he made out on his counter-challenge feel free to e-mail him.  Or you can just check out the picture from my cell phone camera.

4) Even though camping was tough, the weather did make us push our efforts to make for a great time.  With no sleep from the windy night, I easily rested as the rain persistently and effectively sang upon the tarp that I had put out.

5) I enjoyed using my Ambush canoe/kayak hybrid, as it paddled well and motored even better.  Rabid and I did some sneak hunting without a high degree of success, but I do see the potential for this very able craft.

6) It's hard to say, but I've got some solid friends.  I look forward to next year.

I'm anticipating two days worth of hunting this upcoming weekend, it should make for some excellent photos and storytelling.
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