Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Year Ender...

Good morning for a hunt

My father and me

The Brother-In-Law
The 2010 duck season ended on a high note as my father, brother-in-law, and yours truly hit our limit and a bonus old squaw.  I messed up the HD upload so I wouldn't maximize the screen, on any account here's the video... On another note, my buddy Rabid scored a bobcat and called me during the hunt.  Here's the link to his page.  Click Here.

video
I'll drop the write-in later, have a great day...
The Downeast Duck Hunter

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Game time!!!

Click here for the entire painting done in 2009, another one is in the works...

After a pleasant nor' easter,  persistent winds from the north over 20 knots, and chilling temperatures, it looks like game time begins Friday morning.  The trailer has been thoroughly inspected and will need repair this spring, but it will suffice for the short jaunts back and forth to the town landing.  As of right now, the boat is fueled, loaded, and ready for some action.

I hope to get some serious video footage and then get back into compiling another video.  We'll see how things roll.

The forecast for the next few days are as follows:

THIS AFTERNOON
W WINDS 10 TO 15 KT WITH GUSTS UP TO 20 KT.
SEAS 2 TO 3 FT.

TONIGHT
NW WINDS 10 TO 15 KT. SEAS AROUND 2 FT.

FRI
W WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 1 TO 2 FT.

FRI NIGHT
W WINDS 10 TO 15 KT WITH GUSTS UP TO 20 KT. SEAS
2 TO 3 FT.

SAT
NW WINDS 10 TO 15 KT. SEAS 1 TO 2 FT.


With only one month left for this season, my days are numbered...

Until next time,
DEDH




Sunday, December 26, 2010

ATV Plastic Restoration- a popular entry from the old site...

There are a couple of posts from my old site that continue to bring in visitors and I figured I'd merge them over time into the new blog.  This one dealt with giving my 2003 Yamaha Big Bear new life just by using a heat gun and buffing compound to return the color to the fenders.  Several months later and with proper storage, the finish remains the same.  Here's the entry...

ATV Plastic Restoration Project- Spring 2010


Before




After




Before




After



This has been a long time coming and I should have never let my ATV go like this, but time got past me as I got married, had a couple of kids, and gathered a few more jobs in my busy world. Some things like my 2003 Yamaha Big Bear 400 4X4 found minimal usage (500 miles in six years) and I never replaced the cover once it went bad. Nevertheless, I decided this winter that I would either repair the damage done by the sun and weather or buy a new fender kit for my quad...

After an abundance of research and no luck, I decided that maybe a heat gun could potentially restore the plastic to a more original form. I chose to hit up youtube.com to see if anyone had done this and found several videos of people using heat guns to bring out the finish on plastic ground effects. There was one that seemed plausible. Click here to see the video.

So I've started the process and see some success, but I want to mention that this will not be perfect but rather an improvement. Also, once the heat gun has been used for several minutes I've applied a buffing agent used for fiberglass boats. It has evened out the spots where the heat gun overlaps, but the compound beforehand did not yield better results...

I look forward to the complete restoration of this proven quad with only 700 miles. I've documented my progress below...

Take care

The Downeast Duck Hunter video

Friday, December 24, 2010

Day Two Fail...

Looks like I got a lump of coal for my Christmas Eve hunt as I returned to the same locale.  Things were similar as I caught the early ebb tide in the afternoon, however the black ducks played a different game today.  I happened to notice them feeding towards the open water below the blind as I quietly tossed the decoys and found concealment.  With persistent calling and a continued effort to find food, the ducks meandered my way up the tidal estuary.

One duck in particular was paddling in full haste as the others held back.  Once it caught sight of the decoys, there was no hesitation where this duck was heading.  I did get surprised by one duck waddling on the grass from the far shore and another which decided to drop in.  Things were going exactly as they should.

I put the bead on the first duck which still was the best shot at that moment.  It was just outside the left decoy and the far bank provided a most excellent backdrop.  The shot was taken, feathers.  A second shot, feathers, and my last shot, nothing.  The ducks took to the air with the other ten or so down below.

My chance had gone as no more ducks would return before legal shooting ended.  With Christmas Day being the last day of puddle ducks, I fear it may be my last unless I can pull out some Christmas miracle.

The hunt was enjoyable in solace, time for reflection and consideration while in the field puts me usually in a better place.

On a side note, I discovered today that my axle for my EZ Loader trailer has a considerable fracture between the U-bolts.  I've got to figure out fast how to make things right for my sea duck hunting future hinges on this predicament.

Merry Christmas,
DEDH

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day One of Vacation Score!!!


With time running out on the puddle duck season of 2010, I chose to strike a salt marsh with an ebb tide in hopes of taking a black and a bonus mallard or two.

A solo hunt photo with my take...
In just about one hours time, I convinced one duck to swim around the bend with a barrage of responsive quacks.  As I put the call down and lined up the shot, the duck took a sudden turn.  I took the shot and then witnessed the rise of at least twenty more black ducks.  The impressive showcase went without fire as the black duck limit was met with the single bird.

To my surprise, the duck did not cooperate and it took several more shots to dispatch the tough animal.  Finally, I went into the woods and around the marsh to where the hen black duck chose to relent.

A beautiful hen black duck with my Xtrema2...
In a perfect world, the duck would have drifted along with the ebb tide and northern wind directly to my blind.  However, I am more than pleased to begin my vacation with one of the more difficult ducks to take. With hours not days left in the puddle duck second split, I hope the weather holds well and allows for some serious sea duck action.  I haven't nearly been out as much as I would like.  Stay tuned...

Take care and Merry Christmas,


                                                                                                    DEDH

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas

For those of you who swing by and somewhat enjoy my literary wonder, I send you best wishes and a productive new year.  I'm nearing a vacation and intend to catch up on some duck hunting.  When I'm done, there won't be a creature stirring...

Enjoy your season...

DEDH

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ice fishing mayhem...

It's on and I haven't even finished out the duck season, but ice fishing is fast upon us and I've found myself in a bit of a dilemma...

A great friend of mine is well, a device and equipment aficionado.  And as of right now we are in the process of either 1) building an ice shack, 2) buying a used one, or 3) investing in higher quality commercial shack.

So here's the run down of how this has been.  Let me remind you this is part fun and part half-truth...

There will be something done for the short term and a long term plan is in the works so I'll keep you posted, but I want to share how exactly our planning has run awry...

My idea of an awesome shack... $600.00


Our version of a nice Sno Pro 6X10... Researched online prices around $3,000.00


And Bud's Big Daddy Dream Shack... about $13,000




Tuesday, December 7, 2010

All that's good isn't always edible...

Right after my writing up yesterday’s post, I began the process of dressing my quarry.  Upon field dressing my black duck, things didn’t quite look right.  Both breasts were impregnated with small white objects that resembled rice.  My personal philosophy with questionable game is “when in doubt, toss it out” and that's exactly what I did.  But this issue remained at the core of my undying process to know everything before I die, so I then began the almighty search of answers to my questions.  So here goes...

I started by searching for parasites that affect ducks and quickly made way to this protozoan parasite named sarcocystis.  After comparing several pictures online to my photo, it became apparent that I was getting close to determining the cause of avian rice meat.  However, this disease is distributed world wide and found in a variety of animal species which led me to consider this question, “Is this common in Maine and am I at risk since I dressed the animal?”.
This morning I wrote to the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife with a description of my findings and was responded to in a timely fashion.  Sure enough it was Sarcocystis, or “Rice Breast Disease”.  It isn’t common in Maine, but does occur in waterfowl as Sarcocystis rileyi when duck either feed or drink from water that has the eggs of the parasite.  Here is a good link to read up on this topic.  Click Here
For my safety, it looks like I’m okay especially after cleaning up well once I discovered the problem.  It has been suggested that you can still cook the meat very well and still digest the meat, but I’m not sure anybody would be interested in trying Parasite Infested Duck.
The hen taken at the same time had no evidence of being infected.

Take care,

DEDH

Monday, December 6, 2010

Snow day black duck...


With fingers crossed, I worked on the blind constructing it with olive drab canvas, alders, spruce, and marsh grass.  It seemed like a chance, usually rain hits the coast while snow falls inland.  But I knew that the opportunity could become a reality and if I found myself in school, my buddy Jab would give it a go with my father.  So realistically, it became a win/win and a coin flip for me.

The weather forecast continued to cooperate with my ambitious plans and I began planning for a school cancellation.  I planned on calling my buddy as soon as I got my call, and then prepare to head out to his house where we would try for the black mallard a.k.a. black duck.

Sure enough at 5:30 a.m. the call came in and the ball was rolling.  Since high water would be around noontime, we did have some time to burn before the tide got up.  However, we also had a little bit more snow than I wished and found myself cleaning up the driveway & vehicles.  By 8:30, I stormed out in four wheel drive and made the half hour trek to the gunning venue of the day.

We quickly readied our gear and moved to the salt marsh only to find the water covered with a blanket of slush.  If this snow had arrived during high water, then the water would have readily absorbed all snow.  However, the snow only accumulated during the low water and floated as the tide moved in.  Discouraged but not defeated, we pulled the decoys and gear out to the blind and quickly tossed five plastic black duck decoys into the slush.  Just outside of our small spread lie a narrow channel of open water representing the tidal creek that drains the marsh.  But the entire marsh was slush, our success seemed to hinge on luck.

Our two black ducks await retrieval, notice the slush and the only open water.
No sooner had I met Jab in the blind, a single black duck landed just outside the decoys.  Neither of us had 1) expected a black duck to be into the dekes within one minute of setting them out or 2) loaded our shotguns for we hadn't even got the firearms out of the cases.  The black duck took off and we made no hesitation to grab our guns while rushing to find our shells for the next opportunity.

That opportunity came four minutes later.  A pair responded to my call and arrived with full commitment.  As soon as they landed, we popped up and fired leaving both for retrieval.  I attempted to net the two blacks but the large tide dictated otherwise.  Jab slid out of the blind to get his skiff and row out to get the downed pair.

I'll be honest a say that the slush was not easy on Jab.  For every row he took, I'm guessing he made about 11 inches headway.  Eventually he got out there.

Since our black duck limit had been met, we chose to hope for a mallard and set out my bufflehead decoys as well.  We knew that our chances were slim, but we had the morning and figured we'd spend it in the blind.

We watched geese several hundred yards away and about twenty five black ducks inside of us working the only open water near them.  Eventually cold wet hands got the best of us and we chose to call it a day.  Even though it wasn't exactly as we had planned, I'll take it and be thankful.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Big tide, backwards wind, & a fair day on the water...

Beggars can't be choosers, and I've been begging mother nature to throw me a weekend without wind.  The forecast was supposed to be northerly 5-10 turning westerly 5-10 by morning and a bit of flood tide made for a potentially good day.  Things went well but not quite as planned.

The temperature was a wet 45 degrees at 5:15 a.m. this morning and the wind, non-existent.  I was quite pleased with the motor which had been suffering from a long illness of algae in the carburetors.  A thorough cleaning and a new carb kit seemed to be the cure as I gradually opened up the Mercury en route to our gunning hole.

Then the wind picked up slightly from the southeast which didn't hamper our early gunning, but would put us into a more tedious position later as the tide would turn.  Matt dropped an early old squaw as I connected on two early eiders.  My father dropped a couple eiders as well before the tide turned ebb.


Several things turned a promising hunt into an average run.  First, the wind was not ideal and the high tide stood us alone with no structure to funnel the ducks into range.  In addition, high tide in mid-morning offers no feeding opportunities for sea ducks.



Nevertheless, we scored seven sea ducks and quit around ten o'clock.  A highlight of the morning was a banded drake eider tagged in Nova Scotia in 2007 by my father.  For someone who hasn't been chasing sea ducks nearly as much as I'd like, I'll take this day as a success and run with it.


The Duckforce has been covered for the upcoming storm scheduled to drop several inches of snow early this week and I'm hoping for some black duck action in that storm.

Until next time,

DEDH
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