Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mahoney Mayhem...

So my best man fills in for a vacancy this past weekend and pile drives the ducks... Here's a photo of the monster black duck he scored around 1 o'clock Saturday afternoon... The sea duck hunt that morning will be in the next post... I've just been busy with the craziness of way too much employment, and to think I'm in the 99%!!!

Have a great day...
The Downeast Duck Hunter

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Downeast Duck Hunter and

There is an official gear review in the near future, but here is a preview of my collaboration with and their line of shotgun shells (Click Here)


Friday, November 25, 2011

The sea turkeys can wait...

I had suspicions that the crud had found me...

It began just before Thanksgiving break with the achy, dry eyes which then converted into that painstaking sore throat.  Any tough and true hunter merely casts these issues aside, but I honestly was worried.  You see my immune system has been healing since the advent of Celiac Disease, and everything just takes longer to fix when I'm sick.  So with a fierce regiment of Emergen-C, Airborne, and any other recommended "this will fix what ails ya", balancing pursuit against maintaining health has become the cornerstone of my vacation.  So in turn, the eiders, coots, and old squaws have been awarded sanctuary for at least one more day.

My dad and brother-in-law had already planned to chase some newly arrived buffleheads, but this morning I simply chose to sleep in.  With about ten hours to recharge my battery, I opted to take a solo hunt out black duck hunting.  It turns out that all hands played out well as I was able to take advantage of a later flood tide.

After a quick set up consisting of the true trio of hen feeder mallards and MoJo, the tide played its typical game of big time flood.  I called, chatted with several different friends, but only one pair swam close enough to warrant a fair shot.  Once the tide level officially reached MoJo's tail feathers, I was forced into a predicament.  Go save Robo Decoy and be seen by the variety of black ducks, or let him try to fly up from the salty brine.  No sooner had I even begun these options, one committed black duck turned about thirty feet in front of me.  Honestly, I had no chance simply because any logistical type of readiness had been foreclosed upon in the midst of my crisis.

Shortly thereafter, I was able to call in two fliers that hit the water about 40 yards away.  A few single lonely hen quacks seemed to do the trick as the pair challenged the flooding tide and continued my way.  Once my last quack was levied, the trigger was pulled which left one duck down while the other burst away.  Clearly a head shot I thought, there was no need for a follow up shot.

Without hesitation, I rescued Robo Decoy whose charging port and power switching were flirting with the ocean.  Then I made a move for the rowboat and retrieved the prize.  After a quick pick up and a few photos, my day was over.

Tomorrow has been forecast as a day for reckoning with a westerly wind at 5 to 10 knots and mild temperatures.  My brother-in-law and Matt Diesel will be in attendance.  It is my hopes to finish my field test for that will include some video of those monster sea turkeys hitting the floor.

Have a great day,

The Downeast Duck Hunter

Do you see the blind???


Getting closer...

And it's flooded!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Storm Day Black Duck...

We were supposed to have a half day of school before Thanksgiving break but a little snow storm made it a full day.  Once I got the phone call, coffee was brewed and I jumped into the truck that already bore the proper amenities necessary for today's hunt.  After rousting my dad, we made slow progress as we inched into heavier snow.

It didn't take long for set up, the Atlantic was already flooding well above the channel as the monster tide coupled with a powerful storm system put the blind at risk for "swamping".  Three feeder decoys were cast to the best of my ability into the channel and we waded into the blind.

Notice the water at the floor of the blind...

MoJo waiting for deployment...
In a snow storm, black ducks become what I refer to as "stupid".  They rely on sound as they lose their impeccable sense of vision and will pack up into larger groups.  Therefore, an effective wooden duck call with a lower rasp will entice a black duck especially a single bird flying frantically in search of friends.  We did see ducks early, but the strong tide pushing the water in a variety of directions put two of my decoys in less-than-satisfactory position and MoJo had to wait until the waters recessed.

In addition, our snowstorm turned into a cold rain for a bit which in turn brought about a nasty chill that progressively worsened with the bitter Northerly wind.  Once the tide turned ebb, a large branch grabbed one of my decoys and towed it downstream, out, or at least away from us.  I quickly grabbed the rowboat and raced to procure the renegade deke.

Upon my return, Dad informed me that he was "too cold to hunt" and needed to go up to the house.  We went up together and while he went inside, I quickly changed out of some cold wet gear and jumped into my second round outfit.

Today, I would not relent.
There is a channel way, but the large tide brought the water...

Shortly thereafter, I sat alone calling for my limit of one black duck.  As the tide recessed, the shore grass exposed along the channel and forced more structure to guide any potential target.  And sure enough, I found one which lighted above my decoys upon my hailing call.

Soon I was offered a five quack vocal where I responded with a lighter three quack return.  This conversation lasted no more than three minutes as the duck made quick action downstream towards the blind.  Once the black duck crossed the bead of the Xtrema2,  the black had no chance as a quick one-two flurry of steel found the bird.

A beautiful black duck...
I needed to move quickly as the channel was draining and the dispatched duck was well on its way.  After retrieving the duck, I grabbed the decoys, picked up the blind, and returned to the house to meet my father.  The snow day produced one of the larger black ducks I have ever encountered.

Thanks for reading,

 The Downeast Duck Hunter

Friday, November 18, 2011

Outdoor Photo Prompt ~ Little Explorers in the Outdoors

I just figured this photo was worth sharing, it isn't my littlest wrangling a brook trout or my oldest reeling in a smallmouth bass.  It is however what I consider the best photo that illustrates what little eyes can find and how quickly they can apply their perspective to the given opportunity.  So this blog post is for my little ladies, a heart in West Quoddy Head, the easternmost point in our country...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hunting Camp...

The weekend has come and gone and left an opportunity for a writing prompt, what truly makes hunting camp?  In particular, what makes one hunting camp different than another?  And to be even more precise, what are the differences in two hunting camps only 5.5 miles apart according to Google Earth?

You see, I am fortunate in life to have made many, many quality friends.  Some I've made through work, others via the college experience, while others simply were the trusted buddies that I grew up with.  Nonetheless, I was offered a multitude of hunting opportunities over this long weekend and I did my very best to accommodate all those who sequestered my presence.  Here is how one guy spent his weekend and has a few things to throw out there.

I chose to hunt black ducks Saturday morning with my father and Jab, a lifelong buddy who I consider my best friend.  From Jab's property, we set out our decoys on the bend and put Baby MoJo just at the water's edge.  A strong tailwind drove the black ducks in like rockets but a few were interested enough in the spread only to wish they had kept trucking.  The bright bluebird sky over the morning hours didn't help things much, but we still were able to get some shooting in and procure the first black duck of my 2011 season.

Following the morning of black duck action, I needed to finalize my plans for the evening.  I had already agreed to stay at Matt Diesel's camp, but had also recently been invited over to another camp just miles away.  Littlefield did give me enough notice to think about it and I honestly wished they had fallen on separate weekends.  However, it was a good problem to have...

I decided to visit Matt and Steve over at Upper Lead Mountain Pond for several hours and then catch up with Mahoney, my best man, and Littlefield at Beddington Lake around 9 p.m. as they would be trekking north from the mid-coast area.  Since far less people would be at Littlefield's estate, I would stay there and then head out Sunday morning for some shopping with my wife.  For a quick story about Mahoney and Littlefield, please click HERE...

So let's consider my observations...

One camp was purchased several years ago with a more rustic feel.  More shaded amongst the trees, it presents an outhouse, hand pumped water, and is loaded with outdoors memorabilia and nostalgia.  The members in attendance were as general observation: right of center politically, paper mill engineers and Maine Guides, lovers of country music who needed to offer the next hunting or fishing story.  The unit centered around the three Vose men who brought several other participants to share in the experience. 

This group did some shooting in a pit with an AR-15 frame rifle in .223 and some autoloader Ruger P95 in 9mm.  The pursuit of game had no limits, you simply chose what you intended to hunt.  Ruffed grouse, deer, rabbit, predators, and ducks where considered all fair chase.  An abundance of talk ranged from ethics in outdoorsmanship to professionalism as a guide to breaking down an AR-15.

The other camp was built several years ago with a more modern feel.  Found above a sunny, sandy beach, it presents all the amenities of home with power, phone, flat screen television, Direct TV, plumbing, showers, and well you get the idea.  With full insulation, this camp could certainly suffice as a year round residency.  The members from this camp were:  all of the same age, left of center politically, employed by Bank of America and friends who grew up together, video game junkies who also thrived on sports, sports, sports, & Texas Hold'em poker.  The cement holding this group together certainly is football and the fantasy element attached.  If you weren't talking sports, then you weren't part of the conversation.  It was nice to be able to participate in the football talk as I've entered the ranks of fantasy football and if I must say, not doing too bad...

This group was far less formal at the range.  An unofficial skeet competition that I won provided some excitement but the real victor was Littlefield who out shot Mahoney in the second round.  The contest was soon followed by shooting my .44 magnum Ruger Super Redhawk at some wafer board targets that resembled Santa Claus and his reindeer.  Realizing we had an abundance of skeet round, the 12 gauge shotguns all found serious action as the North Pole crew was sprayed with skeet shot.  Coinciding the fun, ear protection, instruction, and efficiently practiced proper shooting etiquette made for a safe climate.  The gravel pit was left in great shape as we attempted to leave no trace. 

This hunting party was hellbent on chasing deer and spread all the levels of scent control, allurement scents, and potential affects of success on the table.  They discussed the area they intended to hunt and how they intended to pursue the quarry.

So what separates these two camps in how we regard hunting camp?  Nothing, the purpose of hunting camp is just that.  Camaraderie, time together, and strengthening the bonds we share in this game called life makes camp.  My only game scored this past weekend was a duck that had no connection to either camp, and at print only one ruffed grouse had been taken by the Upper Lead Hunting Crew.

So here's to Matt, Steve, Steven, Preston, John, Chris, Littlefield, Mahoney, Elmer, Vern, Jab, and Dad for making this year's hunting camp a good time even though I couldn't enjoy all of the stories, laughs, and jokes shared any one of them for the entire duration.  Both camps demonstrated what hunting should be and I'm fortunate to have been a part of both experiences amongst brethren...

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Crow Calling with the Firestorm...

It's going to be awesome... I just need some time but here is what might become the next great thing in the Duckman's world, calling with the Foxpro Firestorm... There will be mayhem in the near future!!!

Please note that this was just a trial to test the effectiveness of the Foxpro Firestorm and that crow season is not in effect.  The below information contains the dates for the upcoming crow season...

Crow (Split Season):
  • WMD's 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6: February 15, 2010 through April 15, 2010, and August 1, 2010 through September 30, 2010
  • WMD's 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, and 29: February 1, 2010 through March 31, 2010, and August 1, 2010 through September 30, 2010
Bag and Possession Limit: No limit.

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