Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Trip Report: Beaver Pond Duck Hunting 12/19/15 - 12/20/15

I didn’t really have any particular trip in mind for this month’s trip report, so this past weekend I figured I would take advantage of one of the last duck hunting weekends to get out and give it a try.

I am definitely not a duck hunter. I just don’t have easy access to the areas where hunting would be much use. If you want a high chance of success when duck or goose hunting, you need either large bodies of water, or open farm fields. That’s where ducks and geese like to land, so you set up decoys, hide in a blind, and try to call in the flocks. Unfortunately I don’t have access to either such terrain. Since I hunt public land, I have no access to farm land, and most decent size bodies of water are too easy to access, and as a result not ideal for the trips I want to do. What I am left with are small ponds in the middle of the woods. I have indeed been lucky in the past and have seen a handful of ducks in some such small ponds, but hunting those areas is really not a productive way to do it. You have to spend the day backpacking to a small beaver pond in the hope that there are two or three ducks there. Sometimes there are, most times there are not. If you are lucky, you then have to stalk the ducks until you are within range, and take the shot. It works, it’s just not a productive way to do it.

Productive or not, my main goal when hunting is to get out into the woods, so this type of hunting is just fine with me. I had a few ponds in mind, and I set out before sunrise.

The first pond, which I had only seen on maps, was relatively close to my starting point, and I reached it within an hour, just as the sun was coming up.

The good thing about small ponds like this one is that you have vegetation right up to the water. That makes it easier to approach the edges without being spotted. It also allows for easy concealment without needing a blind. Unfortunately, there were no ducks. It’s just the luck of the draw.

I found a spot near the water, and waited for a few hours in the hopes that when feeding started, some ducks might decide to come to this pond.

I had brought a duck call with me, so I called a few times. There wasn’t much reason for it as the only thing flying overhead were crows.

I soon got bored, and decided to move on to another pond that I had seen on a previous trip. I had actually seen a pair of ducks in it several months ago, so I definitely wanted to take a look. I got to the area about mid afternoon. I was noticeably up in elevation, so some of the snow we had earlier in the week was still on the ground.

Again, no luck. I approached the area carefully, but there were no ducks. I waited for a bit, but it was starting to get late in the day, so I decided to just set up camp.

I used a white gas stove for this trip. There was no specific need for it, the lowest the temperature got was 22F (-6C), but what happened is that I ran out of gas for my canister stove and I haven’t had time to go buy more…so, I used what I had around.

The next day on my way out I passed both ponds again, but still no ducks. As I was driving out of the forest, I spotted a flock of geese in a larger lake right off the road. Of course there was a large sign, saying “no hunting”. It’s just how it is.

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