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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Tell us about the memorable hunts you've had. I have a lot of them. Mainly because I'm an old duffer. I even have some my dad and uncles passed down.

My first one is one my Dad passed on. He was a young lad and market hunted with his older brother John, who was killed in WW1. Yes WW1, told you I was old duffer. They didn't have cars so they took horse and wagon down to the local switching yard and caught a train to travel about 40 miles to their prime hunting spot. The equipment was a couple 12 gauge side by side doubles, the black powder variety. A couple English call geese a bunch of powder, shot and cork wads and lots of gunny sacks. The engineer on the train would stop and let them off by the Mississippi backwater slews they hunted. They tied a line on a foot of both call geese and propped up brush for a blind. Reloading shells between shooting was sometimes a task. Besides shooting, they had corn on trot lines in a near by stream that caught ducks. At the end of the day, they put their ducks in the burlap bags and went out to flag the train down. Then it was a wagon trip into town to sell their catch. Pop said it didn't leave much time for sleep and you could loose track of what day it was. Between this and hunting rabbits with a ferret, and some trapping, this was their spending money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
It was a brisk November morning in Iowa. My old friend Jack and I tried talking Keith into going, but after a bust of a day the day before, he elected to sleep in.

The place we was hunting was a small lake made by Beavers close to the Cedar river. There was no way to access the pond by any other way but foot. It was about a half hour walk with 4 dozen decoys a shot gun and some lunch. Mike the black Lab did his own walking thank goodness.

We got to the blind made from brush and a log to sit on in plenty of time to put out the spread, even with a discussion about which way the wind would blow. We had plenty of time to get a charcoal fire going and put on a pot of coffee from a water tight stash close by in the woods. The coffee washed down the sausage biskits I made the night before. Seemed like forever waiting for the sun to come up. The longer we waited the colder it got. When the sun finally peeked over the timber it brought the wind with it but not a sign of a duck. Jack says,"looks like another day like yesterday, the Wood Ducks have moved south". As the sun came up so did the wind. It was blowing out of the north west at about 30mph by 8 oclock when a flight of Canadians made their way down the river, not paying any attention to my best honker call. By this time jack wants to know how long I plan to take this punishment as we are both shivering like a dog shitting fish hooks. About the time I sat give it till noon a small skien of ducks appear following the path of the Canadians. I get on the hail call and let her rip. It was a long way off but we had a good wind at our back and was bored to death. Jack says you turned then, stay on it. They did turn, coming up the creek leading to the river but still sky high. About half way to us, I lost them behind the timber that was backing us. I backed off the hail call and started blowing the old set down call with some chuckling thrown in. About time I was going to give up and write them off, old Mike the Lab starts his soft whine, a sure sign he knows there are ducks. Sure enough they pop into view off our right shoulder about a hundred yards up and swinging out away from us. I tuck the call down in my coat and give a little come back on the duck tooter. They break for us coming straight at us now and even dip a bit over the decoys. There was around a dozen and low enough to hear their wings but too tall to shoot. They was still interested and swung around again. This time just over the tree tops on the other side of the pond. Jack says here they come, talk them in. Gave them the real soft set down call and bingo 30 yards out and about 10 foot over the decoys and said take em. We are up and emptied 6 shells and two drake Mallards fall. Both of us kicking ourselves in the but for poor shooting while Mike swims out and retrieves both ducks. If dogs could grin, Mike would be grinning. This is his job and he does it well. Besides it was a bad day the day before. He gets his towel off and climbs into his brown army blanket sleeping bag. We no sooner got settled down and there was a big bunch about the same place we seen the first. A good hundred or more in this bunch. Jack says,"big bunch. If you get these in I'm going to bow down to the duck calling god. Yep they followed the blueprint of the first bunch only this time we got two triples and we are high fiveing while mike gets them rounded up. All drakes and only two to go to limit out. It's about 10:30 now and a roast beef samich was in order for Jack me and Mike. They was big but Mike said he could have eaten two of them. About half way threw the sandwich, ours not mikes, he inhaled his, here comes the mother of all duck flocks flying down the river. So many you couldn't count them. About a quarter of them peeled off the main flock and headed our way. It was a mixed bunch of Mallards and Black duck. They came in a little different, swinging out in front before the got to us and dive bombed straight in. We shot two Blacks and a collateral damage Green head that put us one over. They was so thick it was unintentional on the third one, but Mike didn't see it that way and picked them all up. Jack quickly stashes it in the timber and Mike quickly retrieves it. Finally Jack wraps it in plastic bag and hooks it high in an oak tree. We no sooner get guns unloaded and start to round up all our gear and here comes a small bunch. Guns unloaded and cased we call them in a yell BOO scaring them of, laughing all the while. This repeated over again a couple times and out of no where pops the Game Warden. He has a reputation of being a real ball buster and we was a little nervous seeing we had one in the trees. He checked our ducks and made us take the guns out of the cases to check for three shell limit. Satisfied he asked what we was doing. I said sit down and don't move and I'll show you because there was another bunch coming. He sat and the second bunch he kelped scare them off and laugh, the third bunch he borrowed a duck call. He stayed for over an hour. Finally he says as much fun as he was having he has to get going, the ducks are flying and there are some that would shoot over their limit. Me and Jack just look at each other lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No one have any stories? I have a lot of them. Guess it goes with old age. A lot of history.

It was opening day of Pheasant season, 1969. It was a frosty morning in November as our regular group of 4 sat eating breakfast before sun up at a truck stop in Iowa. This year the regular group expanded some how, with can I bring a friend and my buddy likes to hunt to a grand total of 7. I'm sitting there polishing off the biskits and gravy that was the side to my hungry mans breakfast, wondering how I was going to move after eating that much, but it would be a long hard go till lunch. We was there discussing the plan of action for todays hunt. I said where in the hey are we going to find 21 bird limit for 7 guys. Jack says," some of the guys don't get out much, lets put them in between us on the drives and let them shoot and we will just back then up". We have all shot a ton of birds anyway. Keith says, "good plan:. I say it's all about my dog Rufus for me anyway. I said," well we shouldn't have to worry about them pooping out, two are mailmen and the other looks to be in good shape".

We started hunting at an old friend from College that has about 250 acres of prime pheasant ground. Mostly picked corn and beans by now with about three long grassy draws leading to a small patch of timber. I say," lets start there, they may still be in bed, and the wind is in our face and we can run them right to the timber. They have no way out of that but to fly". We split up on the three draws and set old Rufus the English pointer loose and he started full speed like a pendulum turning back to go the other way at the sound of the silent whistle. Old Rufus was one hell of a dog the only thing faster than his run was his nose. He picked up right where he left off on out training hunt a couple weeks ago. Ranging out about 20 yards and turning on a dime at the limits I set.

About a quarter way into the pasture with the draws Rufus puts a solid point on the right draw. He is a beautiful site standing like a statue as Keith moves up to flush the bird. Keith preps the new guy and almost steps on the bird before it flushes. I tell the two guys with me to be ready the shots may flush more, and that is exactly what happened three roosters and several hens. The guys on the right hit one and the back up shooter in my bunch got a long double. It was steady shooting down to the timber. Five more birds after five more great points from Rufus. At the timber Jack and his guy swung around to block the other end as we slowly worked to the end of the draws then the five of us walked slowly threw the timber that wasn't too wide. Nothing till we got just about to the end and fence line where Jack and his buddy was blocking when all hell broke loose. I knew there was some there because Rufus was birdy. It's body language he speaks to tell you to be on your toes. Had to be twenty hens and at least a dozen roosters get up. Between trees, picking hens from roosters and poor shooting, we still needed 11 more birds for a limit out. Really this was better than we expected, but it's easy to kick yourself in the fanny for poor shooting. As we walked all together down the fence line to the corn field that was 80% picked everyone seemed to be having a good time. I told them I figured I already shot my limit so I would take the most unproductive part of the field and run the dog. I switched shells in my model 12 to my water foul long shooters and just planed on being last resort. Them shells was load your own 1 3/8oz 4 lead shot and faster than a speeding bullet but useless under 40 yards. I took the center of the first pass on the big corn field that we decided to make tree passes up and down to cover it well. Larry who owns the farm, don't believe in a lot of herbicides so there is good cover with the corn. Had a bit of trouble with Rufus on the passes going with the wind, but he did a good job. On the one pass into the wind he had a hen so memorized I reached down and grabbed her, throwing it at Jack saying here catch. That was a standing joke between us, but usually didn't happen till snow or freezing rain made them sit so tight. We picked up 4 more roosters in that corn field and I'm starting to feel guilty about being the game hog. Two was 60 yard shots or more. That left only 7 to go for the opening day limit when we crossed the road to Larry's big corn field. This is the kind of field that gives corn detasselers night mares. You cant even see the end of it. We decide as good as Rufus is working we would zig zag it in a down and back. It has an unused train track on one side that seems to hold quail, so I pointed this out to everyone. We started on the tracks side and out come the long shooters and in go the quail loads. Yep that first pass yielded 14 quail and one pheasant. Everyone was shooting good on that pass and Rufus is still going full speed ahead even though old Dad was thinking about leg cramps coming soon. Damn Mailmen. Ok tough up for the pass back and the wind was playing better for this pass, besides we only have 6 to go for the limit. and more than a half day left. As we worked back we even worked the ditch by the road but nothing but 2 quail that got in there from covey by the tracks. Some one dumped one of the quail and Rufus made a good retrieve on a running bird. As we got 3/4trs threw two guys hustled down the road to block the end of the field. Rufus had a point just after the blockers moved out and bird flushed and was missed but had the audacity to fly right over the blockers on the road side. Boom and 5 to go. Rufus had a point and we flushed two hens, calling out hen hen we hear a bang at the end of the field. I'm shaking my head thinking the worst but it turns out one rooster was running out the end of the field. About 6 get up at the end of the field hens and roosters only one went down. I had the excuse I still had quail loads in lol. Now it's down to three to go and I wouldn't have given odds on that for even the end of the day, much less around noon. We stop by the farm house to thank Larry for letting us hunt and his wife who is my favorite Polka dance partner when we get a few brewskis down went to the trouble of making a big pot of vegetable beef soup and home made bread. We couldn't turn that down. Darlene just loves company. Guess it goes with being farm girl all her life.

After lunch and a few laughs about the yearly Halloween hay ride party that turned me and Larry into blithering idiots after a few too many and my girlfriend had to drive me home. And she got lost on the country roads. We decided to trip north about 20 miles and hit Bud's place. Bud is married to my kinda half sister. Our family adopted her when she was abandoned in high school. She was one of my sis's best friends and just moved in. Bud never lets anyone but me and my brother hunt there and wouldn't you know it my brother was there in the morning. Bud said him and a buddy got their limit but never hunted half of the farm and didn't have a dog. I asked the guys what they wanted to do and they said we are here and only need three birds, so we started an attack on the un hunted part. But we had to go threw the part that had been hunted to get there. We never did get there, we got our three birds half way to the unhunted area. Limited out by 2 in the afternoon and couldn't believe it. What more could you ask for abundant game, good food and a stop at the local small town tavern for a couple beers and the rest of the foot ball games on TV. We had a happy bird picking party at my place that evening, and off to hunt some more the next day.
 

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PHEASENT hUNTING i LIKE .I had a killer black lab retriever that was good at working fence lines and small brush. Wouldn't point but would do a little dance
Then flush the birds up. He didn't miss much . best duck dog ever.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've had English pointers, wire haired German pointers and labs. They all have their good points. When I was a young buck and could almost run threw fields all day the English pointer was hard to beat for covering ground fast. As I slowed I switched to the wire hair and when my wheels fell off completely I switched to a Lab and mainly duck and goose hunting, but he did a good job on pheasants and quail. The lab was unbeatable for retrieving.

They all have their strong points and short comings even with dogs in the same breed.
 

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ive hunted with pointers and i found the young dogs get too far ahead and flush the birds too early . could just be inexperience in the dog . do you hunt partridge down your way? and what is the ducks you shoot down there ?
 

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My Dad and I, when I was about 15 were hunting late in the afternoon, just before dark. We spotted a nice buck on a ridge about 300 yards away, across a fresh clear cut. He was out of range for me with a .30 .30 so Dad took a pop at him with his .270, when the gun fired the deer disappeared. It was getting dark and we didnt have a light so we had to go back home to get one. By the time we got home it was really dark so we left our guns at home and got a couple of flashlights and returned to the spot. We made our way across the clear cut to the area where the buck was and started looking for him. We walked around a brush pile and there laid the deer, laying down cow fashion with head up looking at us. We didnt have a gun so Dad walked up to the deer and hit it in the head with his 5 cell Maglite, when it fell over he cut its throat. We were both surprised the this deer had no horns, it was a doe, but you know how it is around dusk and thought that maybe we just thought we had seen a buck. We grabbed hold and started to drag her out when we stumbled upon the 10 point buck Dad had shot lying dead in his tracks. The doe I guess was just laying down and met her demise by the maglite. When we got home and skinned her out, sure enough she didnt have a bullet hole anywhere. I have never heard of anyone else killing a deer with a maglite, have you?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
ive hunted with pointers and i found the young dogs get too far ahead and flush the birds too early . could just be inexperience in the dog . do you hunt partridge down your way? and what is the ducks you shoot down there ?
I start training my dogs at 8 weeks old. The time between their eyes open and they start teething is very important. This is the time you will form that special bond that puts you in the position of absolute power. It can be done at this time with out as much as mussing a hair on the pups body. It is a game played on a table with good footing for him. It starts with standing puppies get pets. If he stands you give him loves and but scratches, if he sits you stop and remove hands completely. when he catches on you change game to standing still. Wit this he will put his mouth on your hand. This is unacceptable and even his mom will grab him by the neck and put him on his side lying down till he gives up. Only then will she let him up. You should do the same. he understands this.

Flushing from a pointer is unacceptable to me. far out or close. This is a matter of distance the dog closes on the bird. Your going to have a creeping point now and then because bird is moving. You can eliminate the flushing by tying a pheasant or quail wing to a 7 foot fishing pole. Cast it out pre set your limits as how close you want the dog to get on point and if he gets closer you snatch it away from him. Never let him get the wing. When he finds out he can't catch it, you will see from a flush charge to a creep. this is good. you then twitch the wing when he gets to close. He will find the limits that you set quickly. Each good solid point, you move up keeping wing reeled up so you can snatch it away quickly, and give dog soft light voice praise and stroke him on back and solid tail up if necessary. Never let him have that wing, never. If you want to shoot your blank and throw a dummy fine but never let him have that wing. If you do that, he will hunt for you not himself.

As far as ranging out, that is a training problem, not a dog problem too. Start young. I don't like yelling at a dog so I use silent whistle. One short tells dog to stop, two short says cut back you went far enough that way and a series of toot toot toot says you better end up at my left side. Now you can't give a dog any command you can't make him do. Some use a shock collar. I suggest they put the collar on first every time they use it to check strength. I use a small diameter nylon line tied to a regular collar that is fairly wide. no knots in line to snag brush. Never give a command unless you are with in stomping distance of that line. It goes whistle stomp as fast as you can. after a couple stomps on line he will be avoiding the correction. You then give him slight amount of time to avoid it. When you give the heal or come back whistle you need to grab line and real him in as fast as possible, looping it around behind your back so he has to go around and end up at left side. De consistent and kind. If you loose you patience put him away your not doing either of you any good. I like about 15 minute training periods for pups under 9 months. that is about their limit of attention. Never try training a dog that is teething.

I find one of the hardest things to teach a pointer is the difference between pointing and retrieving. This sometimes makes them poor retrievers. I usually separate the retrieving training from The pointing by using a ball and separate command, then putting them together after the pointing is solid. If anyone has a better way, I'd like to hear it.

Give this to your friend. It is the straight poop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My Dad and I, when I was about 15 were hunting late in the afternoon, just before dark. We spotted a nice buck on a ridge about 300 yards away, across a fresh clear cut. He was out of range for me with a .30 .30 so Dad took a pop at him with his .270, when the gun fired the deer disappeared. It was getting dark and we didnt have a light so we had to go back home to get one. By the time we got home it was really dark so we left our guns at home and got a couple of flashlights and returned to the spot. We made our way across the clear cut to the area where the buck was and started looking for him. We walked around a brush pile and there laid the deer, laying down cow fashion with head up looking at us. We didnt have a gun so Dad walked up to the deer and hit it in the head with his 5 cell Maglite, when it fell over he cut its throat. We were both surprised the this deer had no horns, it was a doe, but you know how it is around dusk and thought that maybe we just thought we had seen a buck. We grabbed hold and started to drag her out when we stumbled upon the 10 point buck Dad had shot lying dead in his tracks. The doe I guess was just laying down and met her demise by the maglite. When we got home and skinned her out, sure enough she didnt have a bullet hole anywhere. I have never heard of anyone else killing a deer with a maglite, have you?
That's a great story. Reminds me of a friends wife hit a deer with her hubbies brand new Suburban. Don her hubby is a bit anal retentive about his vehicles anyway, so she put some garbage bags on rear floor and got help to load deer in. A couple miles down the road and the deer turned into Lazarus and rose from the dead. She had to stop. She had two kids with her and the darn thing was thrashing around everywhere. Some guy stopped and and let it out, shot it with a shot gun and helped put it back in. It not only got the front of the SUB but most of the interior too.
 

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My grandfather use to have a guide business for elk, bear and lions here on Colorado. A lot of his clients were oil guys from LA. One hunt on the last night, these guys had been up late drinking and playing cards. The guides woke these guys up at 3:30am on the last morning, loaded them up on horses and they rode 1.5 hours in the dark to a great hunting area. They set these guys up along this open park then the guides went and rode the timber hoping to kick something out into the park for these guys. A nice bull trotted out into the park 45 minutes after the sun came up. My dad was watching from a point above the park and watched the bull disappear without anyone ever fire a shot. When he walked down there, everyone of them were asleep. :rolleyes: They paid 5k in the early 80's to sleep in woods......RealCute:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I sympathize with your Granpa. I dabbled in the guide business and can tell you them guys went home and told all their friends it was a bad hunt. Don't get me wrong most of the paid hunters was a lot of fun and good guys. Then you get a couple that have no respect for you, the equipment, safety or the game laws or even the environment and can ruin a good hunt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It was late November and we usually take the whole week off to hunt duck and geese, roughing it in the cabin except for going home for thanksgiving dinner on Thursday afternoon. It had been a good week lots of ducks and a great goose day Friday. Except for taking a swim on Thursday morning in 10 degree weather, when my feet got tangled in some buck brush, it was a great week. The back waters was making ice since Thursday and we had to hunt the bigger open water areas with my plate feather boat. Built it my self and it is an ice breaker. 18 feet of 1/4 inch aluminum with a 200hp Evenrude stainless steel prop. 150,000 btu of catilitic heaters and a cook stove. Water tight insulated blind with four rain proof covers. All looking like a big floating pin oak. Friday it was snowing and the wind was blowing hard out of the North east. It was a day with them low dark clouds that race across the sky, cold and damp about two inches of snow on the blind, but we are hunting in shirt sleeves. The ducks flew early and seemed to come out of nowhere just dive bombing the pocket in the decoy spread. Hardly had time to cook sausage eggs and roast for breakfast and we had limited out on green heads. We decided to pick up and go back to the cabin and off load some duck decoys and load up another 4 dozen super mag goose decoys and hit a favorite goose spot for the afternoon. One of the guys opted to head home for the night and said he would be back Saturday morning. My nephew has a young dolly from the small town running threw his head and said he didn't think the geese was flying anyhow. He was getting a nap and chasing girls that night. That left Jeff and me to go kill the geese.

I was wondering if we made the right decision when we came to the end of a narrow cut to find ice piled up at the mouth of the cut coming out. The boat crunched threw it easy and we cleared it out some before we went on. I said to Jeff, "we better come out while it's still daylight". We went another half mile or so threw shoots and ponds to a good spot. It had what we needed. An opening in the tree line for the wind to blow the ice out and enough water in the other direction so the ice had a place to go. We sat there for about 3 hours and could have killed a years worth of ducks but no geese. Finally about three in the afternoon a couple turkey sandwiches, a little nap and wondering if Nephew was right about geese not flying, he comes 8 of them flying the tree line that separates us from the Mississippi river. We get on the goose calls and bend them our way, just not close enough. We step up the calling, if they get a mile or so behind us there is a refuge and there are some real good goose callers there. The circle around a couple times. On the third circle they dipped the decoys and on the fourth they locked up cupped wings and feet down. The most of them was with in 30 yards we took them. We are thinking here's a limit in one flock. after emptying our guns we was lucky to dump two and one was swimming like all get out. Mike the Lab wasn't waiting for the go ahead and almost busted the front door down getting out. I called him off the dead one and gave him a line for the one swimming. By this time the goose hit the shore line on the other side of the pond and Mike was about a hundred feet behind. I freed the boat and we motored out and picked up the other one. While we are out there moved a little ice and here comes a lone goose running off the mouth like there was no tomorrow. Here we are sitting out in the open standing out like an out house in the fog. Right smack in the middle of the decoys and the goose comes in. Jeff hits him and he was so close it almost took his head off. Two of a four goose limit in the boat and Mike chasing a runner. Mike should have been back by now. I motored to where Mike went in the timber, put on the waders and decided to take a look. Jeff took the boat back to hunt.
The walking is tough. In the shallows the ice was solid enough to walk on but any where open i just broke threw. I seen the trail of Mike on the Ice but it went on farther than I had energy to break ice to follow. I worked up a good sweat by now and decided to go back to the boat. on the way back I hear a boom boom from Jeff. He just put the third goose in the boat. And was still motoring around when I got out of the timber. I took my sweaty flannel shirt off and laid it out by a tree. It's old **** hunters trick to keep dog in one place if you loose him. Jeff and I then went out the shoot leading to where we was hunting and started looking for Mike. I'm getting worried now. It's not like Mike to be gone this long and the sun is getting lower and the weather is still making ice. We circle around in the direction Mike went and about a half mile down, we run into old Jack N hunting by himself like he always does. This guy has to be 80 years old. He seen Mike. Said he was chasing the biggest goose he ever saw and went over the dike to the river. I'm really woried now. Now we have a good current and ice. I beached the boat where Mike went over and Jeff and I take off running to the other side of the dike. Jeff went up river and I went down river for a couple miles. No Mike. We get in the boat and go back to the decoys. It's getting dark and I have this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. When we get back there is Mike lying on the shirt with a 10 lb goose with a banded leg. I was happy to see the goose, but I was es tactic to see Mike. He got wet hugs and but scratches and we picked up to go in. We had our limit. When we got to the cut that was choking up with ice at noon it was worse now and had to hook it wit an anchor and pull some out of the cut. It was well after dark by the time we got back.

I had to go into town to get some food and ran into a guy that was hunting the river that day and he said he saw Mike about 3 miles from where we was hunting with the goose. He said you can't mistake Mike he is almost a giant.

Mike slept good that night, curled up on his fleece bed by the pot belly stove.

Wake up it's Saturday morning. Jack, who went home isn't there. We got about 6 inches of snow. My nephew is there but hung over from too many brewskis the night before. Looking a little green around the gills. Mike and Jeff are ready to go, but we are a little worried about the ice we came threw the evening before. The main lake where the boat was had a thick skim ice completely across it. I said well let's fill up on gas and take a look. We broke enough ice to get some maneuvering room for the boat, poured my poor nephew in and headed for the cut. It was still dark. As I steered into the cut, I seen a light way down the way. I knew we was the only ones out, because the other guys was waiting for us to make a trail. As we crunched threw the ice, I'm thinking we are in for a hard day. How are we going to get enough open water to hunt. As we go threw the cut it looks like a small fire ahead. We get to the ice jam and surprisingly it pushes out fairly easy. We look across the pond opening and there is a camp fire and a waving lantern. It's old Jack N and he couldn't get threw the ice last night. He had pulled his boat up as far as he could, took the brush off the back side and started a fire to keep warm. He had goose for supper roasted on a spit. and out side of a little cold looking he was no worse for wear. I asked him if he wanted a tow in. He said he planned on hunting. That today was it. You could hear the geese in the refuge all night and they was restless. He figured they would all fly south by the next morning. I offered Jack the extra hole we had and he took us up on it with out much talking. Nobody else made it out that day. We had about 32,000 acres of back water all to ourselves. Cooked some breakfast for jack and the guys a big pot of coffee and Jack even caught a warm nap before the ducks and geese started getting active around 10 in the morning. The old saying 10 to 2 when skies are blue worked that day. Really they get later going out and earlier coming back in very cold weather. There was a stiff north west wind and temps was dropping. We took the best spot around and was limited out, back to the cabin with both boats pulled out and winterized before dark. A good way to end the season. We winterized the cabin on Sunday and you could look out over the refuge and see the ducks and geese circling the refuge like a tornado. Getting higher and higher the off they went on their trip south. I often wonder if the have trouble with lost luggage on their flights.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It was my first try at hunting a big public access area. This was 3,200 acres of ponds, open water chutes and cuts and pot holes never seen before by human eyes. Well some one may have seen it, but it was overwhelming to a couple young guys in a open 14ft boat and a 5 horse motor. To get an Idea of what it looked like, we went a day before the season opened bought a map and proceeded on our exploration trip. It was daylight, but only took a half hour to get turned around and lost in the maze. It was like a horror story from the everglades. Every tree line looked the same, Every cut led to a place we never seen before and usually ended in a dead end. It was over cast so there wasn't a sun to go by. We saw tons of ducks but would never be able to find the spot in the middle of the night, as you was allowed to leave at 12 midnight to set up. It took us over 4 hours just to stumble on the place we put the boat in. We looked at each other and just shook our heads. What was the plan for the next day?

About dark that night, the boat ramp area came alive, The boats just kept coming down the hill and being launched. Nice big boats with professional looking blinds on them, decked out in Pen Oak and saw grass, with huge motors. There was speed boats even skip jacks. About 11 pm all these boats gathered in the staging area that had signs that said you could not pass till 12 midnight. We seen that there wasn't one of these boats was beatable by our 5 hp, even if we knew where we was going. There are around 50 boats out there running and gunning the engines and at 12 a horn sounded and all hell broke lose. It was a race to the spots they wanted to hunt. This was crazy. It was pitch black and a majority of them didn't use a search light. They all zipped down the waterway leading to the hunting area. After it settled down a bit we started off to find a spot. As we came around the first bend, all we saw was dots of running lights staking out their claim. It was clear we was going to have to go deeper in the back waters to even find a spot to hunt. This was something we wasn't comfortable doing in a pitch black night. We decided to go back to the boat ramp area and be comfortable until dawn.

Just as it starts to get that purple look to the sky, we put our shot guns in the boat and are about to set out and here comes the game warden. He comes up smiling and says, you may as well be my first of the year and checked our license and guns for a plug. We was ok and he said I see your new here. Do you know where your going? We confessed we got lost the day before just trying to get an idea what was what. He said your liable to get shot if your still putting around when shooting hours start in a bout a half hour. He pointed right across the waterway that all the boats had been lined up the night before and said, with that small boat you could drag it threw the timber and there is a pot hole that is a real duck magnet about 50 yards in. That will keep you out of trouble and is over looked by most. Guess it's too close to civilization.

Well that seemed like the easy way out. We put our waders on and one pushed and the other draged the boat that 50 yards that seemed like 200. We threw out our 4 dozen cheap decoys and stuffed the boat in the buck brush. We had a ball. About shooting time it sounded like a war broke out around us. There was wood ducks flying everywhere. After 15 minutes, I say to Keith, damn these things are fast. We should have brought more shells. We finally got a little better at leading them an had half our bag limit by 6 in the morning. Them was the days you shot 5 ducks any type or sex apiece. We had good shooting, a mixed bag of Wood Duck, Mallards and a couple shovelers that we thought was mallards till we got back in. If we was shooting good, we should have limited out by ten, but we came pushing the boat threw the timber at noonish. There was the game warden checking guys coming in. He recognized us and said how did you two do? He said not bad, a lot better that some of the guys I've been checking. He told us that we had 2 shovelers and gave us a pamphlet that told how to tell what type ducks they where in flight. This game warden went out of his way to do a good job. I know there was guys calling him anything but a good guy that day, but he did is job well. We used that spot till pheasant season started, and went exploring on slow days. We was hooked on duck hunting. I believing no motorized vehicle was fast enough till it was fast enough to scare you was really impressed by the race for spots. It was something we got carried away with until they outlawed it. I eventually after 20 years couldn't get lost and could find my way in the dark by the tree line.
 

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Dang Bubstr, Wish I would have grown up with you. When I have more time ,i'll tell a few stories here, lots of great pheasent hunts as well as duck and goose hunts. Can't tell to much about my goose hunting now. I still use lead instead of no kill steel
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It was a 25 degree morning in November and only two of us hunting this Saturday morning. Our other two regular hunters where missing in action. I can't say I blame them, it had been a slow two weeks prior to this morning. Not skunks but 2 to 4 duck days. Heavy hunting pressure in the public hunting spot we was hunting. The spots are assigned by picking in order after a lottery of pick numbers. Our draws had pretty much sucked for a couple weeks, drawing in the 80s to 100s every day. This coupled with warmer weather that didn't do much to push ducks south from the Minnesota and Wisconsin refuges, made for depressing days. Days that was so slow we took spots that might be good crappie fishing. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the hunt and being out in the marsh ducks or not. Well the crappie fishing wasn't that great either.

Today was a different story. We had an unexpected cold snap come threw the night before. It even put down a little snow, about two inches. I expected a blustery northwest wind with sun rise and wasn't disappointed. We drew a decent number and picked a fair spot for the wind. Oh there was about twenty spots I would rather had, but after the long period of duds this was great. Well it was great till we went down to the boat to load up. Ice, not bad but a quarter inch and the hunting spot I had just picked was backed by heavy timber and no chance of the wind helping us get the skim ice out of the decoys. Oh well to late to re pick. We made our bed so to speak and just hoped it didn't put us to sleep.

We made our plan to not break any ice we didn't have to so it could clear out and not continuously float threw the decoys. As with most plans this had flaws and we fought all day to keep chunks of skim ice from dragging decoys with it. The hunting wasn't too productive and we was picking up decoys, pushing ice and breaking more every time we moved. Around ten we had a small bunch that locked up and zeroed right into a neighbors spread. Well Jeff looks at me and says "what do we expect, our decoys and ice are a mess". Was time for a new plan. Plan B was to open water down wind and run boat against a tree and blow out ice with wake from that 200 horse Evenrude. I'm on the drain deck with a rope around a tree and Jeff is giving her hell. The plan was working. The water was boiling all around us, and from the boiling water here come two nice sized crappie flopping on the deck.I know this is hard to believe and if I had not been there I would have my doubts also, but this was more than we got with a line and pole trying. I told Jeff, "at least we aren't skunked".

That must have been the thing we needed to change our luck, because we started picking up singles and doubles one after another and just about limited out on green heads by the close of day. We waltz in the check station with five drake mallards and two crappie. It wasn't the most productive day, but it sure was fun.
 

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Wrestling with a wounded 7 pt. in a swamp.

My most memorable hunt was last Tuesday. Not so much the hunt but the tracking.
I got home from work at around 5:30. I had seen tons of deer on my way home and I could tell that they were out everywhere in the neighborhood. I decided to throw on my scent lock suit, grab my bow and head back to into the thick cover brush behind my house for about 20 min until dark.

Near my back fence, I chose a spot to kneel down behind a small pine tree that's just about a foot taller than me. I soon noticed a group of does crossing the fence on the other side of my property into the neighbor's lawn. They meandered away from me to the other end of his large yard. About 100 yards away, I saw a buck come out of the thick brush and start following the does. I switched my deer call to the doe bleat setting and began to call. I could hear them answer and I could call again. About 4 of them started coming my way and the buck followed. I called them all the way back over until the buck was about 25 yards away from me with his head down. I stood up and the does spooked and ran. The buck lifted his head and looked around, then turned broadside and I shot it. I heard the sound of my broadhead slicing through the deer and he ran for about 50 yards back onto the neighbors yard and then began walking. He walked to the far edge about 150 yards away, stood there for a while and in the waning light I lost sight of him. I went back into the house, made dinner for the kids, and watched some of the election coverage on the news. After about an hour I went back out looking for the deer. I didn't bother looking for blood but just went back to the last place I saw him. He was about 20 yards into the tall weeds and I jumped him out of his bed where he ran through some thick stuff and across a fence row. I heard him struggling in the fence and thought maybe he was caught up in the fence so I went straight to where I heard him and found my arrow which had gotten hung up in the fence and pulled out of the deer as it crossed. It was covered in dark red blood with little chunks of red meat with a few white hairs. (brisket? low in the shoulder? Hmmmmm) As I stood there examining the arrow I heard the deer splashing into the pond which was about 60 yards to my right. I snuck up to the edge of the pond and found myself up to my knees in pond water with no clue as to where the deer had gone. The deer was definitely still hardy so I figured I would wait till first light in the morning to track it.
When I went back in the house Wendy had gotten home and I came in with muck up to my knees wearing a camo shirt. She rolled her eyes and went back to her crossword puzzle. I called my dad to get a fresh perspective and he also thought it was a good idea to wait till morning. Then I called my friend Chris who was all excited about tracking the deer and after he talked me into going after it after waiting another couple hours he said that he was on his way over to help. By the time he arrived I had talked to all the neighbors and got permission to go snooping through their back yards with flashlights. We started back out after it three and a half hours after I had shot it, about two hours after I had jumped it. I started at the spot where I shot it and found a pretty good blood trail that lead to the spot where I jumped it. We followed the blood to the fence and I was surprised to see that the blood trail went straight across a small creek and into another residential area. We decided to check with the homeowner first and they were fine with us tracking across their yard. The homeowner Frank came out to help. He said he couldn't stand watching any more of the election and wanted to get out of the house anyway. The blood trail got real sparse through the cut grass and I was crawling on my hands and knees finding speckles of blood mist spread a few feet in between. I followed that trail for about 200 yards as it went around that house and back into the thick brush. Fortunately by the time I was back into the thick brush I was seeing full drops of blood and the trail was easily followed as it went back to the pond where I heard him splashing around earlier. It turns out he ran along the edge of the pond through the cattails and we picked up the blood trail about 50 yards away as he went into a wooded lot on the other side. Tracking him through the wooded lot, we ended up in yet another residential area from two roads down. By this time it was 10pm, I sent Chris up to the doorstep to get permission to proceed as I followed the sparse blood trail through the cut grass on my hands and knees again. That trail lead along the edge of that guys property into a wooded lot where we finally found the still living buck bedded down in thick cover. He was lying with his head alert looking at us. As we stood there startled by finding a live deer, he jumped up and ran off.
Instead of following the blood from there, I went about 80 yards from it's last location in the direction in ran and waited there as Chris walked toward me along the bank of huge swamp. If he kicked it up again, I wanted to be able to hear where it went. Eventually we met in the middle and didn't see it. We were quite discouraged at the prospect of going back to where it had bedded and following another sparse blood trail through thick brush. As we stood on the bank of the swamp Chris scanned the edge of the swamp with his flashlight. "There it is!" he said, "right there in the middle of the swamp!" "Where?"
"Right there!" as he pointed his flashlight in the middle of the swamp at a stump with some branches sticking out.

As I looked closely I notice two eyes reflecting back at me. I thought for sure they had to be a raccoon or something but they were big deer eyes. Then, as we shined our lights from two different angles we could see it. It was in the water with just his nose, ears, eyes and antlers sticking out of the water about 30 yards from shore. It took me staring at it for about 5 minutes before I actually believed it but sure enough, that was the deer. We figured it would die soon if it weren't already dead so we sat on shore and watched it for a while. It didn't move for quite some time and we figured it was dead. Then I remembered I had picked up a golf ball I found in the woods while tracking and we decided to chuck it at the deer to see if it was still alive. The ball hit next to the deer and it remained motionless. I ran around the swamp to the other shore . I figured it was closer to that side. The deer was facing the other shore about 20 yards out from me still motionless, submerged up to it's ears. Again I figured it was dead so I shucked off my cell phone and wallet and with my treestand safety harness strap in my hands I began to wade out after it. I approached it from behind up to my armpits in swamp and tossed the loop around it's rack. When I pulled to cinch the loop tight, it came to life, it pulled against the strap kicking and thrashing it's rack. I could see it was near death but I was still concerned that would try to take me out while we were both stuck in muck under 4 feet of water. Trying to maintain control of it, I pulled it into shallower water . I was caught between two rules. The rule that you can't mess with deer when they're in the water and the rule that says you have to make every effort to recover wounded game. I decided to try killing the deer instead of letting it run off with 6 ft. of nylon strap dragging behind it. Holding on to the strap with one hand, I pulled my three and a half inch blade Buck knife from it's sheath.and worked around him till I could grab an antler and holding the antlers away from me I stabbed it with my knife. It broke loose and thrashing around it knocked me back into the water and began swimming away. I swam after it and grabbed a hold of the nylon strap trailing behind it and tried to fight it. I got a good grip on both antlers, got on top of it pushing it's head under water. Chris yelled out "don't drowned it!!" I think he thought drowning it was cruel or that there was some sort of rules of engagement while wrestling a wounded deer . (!?) So I let it up and it began thrashing around pulling against the strap around it's rack . I grabbed onto one side of the rack and sunk my knife again up to the handle into the chest of the deer. It kept fighting and I stabbed it again. It soon became apparent that I was going to win this fight . After one of the 3 inch deep deep stabs into it's side, I held it's rack still, left the knife in and worked it back and forth hoping to end it. That one took the fight out of it. I began dragging it through the water towards the shore. As it fought less, I would bring it closer until it gave up and I dragged it onto the shore. It was midnight. Chris's phone rang, he answered it and said "Obama..... really?, wow .. we got the deer, let me call you back when we get it to the house "
We dragged it back up into the lawn of the house where I parked the car. Loaded it up, took it home, dressed it, took some pictures and hung it in the garage.
It was a 7 point, not a real huge deer but a deer with amazing stamina. My bow shot was far left of my aim point and a little high, through the back legs. I had recently taken off my peep sight for hunting and thought I had established a solid anchor point. Apparently not the case. I'll be putting a new peep sight back in today and maybe shopping for a bigger hunting knife. All in all, we tracked it about a half mile through 5 different lots, a pond and a swamp.

 

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My Dad and I, when I was about 15 were hunting late in the afternoon, just before dark. We spotted a nice buck on a ridge about 300 yards away, across a fresh clear cut. He was out of range for me with a .30 .30 so Dad took a pop at him with his .270, when the gun fired the deer disappeared. It was getting dark and we didnt have a light so we had to go back home to get one. By the time we got home it was really dark so we left our guns at home and got a couple of flashlights and returned to the spot. We made our way across the clear cut to the area where the buck was and started looking for him. We walked around a brush pile and there laid the deer, laying down cow fashion with head up looking at us. We didnt have a gun so Dad walked up to the deer and hit it in the head with his 5 cell Maglite, when it fell over he cut its throat. We were both surprised the this deer had no horns, it was a doe, but you know how it is around dusk and thought that maybe we just thought we had seen a buck. We grabbed hold and started to drag her out when we stumbled upon the 10 point buck Dad had shot lying dead in his tracks. The doe I guess was just laying down and met her demise by the maglite. When we got home and skinned her out, sure enough she didnt have a bullet hole anywhere. I have never heard of anyone else killing a deer with a maglite, have you?

That's a good one!
 
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