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Thread: Palmer Hayflats- Know your birds!

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    Member PG13's Avatar
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    Default Palmer Hayflats- Know your birds!

    Hey gang,

    I hiked around the Hayflats on Wednesday for a little while and left with a few feathered critters in my brace. With that said, some of bird species I encountered there deserve a second look before pulling the trigger. If you're looking for your 8 ducks, be sure you take a maximum of only 1 canvasback.

    If you have a dog that wants some action or you have an itchy trigger finger and you start shooting at shorebirds, be SURE it's a snipe of which you can take 8 per day/16 in possession. There are lots of other species in that complex. In fact, my dog (who has a very soft mouth and who i watched the entire retrieve) brought me a greater yellowlegs that somebody decided to take a poke at. It's wing was broken by shot but I released it anyways to end up back in the greater food chain. Yellowlegs are very gray and when they fly you can see the bright yellow legs and they have a white tail/tail band. I also saw a bunch of dowitchers that had my gun mounted to my shoulder but then I saw the white stripe down their backs and eased away from the trigger. Dowitchers are usually flocked up. I saw both single yellowlegs as well as flocks of them. The snipe I encountered were generally solitary although they will show up in small groups. They don't provide much meat but they do make for a fun shoot and their feathers are interesting. I'll probably do a tail fan mount of at least one of them. They also have a really neat alternating black and white pattern on the feathers on the side of their body. I hope this wasn't preachy, I'm really just trying to keep everyone legal and prevent non-target species from being unnecessarily shot.

    Yellowlegs (also give a two or three note cheep when they take off)- http://www.birdzilla.com/images/stor...owlegs-450.jpg

    Dowitcher (short and long-billed are almost the same)- http://wwwdelivery.superstock.com/WI..._1927-2510.jpg

    Go Big Red!

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    Member DucksAndDogs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sylvanus borealis View Post
    i think if i shoot a canvas back that will be the end of my shooting day, that second bird will be expensive!

    Or you can learn to properly ID birds on the wing and then you don't have to stop hunting because you shot a can...

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    It was also good to see the Trooopers out and about. I got my hunting stuff checked as well as a boat safety inspection at the ramp last weekend. I did hear some others that got checked as well, in the following days.

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    Good post PG-13. I appreciate the photos and descriptions. In my opinion, waterfowling and bird identification are as important as waterfowling and gun safety. Thanks again for the post.

    dodger

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    Quote Originally Posted by yukon View Post
    It was also good to see the Trooopers out and about. I got my hunting stuff checked as well as a boat safety inspection at the ramp last weekend. I did hear some others that got checked as well, in the following days.
    I love seeing Enforcement out there... I ask them for their card every time I see them and keep it with my hunting/fishing license... Never know when a need to call them might arise. I especially enjoyed watching them bust the King poachers on Willow Creek and the idiot who shot a swan in the twenty male a few years ago. If only the punishment fit the crime...

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    I was checked Monday on the Knik, they didn't do a boat inspection but went over everything else. I had one can, and consider myself very lucky there wasn't a group to where I could get a double on them at the time. I can recognize them if light and i have a moment to study them, but on a quick shot, if I had a chance for a double I would have taken it and then said OPPS after. I did not realize I had shot a can until after I picked it up. Bud
    Wasilla

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    The swan killers are what gets me angry. There is no way you can mistake that bird for anything else. I think people just shoot them because they don't have any ducks coming in and they get bored. I have found two dead swans on two seperate hunts in the pond I normally hunt. If I ever catch the guy who is shooting them, you better believe I am calling the troopers. The nice thing about the hayflats is, you get excellent cell reception out there.

    Those snipe are a lot of fun to hunt, but I never carry any small shot sized shells with me anymore. #2s turn them into hamburger, so I don't bother to try and shoot them. Maybe I should go get a box of #6 to have some fun with next time. Might make my hunt last a little longer if I am going to walk several miles out.
    Some people call it sky busting... I call it optimism
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    I've never even been lucky enough to see a canvasback in AK before- let alone shoot one!

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    There is actually a pretty good population of them around this area. You will get them now and again. Mid to late october you have a chance of getting one in full color! You just have to be careful, they flock up around that time, so if you are after divers make sure you know what they are when you shoot at them.
    Some people call it sky busting... I call it optimism
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    Was walking back from hunting today and unfortunately found this on the trail. Honestly, if people can't ID birds, or just kill anything that flys in front of them, they have no business being out there. This gets me pretty upset.


    IMG_0141.jpg
    Some people call it sky busting... I call it optimism
    "Swans are a gift" -DucksandDogs
    I am a shoveler's worst nightmare!

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    Quote Originally Posted by duckslayer56 View Post
    Was walking back from hunting today and unfortunately found this on the trail. Honestly, if people can't ID birds, or just kill anything that flys in front of them, they have no business being out there. This gets me pretty upset.


    IMG_0141.jpg
    I saw that too... there was some punk looking younger kids that we passed, and heard some shooting shortly after. They were the only ones in the area, and it wasn't there on our way in. I was pretty bothered by that bird.

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    I gues I will show my ignorance and ask, what is it? Obviously it's not a duck. This will be my first year hunting in AK when I get back next month and I don't what to shoot something I shouldn't. I am pretty good with duck i.d., but not sure on this one.

  13. #13

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    It's just a shorebird they don't look anything at all like ducks, the closest thing they look like is a snipe, and they really dont even look that much like a snipe. You dont need to worry about shooting any of those unless you do it on purpose..

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    That's kinda what I thought, but wasn't sure since I have yet to get out in AK yet. Thanks for the reply AK

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    It's a greater yellow legs. They hang out on the ATV trail and usually only fly a few feet in front of you and land again. They are pretty neat to watch. I think this was the result of somebody just shooting everything that popped up around them. There is no way you can mistake them for ducks.
    Some people call it sky busting... I call it optimism
    "Swans are a gift" -DucksandDogs
    I am a shoveler's worst nightmare!

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    Member kwackkillncrew's Avatar
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    if you cant tell a can from another duck you should not be hunting.
    I will never be a "Prostaffer" its not that I am not good enough
    but its because I refuse to pimp products for free.

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    for that matter, if you can't tell what species it is on the wing you shouldn't be shooting. not rocket science but does take a little tume and you should be good to go.

    was really fun years ago when they had the point system..would of hated to be that guy with that 50 point Can. then trying to pick your other 50 points in birds...always made you pick your shot.
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  18. #18

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    Last season was the first time I ever got a can, you can tell easily that it is a can. I knew before I even shot it that it was a can.


    Quote Originally Posted by sylvanus borealis View Post
    i think if i shoot a canvas back that will be the end of my shooting day, that second bird will be expensive!

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    For those interested, here is my opinion on duck ID. We all have to learn someday, whether by formal or most likely informal training. Until you get it figured out, it might behoove you to only drop one bird at a time. It will help you stay within the favor of law enforcement and you'll only have to eat one merganser instead of 2-3!!! I am keeping the wings from my shoot this weekend and would like to provide a duck ID program sometime. There are folks that are better than me and I encourage them to attend to lend their knowledge to the group. I encourage all types to attend as there is great value in combining many skill levels into one location and watch the average skill go screaming through the roof.

    Did some of the new guys know you can tell a duck in flight just by its wing? Or by the bill? Or by the way it swings into the decoys? Or the call it gives? Or the "formation" the group holds itself?

    Ive got lots to learn still but I started humbly and I'm willing to pass on some tricks. Believe it or not, this is by far the easiest place I've ever identified birds for regulation issues. If you don't learn anything else about ducks, learn the look (size and bill!) of the canvasback. And don't shoot yellowlegs!
    Go Big Red!

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    Quote Originally Posted by duckslayer56 View Post
    Was walking back from hunting today and unfortunately found this on the trail. Honestly, if people can't ID birds, or just kill anything that flys in front of them, they have no business being out there. This gets me pretty upset.


    IMG_0141.jpg
    If this isn't a snipe does that mean they are off limits to shoot? I have always been told these are snipe, from quite a few really good duck hunters, not that I shoot them anyway cause there is no meat on um.
    Eccleasties 8:11 Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, There for the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.

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