Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of meeting PG13 out on the hayflats. We got to talking and decided that I really wanted to go after some ptarmigan, and he really wanted to get some ducks. Since he knows where to get the ptarmigan, and I have a pretty good idea on where to find ducks we figured we would help each other out.
We met up at waaaayyyy too early this morning at the parking lot, geared up and started walking in. After what seemed like an eternity we finally made it out to the pond where I had stashed some decoys earlier this week. Unfortunately it took us less time than I figured it would to get out there, so we opted to hang out by the ATV trail for about an hour before moving in to set up.
As the marsh started waking up we were both getting real excited. We heard teal everywhere talking back and forth, and a mallard here and there. Every once in a while a widgeon would whistle, and a crane would start calling. The usually morning sounds on the hayflats in the morning, but it always gets me excited. When the time hit we moved into the pond and jumped a few ducks in the puddles around it, but they would be back.
As we started putting decoys out, the morning flight started, flocks of 15 to 30 birds jetting through the marsh right over our heads, and dumping right into the decoys we had just put out. I had one flock of about 20 or so widgeon fly about 15 yards right in front of me and as they turned the sun hit them just right to light them up. It's an image I will charish for ever. As we finished getting the decoys out and the mojo set up, we were both expecting a lot of birds to come in. We got back into the blind, and I pulled out my phone to check the time...14 minutes to go. Waiting on shooting time is the most painful excrutiating wait ever. Birds flying around and there is nothing you can do about it but sit back and enjoy it. As the time dwindled down and down, finally shooting hours had come.
I don't know why, but it was like somebody flicked a switch and the birds stopped flying. We waited and waited and waited for about 15 minutes, then finally a pair of mallards came in, then some teal, then some more and more and more!
It seemed like everytime we were out retrieving birds they would all start coming in. Especially as I was trying for about 20 minutes to find a downed pintail that I knew was very much alive. I found the bird, but PG13 got to shoot at numerous birds as I was out there stomping around the grass in hot pursuit. I also ended up getting a Blue Wing Teal, as did PG13! We kept having cranes fly over but just outside of shooting range. Finally PG13 says, "Cranes! Coming right at us!". We both duck down, and hold our breath. They are coming closer and closer, and closer, then PG13 stands up and fires at the lead bird. I shot at the trailing bird. The first shot rocked him, missed with my second shot and hit him again with the third! He did the spiral down and landed in the weeds...still alive. We got over there as fast as we could and started looking. All the sudden to my right I see him move his wings and his head pops up. I fired my shotgun at his head and that was all she wrote. When I got up to him his head was pretty mangled, but he was done. Finally I got my first crane!!!
We ended up with 2 limits and 1 crane. I got 3 pintails, 2 GWT, 1 BWT, 1 Spoonie, a Mallard and a Crane. PG 13 got 3 GWT, 1 Gadwall, 1 Widgeon, 1 Spoonie, and 2 Pintails. We had a great day, and I am really looking forward to chasing around some Ptarmigan with him in the future.