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Thread: Never seen it this dry!

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    Member Gr is for Greg's Avatar
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    Default Never seen it this dry!

    ... I mean obviously. We were all expecting that. But still! Hunted the ACWR on opening morning. Actually seemed to be a good number of ducks flying around for a good chunk of time, but only about 1/5 of the usual places to hunt were actually huntable, because only the outer edge had been flooded by previous tides. The remaining ponds were all dry. On the walk out, you could have done it in tennis shoes and had dry feet. Unbelievable. Never seen it like that.

    The guys who were set up on the one or two places where there was actually water (not me) did pretty good. The rest of us only had a couple opportunities. Lots of birds working way out over the mud and hesitant to come inland (because there was no water!) The ironic d**k punch was that a super high tide came in at 9:00 and flooded many of the tidal pools. If that tide had come 3 hours earlier (or any time over the previous week), there would have been a lot more hunting area.

    My buddy and I still managed to scratch out a couple ducks, so it wasn't a wasted morning, but definitely not one for the books. Anybody finding that the usual places are simply not huntable because there's no water? Hoping the season gets wetter as we get along here, or I'm not sure I'm going to hunt too much.
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    I was one of the groups that had scouted ahead of time and noticed the lack of water. Fortunately that paid off as we got out there early to make sure we could get setup on the little water out there. Was slow for an opener, but 3 of us got our limits. We managed a bird or two every 10-15 minutes, with a few 20-30 min lulls. Only had one flock of about 8 mallards come in, other than that only 1-2 at a time. Good news is the high wind and tide yesterday completely flooded the marsh, and everything was under water yesterday. However there weren't many birds flying with the high wind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gr is for Greg View Post
    Anybody finding that the usual places are simply not huntable because there's no water?
    Well, before these last big tides we hope filled this pond up....yes. It only had a skim of water over the mud in a very few places. I'll have to check it again and see if those tides filled it up. We're pretty sure it has, and a pretty good rain should have helped too. But we didn't take the chance on it for the opener so hunted down closer to the beach. Tide was just right at shooting time. We managed 1 shy of our limits and 1 crane. Had we recovered a couple cripples and shot better we would have had our limits. Next day we only got 4 birds and again another crane....which of course was great! Should have had at least a few more birds, and was real close to dropping a couple more cranes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Well, before these last big tides we hope filled this pond up....yes. It only had a skim of water over the mud in a very few places. I'll have to check it again and see if those tides filled it up. We're pretty sure it has, and a pretty good rain should have helped too. But we didn't take the chance on it for the opener so hunted down closer to the beach. Tide was just right at shooting time. We managed 1 shy of our limits and 1 crane. Had we recovered a couple cripples and shot better we would have had our limits. Next day we only got 4 birds and again another crane....which of course was great! Should have had at least a few more birds, and was real close to dropping a couple more cranes.
    Was this down at the ACWR? I've gotten a crane down there once. They tend to fly over at about flight pattern altitude for Ted Stevens, but every now again, they squeak into range.

    I went back down this morning and found water to be about at normal levels. Not a lot of birds moving around, but they were holding in places here and there, which is pretty typical for "local" birds after the opener. If they're there, they tend not to move around too much once they've been shot at a few times. I did some jump-shooting, and that was pretty productive. I knocked down 5 but only recovered 3. One of them I have no clue how he escaped me. Spent almost an hour tromping through the grass to find him. Really wish I didn't draw the "gun-shy dog" straw, but what can you do... Anyway, kinda sad when you do better on day 4 than on day 1, but water really is a pretty key component to waterfowl hunting, as it turns out.

    A good soaking rain would be nice to fill in all the other good duck hunting spots that aren't tidal, not to mention also to finally kill those dang fires!

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    shouldnt you be hitting the ice in the mornings to practice up for the hockey season instead of playing in the mud?
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    My dogs found one but I wasnít sure how fresh it was so I was reluctant to bring it home. Something will make good use of it. I thought most of your shooting was farther south if that was you shortly after LST.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gr is for Greg View Post
    Was this down at the ACWR?
    Negative. Sorry, I should have mentioned it was down here on the KP.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gr is for Greg View Post
    ...Really wish I didn't draw the "gun-shy dog" straw, but what can you do...
    How old is your dog and have you tried anything to break it's gun-shyness? I know of a method if you have some other friends with hunting dogs that love to retrieve and would be willing to help you. Let me know.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by kwackkillncrew View Post
    shouldnt you be hitting the ice in the mornings to practice up for the hockey season instead of playing in the mud?
    Well, Joe, I like to maintain a consistent, and poor, level of skill and ability across all of my sporting pursuits, so I try not to devote too much time to any one of them, lest I actually begin to excel at it! -Gr
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birdstrike View Post
    My dogs found one but I wasnít sure how fresh it was so I was reluctant to bring it home. Something will make good use of it. I thought most of your shooting was farther south if that was you shortly after LST.
    If you're referring to yesterday, I didn't have any shooting early. I was set up on the first little "pond" just past the dead timbers and to the right if you are walking out along the storm drain line. I like it there specifically because there is no tall grass or maze of water for ducks to escape, and I tend not to lose any if I hunt there. Didn't see a bird until sunrise, but I did hear some shooting over more toward the shooting range. I decided to jump birds, walking west. There's always birds holding in the interconnected water about 1/4 further down, but that's some of the worst terrain for finding them. That's where I lost the first one. The second one I kicked up along the stormwater drain pipe more than halfway to the toe of the bluff. I never expected to see ducks there, but I kicked up three right beside the trail and knocked down 2 of them. They landed in tall grass, not water, so I'm still really surprised I lost one... -Gr
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    How old is your dog and have you tried anything to break it's gun-shyness? I know of a method if you have some other friends with hunting dogs that love to retrieve and would be willing to help you. Let me know.
    She's 8, so that ship may have sailed. Then again, she is very nearly completely deaf - started going deaf super young - so maybe that helps! I'm willing to try anything. I did try quite a few different tactics, and I made some progress. She reacted to a cap gun the same way she reacted to a real gun, so I used that at meal time. It took a month for her to be able to comfortably eat with it going off. So then I tried to work it into retrieve drills once she was "conditioned" to it. No dice. She didn't freak out or hide from the sound, but the drills were over once it went off. She would just look at me and stay close. Similarly, she no longer runs and hides if a gun goes off, but she develops about a 3' invisible leash to my butt for at least an hour before she relaxes. She is super skittish by nature. I introduced shooting to her gently on purpose, and it still seems that it wasn't meant to be. But I won't turn down tips, help, etc? She's a great dog, and she gets really pumped at the smell of birds (gotta love bred-in instincts).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gr is for Greg View Post
    She's 8, so that ship may have sailed. Then again, she is very nearly completely deaf - started going deaf super young - so maybe that helps! I'm willing to try anything. I did try quite a few different tactics, and I made some progress. She reacted to a cap gun the same way she reacted to a real gun, so I used that at meal time. It took a month for her to be able to comfortably eat with it going off. So then I tried to work it into retrieve drills once she was "conditioned" to it. No dice. She didn't freak out or hide from the sound, but the drills were over once it went off. She would just look at me and stay close. Similarly, she no longer runs and hides if a gun goes off, but she develops about a 3' invisible leash to my butt for at least an hour before she relaxes. She is super skittish by nature. I introduced shooting to her gently on purpose, and it still seems that it wasn't meant to be. But I won't turn down tips, help, etc? She's a great dog, and she gets really pumped at the smell of birds (gotta love bred-in instincts).

    How much does she enjoy retrieving? Is it her favorite thing in the world or is it just something she does because she knows you want her to do it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DucksAndDogs View Post
    How much does she enjoy retrieving? Is it her favorite thing in the world or is it just something she does because she knows you want her to do it?
    Indeed....that was the next thing I was going to ask. And again, depending on that answer, do you have other friends with good (excitable) retrievers that are willing to help you?
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DucksAndDogs View Post
    How much does she enjoy retrieving? Is it her favorite thing in the world or is it just something she does because she knows you want her to do it?
    Her favorite thing is to go out running with me when I go hiking, biking, or skiing. If I pick up my cross country skis, she starts whining and flipping out the same way my dad's dog does when he grabs his hunting vest. So that may be part of the problem. She enjoys retrieval drills, but has a limited attention span for it. It's not her favorite thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Indeed....that was the next thing I was going to ask. And again, depending on that answer, do you have other friends with good (excitable) retrievers that are willing to help you?
    Don't have any friends with well-trained hunting dogs. My best friend's last dog liked to run ahead of us and scare the birds away. He was helpful in finding birds, but had to be on a leash until there was a bird down, and eventually he developed a taste for birds and would eat them instead of bringing them back. Don't want to speak too badly of him, since he's no longer with us. The next dog this friend got is more gun shy than mine. No other of my friends have bird dogs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gr is for Greg View Post
    Her favorite thing is to go out running with me when I go hiking, biking, or skiing. If I pick up my cross country skis, she starts whining and flipping out the same way my dad's dog does when he grabs his hunting vest. So that may be part of the problem. She enjoys retrieval drills, but has a limited attention span for it. It's not her favorite thing.


    It could be done; but there would probably need to be some other fundamental stuff done first. Work on getting her to love retrieving and itíll make life a lot easier. If she isnít completely nuts about retrieving, my method of gun breaking her would be tough to apply. Never tried to gun break a dog while skiing...

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    Quote Originally Posted by DucksAndDogs View Post
    If she isnít completely nuts about retrieving, my method of gun breaking her would be tough to apply.
    Yeah, that would play a big part in my method as well, but the main part is having at least one, and hopefully two or more friends with dogs that have good retrieving skills, and of course aren't gun shy, to help out. So my method won't work either. Sorry. If you could round up a few guys (maybe through this forum?) that might want to help, let me know and I'll provide the details.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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