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Thread: First band for a new duck hunter

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    Default First band for a new duck hunter

    Went out to the marsh on Saturday to do a day of ducking with my wife. Very slow day for the most part, but we ended up finding a nice little hole, where the birds wanted to be, and shot 2 limits, with most of the shots being made on nicely decoyed birds. Its always nice to be able to shoot birds that are working as opposed to those that are just passing by. Anyways, towards the end of our limits, a nice drake gadwall comes in and tries to make friends with the closest group of decoys, and he pays for his mistake, I didn't even notice the band till after it was in the pile. The band was very worn, the numbers were hard to see and the metal was thin...meaning this was an older bird. I reported the band on the BBL website, and the information came back on this bird. It was banded in August of 2004, in Oregon. I thought this was very strange. I'd guess this bird was hatched in Oregon, as it was banded in August, but he evidently has migrated north in the spring. I wouldn't have guessed a bird hatched down south would migrate to AK, but he did. I think he chose the wrong friends, and paid for the mistake.

    As for the number of birds, I'd say they are lower than I've seen in the past, but most of the local ducks are just plain shot out and off the marsh. We've been able to collect our limts, or very close to them, everytime out this year, but it definately hasn't been as fast as it has been.

    I've watched the numbers of birds using the marsh dropping noticably over the last 7 or 8 years, and I think the marsh just gets too much continuous pressure. Used to be, a guy would go out during the week, and find himself alone on the marsh. In the last few years, their are multiple guys on the marsh on any given day. The marsh isn't all that big, in relative terms, and I dont think gets the rest that it needs to keep the numbers of birds on it like it used to. Just my opinion on the lower numbers these days.

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    There are a good number of birds banded each year during the summer months in the lower 48 that aren't newly hatched. I know Albifrons over on the Refuge was banding some sub adults and adults in Nevada (I believe) this week. He had pics of him and his daughters out cathcing them in traps, banding them, and releasing them. Nice series of photos. Maybe your Unlucky gray duck found a migrating flock and just joined in?

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    That is the problem with drakes, they meet some pretty hen down south and follow her home and end up stuck in some backwater.

    more gadwalls and some ring necks reported this year.....makes me think that something is going on in the prairie states to make them come up here. I know that we get a few birds of many species, but it seems that each year more "southern" birds are taken up here.

    Now all we need is for someone to take some blue wing teal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DAllen View Post
    I've watched the numbers of birds using the marsh dropping noticably over the last 7 or 8 years, and I think the marsh just gets too much continuous pressure. Used to be, a guy would go out during the week, and find himself alone on the marsh. In the last few years, their are multiple guys on the marsh on any given day. The marsh isn't all that big, in relative terms, and I dont think gets the rest that it needs to keep the numbers of birds on it like it used to. Just my opinion on the lower numbers these days.
    I agree, the marsh is not a good as it has been in the past, the birds just don't get to rest. With the low water and increased pressure the good old days are just that. Heck, I remember hunting it on a Saturday morning and only seeing a couple other boats out there. Maybe with the bad hunting this year a few more guys will stay home.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Ray View Post
    Now all we need is for someone to take some blue wing teal.
    Already done. I have shot two bluewing teal up here so far, in years past. I've shot a few others that could have been bluewings or cinnamon teal, but could not tell as there were not enough plumage for me to distinguish. Both the known bluewings I've shot were in the interior, and both were drakes with some blue on the head and a definate crescent moon on the cheek.

    So, the bluewings are here.

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    Just something to think about. Some areas of the country restrict hunting to Sat/Sun/Wen and holidays. Gives the birds a rest and keeps them in the area better. I am retired and perfer to hunt weekdays, but would rather have one day of fair hunting during the week, then 5 days of poor hunting. Bud

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    I wish I could hunt week days, if I could I would, instead I gotta be a weekend warrior. Such is life. I think we are just in a little upswing of duck hunters right now. I got a feeling the number of hunters will decline over the next few years if the duck numbers stay down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yukon View Post
    I think we are just in a little upswing of duck hunters right now. I got a feeling the number of hunters will decline over the next few years if the duck numbers stay down.
    I think that the "up tick" in hunter numbers will be more than a few years. It will be generational.

    Consider that DU is working hard on hunter recruitment nation wide and are working on bringing younger people into the culture. The last several years they have been very successful.

    Consider that Alaska will always be a go to destination for many outdoors people, and some of them will be duck hunters. With more recruitment into the culture more of them will be duck hunters.

    Consider that Alaska has one primary population and economic center in upper Cook Inlet which is where the majority of people will be moving to when they come up here.

    With these very basic factors there will be a surge of duck hunters in upper Cook Inlet for a couple of generations. With only a few spots that are road accessible in this region the pressure on the "best" spot will remain high for a long time. After a few weekends of no birds they will stop heading out, but as soon as someone posts that the northern birds are here be prepared for standing room only on the hay flats.

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    Quote Originally Posted by akblackdawg View Post
    Just something to think about. Some areas of the country restrict hunting to Sat/Sun/Wen and holidays. Gives the birds a rest and keeps them in the area better. I am retired and perfer to hunt weekdays, but would rather have one day of fair hunting during the week, then 5 days of poor hunting. Bud
    Bud think about what you said here. This would be one step closer to closing it completely. Beside what would be worse people spred out though out the week or everyone there at once. It would be like an opener every weekend. I think I would sell my gear and be done with it. IMO the low numbers have more to do with predators then anything else. One guy I talked to said all he had was adult birds. Somethings wrong with that picture. After all how many eggs can a coyote eat. Then add multiple coyotes plus the juveniles that gulls, hawks, and ermine get. Then we will put in a couple of fox for good measure. Theres a lot more killing going on out there then you think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK DUCKMAN View Post
    Bud think about what you said here. This would be one step closer to closing it completely. Beside what would be worse people spred out though out the week or everyone there at once. It would be like an opener every weekend. I think I would sell my gear and be done with it. IMO the low numbers have more to do with predators then anything else. One guy I talked to said all he had was adult birds. Somethings wrong with that picture. After all how many eggs can a coyote eat. Then add multiple coyotes plus the juveniles that gulls, hawks, and ermine get. Then we will put in a couple of fox for good measure. Theres a lot more killing going on out there then you think.
    I have hunted areas restricted to certain days of the week (and still do) and would hope that we dont ever come down to that up here. I think the reasons for doing it down south are generally to try and hold birds that are in their wintering grounds, or very near them. Here, we have birds that are either locally produced, or are migrating, with a pretty short window as it is. I think the effort required to hunt our areas, is pretty much a limiting factor to most, and guess its just the way these days. Maybe some sort of enhancements would be the answer, but limiting hunting opportunity is something I'd rather not see if it can be helped at all. As far as numbers declining, I dont know if there are actual numbers to show this, but from my experience, the only thing I've see that has really changed out there is the amount of pressure during the week. In the late 90's, a guy could go out during the week, and maybe see or hear one other guy out, maybe. Most of the time I would be all alone. Limits were always the norm (more ducks in the marsh). Predation is for sure a factor out there, but I dont thinks its changed much in the last 10 years or so, but that is strictly a guess, no fact to support that. This time of year is and has always been the slow point of the duck season out there. We need migrating birds.

    On a side note, the skybusting has been ............robust this year to say the least. I watched two guys last weekend, take many 50 yard plus shots, and to their credit, they actually brought a couple down. They also crippled and sailed about 4 birds to every bird they knocked down. I counted at least 9 birds they sailed into the bullrushes, that are sure to become eagle/hawk, coyote bait. These were guys I always judged as experienced hunters. I was surprised at their lack of respect (for the birds). I watched the same with two guys near the piano blind. Not all were high shots, but they took shots at birds that were better than 50yards off to the side, which is the same as high shots. Granted, lots of guys are way better at shooting than I am, so my range limits may not be your limits, but even the best, fastest steel ammo has its practicle limitations. I think this is where the need for numbers gets in the way of the getting to work the birds right into the decoys. Its missing the point of hunting over decoys.

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