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Thread: Pahranagat.....

  1. #1
    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Default Pahranagat.....

    I was working out of state for the week and I took advantage of it. The power of the internet allowed me to connect with a guy in Vegas and a guy in Reno, so that I could hunt after my job tasks were completed earlier in the week.

    I had one of the best days duck hunting ever at a little spring fed federally owned wetland in the desert not too far north of Vegas. Pintails, Redheads, Wigeon, Gadwall are what we shot. Since I was not used to having to identify ducks before I shoot, I struggled with my shooting skills. I kept lifing my head up to make sure I would not put my self over a species limit if I hit the bird. I kept shooting over the top of the birds or behind them. The pintails kept coming in from behind us out of the sun. They would just appear out of the clear blue sky in front of us just out of range, and about 2 out of every 10 flocks would turn into the wind towards us and be in range coming with the north wind from our left. It was hard fast shooting. But it was totally awesome. My shoulder is still sore from the poor gun mounts on a few of the overhead behind me twisting and don't fall down in the mud shots. I did fall down once, and laughed my butt off.

    What was really interesting is that the local Vegas' crowd mostly go further north to Overton above lake Mead and then whine about how bad the hunting is. They are not going to this spot because it has really low water and requires a lot of work to get hidden out on the mud flats within range of where the ducks fly. This little desert lake is about the size of Duck Lake and there were only 6 people out there on Veterans Day hunting. One or two more hunters would have improved the flights.

    Here are about half the ducks we shot that day. We were just a few birds short of a two man limit. I was pretty tired from the half mile hike in the heat to properly stage some decent photos of all the birds. I was too busy reloading to pause and take photos of the pond and general area. I may regret that later on.



    Then I went up to Fallon and spent two days hunting Greenhead hunting club. When I was a kid there this was a private club and we could not afford to join. We hunted a small flooded pasture area on public land back then. Greenhead had some water issues in the 1990's and ended up having to open up to the public in order to obtain and then pay for more water rights. You now have to pay a daily ($15) or extremely cheap yearly fee to access the private land for hunting. Bird watching is free.

    As we all know heavily hunted areas get shot out quickly when there are safe areas for the birds to go to an not be bothered. That was the case for me since I was hunting it a week after the opening day of the second split season. It was a great time though. The marsh complex is stunning with the tules and shallow ponds. Very well maintained with channels cut through the tules for the canoes. Areas divided up into gas motorized, non gas motorized, and walk in only areas with a huge roost pond. I hunted the electric motor or paddle only area with gear borrowed from the guy in Reno.

    I could have shot a few spoonies, or buffies, and a ruddy duck ( I thought it was a small grebe when it landed in the decoys), but I was holding out for something special to the area like a cinnamon teal or canvas back. Or maybe a green head since that is what the place is named. However, it was not to be. The one or two teal were faster than ever, and other than spoonies, the other ducks were safely roosted in the huge sump pond. I did get to watch a lot of hawks over the marsh, and observed one take a shore bird by flushing the flock off the flooded grass then cracking one with its feet knocking it down in the water, then a quick spin and grab and the hawk was off with a meal in its talons. It all happened in less than 20 seconds about 40 feet in front of me.

    This is a picture from the observation tower where the boats are staged for the no gas motor area. The ditch is the canoe access route to the open water in the distance. The ditch bank is the access to the no boat area to the right.

    I hunted about a 1/2 mile back in there on the left using the written directions the guy in Reno gave me. He and the care taker that checked me in at 5am were concerned about me getting lost since I was not a local. I grew up in this valley and learned to land navigate here, and since nobody has yet to move the mountains around in the 28 years I have been gone I was fine. Even in the black of night the billions of stars back lit the hills and I felt at home moving through the channels.


    This is the central portion of the property which I think is called the "rice" unit. Lots of coots and very few ducks. Guys hunt from lay out blinds in the sheet water they tell me.


    Later in the season when places further north freeze up this place will be hopping. Heres to hoping that a mod does not move this to the "outside AK" forum.

  2. #2
    Sponsor Duckhunter01's Avatar
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    Great Hunt...thanks for sharing the the power on the Forums..looks like you had a great experience and extended season. I am sure the dry air and heat was something to contend with..lol
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    Yeah Ray thanks for the story.

    Who would have though, there really IS a reason to go to Vegas, to get to the duck hunting!!

    Man its going to be a long time til Sept 1, '11 around here.

  4. #4
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    Great, sounds like it was a fun trip. So I have a seminar to attend in vegas from the 6th-10th of Dec, should I look into binging a shotgun?

  5. #5
    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKMarmot View Post
    So I have a seminar to attend in vegas from the 6th-10th of Dec, should I look into binging a shotgun?
    Can you take the 7th or the 9th off? The trip out is a 3am to just after noon round trip. This area is open to hunting tuesday, thursday and saturday. By December there will be more birds around. If you want me to get you in contact with the guy that took me out I will. Most the duck hunting guys in Vegas do not appear to be the happiest of men, but the young ex-air force "kid" that I met up with is extremely friendly and was a great host. He and his wife are trying to figure out how to get her PCS'd up here.

    For a lot of older Alaskans there is an issue with hunting in Nevada - you have to have a hunter's education certificate and have it placed into their database before you can buy a hunting license on line. You can walk into a store vendor and do it all over the counter too, but their HIP system for water fowl is either by phone or on line. The State game wardens are enforcing the writing of the HIP number on the small game license and will fine you for it I was told by the Federal warden that checked us.

    To be honest about this trip it took several days to set up in the month prior to leaving. However, now that I have laid the ground work it might be much easier if other folks want to do it.

  6. #6

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    Ray,
    Great story, Thanks! I wondered how you would do hunting ducks in the desert...never to old to learn I guess?.

    Wish me luck the week of the 13th...going down to hunt with Nick...new field, new blind, lots of dekes. Remember the big oak tree to the north of whhere we hunted last time? Well he got permission to put in two blinds in the north field. It was great last year. They just finished putting out the dekes in the dry fields and it was flooded last night. Nick said he has never seen so many specks...that's why I coughed up the bucks and time off work to go down. May be my last hunt with older brother Bill...wow does he look old...but happy.

    Thanks again for the desert duck story. Jesse

  7. #7
    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Jesse, check out my full story over on duckboats.net....I put some writing skill into that version...same post name

    I hope Nick, Bill and you get the wind at your backs and fill up the freezers down there. Say hello to Nick for me and Mallory.

    As I sat in the mud behind that pile of tules, I thought about how great it would be to have you down there with us. That experience is just not something you can explain in words very well.

  8. #8

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    Ray, I read the full story on the DuckBoats forum...I can't thank you enough for taking the time to put into print the wonders of that morning hunt in the desert! I was with you all the way, with every twisting shot and silhouetted bird...trying to identify it before I shot. My hats off to your writing skills, you had my heart pumping with anticipation.
    Jesse
    PS... any chance you could join me in N. Cal for the goose hunt?

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