Sunday, December 7, 2008
Working a different wind...
Notice the three eiders to the left, bonus aspect to the sunrise...
I've spent a lot of time honing my abilities with this sea ducking stuff, and for me the strategy within the scope of planning becomes the essential ingredient to a great duck hunt. Saturday was no exception as my father and I discussed our possibilities for a day that would be bringing fair winds from the southeast and a tide that would be running ebb (from high to low). So here is what we asserted:
1) wind and tide working in the same direction- waves should have little height if any
2) if it is overcast, the birds should decoy well if we running our line southwest to northeast
3) if it isn't overcast, the birds won't be able to see the decoys as they turn into the wind to address our set for the sunrise will create a glare that will hide us and our decoys
4) the birds typically run from the east, we must give the eiders enough distance to adjust for the tailwind so that they can reach the decoys since these little tanks don't turn quickly nor elevate well
5) few head on shots will occur because of the glare, our shots will be passing at best as the birds will see the decoys from the east and the west, but won't be able to pick them up from the northwest turning southeast
We discovered that our hypothetical reasoning was clinically dead on. The eiders did come from the east early and decoyed very well before the sunrise became a challenge. Once the glare became an issue, our shots became passing as the eiders held a close berth along the spread.
Once the glare returned, these were our shots...
At times when a cloud shielded the sun from casting it's glare, we again found eiders turning an approaching our set into the wind as we were positioned southeast of the decoys bordered against a developing ledge due to the continual fall of the tide. But as soon as the cloud passed, the shot immediately changed back to passing.
After a little more than an hours worth of hunting, we managed our limit with some good shooting. I wanted to do a little photography so my shotgun was replaced with a Canon Powershot and my dad decided to wait for either an old squaw or coot. We did get one shot at an old squaw and I had some opportunities to "shoot" some ducks as well.
An eagle checking things out...
We returned home, loaded up the boat, and met at my father's house. Our debrief looked at how our plans went, any particular findings, and future considerations. Through effective planning, quality implementation, and good shooting we again found a quick limit with a high degree of satisfication.