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Thread: An afternoon to remember

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Cowichan Valley

    An afternoon to remember

    I went to the bay yesterday with a friend who was showing a keen interest in duck hunting, but had never experienced any of it besides seeing videos about it on YouTube etc. I was hoping it was going to be a decent day as it rained and blew all night long. I checked the marine forecast and it looked good. I should have know something wasn't quite right when the water was surging at the boat ramp with rolling waves when we got there. We set out and there was a bit of tide surge happening, we hadn't cleared 100 yards past the terminal before we took in the first roll of water over the front of the boat. We repositioned ourselves in the momarsh to get the bow a little higher and white knuckled our way into the bay.

    It was an easterly wind forecasted to be 7km/h with gust up to 30 km/h. What I had forgotten is that an Easterly wind comes right from the straight and into the bay. I was seeing high rollers and some whitecaps. We got our selves positioned on what dry ground was still available and set up the decoys with the wind to our face. it wasn't the best way to set up as anything coming in would be flying in from behind us but there wasn't really much option with the wind and surf we were dealing with.

    Skadi went into heat two weeks ago, the consensus is to not swim a bitch in heat. The theory is things loosen up back there and they are more susceptible to a UTI or other bacterial infections. So with out a dog our best option was to set up with the wind in our face having any ducks I shot would eventually roll back into shore in front of us.

    To be honest I didn't see to many birds around on the way in besides buffies an goldeneys. It didn't look very promising and I expected it to be a slow afternoon. Once we had the decoys placed, I bailed out some of the water from the boat tucked it away for quick use and hunkered into what ever cover we could find. I was the only person shooting today and the new hunter was there to soak it all in and ask any questions that came up.

    The first ducks into the decoys for the afternoon was a male and female widgeon. I picked out the drake and fired. First shot of the day and a drake widgeon falls stoned dead into the water. I thought great at least we didn't get skunked.

    I'd like to give a shout out to Canada First Ammo one of site sponsors who fixed me up with some steel shot when my stocks were getting low. I ended up buying some 12 Gauge Challenger 3 in #2's 1 1/4 oz loads and they did everything I wanted and expected them to do. Plus they are manufactured and sold in Canada!

    Had I known that there was going to be so many singles and pairs of Mallards working my rig that afternoon I would have held off from shooting the widgeon. There is a saying that a bird in the hand is better then two in the bush and there isn't anything wrong with widgeon, I actually enjoy them roasted but it would have been pretty cool to have gotten an all drake mallard limit. In the span of about 2 1/2 hours I picked the drakes out and let the hens go. I had some missed opportunities because it was hard to tell if it was a drake or a hen in the cloud cover. I didn't want to accidentally shoot a hen. Multiple times I had hens land in the decoys and we just left them alone and on one occasion a single drake met his faith decoying to a live hen in the decoys. PS it's perfectly legal to shoot hens and I have no issues with others shooting them. It's a restriction I self impose on myself once I get over the "it may be the only chance you get today" after opening week of duck season. Plus who wants to limit out in 30 minutes when you were planning on spending the afternoon out there teaching someone lol.

    Around 2:00pm I was up to 5 birds, and because the weather was so miserable we set a cut off time of 3:30pm, I didn't want to try and navigate back to the boat launch in the dark as the extreme tide had set loose several deadheads that were not there before the storm. The wave action and whitecaps had worsened since when we first arrives. Twice we had to go and toss out decoys that had been pushed ashore from the wind and waves as we collected the dead that washed up on the shore.

    It seemed the longer we stayed the more the birds played. A few minutes after 3:00pm I shot drake #8. The strange thing is shortly after 3 the wind started to die down. By the time we collected the boat decoys and gear, it almost looked like a normal day again. The wind must have shifted and was no longer coming up from the Straights. We still had to deal with some rolling waves but at least the whitecaps had subsided.

    It was a tense entry, not so promising looking afternoon that turned out to be one of my better shoots and I believe my best for drake mallards over water. All birds crumpled once I was on them with the exception of one that had its head up on the water so I gave him another. shots were 15-40 yards with most in the 20-30 yard range.

    It started out as a nail biter, but ended up being a great experience overall.

    To anyone who hunts the bay, pay attention to the marine forecast, tides and don't forget to watch for an Easterly wind.

    Last edited by Marc; 12-12-2022 at 08:14 AM.
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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    Re: An afternoon to remember

    Thatís a great day , I hunted the bay with my Dad for years but after my lab was gone now over 15 years ago I just never got back into it.
    Couldnít find time to get a dog but Iíve since retired in September so I think itís time to get a new pup I loved bird hunting itís to see there are still opportunities out there.
    Good on you for taking out and showing someone the sport good mentoring.
    Last edited by RE1960; 12-11-2022 at 08:45 PM.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    region 9

    Re: An afternoon to remember

    Nice haul man, congrats!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    North Okanagan

    Re: An afternoon to remember

    Well done. Steve!

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2014

    Re: An afternoon to remember

    Great story and great day. Love to see the fat stacks.

    I'm a fan of Canada First Ammo, as well. That reminds me, I'm almost out.

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