Sunday, September 8, 2013

Where Did They Go?

As action packed as Friday afternoon was, Saturday afternoon was on the other end of the scale. My friend Mark and I got out to the field about 4:00 and set up across from the sunflowers and underneath the power lines. The loose gravel drive that cuts across the fields and up to the barn was between us and the sunflowers. A really good spot most days. The birds were pretty scarce pretty much the whole afternoon, just not a lot of action. I ended up with six and Mark I think got eight. We're expecting rain Sunday off and on all day. We need the rain more then I need to hunt tomorrow so I'm hoping the rain shows up like forecasted.

Mark retrieving a bird.

Our view of the field. Our backs were against standing corn which created some shade for us.

A slew that borders one side of the property. It runs out to the Mississippi about a mile and a half from here.

Sunset over the slew looking back towards the fields we'd just hunted. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Best. Day. Ever.

I was able to leave work a couple hours early on Friday and head over to Illinois to get in some shooting on our dove fields. I had the place all to myself so I set up in area between the sunflower field and a pond hoping to be in a good cross flight path. When I walked up to set my decoys around 30 dove took flight that were feeding in the sunflowers. Well, that can't be a bad sign can it?

To make a long story short it was a good afternoon. What I was really excited about is I was shooting really well and got five birds on my first five shots. That doesn't last so I took a quick picture and then continued hunting. Well, my luck continued and I soon was seven for seven. I started to think, hmm maybe I can go ten for ten. I've never done that. Well, then I started getting nervous and let a couple birds pass that were longer shots. I would probably have taken that shot any other time. Another one came through and bang I got him. Eight for eight now. Yikes. I'm sweating but it is kind of humid right? Then suddenly... three dove come darting in over the still standing corn and fly across the sunflowers. Bang! I get one about 15 yards from me and the other two dip and then head across to the other side of the sunflower stand. One barrel left on my sxs, I pick the one heading straight away from me. Bang! I see feathers fly but he keeps going...I think damn that reminds me of those pheasant in South Dakota that just seem to shrug and keep going when you hit them. I keep watching the dove which is about sixty yards away now when suddenly he turns, folds up and drops. Down goes Frazier, down goes Frazier! Ten for ten!

There was a lull after that and it was probably fifteen minutes before I got another shot. I missed on the next two and decided to call it an afternoon. Fun day. I'll probably go again one afternoon this weekend and maybe I'll just bring ten shells with me. Nah, I better bring two boxes of shells like always!

Five doves on my first five shots. I went on to get ten out of ten.

Monday, September 2, 2013

New Season. Dove Opener 2013

Labor Day weekend brings the beginning of hunting season and specifically bird season. I had a good opener and second day as well. Hunted Sunday afternoon and got a limit of 15 birds and then again Monday morning and got another 15. Used my 16 gauge sxs both days.

Mark Illig making like a corn stalk. This picture was from this morning. We were in shade the whole morning which was nice. We hunted this spot the previous afternoon with the sun in our face.

Mark making a nice high shot on a passing dove.

Sun flowers on the right and cut corn brought the birds in. Mojo and clip on decoys helped.
That's Mark standing near the uncut corn. Bama had his work cut out for him trying to retrieve downed birds in that thick stuff. I waded in there a couple of times and it was like walking through the black forest. In addition it was very, very, dry which made it really hard to pick up scent.

Bama thinking... wow it's humid. I'll just take a moment to collect myself. Bama worked pretty hard this morning retrieving for both Mark and I. We also helped another hunter retrieve a couple of his birds out of the thick corn.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sporting Clays are..Well...Sporting!

Dylan is home for thanksgiving (thank you lord!) so we decided to go out to the St. Louis Skeet and Trap Club and shoot some sporting clays today. Lots of fun. Dylan had never done it before and wanted to shoot some. I let him take my old High Standard 12 gauge pump back to Mizzou to use. I got that gun for christmas when I was 13 and took good care of it so it looks almost new.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Friday Walk About.

I took Friday off this week and decided to take Bama out to see if we could find some quail. Birds or not it was a really nice day to outside walking in the woods. I thought about duck hunting but my heart just wasn't into getting up really early and hauling all the stuff out to a marsh in the dark and setting up. So I slept for another couple hours and headed out about 8:00. I didn't take many pics as you can see.

Pretty spot but no quail.

Bama doing his impression of a duck decoy.

I had an idea for a T-shirt design so I knocked it out on my iPhone.
Yeah I wasn't exactly hunting hard today.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cold Front Moving In; Will The Ducks Come With It?

Cool rainy weather is moving in this evening and ducks are predicted to be moving out ahead of it. I have plenty of PTO time left maybe I'll take an impromptu day off tomorrow. Now where should I go?

I scouted a few places about a month ago and saw geese at one of the places last weekend while Bama and I were quail hunting. That place is about an hour and a half away. The other place is closer and looks really good but I didn't see ducks there when I was scouting. The pictures below are of the second and closer place. It's an old sand dredging operation off the Meramec River about a half hour from home. Hmmmm.

This is an arial view of the strip pits. As you can see it's a series of long ponds surrounded by trees and nearby are a number of farm fields that were planted in corn this year. The Meramec River runs from the North to the Southeast on the eastern side of the property.

Good vegetation in this place for the ducks. Should be a good spot.

LIke I said this is an old sand dredging area and that's a barge with trees growing out of it!

Another strip lake just over the hill from the barge. Again it looks like it would hold ducks.

Oh and it also holds a number of beavers. That must be a big beaver because thats a pretty big tree and the cut starts about two feet off the ground.

Another pond in the area.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Yes It's Been A While.

Sorry for the lack of posting. I could spend time giving you all my excuses but frankly I've probably just been lazy. Yep that's it lazy. Sometimes that's an enjoyable thing. Well on to my adventures....

It's been a little over a week since I got back from North Dakota where my friend Mark and I hunted with our friends from Delta Waterfowl. Really great group of people and organization dedicated to waterfowl habitat conservation and stewardship as well as supporting the tradition of waterfowl hunting for generations to come.

Mark and I donate our time and what skills we posses doing Delta's print and online advertising. We also design posters, logos, and whatever else they need for their fund raising and membership events.
It's our way of giving back and frankly it's a lot of fun doing the work. Delta wanted to repay us by inviting us up to Bismark, North Dakota to their headquarters for three days of waterfowl and pheasant hunting. Twist my arm fellas!

John Deveny acted as our guide for three days and wanted to give us three different styles of hunting.
Deep water for diving ducks like canvasbacks, redheads, buffleheads and blue bills. Shallow marsh for mallards, teal, gadwalls etc... and the occassional specks (goose) which are a goose variety rarely seen in Missouri. Our third day was a field hunt in layout blinds for ducks and geese. The first two days we also hunted pheasants in the afternoon. Lots and lots of fun and I enjoyed every minute of it! I guess my favorite was the marsh hunt. We saw an incredible amount of waterfowl and I got my limit on ducks and shot a speckled goose and a ross as well. Over the three days I shot mallards, teal, pintails, gadwall and bluebills as well as specks, lesser snow, canadian and ross geese.

Our pheasant hunts were fun as well but we didn't bag as many of those as I might have expected. The expiring CRP programs are really starting to take there effect on upland habitat. Places that John said he usually saw incredible amounts of roosters were plowed and planted. Join Pheasants Forever and other organizations that push for these programs if you want to see this type of hunting continue for future generations and frankly for those of us hunting now.  Ok enough soap box talk on to the pictures!