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Practicing duck calls at park
#1
Went out to a park near work.  It's a long pond with lots of lunchtime walker traffic (not the zombie kind).

Waterfowl present - about 4 mallard drakes and 4 mallard hens.  And 75 geese.  All congregated at far end and middle of the long pond.

I positioned myself on the end of the pond where there were no birds and tried concealing myself behind a big sign warning, no swimming or ice skating.  I used my Duck Commander Duck Picker and did a few quacks and some rapid quacks.  I've had the call for a month now and have not gotten further than that.

About 20 stationary geese toward the center took notice and started swimming toward me.  The ducks showed no reaction.  

I moved, and did a few more quacks.  More geese, maybe 15 more started to move toward me and the first group changed direction to go toward my sound.  Mallards looked around, but continued feeding where they were at.

Went back to the car to get my Primos bellows squirrel call.  Went to the area where I had  called the geese and blew a few squeals, simulating Teal hen on water.  THIS got the Mallard's attention and a few swam over!  Geese just stayed in the area.  Some were feeding and some just looked around with more attention.
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#2
Cant wait to see some photos of your successful calling
[Image: gallardo.jpg]
You went full diabetes... Never go full diabetes.
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#3
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PHOTE:  Ducks from the park at 6:30 PM last night.  Wish they are that tame this weekend!


Went back to the same park on the way home.  Geese were gone, but more Mallards came out of a brushy area where the earlier group had been loafing.  6:30 PM, maybe that is where they roost?

So Geese had sauntered over when I blew the Mallard calls, and Mallards investigated the Teal call.

Wonder if it was some social thing going on?

Like the geese hear duck activity can come over to see if they can bully their way in for food.  then the Mallards moved in when they heard Teal and came to bully the smaller ducks?
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#4
   
[attachment=5803 Wrote:HeidelbergJaeger pid='143160' dateline='1570749891']Cant wait to see some photos of your successful calling

Unfortunately, No success this weekend.

I realized I need to do scouting before going out thru the woods at O'dark thirty.  So I only had the opportunity to scout a few sites this weekend and spend a bit of time at home Saturday rigging  the decoys (maybe more on that in a different post).

SITE #1:  Friday, I went out to the boat launch area of the local WMA.  Water was low and very peaceful.  Boat ramp was really steep!  the banks were even steeper.  More like cliffs.  Not an easy way to get to the water if I'm wearing waders.  Made mental not this could be a placed to enter the water in my Seahawk 500 inflatable boat, but the steep ramp would mean I have to carry all my gear down to it.  btw.  I'm still waiting to hear from VDGIF on registering that thing so I can put a trolling motor on it.  Potential here if I had a boat as long as temps do not go below 40 deg F.  As my boat is made of vinyl and they do not recommend using below 40 as the material gets stiff and might be prone to cracking or puncture.

SITE #2:  I hadn't been at this WMA for a while and recalled seeing water access at the end of a pipeline area, so I thought I'd check out while I still had daylight.  Big mistake.  I forgot how long that corridor was and got 3/4 of the way before I gave up and went back.  Along the way, I stumbled on a father and son in a ground blind hunting deer.  I did not know deer season had started!?  After passing a dry stream and then a small running steam, I flushed out 4 does crossing the area and turned back.  NOTE:  Running stream is a good spot for deer.  Might put a blind here someday.  But not a good access to water for ducks.

SITE #3:  Was able to go out again late Sunday after stopping at Cabelas to get some quick ground blind material $40, was also getting a blaze orange Bass Pro Shops ball cap $8.  Got stopped by a clerk who suggested I get the Cabelas Club Master Card.  Free to join and I get a $25 credit for purchase and a FREE BlazeOrange Cabelas ball cap.  I took the offer and got the quick blind kit for $15.  Back to scouting- traffic was jammed headed to the WMA and GPS sent me on a roundabout back country route.  Eventually got there with a little over an hour to spare.  Since I was scouting, I only carried my shotgun and some calls with me.

This way in was closer to the water, but still about a  15 minute hike thru thick brush.  I found a faint trail to follow which led me to a dry creak bed and followed it to the water.  I noticed along the way man deep holes wide enough for my leg to drop into, and at least 4 feet deep.  Not a good thing to step on in the dark morning!  Also lots of snaggy sticker bushes and vines.  Would be tough to move thru with a pack containing;  waders, duck decoys, larger blind, chair, etc.  Also spooky to find a child's shoe half buried in the mud.

I arrived near the water at the end of the dry creek, but it was blocked by a 10 foot wall of brush and fallen trees that would not have been easy to climb.  The banks were also very steep, and I had a 5 foot climb to get out.  I noted someone else's boot prints on the steady parts that I was stepping.  Looked to have been there within the past few days.  I got up and saw the river about 30 feet away, but had to maneuver thru a mass of tangled stickers.  Finally got into a break and saw the water...and a 10- 15 foot drop straight down to water with no dry bank!  I also noted another boot print there and a GREEN (10 gauge?) shotgun shell at that spot.

Went back to the dry creek bed and circumvented the wall of brush and logs.  Here it was a 10 to 15 foot steep climb down (wish I had brought a rope!), but I made it safely, grabbing onto roots and steadying against a tree growing from the bank.  This would be my way back up which was a bit harder.  I could only imagine it to be tougher carrying a pack of gear.

I found a flat patch of rocks and boulders which showed promise for setting decoys on the calm water and a blind against the banks.  If I were here in the early morning, the sun would be to my back and it would be easy to see birds gliding in.  But with sunset, I noticed thing would get lost as soon as they flew against the tree line.

Mosquito activity was minimal.

I made a few quacks and tried some feeder calls (badly) and then I heard a single quack in response.

Further calling did not solicit any more responses.  All was quiet.  Nothing on the water.



I say another 30 minutes til sunset.  About 5 minutes before sunset, I saw a group of maybe 3 or 4 wood duck dart across the river maybe 60 yards to my left.  Too fast for me to take a shot.  Perhaps that is their flyway.  I could also hear a few wood duck calls in the area.

So this has best potential, but I don't know about going thru this area in the dark with a lot of gear.  On the way out, I found a better way to get in the area, but again, very snaggy with random holes in the ground.

So what do you think?  is there potential to put decoys here?


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#5
I don't see a ton of potential honestly. It is water but I don't see any reason for ducks to really go to that spot other than it is wet. No food really evident in your picture, no visible underwater grasses and current will flush acorns etc... out of the area pretty fast. Also little cover for them.

In my experience small rivers like than can hold mid day loafers and can be good late season when the swamps freeze up but woodies and mallards are the go to this time of year and they are in the marshes and swamps now. Not so much the rivers unless you get the odd ball loafer or they have humans feeding them in the area. I'd move on from that spot and find a swamp or try floating it and jump shooting it west of 95. Maybe check it again 3rd split when stuff starts icing up.
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#6
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I specifically avoided the waterfowl impoundment as I figured it was either dried up, or there would already be a lot of people there.

The pond was also another area to consider, but I have fished there and NEVER seen any waterfowl there. Always dead calm and silent.

When the season picks up again in November, I might head out toward Saxon, but that is a 3 hour drive and surelya full weekend to scout the area. Plus I'd need a boat.

I did win a quota hunt for Merrimack in Jan 4th. Lots of good swamp there, but need to be on the quota. And I think it will be froze up in January. Unless we have rain.
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