Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Weekend For the Birds - January 17-18, 2009

This past weekend was spent bird hunting at the lease with Lee and Shane. We primarily focused on ducks, but also managed to get a quail hunt in on Saturday.

The first morning we got an early start and had our decoys set up in our favorite spot well before legal shooting hours, which happened to be at 7:07 Saturday morning. The waterbody we were hunting is surrounded almost entirely by cattails and is a hotspot for ducks and teal to roost on, so most of the ducks take off and leave before legal shooting light or come back late in the evening after sunset. Just as we expected, several large groups of ducks - probably 80 to 100 in all - took off about 10 minutes before legal shooting hours.
We did have several other groups of ducks come in throughout the morning and bagged a total of seven. This was Shane's first duck hunt ever, so we set him up in a prime spot to try to make sure he got plenty of shots.
It didn't take him long to get his first duck. He dropped the first one that came in - a very pretty drake Wigeon. Even after my dog retrieved the bird it was still in really good shape, so Shane decided he is going to have it mounted.

Scooter did an excellent job retrieving the ducks.

After duck hunting, we checked the status of our protein feeder in the deer sanctuary and got the game camera so we could view the most recent activity at the feeder. The deer have finally begun to hit the protein and the best buck that was seen this season is one of the most frequent visitors. I can't wait to see how his antlers develop this spring and summer.

Just before lunch we decided to walk through the pasture with my birddog to see if we could find a covey of quail. We stumbled across one covey and then chased the singles after the birds scattered from the initial covey rise. I was able to knock down one bird and Sioux retrieved it for me.
Saturday evening we went back to our duck hunting spot and got three more birds. Lee got the trophy bird of the weekend, a beautiful drake Pintail. It was Lee's first Pintail, so he too is going to have this bird mounted.

After the evening hunt we set up on the side of a ridge where we would have a good vantage point to try to call in some predators. After four series of calling with a jack rabbit in distress mouth call, I was able to lure in a grey fox.
Sunday morning's hunt ended up being really slow. We only had one bird come in, a green-winged teal that Shane was able to bring down. So we ended up with a total of eleven for the weekend.

Another highlight of the weekend was the double-meat double-cheese burger at Herd Hamburger (est. 1916) in Jacksboro. If you ever pass through Jacksboro I highly recommend stopping by and trying one.

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