Time to Shift Gears?
by Chris McLelandRight about this time of year, we start getting the itch. We start getting the itch to put the Hard core green heads, and pick up the Hard core full honkers! The one thing we love and appreciate about hunting here in the mid-west is the opportunity to take advantage of some multiple species hunts, chasing green headed mallards and long necked honkers at the same time. However, when the ducks start getting stale, then it’s time to start breaking out the short reeds.
We have been hitting it hard, chasing ducks almost every day over the past week. We put in the time and the effort and enjoyed some excellent hunts; however, the action has been few and far between. As we like to say, “It’s not easy” and that has certainly been the case. One thing that you come to realize when you chase waterfowl is that even the best laid plans may never come to pass. Well, we have planned to chase ducks on up until the end of December, however, with the birds becoming spookier by the day it was time for a change of pace.
Over the past week, we have been enduring above average temperatures for December. This has been a slight benefit when it comes to chasing green headed ducks, however, it has pushed the geese back into an early fall pattern. With some scouting, we were able to lock down several groups, all using pasture ponds in the area. From what we could tell, the birds seemed to be sitting for most of the day, however, some would get out and stretch their wings mid-morning.
We had two pasture ponds in the area, so the decision was to run some traffic and see what we could scratch out. The set up was simple, 3 dozen Hard core full bodies with a dozen floaters was the gear of choice. We didn’t get in a hurry, hitting the field about 7:30a.m. With the mild temperatures and lack of arctic weather, we still haven’t seen the large pushes of Canada Geese that we would have typically started to see this time of year. We didn’t expect to get into many, but we hoped to see enough to make the effort worth it.
Once the birds started to fly, it was clear that they must have read the script the night before. The Hard core full bodies had the birds committing from 300 yards out, and as any avid goose hunter will tell you, when the birds are dropping their feet from 300 yards, it’s about to get real! Very little calling was required as the decoys and blinds did the rest.
I can tell you that we will continue to grind it out, and put some green headed ducks down in the decoys between now and the end of the season, but, it was nice to switch gears for a little while and take advantage of some pasture pond honkers! We will continue to keep an eye on the goose numbers and you can bet that we will be in the corn fields, with the Hard cores on full display in the near future!