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Featured First waterfowl hunt...Ottawa NWR

Discussion in 'Waterfowl Hunting' started by BIGDADDYDB, Oct 28, 2017.

  1. So over the last 5 years or so, I've gotten back into hunting after hunting a little as a kid. None of my friends hunt so I've been kind of on my own and it's been un-rewarding from an end result standpoint...5 years of deer turkey and dove hunting with a grand total take of 1 dove LOL!...still great to get out and I'm getting closer on the big game so it's eventually gonna happen. This year I drew an Ottawa NWR waterfowl hunt and I've never duck hunted, even as a kid, but it was on my list of things to do so off I went.

    I spent the last month or so gathering info (Thanks Mr. Ducks on this forum!) and acquiring gear. I had my licenses and stamps, new waders (needed em anyway), a few decoys, a shotgun, some shells, some calls, and a whole lotta hope! I knew my regs, had studied my species, practiced with my decoys and calls, and had a plan. Yesterday was the big day.

    After the meeting and blind drawing, I head out to my spot a little nervous but with plenty of time til shooting light to get set up. Nervousness turned to near panic as it took me 45 minutes of trudging through thigh high marsh to find my blind. The sign was a little misleading, it was too dark and I didn't have a good enough flashlight, and I went looking on the wrong side of my was I glad to have a seat in that blind!
    I still had time to kill and I set my decoys and took a seat. Didn't like how they were in relation to the blind and the wind so I moved them. I was nervous about being able to ID birds so my plan was simply not to shoot anything I wasn't 100% positive of. The reality of this set in about 3 minutes after shooting light when some type of ducks came at least close enough to shoot at but I had no idea what they were so I let them go.

    About 20 minutes later some more ducks came in and it wasn't until they flared off at the decoys that I knew they were woodies...luckily they came back around and I scored my first ever duck! I missed the second shot but my prize was an absolutely gorgeous wood duck drake. I missed twice on a group of geese that came from behind me and went directly over my blind. Flying downwind they were really moving and they we probably 30+ yards out flying straight away from me when I fired the first barrel. I only had 3" #2 shells so I decided I wouldn't shoot at any more geese unless they were up close and personal.

    I was seeing a lot of ducks and some geese but nothing anywhere near in-range. I re-arranged my decoys a bit but never really got any ducks to come all the way in. I used my call at the absolute minimum, usually just giving a quack or 2 to try and get their attention. I did have 2 mallards come in but flared off about 35-40 yards out...I shot once with the full barrel but missed.

    Finally about 10:30 I saw about 5-6 geese come up out of the marsh and were heading away perpendicular to my blind an estimated 300 yards they were crossing I gave them a couple of loud honks on my flute call and they turned and headed directly toward me! Coming straight in over the decoys, they lumbered directly into the wind and presented an easy shot about 15 yards to my right and 30 feet shot from the mod barrel and SPLASH went my first ever Canada! I probably could have gotten another one out of that group but didn't and passed on a shot at a third group. Having seen how massive a big goose is and never having eaten goose before, I figured I'd give it a try first...didn't want to kill 3 just for the sake of doing it.
    So that was the end of the action but all and all, a great success! I've already got the wheels turning on where my next outing will be.

    Thanks for reading
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2017
  2. Great story and congrats on your first duck hunt! You did everything right before the season. It sounded like you experienced the total duck hunting package, early morning excitement building, muddy trek to the blind, decoy adjustment, wind, birds moving early, more decoy adjusting and then success! I have to commend you for passing on that first bunch of birds, even though it was legal time. Identification in the early hours can be tough and not shooting is the right thing to do. Great day and I'll bet you're hooked.
    JamesF likes this.

  3. Great story and congratulations...
  4. Congrats on a successful hunt! I understand how confusing it gets in the marsh. Definitely upgrade that flashlight. I wish I had a better one at Metzger earlier this year. I got drawn for Magee Marsh during teal season. Took two experienced duck hunters with me to ID the teal. It's only my 2nd season and I'm a hundred times better at IDing the ducks and shot selection and leading ducks then I was last year.
    RR Pirate and JamesF like this.
  5. JamesF


    As the two of you should be aware that, both are now, drawn into the addiction of waterfowl hunting! It's more than just shooting ducks and geese, it encompasses the entire journey:D. For myself, I was hopelessly in so deep, that if I hadn't been injured at work, I would still be in the gameo_O.I loved your story, and your success. Keep up the good work! There are many places to hunt, just do some searching and maybe knock on a few doors.
  6. Great story, glad I found it. Congratulations!
  7. BaddFish

    BaddFish Searchin for Skees & Eyes

    Good job Big Daddy, congrats on your success! My first hunt 25 some years ago was more like 26 shells fired at ducks flying tree top high in flooded timber... no ducks to show for it and as I was walking out with a few other rookies, 2 of us face planted in 3ft of water and muck! :) The great thing about waterfowling- YOU can make it as easy or hard as you want- its really up to the style of hunt you want to do... decoying in, floating down a river, walking the edges of swamps and kicking them up, big water hunting (reservoirs or Erie) and last but definitely not least- getting a 4 legged friend to join you! Theres nothing quite like a private swamp hunt with a handful of decoys and a young excited but under control lab sitting next to you... shivering because hes so excited to retrieve for you. :) Good luck and enjoy!
    Saugeyefisher and Bprice1031 like this.
  8. Great story! I could feel your excitement as I read!

    Glad you passed on birds you did not need. True conservationist! Lots of lessons to be learned from your story. It is not about a limit it is all about the experience.
    Saugeyefisher likes this.