Well, I just returned home from a 5 day trip out to our neighboring state of North Dakota. On our list of activities for the trip was hunting, hunting, laughing, hunting, and laughing then hunting some more. I was joined on this expedition by a group of pranksters that go by the names of Dusty, Scott, Chad, Adam, Nate, Sean and Matt. I don't think I need to say that we had a fun time, but we did. Our main goal throughout the trip was to harvest ourselves ducks, geese and pheasants while sharing many laughs. Well, we didn't fare too well on the harvesting part, but we did share many laughs.
The hunting was far from what we had experienced in past years. The lack of ducks in the area made it very tough to get on a good hunt. When you couple that with having very little birds on the properties that we could hunt, it made for a lot of driving and very frustrating times. In the past, we didn't have much of a problem gaining access to fields that had birds in them, but this year was another story. We had two vehicles with us, and we split up covering territory looking for flocks of ducks landing in the fields. We are scouting machines when we go out there, and our main mission while out there is hunting Mallards and Pintails in the fields. If you have experienced it before, you know what I mean when I say there is nothing better than duck hunting in a field. We drove hundreds of miles each day looking for a great place to set up in the mornings, but after 6 hours in a vehicle and finding a field that has ducks in it, it is very frustrating when the landowner says that he doesn't allow hunters any more. Needless to say, we came back to the Falcon (our home base) each night with low morale and frustrated talk of how the days went. It wasn't that we didn't have land to hunt on, thanks to Matt, we had land to hunt on, but there just wasn't birds using it. So, with the miles we put on, we had to resort to jumping ponds to get the birds moving and to try to get shots. This worked a few times for both vehicles, but the weather was horrible for sneaking up to birds. 3 seperate days there was literally NO WIND! How the heck can there be no wind for 3 straight days in North Dakota. I have never seen it, but it wasn't to our liking and made for difficult stalks on the birds.
Dealing with our tough conditions and lack of birds and land, we made the most of what we had. We tried a few of the proven spots from years past and connected with a couple of birds on our outings. We also opted to try a field hunt that had roughly 20,ooo geese on it which gave us a few birds and one heck of a sight in the morning. If nothing else, it was pretty neat to see a sky so full of birds that you can't see the end of the flock. We did get a few of them to come in, and made them pay for their mistakes, however it was difficult to hide ourselves in a picked pea field that was only 2 inches tall. When you have 40,000 eyes looking at you, any mistake costs the shot, and all you are left with is the loudest group of birds on the planet flying over your head. It was still sweet.
We also hunted a field that had a few hundred mallards landing in it, but they all came 25 minutes before legal shooting hours. Apparently hunting clear sky's during a full moon means the birds don't fly during legal shooting hours. We literally had mallards and pintails walking around in our decoys all morning before legal shooting hours. We could only shoot at the last 2 flocks that came in, and then they were done feeding for the morning. Many times we had ducks within reach of our blinds, which made for cool memories, but not many ducks to munch on for dinner.
The pheasant numbers were great out there, but we were so determined to find mallards in fields that we hardly even hunted them. Only 3 of us bought pheasant licenses, so we didn't leave the other guys sit in the trucks, and when we did walk for them, we had tons of birds to shoot at. It gave us most of our meals during the evenings. Not to mention that Nate bagged himself the largest pheasant that I have ever seen. The tail feathers were almost double the size of all the other birds we shot. It was quite the story on how he bagged it, but I'll let him tell that to you if you ask him.
All in all, we had a very frustrating hunt. We shot a mixed bag of birds and even some nice looking ones. We put on way to many miles, and laughed way to much. If it wasn't for all the fun we had driving around and at the Falcon, it would have been a pretty uneventful trip. I spent most of my miles with Scotty and my bro Adam in my vehicle and we laughed our butts off the entire time. While at the home base, we spent hours laughing at the funny and stupid things that happened in each vehicle throughout the day, and each person had their turn getting the brunt of the jokes. I couldn't think of a better way to spend time with my buddies, and as I look back at the trip, I have to admit that I think it was a success. After all, you don't always have to bag your limit to have a great time. I just have one word that sums up the entire trip and will always be remembered by us all....BODVIG!!! I want to thank all of you guys that came out there as well as the farmers that allowed us to hunt their land. Next year we'll be singing "OH CANADA" as we cross the border and find some areas that may be better suited for our field hunting approach. Guys....I can't wait! Thanks Again! Now it's back to the water for some more muskies before it freezes up. Until Next Time....Keep on Livin That Dream!