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First Birds of 2021

Discussion in 'Washington Flyway Forum' started by WidgeonmanGH, Jan 5, 2021.

  1. WidgeonmanGH

    WidgeonmanGH Elite Refuge Member

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    Jul 22, 2003
    Location:
    Gig Harbor
    Well after much hand wringing trying to decide where to go, we went with familiar but not optimal. Out thinking went like this. Since there are not a lot of birds around no matter where we go, might as well stick to what we know instead of screwing around with a new spot that will have just a few birds as well. Could have done worse but not by much.

    Tried to get to the ramp and launched before the tidal switch because it was going to run from a 15.1 to a 5.9 also a 10-12kt south wind. We were late so we had to paddle against both to get to our spot. I am sore today! Weather would would be passing squalls all day.

    There were a few more birds around (emphasis on few) we also saw some coming from the sound which are often migrating birds. But not the numbers that I had hoped for. We had just a few opportunities. I did shoot one that sailed and went down way out in the sound. The wind had died down a little bit so I went to get it. Found the bird with its head still up but bleeding like mad from a head wound. It didn't dive or even paddle away from me so I just paddled up to it to grab it. As I am reaching out to get it it jumps in the air and flys 200 yard out in to the Sound! It was too sporty to go that far to get it so eagles get a freebie but it has been that kind of season.

    We ultimately only got one a piece again but it was fun, and when February comes and I can't get out, I will be thankful I went instead of sitting on a couch.

    Got some video (mostly for a good memory of the hunt).

    Shout out to Jay and his son!

    One last note, I forgot to put my yellow thing in the window at the ramp. So here's to the Thurston County Sheriff who can't be bothered with the drugs, hookers, (used condemns all over the parking lot), etc. (I am sure they have their pass displayed that happens at this ramp, but you do have time to ticket me for failure to display the yellow piece of paper that I obviously have because I am a hunter. Hope you got your quota for the day. Sigh.

    Enjoy the hunt.



    Screen Shot 2021-01-05 at 6.58.27 AM.png Screen Shot 2021-01-05 at 6.58.43 AM.png
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  2. camano gibby

    camano gibby Elite Refuge Member

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    Sep 9, 2000
    Location:
    Puget Sound
    I feel your pain, I've had way too many similar hunts this season up in northern Puget Sound.....a lot of work for 1 or 2 ducks. On an outgoing tide, how far are your decoys from your layouts at low water?

    I hunt a tide flat too, and try to hit the incoming, thru high tide, and leave about 90 minutes after high water. After that the water is usually to far away for me and I also have the nagging realization " if I don't get out of here the boat is going to be high and dry and we will be stuck here till midnight". At my age a 4-5 hour hunt is all I want anyway.

    You have to appreciate your dogs enthusiasm regardless of how good the shooting is. I bet just keeping the lense clean on the go pro is a full time job for you with her eager tail whip throwing mud and sand in all directions. That dog is a keeper.

    I enjoy your videos......keep up the good work
     
  3. WidgeonmanGH

    WidgeonmanGH Elite Refuge Member

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    Joined:
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    Location:
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    We actually hunt best on an outgoing. We chase the tide out and keep the deeks floating and keep moving the coffin blinds forward as the tide goes out. We are usually 20ish yards from the deeks. So when the birds get educated it can be tough since they will start skirting the deeks.

    Since we have kayaks we are not worried about high and dry. That is why we hunt the spot we do. Motor boats can not hunt there without going high and dry. So we sometime see them for part of the day or morning or what ever, but they can not hunt through the cycle or it ends up being a 12 hour day. In fact, we try and get in on the low to secure our hunting area and as the tide comes up we back up, as it goes out we go forward. Sometimes when it is rocking you are moving then hunting for 15 min. and moving again.

    She is a nut until she has a few retrieves in and we have had 5 trips where she is not getting enough retrieves! She definitely has fire in the belly!

    Thanks for the encouragement. Glad you are enjoying the videos. Such a contrast from this year to last year as far as success/bird numbers go. But who knows maybe the season will finish strong! Hope springs eternal.
     
    BB'sRosie likes this.
  4. WidgeonmanGH

    WidgeonmanGH Elite Refuge Member

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    Location:
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    Here is what she looks like today..... looks dead but just dead tired. She didn't even open her eyes from the flash. lol
    2CE7112A-BC35-4A5C-A2A4-9E3422E37421.jpeg
     
  5. HaydenHunter

    HaydenHunter Elite Refuge Member

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    Dec 4, 2000
    Location:
    Hayden Lake, ID USA
    Love that last pic of a pooped Torrie!
     
    WidgeonmanGH likes this.
  6. toby

    toby Elite Refuge Member

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    Location:
    University Place WA
    Went out the last couple days and there were not many birds and the ones that were there were well educated. Kinda bleak for the rest of the season but gotta keep grinding because I can’t shoot them from home.
     
  7. WidgeonmanGH

    WidgeonmanGH Elite Refuge Member

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    Joined:
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    Location:
    Gig Harbor
    Or not as the case may be. We are going to take a week off and see what next week brings. Just a couple more trips for the season but has been pretty epically bad for us. I was driving home from an errand and even the scooters are not on the Purdy Spit area. I think it was just too mild to move them down as much this year. Either that or if I remember right they did not do the spring counts, so maybe there were just a lot less birds (and no one knew)?

    Is what it is. Hope others clobber some this weekend.
     
    yellowlab03 likes this.
  8. Robert Kvinsland

    Robert Kvinsland New Member

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    Jan 9, 2020
    Location:
    Gig Harbor
    I drove over the spit Saturday morning and saw around 50 scooters
     
  9. WidgeonmanGH

    WidgeonmanGH Elite Refuge Member

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    It is definitely a weird year. Usually there are hundreds.
     
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  10. toby

    toby Elite Refuge Member

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    Location:
    University Place WA
    Drove past the mouth of Chambers Creek yesterday. Very few birds from the bridge to the mouth, but from the bridge upstream was covered with mallards. No widgeon.
     

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