Update on Ducks/Geese in Manitoba

sorensend58

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Just got back from 2nd trip to Manitoba. Started out in Boissevain, there are decent sized flocks of snow geese, not what I would call a major flight but several flocks that were in the 5-10K range. The geese were feeding in an Oat field next to corn. There were decent duck numbers in the corn field. We did get permission to hunt the corn field and had an ok shoot. The geese then moved to an adjacent corn field along with the majority of the ducks. We were told that an outfitter had permission. Just an editorial note here while the person had permission for 4 days they did not hunt it, so I'm not slamming guides or other folks that get permission for some days but would be nice if you have permission that you actually hunt the spot since the birds aren't going to move unless the food is gone or they get hunted. Same thing happened on the other area north of Boissevain, close to Souris we found one field that had ducks and dark geese. Farmer was great but had given permission to a person for the whole week while we were up there, we never saw anyone hunt that spot. Very dry around Boissevain, Souris all the way up to Griswold. Lots of Canola it seems was around that area.

Went north to Shoal Lake, a lot of water, saw ducks in most potholes and water, talked to a couple of folks who indicated that the harvest was very early. We some small flocks of snow geese and did hunt a couple of days, again OK shooting but seemed like the ducks were local birds, there was no pattern to the ducks heading out to feed. I think the fact that there was a lot of water, a lot of smaller flocks of ducks they just weren't birds that had migrated in or for that matter because nothing had frozen the birds weren't congregated and moving out to feed.

Again talked with a farmer who had a lot of land who had told us an outfitter had locked up all his land for the rest of the season.

I might do another post on my thoughts about how we need to balance the outfitters making a living with what I think can be a death knell to the average duck hunter which isn't a good thing in my opinion but I wanted to get a report out letting you know what we saw in Manitoba
 

Old Critter

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I’ve hunted Manitoba and Saskatchewan for forty years. I’ve gone both ways … on my own and with a guide. Good DIY hunting is becoming as difficult in the Prairie Provinces as it is in the Dakotas. This is especially true for field hunting mallards.

You can still do it own your own, but it will take a lot of scouting and pounding on doors. Expect to be turned down quite a bit. Maybe you’ll score one or two good field shoots and maybe not. I remember years ago I sometimes was lucky to come home with a dozen birds. And that was back when access was easy.

Good duck hunting isn’t cheap anymore. Nor is going to a Broadway play in downtown New York. Sure, hunting used to be every man’s sport. Not so much these days.

If you’re planning a first trip I’d recommend you save your money and do your scouting for a good guide service. That in itself can take a while as the really good ones are book year after year. Once you’ve done your homework, book the trip and go from there. Maybe you can figure out how to do it yourself. Or you might figure the guide service is a better option.
 

Ramblingman

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I’ve hunted Manitoba and Saskatchewan for forty years. I’ve gone both ways … on my own and with a guide. Good DIY hunting is becoming as difficult in the Prairie Provinces as it is in the Dakotas. This is especially true for field hunting mallards.

You can still do it own your own, but it will take a lot of scouting and pounding on doors. Expect to be turned down quite a bit. Maybe you’ll score one or two good field shoots and maybe not. I remember years ago I sometimes was lucky to come home with a dozen birds. And that was back when access was easy.

Good duck hunting isn’t cheap anymore. Nor is going to a Broadway play in downtown New York. Sure, hunting used to be every man’s sport. Not so much these days.

If you’re planning a first trip I’d recommend you save your money and do your scouting for a good guide service. That in itself can take a while as the really good ones are book year after year. Once you’ve done your homework, book the trip and go from there. Maybe you can figure out how to do it yourself. Or you might figure the guide service is a better option.
Nah, booking with guides only makes it worse for people who like to actually hunt on their own, not to mention you're killing the local hunter when you feed more money to outfitters.

I'm not willing to accept that our hunting heritage is a lost cause because outfitters have taken over.

The day I have to pay someone to take me hunting is the day I quit.

I think guiding should ONLY be legal on land the ACTUAL guide owns in fee title. Problem solved and the people who want somebody else to do their work for them can still pay for it. You're not hunting, you're just a gun.
 

RingbillRon

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Nah, booking with guides only makes it worse for people who like to actually hunt on their own, not to mention you're killing the local hunter when you feed more money to outfitters.

I'm not willing to accept that our hunting heritage is a lost cause because outfitters have taken over.

The day I have to pay someone to take me hunting is the day I quit.

I think guiding should ONLY be legal on land the ACTUAL guide owns in fee title. Problem solved and the people who want somebody else to do their work for them can still pay for it. You're not hunting, you're just a gun.

Well said. It just isn't the same paying a guide to just shoot. I enjoy scouting and planning the hunt about as much as the hunt itself. Makes for a much more enjoyable trip.
 

canada

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Nah, booking with guides only makes it worse for people who like to actually hunt on their own, not to mention you're killing the local hunter when you feed more money to outfitters.

I'm not willing to accept that our hunting heritage is a lost cause because outfitters have taken over.

The day I have to pay someone to take me hunting is the day I quit.

I think guiding should ONLY be legal on land the ACTUAL guide owns in fee title. Problem solved and the people who want somebody else to do their work for them can still pay for it. You're not hunting, you're just a gun.
Well said! I Like doing the hard work even if I am getting up there in age.
Paying a guide is not hunting.
 

sorensend58

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I have used a guide 3 times in my life (been hunting over 50 years now..kind of seems like just yesterday I started). I've had one good experience on one day with a guide. The trips where you do it yourself, the scouting, finding the field, getting permission and then having a hunt good or bad you did it yourself. I truly believe that just like South Dakota where all the guides locked up the land and when the farmers decided to charge hunters per gun, I stopped going to South Dakota it wasn't worth it. Duck/Goose hunting doesn't have to be horribly expensive, a few silhouettes and a mojo in the field you can have darn good hunt, but if you can't even get into the field and the field never gets hunted (I get it if someone doesn't want someone on their land), but when it's locked up by a guide and no one hunts it the birds are not going to move so just stating my frustration. In my opinion all of the things that go into the hunt are what I enjoy and I'm afraid that at some point folks who want to do the freelance DIY type of hunts will stop going if they can't get access.

I've had very good luck most of the time up in MB getting permission, folks are great and maybe it was just the luck of the draw for us this year. I did a little introspection as well and when we ask for permission we normally ask for a couple of days which is pretty hypocritical of me if I'm bitching about other folks locking up a spot so I've rethought that and if I'm not going to hunt a spot I'm going to get back to the landowner and let them know. Change starts within and need to be respectful, we don't see a lot of hunters out there but if there are only two fields with ducks chances are the few hunters that are out are seeing the same things we are.

Still love this, hopefully can continue for several years and I hope anyone who is reading this has a great and safe season.
 

Chris Benson

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Manitoba just got hit with a massive storm and lots of snow. I would expect that most the ducks and geese have moved out.
 

Ducky CPA

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Winnipeg from this morning.
254687432_1549134815432953_1563426460822006070_n.jpg
 

recker999

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Well said! I Like doing the hard work even if I am getting up there in age.
Paying a guide is not hunting.

I would never use a guide. They cost six or seven hundred bucks a day at a lot of these places and that and then you have your flight, license, shells, booze, tip, etc on top of that. That alone prices a ton of people out of using a guide. They could throw you in a field with six or seven other guys so they can post a you tube video of all the birds they shot. Cause its all about you tube to alot of these guides now. But the main reason is why support people who lock up all the land and make it darn near impossible for the average guy to get on a field and have a decent hunt. Devils Lake in ND used to be a great area and now a few guides have every field locked up within twenty miles of it. Sounds like Canada is starting to become the same which is really sad.
 

Old Critter

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Here’s the deal. You hire an outfitter for one reason … to provide access to land that is otherwise unavailable to you. You don’t need an outfitter to set decoys and the blind, or to call the ducks and call the shot.

Sure, you can do it yourself if you have the time and persistence to to find a hot field and then secure permission to hunt it. The permission part is becoming the difficult part … real difficult. I’m not saying it can’t be done. I’ve been doing it for forty years.

But here’s the logic being posed by the farmers these days. You gladly pay for a gun, shells, license, decoys, blind, gasoline, lodging and food … but then you want me (the farmer) to let you hunt my land for free? They say “if you’re willing to pay for everything else, you’re going to pay me too”.

I understand the tradition of DIY hunting, but that’s going away fast. If you can find access for free, great. But don’t be surprised when you can’t. It’s reality. Even if the outfitters are driven out of business the landowners won’t turn back the clock and open their land for free hunting. That program is over.
 

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