Update on Ducks/Geese in Manitoba

bill cooksey

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The worst I have ever seen was a group of guys up here snow goose hunting. Taking 200+ birds a day for a week, and going home with none. They had asked a native friend of mine if he wanted "some" birds, and he came home after work to see 200+ ducks and geese on his deck.....uncleaned. Just not right. Game warden was called and I don't know what happened, but I never saw those guys up here again. Hell, I'm still chewing on sticks and sausage from birds in shot in 2019 (vacuum sealed so they have stayed surprisingly fresh in the freezer), and I still have to process my fall meat from this year (I bought my own sausage stuffer and mixes ).

Some friends of mine hunted (mostly snows) around the Quills for about 20 years. They had a list of folks that wanted birds, but one year they went late and most of the people had birds already. A farmer they knew mentioned a family that was in serious need, so they stopped by to ask. The father said he wanted all they would give and told them to put them in the bed of a broken down pickup if he wasn't home.

Next day they got into the geese good, and the man wasn't home. The birds were higher than the sides of the bed. At lunch they started feeling guilty and went back to get some of the birds. When they pulled up, the whole family was out in the yard picking geese with grins on their faces. Old guy said to keep bringing all they could shoot.
 

bang you'r dead

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Next day they got into the geese good, and the man wasn't home. The birds were higher than the sides of the bed. At lunch they started feeling guilty and went back to get some of the birds. When they pulled up, the whole family was out in the yard picking geese with grins on their faces. Old guy said to keep bringing all they could shoot.

When I had only moved up into this area , I was trying to learn the marshes, and I had a couple of native friends show me the Saskaram marsh system, and took me hunting with them a few times. I had my big chocolate lab Delta at the time (she pushed 80 lbs of muscle), and we went out for the day. Set up about 1/2 mile from the bait station (another story) , and at that time, the limit was 6 ducks, and I had that in the first two flocks that filtered down on us. Put my gun away and worked the dog for the next couple hours when the guys pounded the mallards (first nations do not have any limits or regulations as to possession). When they ran out of shells, we probably had 150 mallards in the boat. Got back to the boat launch, and I actually carried my sleeping exhausted dog to the truck. Went to their place to have a wobbly pop after the shooting was done, and one of the guys made a few phone calls. Friends and family started showing up, and took whatever birds they wanted from the pile, and after 1/2 hour or so, I had to go down and make sure I had my six to take home. Nothing was wasted. I have helped one group of hunters out of a field with more than 1000 mallards that they had shot in an all day hunt. Friends and community members actually gave them shells to shoot birds for them. They only hunted one or two days a year, but it wasn't about sport. It was about food, which to me, at the time, was a bit foreign. After living here for 30 years, I now accept the fact that it is not unusual for first nations people to harvest game year round, or to supply their community with wild meat. The concept of sport hunting is not common, and hunting is simply a way of gathering food for themselves. There are still a few elders out there who will take any birds that hunters bring to them, and I still have a couple of ladies that ask me to bring a couple of "fall ducks (scaup)" , late season, so they can make their special "duck soup". Cleaning the birds usually turns into a family affair. One of the girls that worked for me had a young son, about 5 or 6 at the time, and I can remember her handing him a mallard , and telling him to "undress the duck". The whole family around a campfire cleaning and processing birds. A northern tradition that still carries on.
 

kahunna

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Are "subsistence" hunted birds accounted/adjusted for in duck population surveys in Canada and Alaska?
 

mister gadwall

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I hunted in the area where Bang now lives (I think) for several years back in 70s-80s. It was not hard to kill a dark goose limit daily and also kill a duck limit. Freelancing , knocking on doors. We ate birds for dinner - bacon wrapped breasts over an aspen fire , nightly and ate the left overs for field lunches. . Young birds cooked that way were comparable to the best beef filet out there anywhere IMO. We took a cooler and put in a freezer with the lid off and froze birds daily until we had what we wanted to take home(wing attached etc) then reattached the lid when we left . Those northern grain fed birds were special delicacies .

Thereafter we would check with the tribe members contacts daily and see if they wanted birds . The road crew in the area was a great source. They would ask us to leave them at their homes and tell/show us where they lived. Worked great for all concerned I thought. The recipients clearly wanted the birds as the feather piles grew in the yards when you took a load back later in the week. They also freely told us where e the big mallard feeds were occurring in the valley. Handy information. I will say the bird populations at that time were really high locally and virtually no US hunter pressure. I never saw the massive kills on native hunts Bang has described.
 

Nicoglay

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This sounds like you guys had an amazing trip. I wish I were you right now. The last time I went hunting was three years ago. It was in Manitoba too. It was the first time I felt like myself while hunting geese and turkeys, not like a monster. I’ve been judged a lot for my passion and hobbies. And I felt bad until I realized there was nothing wrong with it. My experience there was amazing. After reading the post, I think yours was too. Or at least I hope it was.
 

bill cooksey

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This sounds like you guys had an amazing trip. I wish I were you right now. The last time I went hunting was three years ago. It was in Manitoba too. It was the first time I felt like myself while hunting geese and turkeys, not like a monster. I’ve been judged a lot for my passion and hobbies. And I felt bad until I realized there was nothing wrong with it. My experience there was amazing. After reading the post, I think yours was too. Or at least I hope it was.
That is unless you can tell us about the combination goose and turkey hunt in Manitoba.
 

bill cooksey

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I dont agree with you

Seriously, I’ve never known that combo was workable. Ducks and turkeys are my favorite things to hunt. Would be awesome to make a combo trip. What’s the secret?
 

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