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#6092515 - 12/19/15 05:31 PM Any ideas? Long read.
Duck_Hunter Online   content
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 10/30/14
Posts: 3393
A buddy of mine and I got our first lease this season. It's a slough with a tree line on one side, where our blind is, and is surrounded by cotton and bean fields. There are a few other leases within ear shot. We spoke with some of the guys on a neighboring lease today and they said they've shot about 25 ducks this season, but have had some mallards, gadwall, a woodie and some other species. We have shot five ring necks and one gadwall. That's it...for the season. And we've maybe had 25 total birds come in while we've been there during legal shooting hours.

I'm not complaining, just looking for some advice. It's been a weird year in North Texas this year and there just aren't as many birds coming down right now as anyone would like. Couple that with there being more water than I can remember, and warm temperatures, and I understand that it's not going to be a honey hole. Honestly, I'm confident our slough just hasn't had water consistently over the years. It went from four inches when I first checked it out in September; now it's four feet deep in front of the blind and it's spread out in either direction quite a bit.

Should we go with a comically big spread? Should we pair it down to a minimal amount? We've tried a mojo and up to 48 decoys. Should we go bigger? Go way smaller?

I'm going to do this tomorrow, but we tossed around the idea that it might be a mid- or late-day resting spot. We've only hunted until about 11 am and have always been there and setup before legal. Anyone ever hunted a place that's used as a resting spot after feeding? What was it like and did you scout it all day to figure that out or is there a "typical" type of tank they are drawn to for this type of activity?

We didn't think it would be a honey hole or anything and wanted to use it as a learning experience and if we had a good year, great. If it was decent but it accelerated the learning process, also great. But five ring necks and one gadwall is not what we imagined. I'm just wondering if anyone has any ideas. We hear neighbor's shooting and occasionally see a few groups in the distance. It's not like we are flaring birds or something. That, I think we could change. I think it's a combination of not having a good migration for the area and there being a lot of water, I'm just not sure if there is anything we can do to convince the birds we do see to check out of spread.

Thanks.
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#6092559 - 12/19/15 06:12 PM Re: Any ideas? Long read. [Re: Duck_Hunter]
brennansgrandpa Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 11/14/10
Posts: 32
If you are kicking large numbers of ducks off your spot when you arrive you have your answer. An afternoon hunt might be just the thing you need to try.


Edited by brennansgrandpa (12/19/15 06:13 PM)

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#6092569 - 12/19/15 06:27 PM Re: Any ideas? Long read. [Re: Duck_Hunter]
FowlDreams Online   happy
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 11/06/07
Posts: 4879
Loc: where the birds are
Corn.

Do you ever see birds on it when you're not hunting? A food source is always good. Hunting a loafing spot can be good and fun but you can burn it up in a hurry. Same goes for if they're roosting and you hunt it in the evening.


Edited by FowlDreams (12/19/15 06:32 PM)
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#6092574 - 12/19/15 06:31 PM Re: Any ideas? Long read. [Re: brennansgrandpa]
Duck_Hunter Online   content
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Registered: 10/30/14
Posts: 3393
Originally Posted By: brennansgrandpa
If you are kicking large numbers of ducks off your spot when you arrive you have your answer. An afternoon hunt might be just the thing you need to try.


That's what I'm thinking. I'll be there tomorrow to see, just wondering if anyone had hunted a place like that before.
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#6092575 - 12/19/15 06:33 PM Re: Any ideas? Long read. [Re: FowlDreams]
Duck_Hunter Online   content
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Registered: 10/30/14
Posts: 3393
Originally Posted By: FowlDreams
Corn


Im not quite break-the-law desperate, but up
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#6092578 - 12/19/15 06:35 PM Re: Any ideas? Long read. [Re: Duck_Hunter]
Jeff Elder Online   happy
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 01/09/08
Posts: 6207
Loc: Weatherford/Albany / Matagorda...
There just aren't many ducks down yet. Calm down, what you describe sounds like a good spot, but 4 feet is to deep for puddle ducks to feed in
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#6092584 - 12/19/15 06:39 PM Re: Any ideas? Long read. [Re: Duck_Hunter]
Esh and Hattie Online   content
Bird Dog

Registered: 01/05/14
Posts: 313
Loc: N Texas
The public place in n Texas we've been hunting the last week was a mid day loaf spot, which can be great hunting. I've found that birds are the pickiest about spread size and location during that type of hunt though. We hunted 200 yds off where the birds wanted to be Wednesday and shot 1 hen mallard. Moved to that spot Thursday and shot 12. Got there and set up at 9am when everyone else was walking out. If it's possible spend a day and just glass it and see what the birds do when you aren't there. If they show up mid day, take note of where and how many and do that with your decoys up

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#6092681 - 12/19/15 08:06 PM Re: Any ideas? Long read. [Re: Jeff Elder]
Duck_Hunter Online   content
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Registered: 10/30/14
Posts: 3393
Originally Posted By: Jeff Elder
There just aren't many ducks down yet. Calm down, what you describe sounds like a good spot, but 4 feet is to deep for puddle ducks to feed in


Agreed. Got a little frustrated today (not as bad as my buddy) so I'm exploring all options and opinions.

It's four feet deep directly in front of the blind for about a thirty foot stretch and then it gets shallower to where it is about a foot deep. We start the spread about where it starts to get shallower and go back from there, so the deep part is closer to the blind, if that makes sense.
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#6092704 - 12/19/15 08:20 PM Re: Any ideas? Long read. [Re: Esh and Hattie]
Duck_Hunter Online   content
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 10/30/14
Posts: 3393
Originally Posted By: Esh and Hattie
The public place in n Texas we've been hunting the last week was a mid day loaf spot, which can be great hunting. I've found that birds are the pickiest about spread size and location during that type of hunt though. We hunted 200 yds off where the birds wanted to be Wednesday and shot 1 hen mallard. Moved to that spot Thursday and shot 12. Got there and set up at 9am when everyone else was walking out. If it's possible spend a day and just glass it and see what the birds do when you aren't there. If they show up mid day, take note of where and how many and do that with your decoys up


Thank you. That's what I'm looking for.
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#6092902 - 12/19/15 10:29 PM Re: Any ideas? Long read. [Re: Duck_Hunter]
Esh and Hattie Online   content
Bird Dog

Registered: 01/05/14
Posts: 313
Loc: N Texas
You're welcome, good luck, hope you can get em feet down

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#6092907 - 12/19/15 10:40 PM Re: Any ideas? Long read. [Re: Duck_Hunter]
Leonardo Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 01/03/08
Posts: 4666
Loc: Wise County
Scout it in the morning and afternoons to figure out an answer to your question

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#6093006 - 12/20/15 06:54 AM Re: Any ideas? Long read. [Re: Duck_Hunter]
mohunter Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/05/10
Posts: 1517
Loc: Duck Hole, Tx
Not trying to be rude or anything but if you have only shot 5 ducks off it this season do not get on the lease next year. 4 feet of water, it's a diver hole only if your lucky, it is obviously not a loafing spot if you have been hunting it till 11 and not doing well.

Everyone says we do not have many ducks down yet and I agree not as many as the last couple of years but still plenty of ducks have moved down. The rain and flooded lakes, ponds and fields just have them spread out and most of the food they are used to eating is covered with water.

If the pond your hunting is higher than normal right now it could be that the food source is under too much water and the puddle ducks may not be using it, 6 inches of water or less can be money right now.

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#6093010 - 12/20/15 07:13 AM Re: Any ideas? Long read. [Re: Duck_Hunter]
BradyBuck Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 10/18/07
Posts: 5131
Loc: Abilene, TX
I wouldn't give up on it yet.

I've been scouting a few spots this season that just now are starting to see a few ducks. I haven't even tried to hunt them because the numbers just aren't there. By this time last season I had already shot several limits off of these same ponds according to my log book.

If I had just acquired these spots this year I would have thought they were a bust.

I don't think you can change anything about your spread at this point. It doesn't matter what you do if the ducks aren't coming in to begin with.

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#6093134 - 12/20/15 09:01 AM Re: Any ideas? Long read. [Re: Duck_Hunter]
hunting_guy Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 09/09/15
Posts: 163
Loc: Central Texas
Agree with Brady Buck. I've got several places that have held a ton of ducks the last few years that I haven't seen any birds on this year. Don;t get discouraged.

The ducks are here (although not in the same numbers as this time last year), but the puddle ducks are being REAL specific about where they want to be with all of the options they have had available this year. Up until the start of the second split, I had better luck and saw more good ducks hunting public (public meaning as far back in the thick stuff you could get)... now we're starting to do better and see more ducks on smaller private stuff.

I wouldn't give up on a lease just because there aren't many birds on it right now... that will change with weather and conditions. It may not be this year, but it may be a powerhouse next year. I don't let private places get away from me anymore if I can help it. They are too hard to find. I love hunting public, but even with a ton of scouting and work it can be a bust because there are a lot of things not in your control.

That being said, I like having private places that I can hunt too. I can take my 83 year old grandpa who can barely see and walk but still loves to duck hunt, or take my kids to, and the dogs get to make lots of retrieves.
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#6093170 - 12/20/15 09:28 AM Re: Any ideas? Long read. [Re: mohunter]
Duck_Hunter Online   content
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 10/30/14
Posts: 3393
Originally Posted By: mohunter
Not trying to be rude or anything but if you have only shot 5 ducks off it this season do not get on the lease next year. 4 feet of water, it's a diver hole only if your lucky, it is obviously not a loafing spot if you have been hunting it till 11 and not doing well.

Everyone says we do not have many ducks down yet and I agree not as many as the last couple of years but still plenty of ducks have moved down. The rain and flooded lakes, ponds and fields just have them spread out and most of the food they are used to eating is covered with water.

If the pond your hunting is higher than normal right now it could be that the food source is under too much water and the puddle ducks may not be using it, 6 inches of water or less can be money right now.



That wasn't rude and I appreciate your reply.

To clarify, the entire slough isn't four feet deep. Most of it is actually less than a foot deep. It just so happens that directly in front of the blind, from the front of it out to about 30 ft, is four feet deep. Then it is a foot or less. So shooting distance is about the perfect depth of water. Also, this place is basically water from farm field runoff, except this year, because we have gotten so much water. I don't think it's ever been this full of water, so not a typical year, even though it's my first year on this place.

Thanks for the reply (this goes for everyone that has replied). I'm not giving up yet!
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