Big Lake would like to provide you with a hunting report of North Dakota: All the Reasons to Drive Thousands of Miles for Ducks.
Kevin Ott and William Weathers were part of a group of outdoorsmen set out for North Dakota the first week of
November, 2010 in pursuit of the grand waterfowling experiences that the northern midwest migration offers. St.
Matthews and Bowman, South Carolina, respectively are where their hunting roots originate although these two often
venture beyond South Carolina to pursue experiences that only such an expedition as this could provide. Their twenty-hour multi-state drive was only possible by being fueled with passion, adrenalin, and wayward thoughts of ducks locked
up and committed. The group journeyed in two trucks loaded to the gills with an assortment of necessities that included
layout blinds, an array of decoys for every conceivable hunting situation, dogs, guns, plenty of shells, and a Big Lake duck
North Dakota greeted them with severe cold, snow, and ice; all the ingredients for a successful duck hunt. Home base was
a house that they rented by chipping in a few reasonable dollars for a local resident friend while also providing South
Carolina caregivings such as fresh caught local shrimp. This house was specifically for duck hunters in the typical small
Dakota town where city limits fade into rolling grain fields. Food was enjoyed in the local diner while looking out its
window and watching flocks of ducks settle down in the surrounding fields and the geese streaming over the town. Not many towns afford such a view.
On the day of arrival the hunters were lucky enough to find a field that was holding a remarkable amount of birds ; an amount of waterfowl that makes a hunter nervous with excitement and have a sleepless night of rest due to the anticipation of the next day and first hunt of the trip. But as light broke on the horizons of the
rolling agriculture fields it became evident that hunting would be difficult because just only 700 yards away was a pothole that the ducks were sucking into. Their setup was in a weed break between two fields in which one field was freshly cut and the adjacent field consisted of older grain stubble.
The birds would be more inclined to be enticed into
the freshly cut grain field but the wind direction
required the decoy and blind setup to be in the older
stubble. The difficulty posed by the alluring pothole
was now compounded by the fact that their set up
was not optimal. Rather than experiencing expected
frustration they managed an exciting hunt through
the ability to overcome these obstacles. The entire
time we were in the field the birds attempted to sit
down in the pothole. The Big Lake duck call had
enough power and allowed me to blow hard enough
and long enough to pull bird after bird off the lake and
bring them to us. The single birds did not stand a
chance, stated Kevin Ott. One of their highlights of
the day was the opportunity for William Weathers to
harvest his first two greenheads ever and to also have
the joy of his black lab, Drayton, retrieve them both.
Their best day for ducks occurred when they got an invite from a local who had access on the proverbial X. This local
North Dakota hunter was an avid goose hunter and his hunting spot was a reservoir holding thousands of geese. But to the delight of the hunters, mixed in with the wads of geese was also a large number of ducks. In the early morning dark there was a thick layer of fog. As they drove up to the field with their car lights barely breaking the fog, a monster midwest buck suddenly appeared out of the fog ; one of those deer that sets the bar for trophies and also makes one realize how grand of sporting opportunities the western states offer. Upon arriving at the field they were greeted with a noisy caucus of Canadian geese on roost nearby (there is just something inviting about that sound that reaches to the core
of a waterfowler and conjures up a sense that the hunting season is upon us and that waterfowling opportunities are to be
had). Upon shooting light and getting settled in the layout blinds, the group of hunters was immediately greeted with two
ducks that Kevin and William were able to double on. This early success was an indicator for how well the rest of the
morning would go. Flock after flock of birds were milling around the small lake behind where the blinds were set up. As someone would see a workable group they would coarsely whisper blow the duck call, blow the duck call in order to catch the flocks attention. Kevin very excitably said, After a few notes on the Big Lake duck call, all I could see were birds
that just did not stop coming. At one point we had birds walking on the ground, birds cupped up, and birds circling at the
same time. At times it was so many birds we did not even call a shot and just watched the birds, admittedly not because we did not want to shoot, but none of us knew what to do because we had never seen so many birds! Such a situation of
so many birds intently working a spread is what every waterfowler lives for and such feelings are further magnified when big ducks are floating just mere feet from the layout blind window that the hunter pears out of. An early morning hunt consisting of a thirty six duck limit is always a memorable morning hunt. But a limit of mainly big northern mallards and bonus ducks of a bull pintail and an even rarer storm widgeon is sure to broaden any hunters smile.
The guys hunted for a week and had the enjoyment of shooting over potholes and from layout blinds in dry fields. Both of these North Dakota hunting situations provided ample shooting because as Kevin explained,
I have never ever seen this many birds as I did in North Dakota.
Additional Big Lake hunt reports can be found at:
Thanksgiving was spent with a trip up to the Eastern Shore of Maryland to visit family and to enjoy the much reknowned waterfowling heritage that this area is so well known for. This was a time to go beyond South Carolina and use the goose call that www.biglakeduckcalls.com produces in a setting where many of the most well known goose hunters and call makers call home. To say the calls were a success is an understatement.
We hunted a property that consisted of a pond about the size of six acres that had a blind and also a pit blind in an adjacent field. We woke up on Thanksgiving morning, not with the anticipation to eat turkey and the many fixings, but to the exciment of the potential for a truly phenomanal goose hunt. The pond was holding an estimated 1,000 geese! Half the hunters hunted the pond and the other half got in the pit blind in the field. Within twenty minutes after shooting time five guns had limited out at the pond. The other hunters moved from the field to the pond blind to get in the action. Groups of twenty or more geese would be working the decoys with more coming in the distance. It took no time for the second group of hunters to limit out as well for a days bag of twenty (2 per person).
The second hunt was in the same location. The difference was that the geese were much more wary after being shot on Thanksgiving when ourselves and so many other waterfowlers were pursuing geese. This is where a quality call made a big difference. A simple greeting call got their attention to bring them in from a distance. But with them closer in and in large groups there were many wary eyes and ears which increased the difficulty level. Sequences of clucks and double clucks while using the call to be both quiet and loud, but also to be commanding with a comeback as the geese ranged out, were used to fool the birds. Both the pond and field blind shot birds this day (one hunter limiting out in one shot). This opportunity to truly work group after group of birds and to experience how responsive they were to the calls was hard to rival - in two days 48 geese were taken.
One of the joys was sharing the experience with family. A great grandfather got to take his great grandson on his first goose hunt. Four generations of our family were hunting together while passing the waterfowling heritage to the newest generation. To see a five year old's anticipation when hundreds of geese are on the water prior to shooting time or holding up one of the geese was truly a special part of Thanksgiving.