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If you insist on a fowling gun being clean and dry, you may want a backup blaster that you dislike.

My backup is a Nova (Actually, it would be my wife's Beretta auto. But for the purposes of this conversation, we will stick with the Benelli pump example). It kicks harder than a mule. Which is enough motivation for me to keep the first string piece running strong.

In a long running effort to not shoot the hard kicking Nova, I have learned my Winnie is amazingly reliable.... even when dirty enough that self proclaimed experts (Like friends, gunsmiths, and innerweb forum folk) tell me it won't work. They are wrong. Which is good, because I'd rather go a few rounds with Mike Tyson than shoot high brass outa that Nova.

Maybe one of the lessons learned out of this, is to always have a can of oil, a bore snake, and an old toothbrush in the blind bag. A lotta reliability fixes like this can be done in the blind. Plus whatever tools are necessary to strip down (Leatherman tools are very handy for life outside the garage. Just sayin) and reassemble.
It is amazing how the novas kick. A few of the guys I hunt with have one and a few years ago my auto was giving me fits (due to me not cleaning it enough) not the gun. I borrowed there nova for a hunt. My god, talk about teeth rattling recoil!!!

My first shotgun that I still have was an 870 wing master. The steel and wood version, not the crap they sell as an 870 today. Anyways. That gun never seemed to kick some crazy amount like that nova.
 

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My first Duck hunting report for 2021/22 ....

I've gotten better on my shoots. As a relative novice, fifth year hunting ducks, I've learned when not to shoot.
Shooting light makes a big difference for me. If I cant tell what kind of duck it is due to it still being dusk , I dont shoot.
Leading the duck is still tricky but I'm getting better. Being quick on the draw is also better. As well as knowing the appropriate distance, less than 30 yards.

Today was super foggy. I couldn't see the ducks even if I could hear them. And then they would buzz by at warp speed.
I had several mallards early that I could have shoot but just didn't see them early enough.
A little bit later a couple mallards came close. One drake down!

Due to the fog I left the blind to walk the flooded wetlands. While crossing some open water I had a juvenile Drake Spoony fly over. I blasted him and he fell into the trees. 20 minutes later I found him. I nearly gave up but the final pass through I saw him. What a relief!

Being that I could hear the ducks on the water, I choose to stalk'em. That went well as due to the fog, they couldn't see me.
Crouched , slowly wading through the cattails I made it to an opening with flooded willows behind me and cattails in front.
Still crouched I moved around an edge of the cattails and the ducks jumped.

There was a lot more than I thought!
Another Spoony down!
As the ducks were in a literal frenzy, going this way and that , I shoot and reloaded, but no ducks went down. I believe I was just shooting behind and low. Old habits die slowly.

With the fog and the available Habitat , the ducks were soon landing again.
I carefully retrieved the spoony, and then began another stalk.
The ducks After being fuzzed up, I just couldn't get close enough for another shot.

Being able to hunt this wetland with a buddy and his dog has been awesome.
Though today was a solo adventure , and no dog, it was lots of fun.
Once the ponds filled up, we have been hunting a couple of mornings each week.
I'm super fortunate to have a friend with this kind of property. And close by, only about ten minutes from my doorstep to the parking area!

I love listening to the ducks call in the early morning. What wonderful sounds!
 

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Frozen pond in field gave way to blue bird with Nina breath of wind. Few flocks took a look but had some skybusters nearby that resulted in blown opportunities. Managed a double, for my first mallards of the season. Flooding on Chehalis blew out my regular spot as well as likely taking my decoys I left “just for a few days”. Time to replace them anyway, 15 years banging around the paint was rough at best. Had to dig out the
Sky Water Plant Water resources Atmosphere
really old decoys and layout blind from barn loft. Nice and rats had chewed, kissed and crapped on everything. I consider it a success given the challenges after three days dealing with flooded business.
Sky Water Plant Water resources Atmosphere
 

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A little foggy this am. once it burned off....

Dog got her work in. So she's happy.

Missed a couple easy shots. Killed a handsome baldpate today at long (For me) range. Plus a few mallards, a spoonie to remind us that not so glamorous ducks still make fetches too, and a can.

Yesterday, mid morning. A few coots swam right next to the blind. Maybe 15' away. The dog is looking at the coots..... and looking at me....and looking at the coots.... and looking at me like "If you aint gonna shoot, give me the gun. I can hit them from here!" . Those mudhens just swam off, not knowing they just sent my dog into a mild fit.
 

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Headed up to Tri-Cities/Othello area Friday night to hunt Saturday and Sunday with a well known guide service. First time ever hunting in WA. 4 of us in the party...guides were nice...great callers...blinds were great...water was open...

Saturday - Hardly any birds flying...None of us even came close to touching the trigger...You can only hunt till 12:00...started at 7:15. They have a "Refuge" pond on their property about 500 yards away from where we were that had thousands of birds on it...can't hunt it unfortunately. Fortunately for us, a friend had property down the road that had a pond we could jump shoot. 4 of us took 6 Mallards. It was awesome and the best part of the day lol.

Sunday - Different guide, different location...warm water pond...great hide. Shot 4 Canadians...1 particularly very large bird....and 2 mallard drakes...sounded like the other locations did much better as we heard lots of shooting from them. The guide was able to call a single canadian in to all mallard decoys in a corn pond. Pretty impressive as it circled us 10 times looking for his buddies!

All in all...great trip with my dad and two friends. Those were some expensive birds, though! $433/Bird to be exact.
 

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It is amazing how the novas kick. A few of the guys I hunt with have one and a few years ago my auto was giving me fits (due to me not cleaning it enough) not the gun. I borrowed there nova for a hunt. My god, talk about teeth rattling recoil!!!

My first shotgun that I still have was an 870 wing master. The steel and wood version, not the crap they sell as an 870 today. Anyways. That gun never seemed to kick some crazy amount like that nova.
Browning BPS will make a believer out of the timid as well! Try shouldering one while lying flat on your back in a frozen field. Ouch x 3!
 

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Headed up to Tri-Cities/Othello area Friday night to hunt Saturday and Sunday with a well known guide service. First time ever hunting in WA. 4 of us in the party...guides were nice...great callers...blinds were great...water was open...
1st 2 duck hunts I ever did were at Eagle Lakes Ranch in Othello. Cool place. Shot a band each day.
 

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Geese have been rather scarce at Club CK for most of the last month. With the water high (75% of the farm goes under), they usually sit on the high spots, but even with the recent flooding they had still been MIA. There had, however, been quite a few wigeon and teal about, so I got up early (ish) Sunday, looked out at the frost on my vehicles, and returned to the warmth of my abode. Headed out to the farm about 10:00, and what do I see but about two thousand geese! (Along with a few hundred ducks and a few dozen swans. Quite the watery menagerie!) With no real expectation that they would return, I went ahead and set up my 30 beat up Hard Core full bodies and threw out a bag of ducks. Before long, here comes five cacks. With no real expectation that they would come in, I went ahead and hunkered down in a brush row. Two circles later, with no real expectation that they would put their feet down for me, I stood to shoot. 30 yds up, coming right at me. With every expectation that I would succeed, I uttered, repeatedly, a one word exclamation as I watched five cacks fly off.

Maybe ten minutes later, here come four more, "Maybe I get a chance to redeem myself". Nope. They passed. Ooooh! Here comes about 20! One lands in the spread. A live decoy! Two circles, low enough... now turn this way... oooh! Redemption! 50 years of goose hunting, my fourth legitimate triple. I drop #4 from a flock of Tavs. Over the next two hours I pick off a couple drake teal and a drake wigeon. And have four or five more flocks of geese decoy. The oft said comment from farmers from whom I get goose permission, and my brother, whose crimson clover field they were grazing, came to mind: "Kill them all!!" But, no. I was a good boy.

Over the last ten years, I can count on one hand the times I've had a GOOD goose hunt. Leaves me hoping for another high water event next month...
 

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CK: There was lots of ducks on the water behind the house out of Cornelius yesterday when I went by. Plenty of Mallards mixed in.
 

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A lot less traffic today than it has been. Had I not been a sloth, I would have run out a couple jerk strings. Birds would come out of the stratosphere, buzz over at 100 yards, and fade out because there's no ripples in the decoys. Every time the wind blew hard enough to put ripples on the water, the birds would finish. So I'm either mad at me for being lazy, or the wind for not putting ripples out there.

Was entertained, in a mostly good way, watching folks on public do their thing. One guy needs his vision tested. He called at every bird in the sky early in the pre dawn. After it got light enough, he stopped calling at seagulls, crows, eagles (Seriously), swans (Seriously), and a couple flocks of fish eaters. His buddy sky busted a wigeon once. They must have educated him, because there were no more 100 yards shots. So that's a good thing.

Dog did her thing. When she tracks down the cripple, it's almost anti climactic. She went the wrong direction once. I didn't even correct her (She was only off about 7-10 yards......kinda downwind of the birds last known location. I wondered if she went downwind on purpose-knowing the scent would be heading in that direction.. Didn't want to break her focus on the task at hand. Experience has taught me she's pretty efficient at finding stuff- without a bunch of input from me 80 yards away). Just let her work the cover, until the nose tells her where to go. It was obvious when she cut the scent. He was hid in a pretty good spot.... but he never stood a chance.
 

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CK: There was lots of ducks on the water behind the house out of Cornelius yesterday when I went by. Plenty of Mallards mixed in.
Maybe 30 years ago, I walked in the house, and Dad was sitting by the window looking out at the water. "Any ducks around?", I asked before looking. He replied "Duuucks, DUUUCKS!, Duuucks!" Next day three of us limited, with 18 of the 21 being mallard or pintail drakes. If my brother and nephew had been a little less trigger happy the first hour, it would have been 21 drakes. I've been saying "Duuucks, DUUUUCKS!, Duuucks a lot lately....
 

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Winged a wood duck today. Bird flapped/sailed off 100 yards, splashdown and immediately swimming pretty damn fast. Pup takes off. After a couple hundred yards of following the still healthy (Other than a bad wing) duck..... an eagle swoops down, and plucked the duck off the water. The bird was maybe 20 feet in front of the dog when the eagle came in.

She didn't want to come back, as she was in hot pursuit. Just swimming in a circle, looking for the duck again. I was about to untie the boat and take chase (She pretty much wont recall in the middle of a fetch. Trainer couldn't get her to do it either. High drive motor in her), when a wigeon was polite enough to fly by me. A few calls later, he had made a couple passes over the decoys. The dog was looking my way when I dumped him (Not an accident). So, she swam the 150 yards back across the pond, and fetched him, and swam back to me. But she sure wanted to go back after that woodie!

9 years old. I figured she had seen it all. But she has never seen an eagle steal her fetch!
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Early in am, dead calm. Jerk string was vital. Wind came up late morning.
 

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Got a few birds today at SIWA. But the worst part is the Kerplunk sound when I drop something in the blind. Dropped the cap to my flasher pole. Later moved something on the bench and heard a flashlight roll off. Never found either in the 6" of water in the blind. Walked out of the water to put in my ear protection; too expensive to lose (again).
 

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Got a few birds today at SIWA. But the worst part is the Kerplunk sound when I drop something in the blind. Dropped the cap to my flasher pole. Later moved something on the bench and heard a flashlight roll off. Never found either in the 6" of water in the blind. Walked out of the water to put in my ear protection; too expensive to lose (again).
I know what you mean. I've lost a few ammo rounds. And we lost a bird to an eagle for the first time. Seen other blinds haze them off. We have done the same in the past. Lost the first one yesterday. Reminds me of hearing stories about deer hunting on Kodiak Island. A rifle shot is akin to the dinner bell for a BEAR. The eagles (both Golden and Bald) really seem in tune to ducks being shot on the island. They are aggressive!
 

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I lost a bird to the eagles on Sunday. Not the first one and probably not the last. They are on them instantly when they want it
 

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I had a big bald eagle swipe at a downed duck , five feet in front of my dog retrieving it, it sure name me nervous , my retriever got the bird, but he sure stared at it on his way back .this was on johnson couple weeks back
 

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I lost one to an eagle out there yesterday. They must be eating well!

I was elbow deep in the water retrieving my GUN, I mean my FRIENDS gun, last week.

2 more weeks!
 
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