2014 North Dakota Duck Hunting Report

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The Tale of Muck-Boy
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2014 Muck Boy North Dakota Waterfowl Hunting Report

The plans have been made and we are just waiting to begin our 2014 North Dakota trip. We will be traveling to Westbay Resort in Minnewaulkan, on the west end of Devils Lake on the 11th of October. This year we will be starting out in the afternoon due to some of the younger crew members having football games. The plan is to stop in Eau Claire, WI about halfway, then finishing up the rest of the drive on Sunday. Hopefully this will allow us to see games on both the 11th and the 18th and possibly even get an afternoon hunt in on Sunday. As always we will be hunting with Curt Kenner owner of Kenner Farms and Kenner Guide Service (701-438-2451 Cell 701-866-4841).

Weather: The long range forecast looks questionable with clouds and some precipitation being predicted for the whole week. The weather up in northern Canada is forecasted to be cold the next two weeks, which we hope, will push those northern mallards down to North Dakota. Every year for about 3 weeks we watch the long term forecast and keep our fingers crossed hoping the weather will line up just right. At this time of the year you just never know what kind of weather you are going to get. We have had it with snow and sloughs frozen up and other years where it is in the 80's with birds going back to Canada. We will keep watching and hoping all week, so keep your fingers crossed with us.

Travel: After 12 years we have retired our lab Kodi who took up the bed of the truck. Being without a dog we have made the decision not to haul our twelve foot decoy trailer and instead pack what we need in the bed of the truck. We believe we will have enough room in the bed of the truck to haul most of our gear. We know it will be tight and will have to prioritize what gear we will ultimately take but after going for this many years we have a pretty good idea of what we will really need. To give us a little extra room we have purchased a trailer hitch cargo carrier to make sure we do not have to leave something essential behind. More on how all this work out this during the trip.

As Always there will be daily postings during the week, so everyone can follow the hunt. Check back often to see how things are going on this years hunt. Sorry we didn't have any postings during the week we were hunting day light to dark and your webmaster was fighting a cold. So here is our trip results.
10-12-13 -We arrived in Devils lake shortly after 1pm local time and quickly acquired our needed supplies and headed out to the Westbay Resort. We were in more of a hurry than normal as we had an afternoon hunt on our mind and with pushing our departure time back this year, made us have to hustle to get it in. After spending an hour catching up with Kurt Kenner and talking about the prospects for this weeks hunting we headed out to one of our favorite sloughs to take advantage of the few hours we had left. We no more than entered, the slough and it began to rai,n which had the birds holding tight and with a weeks worth of what we hoped was great field hunting ahead we reluctantly left empty handed after about two hours and decided to scout for tomorrow mornings hunt.
10-14-13 - After 13 years of hunting with Kurt we may have finaly hunted all of his property once. This morning we set up in a soy bean field we had hunted a couple of years ago using a slough for cover. There were plenty of canada geese in the area including both large locals and little canada's. What was really strange is, the geese started flying well before legal shooting and there was an unusual absence of ducks. We were once again in awe of the number of geese we saw but they never gave us a look. Later in the morning we had a group of four gadwall's circle the slough and they came right over our position and we dropped three.

Monday Mornings Setup
In the afternoon we set up about about five miles west in a chisel plowed wheat field. As with the mornings hunt, this was a field we knew, during the afternoon's hunt we talked at length about back to 2009 when we hunted this same field in a snow storm for one of our best hunts of all time taking our limit of ducks in a little over 30 minutes. This was not that day with lite winds, warm temperatures and sunny skies. The only bird we saw during shooting hours was a lone little canada that tried to make friends with our decoys after about twenty minutes he finally wised up and took off. The rest of the birds including a lot of mallards showed up well after shooting hours.

Monday Afternoons Setup
10-15-13 - Getting to Tuesday after a really slow first two days, we were sure we would be in for one of those a infamous North Dakota duck hunting mornings. We were setup in a harvested barley field, using our layout blinds for cover. The mornings weather could not have been better, temps in the low thirties and a slight south wind. The birds including both ducks and geese had been feeding the field for 3 straight days which usually meant they would be on time and in our decoys early and often. The action was not fast but we did manage to take four ducks two drakes, one hen mallard and one gadwall. All morning long we had large canadas working the field but very few wanted to commit, Note: these birds by this time of the season are very, very decoy shy after all they have been shot at since the 15th of August but we did managed to take two large canadas with one huge one weighing in near the fifteen pound range.

Tuesdays Field and Setup
We decided we would handle the afternoon just like we do in Missouri during Snow Goose season leaving our spread in the field and leaving for a little break and some lunch. We returned at about 3:30 after having to put our spare tire on the truck due to a flat time. We hustled to get that done and were rewarded for our efforts. We ended up just one short of our daily limit on ducks, for some reason those last 2 hens did not want to fall even after 3 rounds from each of us. Overall we really liked this field and even though it took us a lot longer than expected we would chalk this one up as a great day hunting.

Tuesday afternoons birds

10-16-13 - There was a lot of debate leading up to Wednesday mornings hunt. One of us felt like we should return and hunt the barley field we hunted the day before. The other felt that would not provide us a good opportunity since we had educated some birds the day before. We had an opportunity to hunt a harvested bean field that had small canada's and ducks feeding in it. This field offered us a great place to hide our blinds and our decoys were positioned well for visibility. The mornings weather was cool and windy which added to our anticipation for what the morning would bring. As was the case for each day so far during the week the ducks did not move early rather waiting for the geese and following them to feed. When the birds final got off the large slough they were roosting on, they went west and not south to the our bean field. Since the ducks went with them we ended the morning with what would end up to be our 3rd hunt without a bird.

In the afternoon we setup in another harvested bean field, and since this is one of only 2 days a week you can hunt geese in the afternoon we made the decision to target geese exclusively. We chose not set any duck decoys or robo's hoping this would be the secret to giant canada success. Unfortunately we never saw a single goose. No doubt Wednesday was the worst of our 5 days of hunting but we still had Thursday.

Because of our low position in our hide we did not see what was taking place in a harvested wheat field about a mile west of our position the geese must have came in from a different direction because they sure did come and fill up that field. There must have been at least a thousand geese and a bunch of ducks crammed into the field. due to the heavy winds they must have flown low and came in from the west. It did not take much convicing to decide that this was going to be our spot for the morning of our last hunt.

10-17-13 - With much anticipation we rose on Thursday and hustled to our "X" and started to get set up. Again the weather was cool and a little breezy. we found a good area to hide our blinds, where the birds had been feeding the evening before and set out our spread. We only used one motion duck decoy (the one we have with a remote), large geese just won't commit if these are running so you need to shut them off when they begin to work your field. To make a long store short the number of birds we seen the evening before never showed up? We don't know why, but it left us pretty much in shock. It wasn't totally a bust we took four mallards and a large canada goose. Was it the weather becoming cloudy with light rain showers? We don't know but it is hunting we guess.

Thursdays Field, its hard to beleive the night before it was filled with birds. We did get a few.

Trip Notes: After having a slow migration the last three of four years here in North Dakota we have decided to move our hunt next year to the last week of October. We are pretty excited to be coming out later and having the opportunity to hunt big nothern flight mallards in cut corn. Only 54 weeks to go until we are hunting in North Dakota again.