Hunting report: Desperately seeking prime time waterfowl migration

Patience is a duck hunter’s virtue, especially now, when the major migration hasn’t seemed to kick in.

Earlier this week I headed out with high hopes for some of my duck spots. There seemed to be some colder weather in the north country and I thought, at the least, some birds would head their way south. I’m sure some did, but they didn’t fly over us.

Scratch that, a few wood ducks did. Very few. We managed to pick up enough for a meal, but beyond that, Luna and I stared at empty skies. Of the things I’ve learned about waterfowl hunting, patience is the hardest lesson. There are so many times when it seems like the birds should be on their way through but simply aren’t.

My main barometer for the migration is our backyard pond. I know the locals pretty well, but when newcomers start appearing in the mornings, I have a pretty good idea of what’s going on in my hunting spots. Lately, the pond has been largely devoid of ducks.

That observation solidifies what I saw while hunting. Sure, you can find some birds, and I don’t doubt that better hunters than I are into them pretty thick right now, but it still seems like we’ve stalled out for a bit in the meantime.

The good news is that it will change – because it has to. The ducks will do what they’ve always done, and when that happens, a good time will be had by all waterfowl hunters lucky enough to pull on their waders and get out before first light.

As for me, I’ll keep an eye on the pond and on my free time. Maybe when the real cold weather settles on Canada, I’ll get out and sit at the water’s edge. Until then, I’ll keep watching.

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