Last Thursday my brother and I drove over to the big river for our annual Mississippi River duck hunt. This is earlier then we normally go, but with the recent cold snap we were hoping to catch the first part of the migration. We left early Thursday morning and arrived at the launch by 8:30AM. An hour or so later the decoys were set and we were settling in on a day with blustery winds holding the promise of ducks. It didn't take long for the action to start, within minutes of being setup a pair of Pintails cupped their wings and headed feet down belly up into the fakes. Two shotgun reports later we had two Pintails in hand including a beautiful drake! What a way to start!!!
The next couple hours were awesome we took our time shooting only decoying pairs as the action was nearly non stop. By noon we had 10 birds consisting of 3 Pintail, 3 Green Wing Teal, 2 Gadwall a Wigeon and a Mallard. I never get bored with the variety of birds the Mississippi has to offer. As fast as the duck faucet turned on it shut off. Once the sun came out around 12:30 the ducks stopped flying. We waited them out until 3PM when we decided enough for the day. We'd have plenty of time in the next few days to shoot more.
Friday morning we woke to temps in the upper 20's with not a breath of wind. We both knew we'd have our work cut out for us. Hunting was slow as expected on Friday. We did still manage 5 ducks (Pintail, Gadwall, Greenwings and Mallards) but nothing compared to the fast action of Thursday. There simply are not a ton of birds down. On Thursday we hit some recent migrants and made quick work of them. Friday was what we would come to expect for the rest of the weekend.
Saturday we relocated to a smaller marsh that had a bunch of timber. Our thought was to possibly hit a few remaining Wood Ducks and chase some timber Mallards. We found Teal, Mallards and a few stray Woodies. Enough to make for a decent morning taking 4 birds and missing a few other opportunities.
Saturday afternoon we worked on our sun tan in the blind. While catching some rays a new flight of ducks was arriving. We actually had decent shooting in the couple hours we were out and took 2 more Greenwings and another Wigeon to finish the day with 7 ducks. That night as we were picking up the decoys huge flights numbering in the 1000's were winging down the river. Sunday morning held promise.
With only two more ducks to finish off our two man possession limit we figured we'd be a little more selective on Sunday AM before we picked up and drove home. Sunday morning the wind had switched to the SW and it was overcast with a slight mist. Perfect we thought but the ducks didn't agree. We did get our two birds....a lone Mallard and Gadwall that we suckered into the decoys but it took longer then expected. Sunday morning was the first morning that we were able to see big flights of Canvasbacks heading into the refuge. My guess is two weeks from now the major push should be on. As usual it was a great time. We worked for our birds, but had the kind of success that makes you want to come back for more!