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captainhastings

The mysterious duck

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My first season is nearly done come the end of the month. It has been a huge learning curve and some amazing experiences and sights. Wish I had started this 30 odd years ago.
I never really noticed them before because I never looked. I am amazed how nocturnal they are.
We had a cracking flight one morning and when I was stood back I could see the reason. The decoys were bobbing about a treat in the wind and must have been catching there eye from a distance. So movement is key.
Also the moon plays a huge part and dawn flights never seemed to work. The reason was when we arrived you could hear ducks every where but come day break they had gone.
The full moon just gone we had a shoot under the moon and it all made sense. The ducks were coming in during the night and then leaving in the morning. It was an amazing site seeing the birds against the moon lit sky. A real memory was made.
Tonight I was stood by a splash just after dark and 4 ducks landed and splashed down with in ten yards and soon shot off once they saw me.
Me and my mate started the season quite late too so really can't wait until September the 1st 

They are also handsome things and I all most feel guilty shooting them but they taste lovely. We  haven't had any huge amounts maybe 20 between us. Mostly a case of being in the wrong place or not being ready when they catch you out

Edited by captainhastings

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I much prefer to shoot duck at first light. I have had countless fantastic flights at morning flight. I don't know exactly where you are shooting, but coastal shooting is a lot different to inland pond shooting.

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Yes we much prefer the morning flights but noticed very little movement when there was a full moon. Obviously because they had all ready been over night. It is just splashes we have access to. I will have to wait a few years before I can join a club and get on the shore as I have no dog. The present dog has a few years left yet and his no gun dog  

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Duck generally feed at night! That's their habit, Moon or no Moon! There in fact should be more movement around the full moon phase as birds move about all night. The fact they are gone in the morning is probably due to the state of the tide. If the tide is out then the birds will be out on the muds/estuary.

Your splashes would probably work better at evening flight. For morning flight you are usually trying to intercept them going back from their night time feeding forays to their day time roosts/resting places.

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Classic example this morning. Pulled up at the splash about 6.30 and ducks all over. The adrenaline was pumping but come first light gone. Very light when we got there with a clear sky and half a moon. Must be a seasonal thing too because early in the season they would arrive first light. All good fun and only one weekend left 

 

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3 hours ago, Smokersmith said:

If you're proper fowling you can go till 20th Feb.

With the last decade the warmest on record and the one before that was just the same , it must be getting to the time where both inland and coastal could start on the 20th of September and finish either on the 20th of February , or better still at the end of the Feb , far more chance of colder weather then the heat we get in September .

 

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4 hours ago, marsh man said:

With the last decade the warmest on record and the one before that was just the same , it must be getting to the time where both inland and coastal could start on the 20th of September and finish either on the 20th of February , or better still at the end of the Feb , far more chance of colder weather then the heat we get in September .

 

I always feel I want a few more flights inland in early February but also feel that on the coast by Feb 20th you know really its spring. I would be happy if both foreshore and inland shooting ended by Feb 10th. But we start messing about with the seasons at our risk. Too many bird watching organisations and antis looking to reduce our seasons. We could be opening a can of worms that will be hard to close.

Edited by anser2

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10 hours ago, anser2 said:

I always feel I want a few more flights inland in early February but also feel that on the coast by Feb 20th you know really its spring. I would be happy if both foreshore and inland shooting ended by Feb 10th. But we start messing about with the seasons at our risk. Too many bird watching organisations and antis looking to reduce our seasons. We could be opening a can of worms that will be hard to close.

We have to accept the climate is getting warmer , take this season for example , we have now got less than two weeks of the inland season left and I cannot remember a past season where we haven't seen any ice on the dykes or the splashes are frozen over , apart from the odd morning where I have had to de ice the windscreen this so called Winter have been more or less frost free .

As the older generations move on , or the older ones who call it day with wildfowling , the younger generation seem less and less interested in the 1st of September , and can you blame them , last year a lot of the flight ponds dried out completely , same with the marshes , dry as a bone and every field had cattle or sheep on them , with our area being popular with holiday makers the coast draw them in droves in the hot weather and to be honest who want to shoot wild fowl in shorts and wearing sun glasses while the holiday makers are about enjoying the sunshine , then if they happen to shoot a few of local Greylags they have to pluck them within hours before they start decomposing .

The days are gone where people walk up Partridges on the 1st of September and who want to shoot Pheasants at the beginning of October ? , a lot of us now would be prepared to give most of September a miss , more so if we got something back at the end of the present season .

I no longer take out a permit to shoot the estuary to get the extra 20 days , but it seem strange to me where I can shoot at a duck on one side of the river wall in February and it could drop on the other side , and yet I couldn't shoot at it from where  dropped because the shooting season for wildfowl ten foot away is finished :hmm:

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Only the last couple of days have we had frosts where splashes have frozen. Same as ferreting by the time the cover has died down the rabbits are back breeding. Out of interest the does the high water mean tidal rivers. In other words can I shoot duck flighting x amount of miles along a tidal river until feb 20. Also I have a splash that when the river rises the tide pushes it up a ditch and into a field, All seems a bit vague 

Edited by captainhastings

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39 minutes ago, captainhastings said:

Only the last couple of days have we had frosts where splashes have frozen. Same as ferreting by the time the cover has died down the rabbits are back breeding. Out of interest the does the high water mean tidal rivers. In other words can I shoot duck flighting x amount of miles along a tidal river until feb 20. Also I have a splash that when the river rises the tide pushes it up a ditch and into a field, All seems a bit vague 

It's far from vague,  law states that all shooting of wildfowling above the mean high water mark, ceases on 31st January.  

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1 hour ago, captainhastings said:

So does high water mark include tidal rivers ?

I think you would have to be standing below the mean high water mark in the river, if that is possible.

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1 hour ago, captainhastings said:

So does high water mark include tidal rivers ?

You'd have to refer to the correct map/marine chart for the area

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18 hours ago, anser2 said:

I always feel I want a few more flights inland in early February but also feel that on the coast by Feb 20th you know really its spring. I would be happy if both foreshore and inland shooting ended by Feb 10th. But we start messing about with the seasons at our risk. Too many bird watching organisations and antis looking to reduce our seasons. We could be opening a can of worms that will be hard to close.

When the estuary became a reserve , a part of the agreement was no shooting on a Monday , so with no shooting of wildfowl in Norfolk on a Sunday and the agreed Monday there were years when depending on how the weekend fell we only had 14 days of the 20 days in February .

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