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Canadian Duck Hunting

With duck hunting season opening on September 10 in Sunset Country, plans had been made to embark on a hunting trip in the Fort Frances area with family and friends this past weekend.

The area experienced a severe heat wave early last week, where daytime temperatures reached the upper 80's and shattered previous records for the area. Needless to say, conditions were not ideal to get the ducks moving, but cooler temperatures were forecast so we remained optimistic.

My Uncle arrived last Wednesday afternoon and we decided to leave the gear at home and go for a boat ride to scout the area. The lake was like glass which made for an enjoyable ride, but we couldn't get over the fact that we were wearing shorts, t-shirts and flip flops. Flip flops in the duck boat? Yes, that actually happened!

That evening’s boat ride was yet another reminder of how important scouting can be when it comes to

the waterfowl game as the ducks were not everywhere and the wild rice crops were very different from last year. We ended up finding a good population of lo

cal ducks at the back ends of pockets that were choked with wild rice and left the area with high hopes for what the morning had in store.

We decided to take two boats and set up in 2 different locations, with the plan being to keep the ducks moving. The hunting was a bit slow due to the lack of hunters in the area and balmy weather, but we stayed the course and simply soaked up the experience of being back in the marsh.

Local birds can be quite challenging as they know their home range well and when pushed from one area, they'll simply just fly to another food source. Additionally, once they're shot at, the local ducks typically pack up and go elsewhere altogether, so the hunter must make the most of every opportunity.

Saturday morning brought a cold front with high Northeast wind and low ceilings, intermittent rain and cooler temperatures. We decided to set up at a pinch point between 2 feeding areas and the plan payed off, as several ducks flew within range. We ended up going home with a mixed bag that was highlighted with 3 drake woodies in full plumage.

In all, it was a great week-end with lots of laughs, some unexplainable misses, few nice shots and lessons along the way. The migration should be in full swing in a few short weeks, which can only be described as a spectacle of nature. Imagine pulling into a bay and witnessing the water come alive and sky turn black with ducks...I can hardly wait!

Play safe and see you on the water

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