We had a fantastic time NE of Minot with my friends in McLean County (Towner-Granville-Kramer) and primarily field hunted the entire week of October 19-26. There are birds of all types in that area and the local landowners are friendly to people who take the time to get to know them and display that they care about the resources and people of ND. Even had a chance to chat with a woman running for ND Legislature who opened the conversation that the limits on OOS hunters would be eliminated next year... :roll:
Anyway, we took limits of Mallards, some geese - primarily dark with a few eagle heads and blues thrown in for good measure - and my Swan. Saw so many swans it was difficult to choose. And the locals said it was the most they had seen.
The numbers of snows and was the most I had seen since 1991 and there was a ton of them. And the dark geese - large and smaller - were all over too. We even took Blue and Greenwing Teal throughout the week, and saw Bluebills, Shovelers, spoonies, gadwalls, but we primarily were blessed with Mallards - mostly local we assumed.
However, we did see many new flocks coming in high from the north to our open water refuge and they DID have the two and three curlies...
Good numbers of pheasants, grouse and even the partridge made a comeback this year. Deer were everywhere we chased upland game and even the turkeys were running amok according to the farmers and ranchers.
Used Robo and turned it off when the geese showed up. I love the goose chairs and hope to add a swivel to it for next year.
My new pup did tremendously and the father had the magic nose to find those hidden upland game birds.
This is my sixth or seventh time to ND and I hope to even retire there someday (I live in IL). The people are great, hard working, honest, and have strong character. I just hope they do not lose their way of life with an over-commercialization of hunting and people who have money to throw around. Big money just breeds arrogance and while a few will profit up front, all will suffer in the long run - including the resources.
Anyway, no mass quantities this time but I had one excellent time hunting and sharing time with friends in ND, and the buddies from the Internet that joined us from CO, CA, WI and even IL. My thanks to everyone and I hope to be able to return next year.
"Try to always give more that you take."