Matt, you are absolutely correct. I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm not a real hunter. I stop when I reach the limit or before. I respect landowner rights. I don't skybust. I chase down cripples, regardless of how far they sail (which during my trip to ND was straight down).
GooseBuster, 7000 miles in a season is a lot of miles. Figure a 30 day season and that's about 230 miles a day. In 3 days of hunting we logged 900 miles on the rental car, about par with you if you subtract the miles to/from Bismarck. It was interesting in your post that all of your mallard hunts were over cornfields. Same for us, only we were hunting in a part of the state where this was the only cornfield we could find that was being used by the birds. Shame on us for picking the wrong location for our first visit. Yep, the field right next door was corn as well, free access too, but not a bird to be had because the field had been picked then picked clean by cattle. I guess you and Matt are right, it would have felt better at the end of the day to have scratched down a few passing shots over that field rather than shoot the field we found.
It's easy to sit back and ridicule everyone who does not do it your way, the "real hunter" way. That having been said, I don't believe either of you appreciate what you have in North Dakota. No competition, plenty of land access, birds galore and first crack at 40% of the migrating waterfowl in North America. Your "late season" hard hunting is what we experience every day of the season. I'm sure each of you are fine callers and can hold you own against the likes of Eli Haydel, Tim Grounds, Mike McLemore and some of the other "wannabes" of this world. We welcome you to try your hand down here anytime you feel up to the challenge. Reelfoot, Bayou Meto, White/Cache River, Felsenthal Bottom and Wren Lake are eagerly awaiting the real hunters arrival.
P.S. And when you come drag-assin' out of the field, with one scrap duck between you, I'll be kind enough to not bring your failings as a hunter and human being to everyone's attention.