Chasing swans today.....

T Bone

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Jan 8, 2001
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West Slope, CO
for the 1st time. I woke up a little early so I stopped in here.

Going with two friends who are swan veterans. Unlike Moose man and Gunner we are taking two dogs (Chocolate and Yellow Labs). I'm leaving my GSP at home. She'd freeze to death today. Snow is on the ground and more expected.

I'm taking 75 rounds of ammo. So between swans, dark and light geese, and ducks I should be ok. I'll report back tonight or tomorrow.
 

JoseCuervo

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Feb 26, 2003
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T=Bone,

You are making me feel bad about not having a better retriever than Moosie.
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Here I sit with an 11 year old 1/2 Springer 1/2 Lab, that it too old to throw in the river any more.

And I read your Chukar stories, and remember how much I loved hunting with my Brittany when I was growing up
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Then I think a Lab or Chessie would be good for ducks.
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... And I realize I probably won't do anything until the one in the kennel passes on...
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Good luck on the Swans, and I hear the Neck meat will make a meal for 4...
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mtmiller

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Good luck on the swan. We had an early cold snap this year and the swans boggied south early.
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I did see four of them yesterday when I flew into SLC. Man they are an awesome bird.
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Here are a couple more that a friend and I took two years ago. We were chasing canadas, but were more than happy to whack this pair when they locked up.
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Let us know how the hunt works out. I am curious how the dog does on the big white birds.
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mtmiller

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> Miller, you were in SLC and didn't call!?!?! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
It was a wonderful visit, I spent about 45 minutes in the airport.
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I was getting a little worried that my flight would be delayed until today, so I just about gave you a call.
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Hey, if you see my luggage could you send it this way.

Oh yeh, this is a swan thread. Do you chase any swans Tyler?
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1_pointer

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Indiana
I put in last year with no luck. If I see your luggage I'll send it up that way sans undies!!
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Sorry you had to stay in UT that long.
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BTW, what's the nearest airport to Havre...Boise??
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<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 12-30-2003 18:41: Message edited by: 1_pointer ]</font>
 

mtmiller

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> BTW, what's the nearest airport to Havre...Boise??
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
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Ha ha...Tyler made a joke.
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I usually fly out of Great Falls (110 miles south), but we also have an airport in Havre with a couple flights a day.

Luggage showed up today. Yippee, I get to brush my teeth.
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T Bone

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West Slope, CO
Here's the report.

I need a bigger gun.....

We got out early set up duck decoys, swan decoys and waited. Nothing flying, no wind, clear skies. We wait some more. Nothing.

I say "I will make something fly" and go slogging through waist high water and reeds towards a group of Canandians that I hear honking. An hour later I'm still slogging and dripping with sweat and I come out into this big open water and its the waterfowl mecca. A drake and hen mallard come off the water and fly right into me. I shoot, both go down and the whole place erupts with birds. Ducks, geese, swans everywhere. The hen mallard is stone dead, the drake is motoring away with a bad wing. I shoot the drake a few more times to kill it, but its 60 + yards out and even though its center patterned it doesn't affect it. It heads to deeper water and I can't follow.

After slogging back, we sit at the dec's some watch about 20 swans come in and land about 1/2 mile away. We pack up the decoys and go scout them.

We devise a front door, back door idea. I'm covering the back door which involves an hour long stalk, and slog through sagebrush, ice, water and reeds. I hear the swans getting excited, then I hear wings. They are coming right to me 30 yards up! These things are huge like a C5 jet. They turn and give me an easy 40 yards left to right target. I'm thinking "dead bird". I shoot, the swan rocks, I shoot, the bird flares, I shoot, the bird poops, then keeps sailing. I watch hoping he'll crash, but he and his group circle for 5 minutes then land again...

At about noon we take lunch break. Its 50 degrees, sunny, and no wind. Still no birds flying. We try calling for coyotes with a bunny call. We get a hungry skunk bouncing in and we don't see until its too close for comfort. We retreat fast.

The evening plan is to sit a crossing area where the swans come out of the refuge onto the hunting area. The shots are usually long 40-60 yards. We find our spots and I lay down an take a nap with the sound of swans making there noise in background. About 3:30 we hear them getting worked up and then we hear the roar of wings and here they come! Flight after flight stacked up coming right for us. These birds are huge!

The first flight comes right over my friend Don. He shoots 3x and the bird bucks and rolls but doesn't seen affected.

Another flight comes right over Don, he shoots and down the bird comes. The bird hits the ground with a "whump" and its off and running. He send the dog a 100 pound chocolate dissapears into the brush and you can hear the battle. Out comes the dog with the bird, blood all over the dog. Swans have some serious claws. The lab grabbed the bird and the bird went to work on the dogs side. Couple of good cuts through the hide but nothing that won't patch up. We admired the bird and saw more birds flying our way.

I shot and shot, turned one upside down but it recovered and kept plugging along. Then the sunset (legal time) I took the shells out of the gun and we watched the swans fly over us.

These are gorgeous birds. I wanna kill one.

I looked at Don's swan closely. a seven foot wingspan, they have serious body armour. The breast isn't much bigger than a goose. They have 4" of down protecting them.

I was shooting 3" BB steel shot and I was hitting them but couldn't get the penetration. Don was shooting 3" Hevi-shot size 2 pellets. His bird had 3 pellets completely penetrate the breast.

The season closes Sunday, I hope to get out once more. I'm gonna go buy some Hevi-shot and see if thats more effective for the long range swan blasting.

Long winded, but thats my story. Have pics on the film camera, will be a while getting them posted.
 

Ovis

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Good story T-Bone. Look forward to seeing the pics. Didn't you guys get a bunch of snow down there?
 

Moosie

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Good Story "T" !! try to shoot a 3.5" .... I hear an Extr 1/2" makes it better ??~?~?
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Good luck to ya if you get out again Tyson !!
 

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