Newbs in the marsh

kansasdad

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
4,969
Location
Wichita
Teal season marks the beginning of waterfowl hunting in Kansas. The bird counts on the Kansas Dept Wildlife Parks and Tourism website show lower numbers than last year at Cheyenne Bottoms, but the promise of being out in the marsh is a very strong draw. My friend Bob is the defacto head of a group of friends that get together for what he calls "teal camp", where we pitch a tent, endure the noisy neighbors snoring and rise insanely early to go stake out our preferred spot in the marsh.

This year we were going to be joined by Bob' youngest daughter Emily and her college friend Kelli, and I was bringing Philip ( one L only please!) for his first experience with duck hunting. Philip had found some garage sale vulcanized rubber waders which would be just fine for early teal weather, and I told Bob that I would bring extra waders for the sorority girls. I brought a 20 gauge pump for Kelli to use, Emily and Philip had their own shotguns.

Kelli had taken hunters safety class and passed, but left her card at home. She was thinking without her card she wouldn't be able to get to hunt. Fortunately for her, I knew about the apprentice hunting program that Kansas has which would allow her to buy a license and stamps and go hunting. (The requirement then is, an apprentice hunter must be hunting under the direct supervision of a licensed hunter.) We convinced Kelli that after our evening hunt, she could go into Great Bend and purchase the stamps and license and join us hunting ducks on Sunday.

After getting the waders fitted, the ladies faces painted and camo donned, we headed out to the marsh. We have come to know one particular corner of Cheyenne Bottoms very well, and sadly for us, the KDWP plans were to keep this section dry, to allow for cattail reduction plowing and burning later this fall and winter. Bob and crew had filled their limits by 30 minutes after sunrise that morning and I was itching to get out for my first birds of the season.

We met the little johnboat affectionately called the duck barge, and put out the spinning wings and regular decoys and waited for the birds to begin moving. The bird counts cautioned all hunters that while there were an estimated 10-20,000 teal on the marsh, there was a significant number of wood ducks, shovelers and other DON'T SHOOT birds. Five adults with three shotguns tried to hide in a small island of cattails and while waiting Bob and I tried to make sure that the two newb waterfowl hunters would have success with safety. This evening lacked a classic teal flock buzzing the decoys, but instead we had a sprinkling of singles/doubles and small groups looking for a place to find an evening snack, and a place to snooze for the evening. Philip and Emily were both successfull in getting their first ducks that night to big smiles.

One lesson learned the hard way is to make certain that a downed duck is a dead duck, and not capable of swimming, diving or otherwise escaping. Any duck having its head up, that bird needs to be swatted again immediately.

Sunday morning the alarm didn't get a chance to ring out at 3:30 am as I was already awake and chomping at the bit to get going. Philip and I bushwhacked through the dense cattails to our desired spot, just a few hundred yards away from the previous successful hunt.

After picking up the gear and heading back to camp, Kelli did a fine job cleaning her very first duck. It seems to this kansasdad that we may have successfully initiated three new hunters into the fold.
 

Attachments

  • image.jpg
    image.jpg
    66.1 KB · Views: 969

What Map

Active member
Joined
Jun 23, 2012
Messages
1,135
Location
Bozone
Good for you to offer newbs a quality hunt. Thanks for sharing the story and pics.
We don't start ducks until Oct 3 here.
 

kansasdad

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
4,969
Location
Wichita
The high temp in Wichita was way over its average for mid September, but there was the promise of cooler weather with a cold front coming through. I invited my youngest daughter to head out after school to "watch" teal, as I am coming to the conclusion that while she enjoys hanging with this kansasdad, she may never feel the need or desire to ever shoot any type of game animal. I also asked my wife to come out for this quick jaunt, knowing that the weather would be balmy compared to " traditional" duck hunts, and the walk from the car to the marsh would be as easy as they come.

Julia had high school activities that she decided were more interesting, so I was very pleased that my wife wanted to come along. Leaving Wichita and heading north to the wetlands, we arrived with one scant hour of legal hunting time remaining. Throwing on waders and tossing out decoys into the frog filled pool, we were instantly buzzed by doves, seemingly attracted to the teal spinning wing decoys. Even though we only saw far off teal, we experienced an amazing Kansas sunset, along with egrets, herons, grebes, blackbirds and ibis.

I always enjoy my time afield, whether it be with binoculars, shotgun or rifle in hand. Having the love of my life joining me made this quick trip priceless.
 

Attachments

  • image.jpg
    image.jpg
    147.5 KB · Views: 723

kansasdad

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
4,969
Location
Wichita
The cold front created some beautiful clouds, and after dark a spectacular lightning show.
 

Attachments

  • image.jpg
    image.jpg
    31.8 KB · Views: 655

kansasdad

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
4,969
Location
Wichita
My college girl Katie came home for a short weekend, wanting to surprise her little sister and watch Julia's dance team perform at halftime of the football game. We also had planned to get out to the marsh for a last chance teal hunt.

Katie is not actually a "newb" as her freshman high school yearbook would testify, where she appeared in a stereotype-busting photo clad in waders and camo holding her take of ducks. Her schedule over the last few years has kept her out of the waterfowl game so it was with freshness she took in the sights, sounds and smells of the marsh. We arrived early enough to allow us to pick our best spot, and it turns out we had the entire public wetlands to ourselves. Once we set out the decoys and got the spinning wings turning, we were allowed to take a couple of breathes before the action started.

We were treated to one big flock coming in, juking and jinking as only teal can move. Six shots were loosed, sadly not one in the flock dropped. :(:(

Later as the evening wore on, Katie got to learn how to grab a not yet dead duck and do the neck wringing like a pro. She claims the scream she let out moments later was due to her boot sticking in the mud and nearly tumbling into the marsh, and not due to the final shudder of her tasty teal.
 

Attachments

  • image.jpg
    image.jpg
    200.8 KB · Views: 613

kansasdad

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
4,969
Location
Wichita
Rant begin:

Why do you insist on setting up 75 yards away from me, when there is 400 acres of hunting marsh??

Why do you sleep in until such time that it guarantees that you and your swamp boat high powered duck killing machine will traverse my corner of the marsh just before and just after the beginning of legal shooting time???

Why, oh why, oh why do you feel like it's ok to shoot at birds working my decoys and as they swing within 150 yards of where you are seated stand up and send a three gun, nine shot volley to insure that the are flushed off the marsh, and educated as to what to avoid the rest of the journey south????

And one last rant...........do coots really taste that good?????

End rant, and I hope you really are Newbs and not just rude as rude can be duck hunters.
 

backsmasher23

Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2015
Messages
323
Location
Hudson, WI
Rant begin:

Why do you insist on setting up 75 yards away from me, when there is 400 acres of hunting marsh??

Why do you sleep in until such time that it guarantees that you and your swamp boat high powered duck killing machine will traverse my corner of the marsh just before and just after the beginning of legal shooting time???

Why, oh why, oh why do you feel like it's ok to shoot at birds working my decoys and as they swing within 150 yards of where you are seated stand up and send a three gun, nine shot volley to insure that the are flushed off the marsh, and educated as to what to avoid the rest of the journey south????

And one last rant...........do coots really taste that good?????

End rant, and I hope you really are Newbs and not just rude as rude can be duck hunters.

Try hunting a Wisconsin public marsh...this happens with multiple groups. They are starting to dwindle, as the fair weather crowds do. Better to put the miles on and find a good goose field.
 

kansasdad

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
4,969
Location
Wichita
I sure wasn't in a marsh this weekend, but it was a great morning to be out in Kansas hoping to lure some big Canada geese into the spread. There were tons of birds on nearby farm ponds and the big watershed lake to the south provided a nice predawn concert as we set up the decoys into place. Shells more on the exterior of the spread, with the full bodies towards the anticipated landing zone.

 

kansasdad

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
4,969
Location
Wichita
The loading of the field with the decoys was made easier in that the winter wheat field was frozen enough that the suburban could drive right out to the "X". Morning thaw meant that decoy bags had to be carried by human mule power quite a ways to the truck parked in the two track alongside the field.


 
Sitka Banner

Forum statistics

Threads
94,549
Messages
1,409,341
Members
29,655
Latest member
Kuhndog
Top