Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal
SISSETON, S.D. | There are few better ways to spend part of a day than to be tucked into a layout blind waiting for the geese to fly. Even if they don’t.
There were a bunch of them sitting on sandbars in Dry Wood Lake just behind us. We could see them but wish as we might, they stayed as if their feet were glued to the sand.
Of course it was 65 degrees, no wind and the migration had mired up because of the unseasonably warm weather. If you are a waterfowler, you know that under those conditions, all bets are off.
And if they were taking odds on our success at the Dakota Magic Casino in North Dakota, just across the South Dakota border, where we were staying, those in the know would have laid their Benjamins against us.
And they would have collected their bets. Only one goose came off the water and seemed to thumb his nose at us as he flew behind our setup and into the lake beyond.
As the sun sank below the horizon we began the work of picking up over 50 full-body Canada goose decoys and layout blinds.
We were hunting on the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Lake Traverse Reservation. I was with Gary Howey and cameraman Josh Anderson, both of Hartington, Neb. We had long heard about the excellent waterfowl hunting on this reservation, which stretches across nine counties from Lake Traverse to Watertown, S.D., and back up to form a kind of triangle of which part is in North Dakota.
We were there for a three-day trip hunting with Brandon Adams of N8tive Hunting Guidez and his friend and fellow guide Ray Eastman.
But, as luck would have it, we ran into the most unseasonable November weather that I can remember.
The migration had come to a halt. The ducks and geese we were hunting had stayed put in the area for over three weeks. Without the influx of new birds, our birds had become educated to the ways of hunters. And believe me, a trophy whitetail buck could take some lessons in how to avoid hunters from ducks and geese that have been educated by hanging out in the same area for too long.
Our hunt began the day before on a small slough just a few yards away from a larger lake. Such small sloughs are loafing areas for puddle ducks throughout the daytime. They prefer this kind of water, primarily from a feeding standpoint. Divers will hold to the larger lakes.
We spooked a lot of ducks off the pond on our way in and set up about 50 decoys, including a couple of Mojo motion decoys. [Read more…]