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I have been hunting the Bay near Sebewaing for the last 50+ years and we have done better on the low water years mostly the only high water years we had that were great were in the 60's because we had lots of canvasbacks and bluebills.
Same on Erie...way better hunting during low water years, Divers and puddlers.
 

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Tavor mentioned lack of ducks in places he always found them. My old favorite spots had cattails. Now F'n Frags dominate. The water has always cycled high and low. Frags have changed the landscape for the bad in my opinion. But they hide boats well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #83 ·
Had another great squaw shoot yesterday!

The ice in the Quanicassee river was gone and we made the 11 mile run to our spot. The birds seemed to come and go with no rhyme or reason and our (my) shooting was less than stellar but we had ample opportunities and managed to seal the deal on a limit.

The wind and weather were compliant, especially when you consider it was November 23rd. We did fantastic in putting the cripples in the bag and there were far more drakes than usual.

A big shout out to all the fisherman - there were 8+ within a mile or so of us - who kept the birds from rafting and kept them moving. (don't hear that very often from a duck hunter)

Not too optimistic about getting back out after them again. Wind forecast looks iffy till the end of the season but if this was the last hunt of a great year, we have more than enough to be thankful for!


Smile Sky Cloud Military camouflage Bird
 

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I think the fat lady is here for the marsh guys. Last week we saw tons of birds, mallards, blacks, ringers and buffies. This morning I didn’t see 2 dozen. Was able to scratch red head on the only opportunity I had. Lots of swans and mergs. Had to break 1.5” ice and was walking on it for a bit… until I fell through and did not nail the dismount. Got a wet arm but that didn’t stop a good time. Open water guys did good from the sounds of it. I will keep hunting thru the holiday because I made a path, might as well use it. I think it is time to try some cut corn next weekend.
 

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The waters way down on the Bay. I walked out with my dog and hunted a spot this year that was over my head the season before last. I sat on a marsh stool, dog in her Momarsh. Seems like an awful steep downward trend already. Precipitation seems to be all or nothing these days…..

My NW lower duck hunting the last three seasons has sharply declined. Most of the water has dried up, along with the ducks. I have a friend I hunt with up there that’s a fuel delivery driver. He just doesn’t see the birds like he used to…and he’s on the road hauling fuel Mon-Fri. He constantly comments on how dry it is. All the beaver ponds and tag alter swamps are narrowed down and overgrown. Having lived/hunted waterfowl for 40 years up there he’s pretty bummed with how poor the huntings been the last few years. He lives on Lake Mitchel and even the local population of black ducks and mallards during summer are way down….I know it’s getting bad as he’s a die hard waterfowler who only pauses to deer hunt the first week of gun season, then goes right back to waterfowl. He bought a bow this season…..


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I live in the same area NW lower as your friend. Im retired and have time to look at areas ive hunted for 45 years. His assessment of the area is spot on. Not sure what the problem is but the huge decrease in local mallard nesting has hurt. Can't go from 500K nests to 140K since 1998 and not feel it. Few beaver ponds and grown up marshes are what i see. Few places for nesting mallards. Local ducks also tend to keep migrators around longer. Habitat loss and little if any wetland spending doesn't aid the issues.

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Tried one last hunt for the year tonight over on the east side. Saw a fair amount of birds still, but nothing wanted to work much. Had a hen mallard that did it right, being the only successful bird taken.

This year was one of the best years we had out of the boat. We ended up timing it just right on some hunts. Had a good solid week of cans, which was neat for me since I have never gotten into cans much during my 19 year hunting career. Overall, we had a great year out on the Bay.

Thoroughly enjoyed this thread during the year and look forward to hearing from everyone this time next year. Hope you all had as much fun as we did. Many great times with family and friends, which really is what its all about.
 

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Tried one last hunt for the year tonight over on the east side. Saw a fair amount of birds still, but nothing wanted to work much. Had a hen mallard that did it right, being the only successful bird taken.

This year was one of the best years we had out of the boat. We ended up timing it just right on some hunts. Had a good solid week of cans, which was neat for me since I have never gotten into cans much during my 19 year hunting career. Overall, we had a great year out on the Bay.

Thoroughly enjoyed this thread during the year and look forward to hearing from everyone this time next year. Hope you all had as much fun as we did. Many great times with family and friends, which really is what its all about.
Good work if you got into birds that means you were out a lot it was the same with us this year.
Timing.
 

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I'll echo many of the comments here. We've been hunting the Bay for about 10 years - this year was a top 3 for us but seems like it was mostly about timing it right. We had some very good hunts but when it wasn't good, it was awful. Had to drag the boat and idle around more this year than I can remember.

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Echo the " good year" thoughts.
Some can be more of a grind than others but I haven’t seen a “bad year” hunting yet.


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