Washington Duck and Goose Hunting Report Archive

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

11-09-2012 14:44
– – –
I did not get out last weekend however reports from buddies was mixed. The weather has been getting colder and hopefully that will push some new birdds our way. I am heading to Othello to hunt at Eagle Lakes Lodge…always a blast and a top-notch outfit. If you have the chance go there, do not hesitate. I will post local info after the weekend when my hunting partners check in. This lul in the action is fairly typical for this time of year here in N.W. Wa. Hang in there…the best is yet to come.
Mike

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

10-23-2012 12:18
– – –
John and Hugh, are you guys reporting this year?

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

10-02-2012 11:33
– – –
Well here we are and October has arrived even if it feels more like May. I heard good reports for the Skagit area as far as the youth hunt went. I think we will be hunting in t-shirts and sunglasses for a while but that too will change.
I will be posting here again this year…would love to hear from anyone who reads my reports and ideas for making them better or more useful.Good luck and be safe out there on opening!!!

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

01-23-2012 13:05
– – –
I think I missed quite a show over the past week. When the snow flys over here and the temps drop, the hunting on the saltwater goes nuts. Between staying home to play in the snow with the kids, sick kids, and finally me being sick…I did not get out!!! Sounds like there are plenty of birds around so hit it hard for this last week. I am headed over for my annual end of the season hunt in Sequim this weekend…it is always bitter sweet, hope to pull the trigger a few times and enjoy the company of great friends. Best of luck to all of you.
Mike

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

Snohomish/Skagit 01-03-2012 10:35
– – 40-45 Degrees
Wow…looking at the date for my last post shows me how little I have gotten out this year. The hunting has been pretty rough around here, at least on public spots. Got out 3 times last week with friends from Texas and didn’t find much action. He did get the Pintail he has beeen trying for for several years 🙂 None the less I have spent more time doing things around the farm…at least the weather has been good for something…hope things change before the end of the month.
Mike

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

Stanwood 12-05-2011 11:31
Cloudy, Heavy Fog – 35-40 Degrees
Finally made it back out on Sunday. Very foggy at times and chilly. A lot of Snow Goose movement near the South Fork of the Stilly. Not many ducks in the air worth shooting however the guys down from us had a good time shooting…not sure what they were shooting but it sounded like fun. Tide was low but even on the incoming tide, did not see many Widg or any other large groups. Hope the weather picks up and gets nasty. Good luck out there.
Mike

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
John-Kruse
Field Editor

Columbia Basin 11-25-2011 23:35
– – –
Mixed reports from Central Washington. I spoke to one seasoned Columbia River hunter who tells me the Northern (divers) that make for good hunting on the Upper Columbia have not shown up yet.

On the other hand, Ken Mills, Sporting Goods Manager at Griggs in Pasco, reports having a great hunt at Burbank near the Tri-Cities for what he believes was the first big flight of Northerns.

I haven’t been out in the last week to say one way or the other but I can say there are a bunch of Lesser Canada Geese in the Moses Lake – Potholes area, and several thousand were hanging out on Moses Lake today near the freeway (darn it!).

Good luck and good hunting!

John Kruse
www.northwesternoutdoors.com

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

E. Wash 11-15-2011 11:29
Mostly Sunny, No Precipitation – –
I know this is not an Upland site but I had to report 🙂
This past week I had the pleasure of hunting at Miller Ranch outside Sprague WA. I was there for a two day pheasant reserve hunt. I had heard many wonderful things about Scott Miller’s business, from the great accommodations to the top notch guides and dogs, and of course the great shooting and quality birds…my high expectations were far surpassed!!! From the moment you arrive to the minute you have to pry yourself away and head home you are provided with, in my opinion, the ultimate hunting experience. If you are looking for a no pressure, action packed full service hunt that includes great people, great dogs, and great birds Scott and the people at Miller Ranch have it dialed in…it is a “can’t miss”…even though I did miss a few …but I hope be back!!! They also offer guided and unguided hunting trips for upland birds, waterfowl and big game.
Mike

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

Didn’t get out… 11-01-2011 14:31
– – –
A very quick update to say…I have no update since I did not out the past week or so. Somebody let us know what is going on out there!!! 🙂
Mike

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

Marysville…inland 10-17-2011 14:29
Cloudy, Heavy Fog – 45-50 Degrees
A great opener with great company. Fist hour and a half were filled with shooting and ducks on the strap. Unfortunately the classic late arrival guys showed up during the shooting and proceded to shower us with shot. It wasn’t even worth going over to “talk” about it…we picked up (4 or 5 short of a three man limit) and headed in. Stayed home Sunday in hopes that the idiots will go back to sleeping in and watching tv all day. Hope you all had a good opener.
Mike

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Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

Snohomish County 10-05-2011 13:52
Cloudy, Light Rain & Drizzle – 45-50 Degrees
Here we go!!!! Opening day is almosy upon us. Just put a new camo pattern on the boat and started claening up the decoys. Good luck to all of you and be safe. I will be checking in after the opener and hope to have good news to report.

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
John-Kruse
Field Editor

Washington STate 08-09-2011 22:10
– – –
Okay boys and girls,

Here is a summary of the 2011-2012 Waterfowl Season courtesy of WDFW and The Outdoor Wire!

OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved 2011-12 waterfowl hunting seasons that are similar to those adopted last year during a meeting Aug. 5-6.

Under the waterfowl hunting package, the statewide duck hunting season will be open from Oct. 15-19 and from Oct. 22-Jan. 29. A special youth hunting weekend also is scheduled for Sept. 24-25.

Special limits for hen mallard, pintail, redhead, scaup, canvasback, goldeneye, harlequin, scoter and long-tailed duck will remain the same.

Goose hunting seasons vary by management areas across the state, but most open Oct. 15 and run through January 2012.

The goose and duck hunting seasons approved by the commission, which sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), are based on state and federal waterfowl population estimates and guidelines. According to those estimates, most waterfowl populations throughout North America are at or above historically high levels.

Details on the waterfowl hunting seasons will be available later this week on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/.

John Kruse
www.northwesternoutdoors.com

Posted By:
John-Kruse
Field Editor

Washington State 07-18-2011 09:01
– – –
ODDS AND ENDS:

With August almost here, it’s time to start thinking about the fall season! It looks like things will kick off with a Youth Hunt the weekend of Sep 24th and Opening Day will be Oct 15th. It will be interesting to see if the largern than normal gap between these two hunts improves things on the opener.

Ducks Unlimited reports “Above-average waterfowl production in key breeding areas” this year due. In the Western U.S., our wet spring has proved to be good for ducks! Wetland habitats are in “good shape” in Eastern Oregon and Washington this year.

The Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife will meet in early August and finalize seasons and bag limits. Until then, enjoy our mild summer temps and get outside!

John Kruse
Northwestern Outdoors Radio
www.northwesternoutdoors.com

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

Where ever you are… 01-27-2011 15:50
– – –
Well folks, the fleeting moments of another season are quickly passing. I can say I have never spent so much time out of the field as I did this year…it was strange. I hope that you all had a great season, if not in birds taken, at least in memories made. I am already looking forward to next season and the chance to take my daughter into the field for her first time.
Although my hunts were few and far between, they were shared with great people…and I thank them for sharing that time with me. I am off to San Juan Farms in Sequim to finish it off in style, truely a special time. So enjoy your last few days of the season and have a wonderful rest of year. At least it is a matter of months and not years before we are back at it.
Mike Schireman

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

Snohomish Valley 01-19-2011 12:14
Cloudy, Light Rain & Drizzle – 45-50 Degrees
I finally made it back into the field…for a few hours…for one day…better than nothing. Did not shoot the gun but there are a few birds still around. Having hunted less this year than any other since I started has got me a little turned around. I haven’t been able to track the bird movements like I have in the past. It was still so great to be out there. I am looking forward to closing weekend back at San Juan Farms in Sequim…hope to get out one more time before then. Just a note to the wise, buy and remodle a house in the Spring or Summer…not during hunting season 🙂 Enjoy the last few weeks of the season.
Mike

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
Hugh-Carney
Field Editor

Columbia Basin 01-14-2011 09:52
Sunny & Clear, Winds Calm – 50-60 Degrees
okay, I know I’ve slowed down on the field reports and maybe had a few over exaggerations but here is one thing to think about if you’re thinking of hunting the basin over the next few days.

There are some birds left so the trip is worth while but they aren’t very predictable. One spot one day and somewhere else the next. Best to be mobile.

The bigger concern is the weather. We have been cold for a long time and now with a sudden warm up the dirt and gravel roads ARE SOFT. Getting stuck in wet ash/mud/gravel is a strong possibility if you aren’t careful. Tread lightly.

Hugh

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

Have not been out!!!!! 01-04-2011 11:37
Arctic Blast – 10-20 Degrees – Open Water
Well, I have spent the last 2 weeks getting settled in the new house…no hunting at all. Friends in the field have had good luck on the salt water with this extended cold snap, however duck numbers are down. I figure, as in the past, that the birds are pushing through to warmer places. The Pintail numbers have been building but they never stay for long…it is killing me to not be out there. Jeff Daniels, if you are reading this, I would be happy to trade you a hunt over here for one over there next season…sounds like you pounded the geese the other day :).
Stay warm everyone and enjoy the fleeting moments of another season.
Mike

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

Quilceda (Marysville) 12-13-2010 12:04
– – 40-45 Degrees
A picture perfect duck day…with rain and wind…but the birds were not that interested. Of course there are many possible reasons but with all the flooding the birds most likely headed inland. Won’t be out again until after the weekend (moving day). Now have a great pond to train a new pup though 🙂 If you use the rivers be very careful, the water is high and faster than it may look. Birds aren’t worth pressing your luck.
Keep pour’n the steel to ’em and be safe,
Mike

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
John-Kruse
Field Editor

Columbia Basin 12-05-2010 23:30
Mostly Sunny, No Precipitation – 25-30 Degrees – Open Water
Had an interesting weekend that turned into a great hunt with the Mar Don Duck Taxi.

My son, two friends and I were supposed to go on a field goose hunt with Meseberg Adventures from Mar Don Resort (Who I should mention…in fairness…is a sponsor of my radio show). However, we found out on Saturday most of the geese were flying south to warmer climes.

Instead we headed to some open water near Othello for a day of duck hunting. Things started off slow, and by 9:30 AM we only had a green-wing teal and pintail in the blind. However, around 10 AM huge flocks of mallards and teal started coming our way, done with their morning feeding. By 2 PM the four of us had 24 ducks, primarily mallards and green-wing teal.

We could have limited but one member of our party needed to get back sooner than later. It was a great day on the water and I have to admit, the guide’s “duck kabobs” in the blind made for a fantastic lunch that went a long way towards warming our bellies on a cold day!

John Kruse
www.northwesternoutdoors.com

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

12-02-2010 16:23
– – –
Well the big freeze proved to be a good thing for my part of the region as the bays and open water produced. We are now back to normal temp wise so we shall see how the next few weeks play out. I will be out of the game for the next two weeks as my family and I begin the process of moving into a new home. Keep the birds move’n and the barrels warm. I will post any info from friends in the field as I get them.

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

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Posted By:
Hugh-Carney
Field Editor

Columbia Basin 11-22-2010 10:46
Cloudy, Accumulating Snow – 10-20 Degrees – Ice
New birds are coming to the basin fairly regularly now. Still in many refuges but divers mallards and geese are much more prevalent over the past 10 days. The coming deep freeze and snow may make them move and work better..

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

Took the weekend off 11-21-2010 21:37
Cloudy, Snow Flurries – 25-30 Degrees – Open Water
Well…sad to say but I ended up taking the weekend off. The report I got from teh Skagit area was not great however with the temps dropping this week could be great. Not expecting to get out until after T-Day. Wish I had the week off but not the case. Get out on the saltwater if you can…and happy holidays to everyone. Be safe and watch your dogs in these cold temps and water.

Mike

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
SMeadors
Web Member

Vancouver, WA 11-09-2010 15:15
Cloudy, Light Rain & Drizzle – 50-60 Degrees
Hunted Saturday and saw 1 duck, weather was warm. Good rain on Sat night and went back out on Sunday and we shot 8. Saw several large groups of high fliers moving down the Columbia between Longview and Vancouver.

Posted By:
Hugh-Carney
Field Editor

columbia basin 11-08-2010 13:26
– – –
I know a guy that knows a guy that knows a guy that knows a guy that said bird numbers are growing in the basin but there is very little movement of birds once they get here. Cold weather should help.

An elusive Pinteal with a radio collar was harvested on the Yakima firing center last week. This is the seldom seen Pintail/Teal cross that frequents sagebrush patches instead of water. In other odd news around the columbia basin, a rabbit with radio active poop was discovered on the Hanford sight (I think they found it at night). Fluffy bunny was destroyed and no other radio active sugar has been found to this point, although they are watching Patty Murry because that was a close one.

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

Quilceda Area and Skagit Bay 11-08-2010 12:42
Cloudy, Occassional Rain Showers – 45-50 Degrees
Kind of a let down for bay shooting since the tides were actaully good for one of the first times this season. The bays in both locations are in need of a fresh batch of birds. Have not heard how inland people did but hope it was better than than the bayside. Scratched out a few birds for the BBQ though…and they were great!

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
John-Kruse
Field Editor

Columbia Basin 10-26-2010 23:54
– – –
Late breaking Waterfowl News from the Basin!

Mikal Moore, WDFW Biologist, reports varied hunting success over opening day weekend in the Basin. Moores says overall, hunters actually did better than the last few years, averaging 2.75 birds per hunter hunting Potholes Reservoir, Frenchman’s Wasteway and Winchester Wasteway.

The hotspot was Frenchman’s Wasteway, where gunners averaged 4 birds each. On the other end of the spectrum, shooters near the Job Corps Dike did not do well (see my previous post) though hike-in hunters along Crab Creek in the North end of the reservoir did just fine.

In goose news, Moore states as of mid-October there were 10,000 to 15,000 Lesser Canada Geese gathered at Stratford, some 24 miles north of Moses Lake. Those numbers continue to build and should peak around Halloween.

Good luck and good hunting!

John Kruse
Northwestern Outdoors Radio
wwww.northwesternoutdoors.com

Posted By:
John-Kruse
Field Editor

Potholes Reservoir, Central WA 10-21-2010 23:10
Mostly Sunny, No Precipitation – 50-60 Degrees
A slow duck opener this year for most hunters gunning for local ducks around Potholes Reservoir this year. In fact, on a personal note, I’d have to say it was the slowest duck opener I’ve ever seen.

Boat hunters south of the Job Corps Dike saw mallards, teal and Canada Geese but virtually no gadwall or wigeon, a change from most years. Numbers also seemed to be dramatically down. Nine hunters in four different groups only managed to down 8 ducks during Saturday and Sunday hunts.

There were some scattered success stories. One group of three hunting a honey-hole near Crab Creek managed six birds per hunter on opening day but found themselves skunked on Sunday.

Guides from the Mar Don Duck Taxi at the south end of the Reservoir were able to get clients into decent shooting. One of these hunters reported three of them downing 14 ducks on the opener and four gunners getting 21 birds the following day.

A request for harvest information to the local WDFW biologist has so far gone unanswered. All in all, most hunters will be waiting for better hunting when Northern birds migrate through the area in mid to late-November.

Stay safe and have a great season afield!

John Kruse
Northwestern Outdoors Radio
www.northwesternoutdoors.com

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

Quilcida Area 10-21-2010 13:01
Cloudy, Heavy Fog – 50-60 Degrees
Yeah the do grow up fast…I’m already trying to put the breaks on every day to make them last a little longer. Opened in the afternoon…everyone and their buddy was out but I got to hunt with my brother and nephew and buddy Casey. We took a few birds and just really enjoyed being back out there. Helped to a fisherman in after he lost his outdrive???? Strange deal 🙂 We hit it again Sunday but it was so foggy that we wouldn’t have seen a bird 75 feet away…is was a crazy ride out but again we enjoyed the company. Now that we have the opener only hunters out of the way I am looking forward to some better numbers out of my hunts. Let it blow and let it snow…or at least look like hunting weather. Hope you all had a safe and fun opener. Oh did I say how much I miss hunting with my dog?!?!?! We miss ya out there Abbey, keep the family safe while I am out.

Mike

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
webmaster
root

?? 10-20-2010 10:53
– – –
Mike — Life happens and for a few years we prioritize differently. I missed the Sat opener for my son’s football games but Sunday’s hunt with them made up for it. 🙂

They grow fast. Don’t miss it.

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

???? 10-14-2010 15:20
– – –
Well here we go!!!! I won’t be hitting the Sat morning opener as I have opted to watch my little gilr’s soccer game…when she heard she was shocked and actually said “Thanks Dad”, that makes it worth it already. I will be out in the afternoon and Sunday as well. Good luck to all of you as you welcome another season doing what we all love to do. A special goodluck to Walter and Uncl Frank…wish we were all hunting together this weekend.
Be safe everyone,

Mike

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

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Posted By:
Hugh-Carney
Field Editor

Columbia Basin 09-28-2010 10:38
Sunny & Clear, Winds Calm – Over 70 Degrees
Went out on the kid weekend and had a great time, but found something new.

My daughter shot a couple of odd looking birds that I couldn’t identify. Lots of mallard look to them and very big. After the first one I figured it was just a farm cross, but by the 4th one I was very curious. I took the birds to a game agent I saw in the field and he was obviously not willing to be very up front with information but he finally let the cat out of the bag.

It seems the fish and wildlife guys experimented with a wigeon/mallard cross this past spring in an attempt to create something along the lines of the triploid trout they plant in stocked lakes. It was expected to take hold next year and the public was going to be informed in the spring of 2011, but the birds reproduced so successfully they are in large numbers already. Some had as many as 4 clutches this year.

Being a wigeon/mallard cross it is called a Willard. The bird has a very odd call. It is a 3 part call that starts with a wigeon whistle, followed by a mallard quack, followed by two coughs that sound like a smoker. Weirdest thing you ever heard. They may even increase the limit just on them to 7 and all others to 7 from what I am told. Broiled with a little garlic salt and pepper they are similar to a New York steak.

One other thing, they don’t seem to be able to reproduce in Western Washington so they are only an east side bird. This is shaping up to be a hum dinger of a season.

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

Wet-Side 09-24-2010 15:10
– – –
Wow Hugh…I won’t even touch that one 🙂 Just letting everyone know I am back again this year doing my best for the west-side…probably the only one that will be reporting from here. If you have info for westsiders I would love to add it to my posts. Not sure I will hunt as much as past years with a new house set to close around opening and a daughter in soccer this year…but I will be out every weekend at least once. Hope you all had a great break and are ready to roll. Get out and knock the dust off before opener.

Mike

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
Hugh-Carney
Field Editor

columbia basin 09-20-2010 09:36
Sunny & Clear, Winds Calm – 60-65 Degrees
Well, went out scouting this morning to see what might be coming in the following weeks. Can’t believe what I saw. I was sitting still along a very remote area of the Columbia River and from a steep sage covered cliff walked out a big foot! He slowly walked to the edge of the water, looked up and down river then walked right into the water about waist deep and started scratching his balls. After a few seconds he dove in and began to float on his back. I watched in amazement and of corse didn’t have my camera or cell phone with me. After another 5 min. he walked out of the water, shook off like a dog, grabbed what looked to be pepperoni sticks, then as quickly as he appeared he vanished into the sage covered hill.

Hard to think there will a better part to the season.

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

On my way to Sequim this weekend 01-28-2010 00:00
– – –
Well here we go again…it doesn’t that many birds ago that we were all faced with the fleeting moments of another hunting season. It has been a little slower than some I can remeber but after 27 of them they sometimes run together.
This season saw the first duck call for my daughter, who can eat more Teal than I can, and the retirement of my faithful bird dog Abbey who had her final hunt this past weekend. She will retreat to the comfort of a warm house and bed with countless retrievs, that left me in amazement, to dream about. Thank you for every moment I enjoyed with you in the field old girl.
The season will once more meet its final moments with me hunting at the fabled San Juan Farm in Sequim with truely great friends…the only real way to make it paletable (sp?). Hope everyone had a wonderful season, have a safe and healthy off season…and end this one with a smile on your face…I know I will.
Take care,

Mike

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

[Edited By mike-schireman on 2010-01-28 00:03]

Posted By:
Hugh-Carney
Field Editor

Columbia Basin 01-25-2010 09:32
– – –
Parts of the basin have gained a second breath in the past 10 days. Numbers may be a little low for late Jan. but they have bumped up since the first of the month. The birds my parties are getting are very mature. Cans and Red Heads are strong and the geese are really moving to cheat grass as the ice melts and the green shoots of grass begin to show again.

The birds seem to be concentrated in certain areas more than normal. While I scout I notice that there will be no birds for long stretches then good numbers in the air or in open water or on the ground, then they thin out again. Scouting couldn’t be more important than right now.

-Hugh

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

01-20-2010 10:23
Cloudy, Winds Calm – 45-50 Degrees
Well the two week mark is quickly approaching. Unfortunately the bird numbers have really fallen off, which is nothing really new for this time in the season. Hunted the Skagit area last weekend and aside from the Snow goose hunters guns were pretty silent. I did see widgeon groups working the big water later in the morning but not enough to keep us out. Not very encouraged about the upcoming weekend but will head out none the less. Fortunately I have been invited back to the fabled San Juan Farm over in the Sequim area for the final weekend of the season to close it out in style with great friends. I will drop in for a closing report after the 31st. Get out there even if it is only for a boat ride or walk as these next few weeks fade away.
Mike

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

Marysville/Quilceda 01-11-2010 10:56
Cloudy, Light Rain & Drizzle – 45-50 Degrees
Well the season’s end is quietly approaching. I hunted the Marysville/Quilceda area this weekend and managed to bring a few birds back to the house. Bayside hunters sounded like they did a little better but there is a noticed decrease in bird numbers. The mild temperatures have not helped the hunting over here. Savor these last few weeks in the field even if the hunting has slowed…we all know how long the offseason can be.
Good luck
Mike Schireman

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
John-Kruse
Field Editor

Central Washington 12-30-2009 23:24
– – –
Good Reports from our area lately –

Hunters along the Columbia River are reporting good shooting for wigeon and mallards. Less scaup than usual but there seem to be a few more bufflehead this year if you like those little guys.

Another hunter shared with me that mallards were stacked 300 to 400 deep trying to land in the grain field he was hunting with a local guide recently near Moses Lake.

Similar good reports from Mar Don Resort’s guide service.

With moderate winter weather it looks as if hunting will stay good for a bit. Scouting (to find out where the birds are feeding) will help you have a good hunt.

Have a Happpy New Year!

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

Not sure yet 12-18-2009 12:19
Cloudy, Winds Calm – 45-50 Degrees
Just a quick note to everyone…Have a happy and rest filled holiday. I am not sure haw many updates I will have between now and the new year…I will try to hunt as much as possible though:) None the less be safe and shoot straight.
Merry Christmas to all!!!!!!

Mike

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
Hugh-Carney
Field Editor

columbia Basin 12-17-2009 12:58
– – –
Lots of fog, lots of icy roads, lots of new birds basin wide.

Should start warming up into the 40’s through the weekend and beyond.

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Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

Snohomish County 12-14-2009 16:17
Arctic Blast – 25-30 Degrees – Ice
Well hopefully you have been able to hunt the rivers or bays over the last week. Very cold temps have frozen up standing water in the valleys and forced the birds out. Bird numbers are way up as they have been concentrated in open water areas. Work has limited me to only one hunt over the past week but it was an amazing one!!!. Most of the ice has flushed out but boaters be aware that thin ice can cause major damage and even slice open your smaller boats. I actually turned back on Sat (now that I have a wife and kids :)) and opted to take a larger boat. Live to hunt another day folks. Enjoy the birds…temps due to go back up in the next 48 hours.

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
Hugh-Carney
Field Editor

Columbia Basin 12-08-2009 11:00
– – –
0 degrees this AM.

Duck numbers growing and with no snow cover they may stay a while. The trick is to find open water. Gonna be harder over the next 3-4 days.

Fri. or Sat there may be a wet system from the Pacific colliding with this cold air mass. Snow? Freezing Rain? Sleet?

Should get above freezing by Sun. or Mon.

-Hugh

Posted By:
Hugh-Carney
Field Editor

Columbia Basin 12-03-2009 11:08
– – –
Gonna get very cold in the Basin. Lows in the teens over the past few nights and that is the trend for the next 10 days. Snow is in the forecast for the weekend but @ only a 20% chance. Mid next week sees a much greater chance of snow.

Small water is freezing already and birds are concentrating on bigger water. In addition it seems that new birds are beginning to show up. Bird activity is more frequent. All the things that help add to a better harvest.

Don’t forget to pack the extra clothes and keep the dog warm too.

-Hugh

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

Snohomish and Skagit Counties 12-01-2009 14:37
Sunny & Clear, Winds Calm – 40-45 Degrees
Well December has arrived and finally we are starting to see some overnight lows heading in the right direction. The hunting here over the past two weeks has been up and down depending on your location. I enjoyed a great hunt off the Snohomish River with a mixed bag of Widgeon, Teal, and Mallards…all nice bright birds. However I have gotten poor reports from others hunting the tidelands. We received over 8 inches of rain in November, several inches more than normal. The waterworks are shut off for now…maybe through the weekend. We need new birds and hoping a little chill in the air will help. On a side note…there are still tons of spawned out salmon in the rivers and tidelands…keep an eye on your dogs as ingesting these can be fatal to them…not to mention the rolling on the carcass makes for a very smelly truck ride!!! Call to the wing tips and tails.
Mike Schireman

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
Hugh-Carney
Field Editor

columbia Basin 11-24-2009 10:28
– – –
F word!

Fog is in the forecast for the long weekend. Huge wind last week now not enough to keep the fog out. If you have a fog spot you might want to consider it.

Bird numbers are building but activity is at first light and well after sunset.

Blue Bills and lesser Canadians are really active in the lower CB lately.

Happy Thanksgiving

Hugh

Posted By:
Hugh-Carney
Field Editor

columbia Basin 11-20-2009 14:00
– – –
With multiple storms pounding the coast you’d think birds would tend to filter into the basin but only over the past week has there been any influx of birds, and that has only been in some regions.

I have seen concentrations of Pintails like I haven’t seen in a few years and the Mallards are tending to be more mature than a month ago. Ran into good groups of Red Heads and scratched out some Cans last weekend in addition to seeing the first of the Goldeneyes.

Not terribly cold in the great white north yet so the big numbers are yet to come. Trickle migration so far. Numbers are building in the Moses area a little faster than the rest of the basin.

Lessers are more apparent this year and even saw a few snows mixed in last week.

All water is open. It’d be nice to have some freeze up to help concentrate birds. Dosen’t look like it in the next 7-10 days.

-Hugh

Posted By:
John-Kruse
Field Editor

North Columbia Basin 11-14-2009 22:44
Sunny & Clear, Winds Calm – 30-34 Degrees – Open Water
Took an early morning drive over to the North Columbia Basin on Veteran’s Day with my lab, Sage.

First stop was the ridgeline above Stratford. Three of us arrived at shooting time in different rigs. There were not many lessers on the lake below us. Some had likely been feeding under a mostly full moon while others had dispersed from this staging area. No geese flew in our direction at all and the last birds were off the lake by 0740 hrs.

I next went down to the northern end of the Gloyd Seeps Wildlife Area. I saw no other hunters there – and no sign of birds on the water or in the brush (pheasant or duck) driving around and doing a half hearted walk through some brush near the water in one area. I did see a few flocks of geese working some nearby wheat fields though, so that would be an option if you could scout them out and then get permission to hunt them with some dekes and layout blinds.

Back in the Wenatchee area I am noticing a few northern birds arriving. Wigeon, hooded merganser and redhead ducks that have not been here before are now making an appearance but overall, there aren’t too many birds here from Canada yet. Some weather may change that soon!

John Kruse Northwestern Outdoors Radio www.northwesternoutdoors.com

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

Othello 11-03-2009 13:40
Cloudy, Winds Calm – 45-50 Degrees
What a week last week! I made another pilgrimage to Eagle Lakes Ranch Lodge in Othello. You may or may not be a fan of guided hunts…but if you are interested in the TOTAL package you have to make the trip. This is a 5 star production from the minute you show up to the beautiful lodge until you pick your birds up at the processor on the way out (it is hard to leave this place). Top notch food, rooms, guides and of course birds. There is truly no other outfit in the state like Eagle…check out their website, you will not be disappointed.
This was the earliest I have ever hunted there, and to echo what others are reporting, the birds were local and pretty smart at this point. None the less we stayed out a little longer (alright by me) and filled out our limits.
I do have to admit that I am looking forward to some new storms brewing off the coast and getting back out there in the salt air. If you have Thursday and Friday off it looks good for hunting.

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

[Edited By mike-schireman on 2009-11-03 15:38]

[Edited By mike-schireman on 2009-11-04 13:37]

Posted By:
John-Kruse
Field Editor

Colockum W.A. 10-30-2009 21:53
Cloudy, Winds Calm – 40-45 Degrees
Mikal Moore, Waterfowl Biologist at the WDFW out of Ephrata, reports duck hunting was okay in the Basin but good in the Yakima Valley for the opener.

On the pheasant front, if you don’t mind planted birds they are planting them this week in several locations – to include the Colockum Wildlife Area where my nine-year old lab and I managed to scratch a limit in a couple of hours this morning.

I also talked to Pheasant Biologists in Central and Eastern WA. Best bets appear to be in SE WA if you want wild pheasants this year. The Columbia Basin will be okay for planted birds but due to very efficient agricultural practices, not so good for wild birds.

Weather has been cool, cloudy and rainy at times in Central Washington over the last week. I haven’t seen any real influxes of new birds.

Good luck this weekend!

John Kruse Northwestern Outdoors Radio www.northwesternoutdoors.com

Posted By:
Hugh-Carney
Field Editor

Central Wa. 10-29-2009 12:41
– – –
Good soaking rain today and weekend temps expected to warm up could mean considerable fog.

Lots of divers in the basin right now and many in ponds and lakes, not just rivers. Goose influx over the past few days as well in parts of the basin. Not getting any significant cold weather up north to push birds down but the numbers seem to be about about a month ahead.

Teal numbers are good right now too. Had a friend get a nice Cinnamon on the opener and I am still seeing blue wings on occasion.

Most irrigation is shut off by now so water levels in some ponds may change. Not much freeze threat in the next 7-10 days.

-Hugh

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Posted By:
John-Kruse
Field Editor

Stratford 10-25-2009 17:32
Mostly Sunny, No Precipitation – 40-45 Degrees
Took my son and dog up to the Stratford Firing Line above the reserve hoping the geese would be on the lake and that they would fly over when it was time to feed.

Found about a dozen other hunters up there as well hoping for the same outcome. As daylight broke we could see there were probably 12,000 to 15,000 Lesser Canada Geese on the lake, less than usual for this time of year and far less than the 30,000 birds expected this year.

When the birds did get up they unfortunately did not come our way. Nobody on the firing line got any birds this day.

Hopefully more birds will be on the way to this area soon – and hopefully a few will fly over the firing line for the hunters that make the trip here.

If nothing else – the view was great and it was a pleasant way to watch the sun come up!

John Kruse Northwestern Outdoors Radio www.northwesternoutdoors.com

Posted By:
John-Kruse
Field Editor

Potholes Reservoir 10-25-2009 17:25
– – –
Just finished producing my radio show for next weekend. The topic – Fall waterfowl hunting and fishing at Potholes Reservoir.

A link to the Intro portion of the show is below. Enjoy!!

http://www.fishingandhuntingreport.com/audio/18/northwestern-outdoors-duck-hunting-edition-intro

John Kruse Northwestern Outdoors Radio www.northwesternoutdoors.com

Posted By:
John-Kruse
Field Editor

Potholes Reservoir 10-23-2009 10:09
Cloudy, Occassional Rain Showers – 50-60 Degrees
Opening Weekend Report:

Set up Duck Camp about a mile and a half south of the Job Corps Dike in the north end of Potholes Reservoir with my son and best friend for another year of Duck Camp.

Found the place we wanted to get to (on public land) had a large blind built on it – probably a week earlier based on the dying foilage – could have gotten into a *$%*ing match and set up camp there but decided it wasn’t worth the hassle and moved to another spot a couple hundred yards away.

Our new spot turned out to be a teal hole – our group shot 9 birds over two days, 6 of them being green-wing teal. The other spot we wanted to get (with the hunters showing up right at shooting time every morning) appeared to be pretty good, with the hunters probably bagging about 20 birds over 2 days to include a fair amount of mallards.

The late opener and previous cold spell meant some changes. More flocks of teal, less pintail than I saw during the youth hunt, small groups of mallards and a good amount of wigeon.

Two other hunters on opening day gave me a report about a mile south of Crab Creek. They did well – bagging a limit of wigeon and teal.

Coming out on Sunday around 11 AM we saw absolutely no other hunters set up on the water – an indication of fewer hunters this year and probably less success as well for the ones that remained.

Goose numbers (locally) were low but there sure were alot of sandhill cranes cruising around at different elevations. We actually were woken up at 3 AM by a low flying flock that came over our tent!

Fished the next couple of days on Potholes Reservoir. Hunting pressure appeared to be low – based on the amount of shooting heard and the few boats trading back and forth in the dunes.

Fishing – by the way – was slow for walleye and bass but they are out there. We saw the results of the annual WDFW netting survey at Mar Don Result. Crews put out 10 nets for 24 hours in the Reservoir before pulling them and emptying them at Mar Don Resort. The result – 262 walleye – including lots of big, fat ones!

Posted By:
Hugh-Carney
Field Editor

Centra Wa 10-23-2009 09:21
– – –
This coming weekend is expected to mild and I have already seen a reluctancy of the birds to move much. There was a weak cold front that moved through Wed, AM then most areas became very still and temps in the 60’s. This may be what happens this weekend as well.

Cold front is moving through Fri. late in the day followed by high winds overnight possibly extending into the AM. After that Sat should be partly sunny and calm followed on Sun. by possible rain showers and highs in the 50’s.

Not very conducive to duck movement but on the upside the diver numbers are very strong for late October. We have one more week to watch for the Bluebills before we can shoot em. Cans and Red Heads are in some areas so don’t be suprised if they buzz your spread.

Watch the wind.

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

Skagit Area 10-21-2009 12:26
Cloudy, Occassional Rain Showers – 50-60 Degrees
Nothing short of a great opener this year in Stanwood. Actually got up and into the field with time to spare…must be getting old. Tons of hunters out but all seemed to respect space and distance. A true mixed bag of Teal, Mallards, and Pintail. There were a few Widgeon but yet to see their full arrival. Day two saw only one other group of hunters out compared to the 20+ boats on opening. It will be interesting to see if the local birds vacate the area this weekend. Also had good reports from hunters farther north. Hope you all had safe and successful openers and continue it this weekend. A little over a week before I make a rare trip to the eastside to hunt at Eagle Lakes.

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

???????? 10-16-2009 12:01
Cloudy, Occassional Rain Showers – 50-60 Degrees
Well if your heart isn’t pounding by now then you must not be going hunting this weekend. The weekend we have all been waiting for since the end of last January is here. I will be heading out on the south fork of the Stilly on Saturday and points unknown Sunday. Final preparations will be done tonight since I won’t be able to sleep anyway. Don’t forget to triple check your gear and good luck to everyone wherever you may hunt. Ahhhhh I love the smell of a two stroke outboard and a wet dog in the morning!!!!

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
John-Kruse
Field Editor

Potholes Reservoir 10-15-2009 22:09
Cloudy, Winds Calm – 50-60 Degrees
DUCK CAMP 2009!

Heading to Duck Camp again for 2009! Two days camping in the dunes in the north end of Potholes Reservoir followed by two nights at Mar Don Resort. No TV’s – No work – Just duck hunting and fishing for four days! Can’t wait!

Weather forecast is highs in the lower 60’s – lows around 40 – for the weekend. Cloudy with an off chance for a shower or two. Could be worse (you know…like the 17 degrees it was in the Basin last weekend).

Good luck to all on Opening Day – I’ll let everyone know how it went in my portion of Potholes Reservoir when I get back!

John Kruse Northwestern Outdoors Radio www.northwesternoutdoors.com

Posted By:
Hugh-Carney
Field Editor

Central Wa. 10-15-2009 10:02
– – –
Bird numbers are pretty good in most spots. Might have even had a recent influx over the last week or so.

Rain in the past few days may lead to patchy fog in valley’s near big water. Shouldn’t be too cold.

good luck.

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

Garage 10-07-2009 14:05
Sunny & Clear, Winds Calm – Over 70 Degrees
Great to hear that you got your boy out John!
A few more comments from the west-side. Expect a large showing for Snow geese this year. It is reported that the hatch was huge and that young birds will make up almost 40% of the numbers which should make for some great decoy shooting…just don’t shoot the decoys. Also if you are planning on going after the snow’s make sure you have your harvest report card (as I stated in an earlier report…it is different this year). Also different is the quality hunts. Contact your local WDFG office for details if you entered the drawing. Even if you did not get drawn there are open days to hunt the units…but only if you entered the drawing. 10 days until it is actually a pleasure to get up before 6:00.

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
John-Kruse
Field Editor

Potholes Reservoir 10-04-2009 11:43
Sunny & Clear, Winds Calm – 60-65 Degrees
A late posting on this year’s youth hunt. I got the opportunity to take my 12 year old son out for his first duck hunt.

Not too crowded out – only two other parties of hunters in the area. Birds were moving pretty well from shooting time until we packed up around 9:30 AM. My son got his fair share of shooting and we got a gadwall in the bag thanks to a nice retrieve from our lab that is almost as old as my son.

The usual suspects were present – teal, wigeon, gadwall and mallards. I saw a few more pintail than usual but only one small group of geese.

We did get a treat of seeing three sandhill cranes fly right over the decoys about 25 yards up – something I’m not used to seeing. Other wildlife included pelicans, herons and lots of egrets.

Duck numbers appeared to be slightly down. This is consistent with a report from WDFW Biologist Rich Finger. His assessment of hunting in the basin (Courtesy of the WDFW Weekender Report):

“Opening weekend of waterfowl hunting in the Columbia Basin should offer good numbers of mallards, teal, wigeon , and gadwall , Finger reported, even though overall duck production in the district was down about 25 percent this year. “That will primarily affect early season hunting,” he said, “since the peak number of migrant waterfowl is usually in December. Regardless, there will be local birds available on the opener, including some wood ducks concentrating in stands of flooded Russian olive trees in the wasteways.”

Finger said hunters using the Winchester Regulated Access Area should be cautious about pintails , which can be abundant there early in the season. Only two of the seven duck daily bag limit can be pintails.”

Less than two weeks to go before the opener. Looking forward to it!!

John Kruse
Northwestern Outdoors Radio
www.northwesternoutdoors.com

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Posted By:
Hugh-Carney
Field Editor

High 5’s 09-30-2009 17:01
– – –
So how many high 5’s are okay on a hunt until it’s too much? I suppose it could be a ‘real men of gienus’ commercial. You know the one guy that high five’s too much or screams really loud when he shoots every bird.

Don’t get me wrong, a mild celebration or acknowledgment of a good shot or a rare bird or a band is understandable, but jumping up and down for that hen teal you just killed may be a bit much.

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

The Garage 09-29-2009 14:07
– – 50-60 Degrees
OK no more procrastination!!! We are now under 20 days until the big day. It is time to fire up the boat motor, untangle the decoys and wash them up, and get your gear together. A reminder to also get those life-jackets/PFD’s out…I saw more than one person get turned around at the boat launch last year…having them is the law and they enforce it over here on the west side.
I went out and stood in the wind and rain for a few minutes last night…the early moments of fall were great to see. If anybody still needed someone to say it is ok to start getting “Ducky” then I am saying it! Good luck in all your preparations as it too is an enjoyable part of this way of life that we call **waterfowling**

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
perro
Web Member

colorado 09-26-2009 19:43
– – –
I know what you mean. I’d like to see a how to series. Were people in different parts of the country show you how they get it done. Wither it is big water divers in Minnesota or the Columbia river tidal flats.

I guess I want more then some azs sitting in a wheat field in Alberta with his robo duck.

Doug

Posted By:
Hugh-Carney
Field Editor

Hunting videos 09-24-2009 11:16
– – –
Like many, I watch too many hunting videos and they all seem to be the same any more. I am beginning to loath the ones that shows all the hunters getting up at o dark thirty and loading their gear or setting up the spread in front of the headlites. I can do without the part showing guys walking toward the camera at the end of the hunt or spending 5 min. in every chapter listening to guys talk about the hunt I just got done watching. I don’t need to see guys cleaning birds, picking up decoys or empty shells. I don’t need to see the picture out the car window on the 10 hr. drive.

I’d like to see a video of duck and goose hunting. I’d like to watch the guys work birds with a good spread and decent calling. I’d like to see segments that don’t go on for ever. I like to see the country side and birds flying in mass. They don’t have to be shot at, but don’t show the same thing for 7 min. It would be really nice to see a hunting video of hunting and not listen to the guys in the video talk about them selves or the shameless constant plug for the sponser’s. Some guys use the name of the video’s sponser as if it were a conjunction.

Maybe this kind of production isn’t out there but if there is one, I’d like to know about it.

-Hugh

Posted By:
Hugh-Carney
Field Editor

weather 09-22-2009 10:59
– – –
If you can get your hands on the latest issue of DU there is a good article on weather and ducks. Starts about pg. 66. Nothing new but worth reading.

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

General Info 09-10-2009 16:37
– – –
Just a quick note to remind you all to read the regs this year…as many of you know and as Hugh stated Cans are back in the bag and two Pins to boot. If you are a Snow Goose gunner then you need to get your free authorization/report card when/where you get your Lisc. People are reporting that in an effort to save $ the state will not be sending them out to those who had them last season. Hope this helps some of you…but there are some more inportant changes noted in the pamphlet…give it a look.

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
Hugh-Carney
Field Editor

E Wa 09-03-2009 10:30
– – –
For better or worse….here we go again.

Getting the fever? Prolly with the dove opener we all start to scratch a little and over the next 6 weeks we’ll be forming scabs waiting to hunt.

Central Wa. seems to be in good shape for ducks and geese. My unofficial review of ponds and bird numbers seems to be at least normal if not slightly above. Ducks have really started to show up in the Yakima Valley over the past 10 days too. Hopefully the youth weekend will provide good chances for those hunters.

The US Fish and Wildlife survey shows strong numbers for nesting birds and broods that use the pacific flyway. The statement from one biologist was that numbers are as good as he has seen since 1986. That is reflected in increased Pintail limits and getting canvasbacks back on the harvestable list.

Maybe the long weekend will allow you to shake the dust off the decoys and take inventory of what you may need to get. Starting now may be better than the traditional Oct. 16th panic of what you need. Of corse if you work in the Kent School Dist. you have a little extra time to put the hunting gear together.

Don’t forget the bug spray.

-Hugh

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

09-02-2009 15:53
– – –
Well 47 days and counting!!! Time to clean up the decoys, pattern the guns, start blowing the calls and tuning up the dog. Be sure to check the new regs for some changes this season. The summer was great but I am ready for the rain, wind, bitter temps and shooting birds. Try to get some sleep in the next few weeks because nobody wants to be late on opening day.

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

Closing Time… 01-22-2009 11:23
Sunny & Clear, Morning Fog – –
Well…the fleeting moments of another hunting season are upon us. I will happily end my season as I have for the past several years at the legendary and fabled San Juan Farm hunting club in Sequim with close friends…just the way it should be. It has been another amazing season marked with great sunrises, great shooting and most importantly great company. The most notable event was the return of my cherished hunting dog Abbey, back from a potentially career ending ACL injury. (I have a great Vet if you need one) Also there was the safe return of a great hunting buddy who was serving in Afghanistan, great to have you back Cannon. Sure there have been seasons where I have harvested more birds but for so many reasons the seasons just seem to be getting more and more memorable.
Thank you to those of you who take time to read my posts…I have enjoyed my job as a field editor and hope to continue as long as the site will allow. Thank you also to my fellow field editors, Hugh and John, from the Eastside for encouraging me to do this…I have enjoyed reading every one of your posts. To everyone, enjoy the offseason and be safe. If you are like me the countdown to next season begins at closing time Sunday.
All the best,
Mike

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

Not sure… 01-16-2009 11:16
– – 45-50 Degrees
Well the end is near I am afraid. Over here on the Westside the floods have really put the stopper on the bonanza we were having during the cold snap. Unless you have great access to flooded fields or that honey hole nobody knows about, you are struggling like the rest of us. Still there is no way of keeping the true waterfowler from the hunt for these last two weekends…dare I say it…one final week. Savor it my friends, take time to enjoy the sights and sounds and smell of the marsh air…it is always a long wait for October.

Schireman

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

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Posted By:
John-Kruse
Field Editor

Columbia Basin 01-02-2009 18:45
Mostly Sunny, No Precipitation – 30-34 Degrees – Ice
Slowly drove to the Columbia Basin this morning after we got another couple of inches of snow last night.

First stop was Winchester Wasteway, which was frozen in several places – to include the general area around the Dodson Road Access Area. After a short hike to confirm there was no open water in the area I headed down to Frenchman’s Wasteway and hiked a couple of miles through the fresh snow with my lab for the better part of the day.

Almost zero ducks flying, though there were a few geese moving about on this non-goose day. I did jump a few mallards (less than half dozen) and a small flock of bufflehead. Peppered one of the mallards that my lab retrieved and missed my first attempt at the buffleheads. Fortunately, they were not too bright and came right over me for a second attempt so I could make up for my first gaafe. Missed the drake but got a hen.

Drove over to Mar Don Resort and found things to be quiet, likely because Potholes Reservoir is now frozen. I was able to talk to one of the owners (Marilyn Meseberg) who told me their guide service has been doing great field hunting for geese with limits every day.

Weather was sunny, no breeze, and as I said, precious few ducks. I suspect most of them are on the Columbia River or further south.

Happy New Year to all!

JK
www.northwesternoutdoors.com

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

Quil Ceda Marysville 01-01-2009 21:04
Cloudy, Light Rain & Drizzle – 40-45 Degrees
Happy New Year to all!!!! The hunting on the Westside has been epic for a lack of a better word. The snow and cold weather pushed the birds to the bays…and WOW were they there. This kind of hunting made everyone feel like a champion caller and every decoy spread was perfect. Now that the weather has changed the birds have scattered, with most heading for the standing water of the valleys. Best of luck to everyone…finish strong and enjoy every moment…I know I have.

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

Open Water!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 12-25-2008 02:55
Cloudy, Snow Flurries – 25-30 Degrees – Open Water
Well, the weather man has delivered all that we asked for this Christmas. The bays are flooded with a mixed bag. The Snows’ are everywhere…I have done my best to cancel migrations. The duck hunting is at its pinnacle. As some of the old timer’s have said…this type of hunting only comes around every ten years or so…so get it while it is hot. Temps are due to change so get out there and enjoy.
All the best to you and yours…Merry Christmas and happy holidays. A special thank you to all those I have spent this year in the blind with and those I wish I had (R.W. Cannon…your seat has been saved).
Let’s finish it strong folks!!!
Take care,
Mike Schireman

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

The Bay/River of your choice!!!!! 12-16-2008 15:12
Arctic Blast – 10-20 Degrees – Open Water
Well here we go ladies and gentleman…the weather has changed!!! Time to move out of the fields and on to the open water with the birds. The bays will be the places to be in for the next week or so. As my counterparts on the eastside have stated in their reports…be careful out there…and watch your dogs (if you decide to hunt them) for the first signs of trouble. Enjoy the scenery and those northern birds…it is what we have been waiting for.
Mike

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
Hugh-Carney
Field Editor

columbia Basin 12-16-2008 09:37
Sunny & Clear, Winds Calm – Below Zero
The bird counts/report may good on the numbers, but with this intense freeze the distribution has already changed. mallards and pintails look to be making short trips between open water and grain. Up to 3 times a day, and not feeding for very long before getting back to water.

In the last 3 days I have sen Blue Bill and Red Head numbers increase in the rivers. The only water that is going to be huntable is going to be moving water or very warm spring fed pools. With lows below zero not much will remain huntable. I have, for the first time ever, seen irrigation ditches with running water freeze up! I’m not too sure I want to subject me or my dog to -3.

4-8 inches of snow is forecast for the Yakima Valley and Columbia Basin on Wed. Remaining very cold with lows below zero through Sat. Snow is expected again on Sun. Frostbite occurs within 5 min on exposed skin, including a dogs nose. Bundle up.

-Hugh

Posted By:
John-Kruse
Field Editor

Columbia Basin 12-10-2008 21:19
Mostly Sunny, No Precipitation – 30-34 Degrees – Open Water
Cold weather could make things interesting this coming week. As waters ice up the wasteways and canal ditches with running water along with spring fed ponds may be good bets along with field hunting.

Here’s the latest waterfowl report from the WDFW – hot off the press!
___________________________________

WDFW waterfowl specialist Mikal Moore of Moses Lake reports strong numbers of ducks in the Columbia Basin, although not as many as last year at this time when conditions were more wintery. Ducks, especially mallards, are heavily concentrated on reserves such as the Winchester Wasteway, northern Potholes Reservoir and portions of Moses Lake, particularly on the north end near the mouth of Rocky Ford Creek.

“The Frenchman and Wanapum reserves aren’t holding as many birds because there’s only about 30 percent of normal ice cover for this time of year in those areas,” Moore said. “Columbia River waterfowl hunting is not great, at least not for the diving ducks because they’re still so spread out.”

Goose hunting, on the other hand, is excellent. Moore reports reports that geese are using corn stubble, winter wheat and even alfalfa throughout the Basin’s agricultural lands, where hunters need to secure access permission from private property owners.

“Without snow cover, the geese are not concentrated in any one area,” Moore said, “so it takes some scouting to be successful.” Moore noted WDFW’s Corn Stubble Retention Program has acquired “Feel Free To Hunt” access to some private lands in the Basin and maps are available at the northcentral region office in Ephrata (509-754-4624, 1550 Alder St. N.W.)

“Conditions for waterfowl could – and probably will – change dramatically in the coming weeks,” Moore said. “With snow and colder temperatures, more birds will come into the Basin and be concentrated in more areas.” Watch for new postings of North Basin Waterfowl Surveys on the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/reg/eventopp/events2.htm .

Access to about 2,500 acres south of Potholes Reservoir may be closed through Dec. 16 while the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works to restore Columbia National Wildlife Refuge land damaged by fires this summer. The closure covers lands west of Marsh Unit 1 and the Falcon Lakes, south of O’Sullivan Dam, east of Corral Lake and north of Upper Goose Lake in Management Unit 1. Some land north of Upper Goose Lake and around Corral Lake also is included. For up-to-date information on closures, call 509-546-8300.

Big game (deer, elk, black bear and turkey) hunters are reminded to report harvest within ten days of a kill or, if unsuccessful, by Jan. 10, 2009, to be eligible for special hunting permits next year. All big game hunters must submit hunting reports by Jan. 31, 2009. See page 15 of the Big Game Hunting Seasons & Regulations pamphlet for all details.
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Good luck hunting!

JK
www.northwesternoutdoors.com

Posted By:
Hugh-Carney
Field Editor

Columbia Basin 12-09-2008 09:26
Mostly Cloudy, No Precipitation – 35-40 Degrees
Bird numbers still decent in the basin. Goose numbers way up in most places. I have seen an influx of Canvassbacks in the past week. Be sure to ID correctly.

Winter weather is expected beginning Friday in most of E. Wa. Possible snow showers Sat through Mon. Temps cold but not bitter. Upper teens for lows but highs not getting above freezing.

Didn’t seem to be as many hunters out last weekend. Might be a bit of the typical post-Thanksgiving lull. Hunter numbers usually stay light from now until the week after Christmas when it picks up a little bit.

Dress Warm
-Hugh

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

Snohomish Valley 12-01-2008 11:51
Mostly Sunny, No Precipitation – 50-60 Degrees
Sorry I have not been posting but busy days have kept me out of the blind for a bit. I did get a chance to hunt the Snohomish river valley this past Sunday. LOTS of birds working down the valley. They seem to be heading out just after shooting and headed toward the bay for the day. Still very mild here and we are in dire need of a cold snap…sunglasses and light jackets should not be an everyday part of your hunting outfit. If I had the time I would be heading to the east side of the mountains. Hope everyone had a great Turkey Day.
Mike

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

Posted By:
Hugh-Carney
Field Editor

columbia Basin 11-25-2008 11:05
Sunny & Clear, Morning Fog – 35-40 Degrees
Birds have redistributed over the past few days with the colder weather. Sounds like there has been a complete bug out from Ellensburg and it is feast or famin in the Yakima Valley. The basin is holding birds better, but the fog is a factor with the continued inversion which is expected to continue through the long weekend. It may help to check the DOT road cameras in the area you want to hunt to see how long the fog is hanging around. It is likely to get thicker as the inversion progresses.

Tried my new layout boat for the first time this past weekend. Certainly a different experience to be able to hit the bird with the barrel of the gun as easily as shoot them.

Happy Thanksgiving
-Hugh

Posted By:
mike-schireman
Field Editor

Snohomish County 11-19-2008 12:52
Sunny & Clear, Winds Calm – 45-50 Degrees
Well the birds seem to have stayed inland as there is plenty of standing water left after the flooding we have had. The bays were nearly void of ducks in my area but it sounds like it was better up north towards Skagit. This lull in birds is fairly typical for this time in the season and should start to turn in the next few weeks. It appears that we have some rain and wind on tap for Thursday so hopefully it signifies a change…yes, wishful thinking! On the upside, I woke up to a heavy frost today on the truck. Keep your fingers crossed and your calls ready.

Watching a bird dog work is one of life’s greatest gifts…so give’m a job!!!!

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