Past performance does not guarantee future gains. The old stock market adage certainly applies to duck hunting.
A Top Pick
Scott got the #2 lottery pick at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge on this Nov. 9, 2019 hunt and we were both excited to get a performing blind. And because the #1 pick didn’t show, we got the first choice of blinds. We both planned to leave before noon on this hunt so we wanted a blind that could be quick and easy to pack out.
A Proven Performer
We considered a few others, including a few favorites but settled on Blind 3 because it had been among the best performing blind, as is usual early in the season. However, it’s certainly not my favorite blind at Ridgefield. Just outside of the blind, the water is fairly deep and muddy. Large, submerged clumps of grass fill the rest of the pond, which means setting decoys and retrieving birds test your balance. Bring a dog or a hefty stick.
Despite some ducky weather, including a few rain showers, we only took three shots, all passing shots and nothing of real quality. One problem was there were not a lot of ducks flying. The second issue on this day were the guys set up in Blind 1a, which is about 200 yards away, directly in front of the blind. Their decoy spread, which included a couple of swans, lured what birds did venture our way to their spread all morning. They must have dropped two pintails early because by late morning drake pintails started landed in their spread unmolested.
Our spread featured the usual mix mallards, gadwall, pintail, widgeon, teal, and goose floaters. We had spread them in a V formation with the blind in the tip of the V. Birds that did pass us skirted the arms of the V and stayed well away from the blind. We moved the decoys around a couple of times to find the right mix but eventually ran out of time.
We’ve all had days when you get to watch a neighbor blind get all the action, sometimes because they are where the birds want to be, sometimes because they set up better for the conditions, and sometimes both. No matter how well the blind or area you pick had hunted the previous days or weeks is no guarantee it will do so again. That’s what makes duck hunting challenging and fun. You need to adapt, adjust, and get lucky. Otherwise, you get skunked.
On to better hunts.