After duck hunting all last weekend in the northern zone of Wisconsin, I was ready for the same thing this weekend in the southern zone. My brother (Justin) and I had been looking forward to this weekend for months. Justin arrived at my dorm room here in Winona, Minnesota, on Saturday morning at around 8:00 a.m. to give us plenty of time to drive to “the spot.” I have had a large piece of public land scouted out right across the border near Holmen, Wisconsin, and knew that there were a lot of ducks in the area; we just needed to get there before the rest of the local duck hunters.
It looked like a perfect morning. It was very foggy, but it was supposed to clear as the day went on. As we pulled into the parking area, we noticed there were vehicles parked all over. It was looking like we were going to have some competition! We couldn’t start hunting until 9:00 a.m., due to Wisconsin law, so we started walking out at 8:55. As soon as it hit 9:00 a.m., we started hearing shots from every direction. Now, this isn’t always a bad thing. Actually, it can be very helpful because it gets the ducks moving. We got to the marsh and kicked 5 wood ducks off of the first pond right away. Unfortunately, they were out of range so we just watched them fly into the haze. Not even five minutes later we had a beautiful drake wood duck come out of the fog right at us and I took one shot. That’s all it took. That was the perfect start to an even more perfect day. Ten minutes later, Justin got another drake wood duck. We walked about a hundred yards further and got a single hen wood duck. Other people were still shooting all over the place. We ended up getting to some flooded timber and decided to walk through that. By 11:00 a.m. we had our limits of wood ducks (3 per person.) We wanted to keep hunting but all we were seeing was wood ducks and Wisconsin law says that only 3 of the 6 ducks in a bag limit can be wood ducks, so we decided we would just be right back at it in the morning. We headed back to get some breakfast at Perkins, then went back to my dorm room and took a much needed 5 hour nap to rest up for day 2.
Our alarms go off at 5:30 a.m. and we jump out of bed faster than ever! We were ready for another perfect day of hunting. We left by 6:00 and got to the same spot as the day before at 6:30 just to find even more people parked there. It also started to rain right away. We fought through it and started on our way out to the pond we decided to set up in for the morning. We started hearing shooting right as shooting hours opened again, but we couldn’t see anything flying. It was completely opposite of the day before. We didn’t see a single duck in the first hour of light. When we finally saw the first ducks, they were so far out they looked like little dots flying through the cloudy sky. Justin and I decided we should start jumping ponds again like the day before. So, we picked up the decoys and went on our way. We walked farther up the swamp than the previous day and ended up finding some more potholes in the middle of the woods. We snuck up to some and kicked out about 20 wood ducks and, after we had both unloaded our guns, I had two drake woodies dead in the pond. Then, we decided we would keep walking through the woods to see if we could find more potholes. It didn’t take long and we had more ducks flying. Unfortunately, the ducks jumped up way out of range and we didn’t want to cripple any birds, so we did the ethical thing and didn’t shoot. Finally, the clouds started moving in and we had to call it quits around noon as the rain turned into a storm. It still turned out to be a fun day and a great hunt overall. We spotted hundreds of ducks throughout the weekend and that is what makes the hunt successful.
Needless to say, I hope I can get my brother to come down here again soon and maybe get some other species of ducks! It was an awesome weekend we will never forget and hopefully our luck continues throughout the season!