Our goose numbers remained high, while duck numbers fell from the 2016 season. We held onto a solid daily run on geese throughout the 2017 season, yet we just never did get ourselves into several of our typical big duck shoots. I would put blame to the local area being much drier then last season. It seems that almost always our big duck years come as we see an overly wet fall, but the trade off for us is that we are able to access the fields much easier with our big travel blind system. Those of you looking for a hunt that works around a comfortable blind system with cushioned seats and propane heat, and yet not sacrificing the overall hunt, should consider this hunt. There is no lying down in a lay-down blind; our blind system continues to be a game-changer, meaning we hold onto an extremely high amount of repeat business.
Below are just a few photos from our 2017 season, top to bottom and left to right: The swamp buggy was used for just the first five days of the season before we could begin leaving the machine back at the lodge; The joys of our blind system... comfort and heat as part of the gang awaits shooting time; 105 geese taken mid-day after we didn’t fire a shot for the first three hours; Another 90 plus bird shoot; Despite having the blind in a wrong position, we still nailed down 95 birds this morning; 88 geese on what turned out to be a classic morning.
Our waterfowl season was jump-started with two back-to-back resident waterfowl shoots of 80 and 91 birds on very nice decoying birds (see first photo).
Morning Sun Retrievers owners, Kevin & Wendy McClarin of Crimora, VA, sent Pepper back up for a second year of retrieving for our operation. With just over 170 birds taken in the first two days of hunting, her season marathon started on a quick note. She has been a blessing both on the field and on the home front (second photo).
Fall bear hunters continue to see that this remains one of the most consistent hunts of the year, with all hunters seeing opportunities at taking solid bears. Hunters were into bears almost every night of the season, and most found success early into their hunts. We were thrilled to see that the big chocolate, that we have been hunting for the past two years, return on camera just four days before the first hunt, and at 2:40 pm the first day, he slipped up. This was after being nocturnal for two weeks this spring before moving off and not returning.
Sample photos show Rob Yule of Sartell, MN, with the big chocolate bear; John Fox of South Bend, NE, who returned for his third fall bear hunt in a row and anchored this great bear; and Justin Sedivy of New Berlin, IL with his big boar.