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More Duck Hunting with Eagles


munsterlander

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munsterlander

This morning a friend and I went out to one of our usual spots, which I've mentioned before in the waterfowl section.  Same mud, and SO many eagles today.  We counted 19 in the field we were hunting at one point today, could have been more.  We lost two ducks to eagles today.  At times there were a few eagles flying right in with the flocks of ducks we were shooting, so we had to be careful not to shoot the eagles. 

The most remarkable steal was one was when my buddy shot a teal.  It folded up, dead in the air.  Landed with a splash no more than 30 feet from the blind.  I reached down to release my dog and my buddy yelled, "Look!"  An eagle swooped down and snatched up that teal and was flying away with it.  The duck had not been on the water more than maybe two seconds before the eagle grabbed it.  Again, 30' from us, with two guys and a dog all watching.  Furthermore, as he flew away with the duck, two other eagles dived on him.  The eagle with the duck was maybe 30-40' off the ground, and dropped the duck when the other eagles harassed him.  That duck fell no more than 10' down from that eagles talons when another eagle snatched it out of air and made off with it! 

Made for some fun bird watching.  Here are a few photos taken with my phone, and poor ones, out of focus, as I was never ready when something exciting happened, and vice versa.  

In the first photo you will see a flock of ducks flying on the left edge, and another flock in the center of the frame at a distance, and the bigger birds you see are eagles.  

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munsterlander
13 minutes ago, bobman said:

Eagles when baked taste something kind of between condors and spotted owls just incase you are wondering

Yes, my opinion also. 😉

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Eagles stealing ducks was a pretty regular event while hunting divers (mostly Ringnecks) around here a few years ago.  The lakes we hunted most often have active Eagle nests, so it seemed there were always Eagles around, and a friend who lives on one of the lakes had practically trained them to come to his boat for fish, so they weren't much afraid of us.  Once, when one tried to make off with a Canvasback, though, it wasn't able to lift it, so we managed to retrieve that bird.  Another time, an eagle helped me keep track of a cripple long enough so I managed to eventually catch up to it; I did manage to beat an eagle to a duck that time.  I'm willing to let 'em have one now and then 😉.

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munsterlander
2 hours ago, Craig Conroy said:

Eagles stealing ducks was a pretty regular event while hunting divers (mostly Ringnecks) around here a few years ago.  The lakes we hunted most often have active Eagle nests, so it seemed there were always Eagles around, and a friend who lives on one of the lakes had practically trained them to come to his boat for fish, so they weren't much afraid of us.  Once, when one tried to make off with a Canvasback, though, it wasn't able to lift it, so we managed to retrieve that bird.  Another time, an eagle helped me keep track of a cripple long enough so I managed to eventually catch up to it; I did manage to beat an eagle to a duck that time.  I'm willing to let 'em have one now and then 😉.

Yeah, in this area it's getting to be that a shotgun blast is like ringing the dinner bell for the eagles, they come in a hurry.  And the bird watchers follow the eagles around and I sort of get a kick out seeing the shock in their faces when they slowly drive by looking for eagles or swans when we are piling dead ducks on the tailgate.  

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munsterlander
1 hour ago, Jazz4Brazo said:

For some reason I can't see you pics and the links don't work either ☹

Hmmm.... I see them on my laptop, but not on my phone.  If someone knows the answer to this, I will try to post them differently in the future.  

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In the 90s, a friend won a door prize at a DU banquet and invited me along to a duck hunt on Reelfoot Lake in TN.  Hunting was out of large blinds out in the lake, with the boat pulled under the floor of the blind.  Most blinds had hundreds of decoys (a lot were painted gallon milk jugs), and about every 300 yards on either side, in a line parallel with the lake, was another blind as far as one could see.

 

We killed a mixed bag of ducks.  We saw about 10-15 eagles at any time throughout the hunt, some perched, some flying.  When a duck hit the water, the boat needed to be running and headed toward the dead duck in seconds, otherwise an eagle would have it.  We lost two ducks out of about a dozen shot that morning.   These eagles were trained to respond to the shot!

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Funny how they'll pretty much coexist where eagles are numerous, yet ducks and geese scatter and dang sure won't work when one of our relatively rare eagles is airborne down here.

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SelbyLowndes

I will tell my duck/eagle story even though I have no pictures to prove it, and I doubt anyone I tell it to ever believes me.

 

A few years ago in Saskatchewan, my buddy and I were out in the afternoon spotting for our next morning's duck shoot.  We found a field loaded with mallards which kept getting up and flying around in three or four separate flocks. A family group of Bald Eagles was harassing them, and we watched from a respectful distance with our binoculars.

 

As I followed one eagle in particular, a flock of 100 or so mallards intersected his flight.  One unfortunate duck flew close enough above the eagle and I watched the eagle turn upside down in mid air and grab the duck.  I watched until the eagle and duck had landed and the eagle began to feed.

 

There was a light snow on the field and I marked exactly where the eagle's dinner took place.  That evening, after the ducks left we drove into the field and found the bloody place in the snow.  Nothing left but mallard feathers, bill and feet.  Nope, no jewelry; nobody'd believe that...SelbyLowndes   

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munsterlander
21 minutes ago, SelbyLowndes said:

I will tell my duck/eagle story even though I have no pictures to prove it, and I doubt anyone I tell it to ever believes me.

 

A few years ago in Saskatchewan, my buddy and I were out in the afternoon spotting for our next morning's duck shoot.  We found a field loaded with mallards which kept getting up and flying around in three or four separate flocks. A family group of Bald Eagles was harassing them, and we watched from a respectful distance with our binoculars.

 

As I followed one eagle in particular, a flock of 100 or so mallards intersected his flight.  One unfortunate duck flew close enough above the eagle and I watched the eagle turn upside down in mid air and grab the duck.  I watched until the eagle and duck had landed and the eagle began to feed.

 

There was a light snow on the field and I marked exactly where the eagle's dinner took place.  That evening, after the ducks left we drove into the field and found the bloody place in the snow.  Nothing left but mallard feathers, bill and feet.  Nope, no jewelry; nobody'd believe that...SelbyLowndes   

Great story.  I've definitely seen them fly upside down.  I've seen ducks invert too.  

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  • 2 weeks later...
munsterlander

Another morning in that same spot today, and another crappy zoomed-in cell phone photo that shows somewhere around 17-18 eagles across the pond, and they are having a little squabble over some potential meal.  

IMG_1144.jpg

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