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Late season diver hunting


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There is an appealing wild and untamed character to late season diver hunting..  The ducks heavily insulated with thick layers of downy feathers and thick layers of fat ride in on blustery northwest winds from the iconically wild far north.  The hunting is in big choppy water devoid of the summer pleasure boaters.  The hunters insulated in multiple layers and many changes of gloves hoping to keep one pair dry, wait with anticipation for the classic rushing or whistling (goldeneyes) of wings; often when from the blind side heard before seen.  The flocks roar through the decoys at great speed and yet when coming from the front where visibility is good require patience to let them get within range to rise and shoot and hopefully swing the gun swift and on target.

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There is an appealing wild and untamed character to late season diver hunting..  The ducks heavily insulated with thick layers of downy feathers and thick layers of fat ride in on blustery northwest w

There is a wide variety of ducks: Buffleheads:   Greater Scaup:   Redheads:     Black Scoter (far left) or Andrei's right hand:

Some of the ducks get expensive.  A bufflehead was swinging  through the decoys which I happily dropped with a clean shot.  Happy with the shooting until I realized that I had smoked the floating mojo

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There is a wide variety of ducks:

Buffleheads:

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Greater Scaup:

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Redheads:

 

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Black Scoter (far left) or Andrei's right hand:

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Some of the ducks get expensive.  A bufflehead was swinging  through the decoys which I happily dropped with a clean shot.  Happy with the shooting until I realized that I had smoked the floating mojo:

 

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Believe or not with a new switch some goop and paint the mojo is as good as new.

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Late season diver hunting was always one of my favorite activities in waterfowling.  Do you use layout boats, and where is the ice and snow?

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1 hour ago, Curt said:

Late season diver hunting was always one of my favorite activities in waterfowling.  Do you use layout boats, and where is the ice and snow?

We are currently using a layout boat.  So far we haven't had to deal with ice, but will be from here on out.

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1971snipe

Nice!  I hope to bag a few divers in the morning, but especially a bufflehead drake.  We bagged one last season with intentions to mount it, but it didn't work out.  

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Good lookin’ set up and nice birds. What sort of gun and loads are you using?

Seeing those bufflehead brings back some memories.  They seem to me to be like bad tasting, low flying teal   After the 1 st one I tried to eat I never shot another.  Great looking mounts tho to bring back those cold but fun days shooting over the water.  

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Heck fellas, it aint late  season for those birds.   Maybe for your season , but not the birds..😀   Season just opened down here today.  Some of those birds you are chasing in Lake Michigan will have another 60+ days of dodging us further south .  Assuming they migrate this far which is highly questionable in recent years weather .

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22 hours ago, quailguy said:

Good lookin’ set up and nice birds. What sort of gun and loads are you using?

Seeing those bufflehead brings back some memories.  They seem to me to be like bad tasting, low flying teal   After the 1 st one I tried to eat I never shot another.  Great looking mounts tho to bring back those cold but fun days shooting over the water.  

Std. 12 gauge pumps.  Mine is an 870.  Full choke with 2 3/4 in. Boss 3/5's copper coated bismuth.  In the next photos I'll send a pair of Goldeneye drakes are resting on Federal blue box #2 3 in. steel that's what one of our buddies shoots.

 

Agree with the comparison to teal for shooting.. We like to eat all divers including buffleheads.  The key is cook hot fast medium rare,  but then I grew up eating divers. Duck hunting was the only hunting my dad and his family did so we never knew they tasted strong.  But with better communication on cooking stronger tasting fowl these days, I think most people would think they're o.k.  Although I totally agree that if you don't care to eat it you shouldn't shoot it.

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1 minute ago, Reeba said:

But with better communication on cooking stronger tasting fowl these days, I think most people would think they're o.k.  Although I totally agree that if you don't care to eat it you shouldn't shoot it.

Yes indeed, the internet has really broadened the recipe selection and culinary knowledge of everyone with an e-phone or computer. Still,

I'm not sure I could take bufflehead. My buddy who hunts Eire makes sausage outa bufflehead.  That is ok.   But he too is a layout diver hunter and therefor a little different.....  🤠

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On 11/25/2021 at 3:18 PM, Reeba said:

We are currently using a layout boat.  So far we haven't had to deal with ice, but will be from here on out.

We don't have that type of hunting where I live now but when I lived in the great lakes region it was a lot of fun.  When I think back to those days there was nothing better than laying in our layout boat on a cold, snowy morning at first light and hearing the whistling wings of an approaching goldeneye or the rushing sound of wings from a flock of bluebills or redheads as they banked to work the decoys.

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One of the interesting thing with divers is the progression of different ducks based on their cold tolerance.  Up here, it's predominately Mallards for puddle ducks and Goldeneyes (one of my favorites) for divers now.  There are a couple of lesser scaup in the 2nd photo.0-7.thumb.jpg.1ed1a024c06218dc26705cba03078ee5.jpg

 

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Yes the season progression is always like opening new Xmas presents that show up ( or don’t) weekly through a season. 
 

My opener yesterday was long way from    Divers, Goldeneye, or the occasionally inland sea duck in January. 
 

 

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