In a previous article on this subject I stressed the importance of good reconnaissance.

In a previous article on this subject I stressed the importance of good reconnaissance, our evening flight on 3rd Jan. 2013 shows once again how important good recon is if you don’t want a disappointing evening.

The pond that I would normally favour has not been producing the goods this fowling season. Although ducks are using the pond in good numbers, they have rarely come back after the initial barrage of shots as they leave the water.

This may be due to low numbers of duck in the area and once you’ve disturbed the resident population there are not enough moving around to keep the momentum going.

"In previous seasons we’ve shot good bags of Grey’s and Canada’s on this water"

I can’t help but wonder why the large numbers of geese that seem to frequent the local waters do not show any interest in this particular pond this season. In previous seasons we’ve shot good bags of Grey’s and Canada’s on this water.

My regular duck shooters who always come two or three times during the season had a disappointing evening in December on this pond and were booked to come back immediately after New Year. I can’t expect my clients to come to a pond that I have serious reservations about, after all, they come a long way and pay good money to have good sport and I would cancel the shoot rather than take their money under false pretences.

With this thought in mind I drove to the pond New Years Eve and sat like the sad man that I am, by the pond until it was completely dark. I had seen very little sign of ducks. I could however hear large numbers of geese moving about but none came my way.

Greylag Geese

I decided that I would check early morning to see if there was any activity at day-break. I did this New Years Day after climbing from my warm bed pulling on warm jumpers and jogging bottoms I drove to the pond and stood in the freezing cold until the sky lightened in the east – no ducks!

By that evening my throat was raw and I had the start of what felt like the black death (AKA Man Flu) starting to take hold.

"At times I seriously doubt my own sanity"

At times I seriously doubt my own sanity, when I should be at home in the warm or laying in bed, Im standing on the side of a freezing cold lake catching all manor of viruses. Ah well, someones got to do it.

On 2nd Jan I considered it was worth one last look before cancelling the duck flight. I decided that I would also check out a flooded area of the gravel-pit across the road before going to the pond. The gravel pit was empty save for a couple of mallard, so onto the pond again.

By 4.20pm the light was going, I could here the geese making one hell of a racket but nothing was coming here. Time to give it up although I would take another look at the gravel pit on my way home.

As I parked on the lane close to the gravel pit, to my amazement large skeins of geese where making for the sheltered waters of on offer here. By 4.30pm the skeins of mainly graylag were continuous and now it all made sense, the constant noise of geese moving in the area was in fact greys moving from a larger reservoir to the smaller sheltered waters of the gravel pit to hold up over night.

A phone call to some very happy clients and arrangements made for a 3.45pm meet tomorrow.

In Flight

Although the wind had dropped and it was not nearly so cold on the evening of 3rd Jan. the birds did not disappoint. Large numbers of grey’s came to the pit as predicted and were also joined by some Canada’s and good numbers of mallard.

Greylag Geese in flight

My clients? They had a wonderful time and are due to come again later this month. They’ve requested exactly the same again please but without the guide coughing and sneezing all over them.

Wild Bird hunting really is a hit and miss business but with plenty of good reconnaissance you can help to stack up the odds in your favour.

Wild Duck And Geese On Flight Ponds
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