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MI Duck “Opener”! (lower peninsula)

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by Michigun, Oct 14, 2002.

  1. Michigun

    Michigun Miss Michigan?

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    Well we hit the opening weekend of duck season pretty hard this past weekend…

    36 ducks
    2 geese

    There was of group of us that hunted the same area before anyone asks.

    I couldn’t go out Saturday night with the guys though… because I “limited out” Saturday morning!:) That was both good & bad for me.

    I forgot the digital cam however… I’ll post some pictures when the “snail pictures” get in.
     
  2. safetyslug

    safetyslug Hogs Beware

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    Wow, nice haul. What kind of ducks?
     

  3. Michigun

    Michigun Miss Michigan?

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    Let me get one thing strait for you guys though… this place is the “Eden” on duck hunting as far as I know & a lot of others for that area. (& my area for that matter!) It’s private land, which is a HUGE benefit to us.

    The ducks downed were mostly Woodies & Mallards.
     
  4. chucha

    chucha

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    Go get 'em. I won't shoot steel thru my old guns. You can have my share.

    taa, cha;f
     
  5. mikescooling

    mikescooling

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    Michigun congrats
    There's something about being with friends, a good dog and your favorite shotgun in the woods/marsh/lake [what ever] waiting to kill little gifts from the sky.
    I too have a buddy with private property that is just pristine. The best part is only one guy needs to go out in the boat to set the decoys and all the guys just walk in to the blind.;Y
     
  6. shrpshtr

    shrpshtr

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    wow, sounds like a great harvest. i wish i could be hunting ducks right now, or anything for that matter. i go out to NE Arkansas for a week chasing ducks every year and love it. i don't know about Michigan, but the ducks in arkansas are great. i would love to see some pics of those as well.
     
  7. Michigun

    Michigun Miss Michigan?

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    "Michigan ducks" are great too... you should know, you just may be shooting at the same ones I've been!:)
     
  8. Michigun

    Michigun Miss Michigan?

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  9. Michigun

    Michigun Miss Michigan?

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    Following Morning...
     
  10. shrpshtr

    shrpshtr

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    great pics. and i am sure that i have thrown steel at some of the same ducks you have...;)
     
  11. mikescooling

    mikescooling

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    Michigun

    Is that a Browning I see?
     
  12. Michigun

    Michigun Miss Michigan?

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    Gnaw; it’s actually a Benelli Super 3-1/2” Back Eagle. It’s a friend of mine’s. I used my good’ol Beretta 390! (not pictured)

    He had a Browning 3-1/2” Super Gold, but it died ;P the weekend before on him. I helped him find that Benelli. It was that guns 1st hunt so he wanted it in the picture.

    That Benelli has all the H&K stampings on it. It’s an original.
     
  13. mikescooling

    mikescooling

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    How did the browning gold 3 1/2 die?;P
     
  14. Michigun

    Michigun Miss Michigan?

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    He purchased that 3-1/2" Browning when they 1st came out YEARs ago. That gun never liked "lighter powered" ammo to begin with, which isn't really true for the newer ones. I never looked at the so called "dead" Browning as it was only told to me, but I do know it was off to the factory for repairs. The gunsmith he took it to said it needed to be fixed there, he wasn't doing it.

    I'm betting that when his Browning comes back, it'll be fine & in better working order then it was when new.

    Browning had some "new design issues" with their very 1st 3/1/2" Golds, they gottem fixed though. I think my friend just purchased too soon is all.
     
  15. mikescooling

    mikescooling

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    THANKS for the reply.
    The reason I asked is I just [like 3 weeks ago] got a new browning gold hunter. I just wanted a heads up if there any problems.
    Michigun as long as I have your attention. I have a problem, this is my first year hunting geese. I cant seem to bring the geese down. I've seen feathers when I shoot but no geese have fallen from the sky. I am using 12ga 3 1/2" BBB steel[1450fps] and a mod choke.
    when using steel do I lead more or less than lead 71/2 ?
    I have been shooting sporting clays for 10+years and constantly shoot 80%.
    I can juge distance well and all the geese I have shot at have been with in 30 yards.
    So missing or just blowing a few feathers off is disconcerting. It Seems like the steel is slower?
    Thanks Mike
     
  16. Michigun

    Michigun Miss Michigan?

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    You’ve asked a pretty big question there mikescooling, but I’ll try & give you “my take” without writing a book!

    It sounds like you’ve been doing some “pass shooting”, am I right?

    My 1st thought was “sky busting”, but if you say they are within 30 yards, that wouldn’t be the correct term. Closer is always better, but 30 yards is pretty darn close.

    Your ammo choice sounds good to me, the geese in those pictures were actually taken with 12 3” #2’s! Not the best choice for geese, but nobody had a chance to switch before they came in. (We were hunting ducks & didn’t expect any “fly-overs” by these geese…) I use a “modified” tube for steel shot myself.

    Let me ask you this, have you patterned your particular “goose shell”? You could just have a horrendous pattern going. Shoot your gun & ammo at a 30” circle at 30 yards & see what’s happening, you may be amazed at how bad it is… maybe. “Modified” choke tubes are pretty standard for steel shot, but some find better results with “improved” tubes, you could try that if you find your pattern to be unacceptable with the “modified” tube.

    I can tell you for a fact that geese are very tuff birds to bring down. Their feathers are almost like armor. You need to get some steel in the right place. Breaking a wing or getting a few pellets in the head is the best way to bring ’em down. I was taught to shoot for the head, that way if you’re a little behind, hopefully you break a wing or just plain get lucky. Naturally a “head shot” is the best killer for geese. Be prepared to chase them around once they hit the ground or water, they hardly ever land dead!

    Steel shot is very fast, what it lacks in density manufactures try to make up with speed. Steel is less dense then lead, steel also loses energy faster then lead, because of the density thing. It’s physics stuff. Most 3-1/2” shells are traveling the same speed as 3” shells, (the 3” #2’s I was shooting are 1500 fps) but have a larger “pay-load”, as they call it. Basically, they pack more steel into the extra hull length they get with the 3-1/2” shell. You’re steel shot ammo, more then likely, is going faster then the stuff you’re shooting in your “clay sports”. Most gun clubs have a limit on what you can use on their clay ranges, as to keep from “raining” lead down on others across the way.

    Okay, now the whole ammo thing leads me into what I would guess the real problem is here… I don’t think you’re “leading” the geese far enough. Shooting my 12 gauge using 3” #2’s traveling at 1500 fps, I lead the goose I shot down by 10 feet & I should’ve made it at least 11 feet if not 12. It also took me 3 shots to bring it down, but it still required 1 more shot to kill it on the ground. The feathers falling from your birds are more then likely the “flyers” from your shotgun pattern. I think that your “killing pattern” is behind the bird… I only say this because I’ve been there & done that. Those darn geese look to be flying real slow, but they ain’t! Have you ever shot skeet? I lead the “middle station” clay by about 5 feet to nock it down. That’s with using a faster “game load” even! Geese are flying just as fast or faster then that clay is on that “middle station” in skeet… but you also have to add in the greater distance factor for geese –v- that “middle station” clay.

    The main thing to keep in mind is to aim for the head.

    You may also want to look into Remington’s new Hevi-Shot loads when hunting geese in particular. They are better then lead, but unfortunately their price reflects that… When I go out to shoot geese, I use Hevi-Shot exclusively. With ducks, I use steel shot, but there is a lot more shooting & a lot more missing with ducks & me. Hevi-Shot is too “rich” for me to use 100% of the time with ducks, but geese is a whole new game. You don’t get to shoot at those as much where I’m hunting.

    Hevi-Shot = $25 for 10 shells
    Steel shot = $15 for 25 shells

    There are many “holes” in this “reply” that could stand to be filled in better & even lots more to consider, I hope it’s not too confusing for you. As always, I’d be more then happy to talk over the phone. This is going to be one of those things where that would probably be the best. I’m sure you’ll have lots of little questions. Shoot me an e-mail & we can swap phone stuff… I love talking about hunting!!! I’m sure you will have some good info for me too. Without questions there would be no answers.
     
  17. mikescooling

    mikescooling

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    Michigun thanks again for the great response!
    I have paterned my shotgun and it was constant [no big holes]
    What your saying sounds like it's right on the money. I don't think I was leading more than 3 or 4 feet max. The geese do look like they are going slow so I'll take a 8 foot lead and increase as the goose fly's away [or plummets to the ground hopefully]
    I'll go out Friday and give it a try. After the hunt I'll drop you an email.
    I also think this is just the info that should be on the hunting and fishing forum. This stuff we are taking about has got to be help full to lots of people on the board.
    Thanks again Mike.
     
  18. Michigun

    Michigun Miss Michigan?

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    Mikescooling, I’m very glad to hear that. I was hoping it at least narrowed your thoughts down for you a bit. It sounds like you’re a wing “killer by nature”, but just needed some technical stuff to fill in some blanks. Shooting is mostly instinctive, but technical things have to be “in line” before you can really get there. If you want to be consistent anyways.

    Yup, 3-4 feet leads on “fly-over” geese at 30 yards wouldn’t be enough. (It seems that at the beginning of every year, I do the exact same thing… 8-10 foot leads just seems not to “feel” quite right, but it is!) I was taught that “If you miss the 1st time, more then likely you’re behind.” Re-adjust your lead, give it a few more feet & try your shot again… you have 3 shots, putting them all in the same place & missing is a waste of time & money. If you miss the 1st time & you keep the same lead for the next shot, you’re going to miss again, right?;)

    It sounds like you’ve chosen the right gun & ammo. It’s also sounds like you’re doing well with the goose hunting to begin with if they are getting within 30 yards of you! You know your gun is shooting good, so be confident that it’ll get it’s part of the job done. If all that’s left is “bringing ’em down”, that’s the easy part, the hard stuff is already out of the way!;)

    Good luck sir, hope to hear that you “staked them up” over the weekend!
     
  19. rfb45colt

    rfb45colt safe-cracker

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    mikescooling,

    In addition to what Michigun said, I'd like to add my $.02. As far as shot choice for geese, I also suggest Hevi-Shot #2s. True, it's expensive, but if you shop right, you can get it cheaper. I got mine on sale, for $14.99 per box of 10. The best time to buy is after the season is over. Buy for next year. Before Hevi-Shot came along, I used steel "T" shot for geese. If Hevi-Shot is too "rich" for you, try a box of # Ts. When I lived near Chicago, I hunted geese at Horseshoe Lake, in S. Illinois, for many years. Everyone in my group used nothing but 3" magnum Winchester # T shot, and it was very effective. However, we all used improved cylinder choke tubes. Steel shot holds a much tighter pattern than lead. The steel doesn't deform while traveling down the barrel and through the choke like softer lead shot. There are no "fliers" with steel. The patterns with the IC chokes and # T were just right for 20-40 yard shots.

    Another aspect of goose hunting besides the guns & ammo you use, is decoys. I hunted with a group of 7 other guys. We rented 4 pit blinds per day, with 2 guys per pit. The farm we hunted from had 28 blinds, and they supplied one dozen "very crude" plywood silohuette decoys per blind. Our group decided that each guy should buy one dozen "super" magnum shell decoys. The "super" mags are each 42" long, and cost about $100 per dozen (back in the 80's). They look (to humans) to be out of place and unusually large. But waterfowl, while having keen eyesight, have what's called "spacial deficiency" in their sight process. To them, those huge decoys don't appear overly large... just closer. We always had 4 pits nearest each other, and we had two dozen "super" mags by each pit. There were days when our 4 pits were the only ones of the 28 pits to get any birds. They were drawn to our huge decoys like a magnet. The bigger (and more) the decoys, the better they seemed to work.

    We also had a "black flag" in each pit. We used old 10' bamboo fishing poles with a 2'x 3' square of black felt attached to the end. We'd wave those flags back and forth when we'd see birds at a distance. The flag waving gave the appearance of flapping wings to those birds, and it gets their attention. It adds motion and realism to our decoy spread. When they turn your direction and get closer, stop flagging.

    We would hammer them pretty good with our decoy set-up bringing them in, and our #T shot knocking them down. In '91, I moved 400 miles further north and I quit going to Horseshoe Lake. It's now 800 miles away, and a looooong drive to make by myself. Besides... now I've got plenty of geese to shoot just a few miles from home. ;f I tied big chunks of styrofoam inside those super mag shells, and use them now as "floaters" in the nearby lakes where I now hunt. They work just as good up here as they did in S. Ill. :)