Experiencing Wyoming Duck Hunting
If you have never been to Wyoming, I highly recommend it, I recommend it even more if you want to duck hunt there as well. The whole atmosphere is amazing, mountains everywhere you look, Mule Deer, Rams and Pronghorn all over the place and some very friendly people. The whole time I was there I just kept looking around thinking, “I can’t believe that I am actually here right now.”. Wyoming is a place I have always wanted to visit, and the fact that not only was I finally in Wyoming, but that I was also there to duck hunt, just left me amazed.
It was actually a bonus day, we were supposed to only hunt 3-days, but the guides had asked us if we wanted to do an extra day at a spot they had never tried before. They weren’t sure if it was going to be successful or not but wanted to try it before it was completely frozen over. It was a blistering wind but luckily, we were hunting out of A-Frame blinds that morning, so it kept the wind out of our faces. 20 minutes before legal shooting time we could hear the wings of Common Goldeneyes flying all over, swarming us. We sat there, anticipating and booming with excitement, waiting for the time to quicken so we can start shooting. Finally, legal shooting time came and there was a raft of Ring-Necked ducks and one lone Common Goldeneye. Two of us took the Ring Necks and the third guy took the Goldeneye. In the first 2 minutes
of shooting time, we got 8 beautiful Ring Necks and a Drake Goldeneye. As the morning went on, we had a couple Drake Mallards come in, I took the right one and took the shot. I have a Tactacam mounted on my gun, so I managed to get it all on film and all you could hear me saying was “I got it! I got it!”. I have been duck hunting for a few years now and before this trip, I had yet to shoot a drake anything. For some reason I have really wanted to shoot a Drake Mallard and let me tell you, I was SO excited when I finally did. We finished off the day with a mixed bag of Ring Necks, Goldeneye, Mallards and a solo Goose. After we got done hunting, we spent the rest of the day driving through the Shoshone National forest where we saw Mule Deer, Bison and a lot of Rams. So much beauty.
Our second day was an absolute work out. We hiked about 300 yards up and down hill, then we got to this cliff and you look straight down and all you see are rocks and a fast-moving river about 150 yards down. All I could think was “how are we supposed to get down that?”, well, we climbed. We climbed with our shotgun, backpacks full of shotgun shells and extra clothes because it was only 2 degrees that morning, but we made it. Was it kind of sketchy and scary? A little, but extremely rewarding because we limited out early that day. The Common Goldeneye’s were constantly coming in and man are they fast flyers. One thing we learned about them is that their body temperature is about 135+/- degrees, so they love the cold. Which makes sense because the day that we shot the most Goldeneyes ended up being the coldest day we were there. We had 7 Goldeneyes in the first hour of the hunt and finished the day off with more Mallards and a Green-Winged Teal. Since we limited out so early, the guides took us to a local spot to try our luck at some Chucker hunting. To be honest, we didn’t see a single thing and the wind was so strong that I almost got blown over. But hey, it was still a blast and I tried something new!
The guides took us to a piece of private property that they had permission to hunt on along the river. We had a side-by-side take us down the steepest part of the hill, then the remaining half mile of hiking was left to take on foot. We zig-zagged down a seep hill, through a field of sage and finally made it to the river where we were set up in a nice permanent blind. The morning was slow but rewarding because we added a beautiful Drake Bufflehead to the collection of birds going on the wall. On top of the Bufflehead, the morning also brought us some mallards and goldeneyes. We were two ducks shy of our limit so they guides took us to another spot along the river that was surrounded by red rocks and had the most beautiful water you could imagine. We scaled down the side of the cliff and tucked ourselves into some rocks. It smelled, bad, but it was amazing, and we ended up getting the last two ducks we needed for the day.
The final day. The day no one looks forward to because that means your trip is unfortunately coming to a close. This day took us back to the spot we were at on day two, the treacherous climb down the steep rocks to get to the river. The morning was slow, but the Goldeneyes were flying, not just the Commons, but the Barrow’s as well. The guys were happy because that was one of the main reasons why they wanted to head out to Wyoming and duck hunt. My boyfriend managed to shoot a stud Drake Barrow’s Goldeneye and I shot a juvenile. There was a spot not too far down the river from where we were hunting that hosted a raft of Barrow’s Goldeneye’s, so the guides, knowing we wanted some more, took us for a little spot and stalk on some ducks. I’ve done spot and stalk on big game, but there was something exhilarating about doing it for some ducks. We got to the river and saw that there was only one Drake Barrow’s down there, so the third guy we went with was going to take the shot and I would back him up just in case. We hiked 200 plus yards down hill to the river, spent have of that crouching down so the ducks wouldn’t see us. We got to this grassy island and ducked down. When it was time to shoot, we slowly crept forward, and he took his shot and nailed the duck. The boys each got their goal duck on the same day! Later that day, the guides took us back to the piece of private property so we could hopefully get our limit and finish off our last day strong. It started off slow, but the last 30 minutes of the evening were action packed. We never had time to sit still because the ducks kept coming and we kept dropping them. We brought it down to the wire but managed to get our limit. Ducks and geese even proceeded to dump in while the guides were in the water picking up the decoys!
A Trip Filled with Many Memories, Laughs and Firsts
Wyoming is a place I already plan to go back to. Even if I don’t have a chance to hunt, just getting to experience the beautiful land is something to cherish and admire. Day 4 was not only our final day hunt, but it was also the last day of Wyoming duck season, and it went out with a bang! It is a lot of hard work and we all agreed to make sure we were in a little bit more shape before going out there again because you get your butt kicked. Not just hiking but climbing rocks and steep hills all while hauling a shotgun, shells, extra clothes and the ducks we harvested. A trip filled with many memories, laughs and firsts and I already can’t wait to go back.
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