I did an evening sit for deer with my bow on Sunday, and while I did not see any deer, I was reminded what an exciting time of year this is for those who love the outdoors.
The tree I hung my saddle in was on the northeast corner of a small slough. This slough is often dry in the fall, but forget about that being the case this year. It feels like the rain hasn’t stopped for about six months. What that has created is a landscape that seems to be creating quite a duck hunting season.
I stood in the tree Sunday night and watched ducks pour in and out of that tiny slough. Wood ducks were whistling, and mallards were chattering away on the water by doing feeding chuckles. I don’t think anyone has stepped foot in that slough during hunting season.
I texted a buddy of mine in the area to see how pheasant hunting opener went around Douglas County this past weekend. He and his family saw some roosters, but duck hunting was better.
“The wood duck hunt was out of this world,” he texted. “Hundreds. Waves and waves.”
That was after another buddy of mine sent me a picture of some wood ducks that he shot with some friends on a hunt on Saturday morning in the area.
To get a feel for what other local hunters are experiencing this waterfowl season, I called over to the Osakis General Store and talked with Gregg Anderson.
“The lake here was filled with divers this weekend,” he said on Monday morning of Lake Osakis. “The guys that were out there shot a pile of ducks, but it was kind of dangerous on the big lake, I thought, (with strong winds). But earlier in the season, they shot ducks too. There’s so many potholes inside those cornfields and stuff that you see them out and about at night, but most guys can’t see them from the road. They still shot a bunch of ducks on the opener.”
Every small slough I have been around this fall has been waist deep in water and filled with ducks. Anderson felt this waterfowl season has been better locally than in recent years.
“I live four miles east of town here on the Sauk River,” he said. “I’m in the farm country, and you don’t see the ducks until about dusk. Then they get up and move around, and I saw flocks and flocks of ducks then. They weren’t going anywhere. They weren’t very high. They were just up stretching their wings and likely going to go into the same corn field or bean field they have been in.”
Anderson also had a good pheasant report from the weekend from a few people he talked with.
“I didn’t go, but Sunday morning I had six of them in my driveway. I know one guy who shot two roosters within a half an hour of being out,” he said. “Two older guys said they got their pheasants right away too. I thought there was quite a few pheasants, but getting that kind of report, there’s probably as many as we had last year.”
Anderson puts out five pheasant feeders through the winter months with corn around his place and said the birds were hitting them hard leading into the spring when the snow melted. Hunters likely won’t know the full extent of how many pheasants are around until all the crop is out, but maybe the roadside count numbers from August that showed low numbers were a bit off.
Ducks, deer, pheasants -- whatever you like to hunt, the options for getting outside and hunting are limitless right now.