Monday, May 30, 2011

What do you write about, when you've had a quiet weekend at home?

To be fair, I really enjoyed a quiet weekend. Blistered skin off my soft office hands trimming hedge. Got a lot of satisfaction getting in and chopping a new pile of firewood. Dug over Vege garden (exposing last weekends pheasant remains - PHOOOOOEEEEEYYYY!). Cleaned dekes. Checked a zillion web sites for the perfect camo for The Booger. Went out to dinner. JB Fan Club went and stayed at Oma's house. Peace, quiet, tranquility.

Anyway's this blog isn't supposed to be about the languid lifestyle of the suburban middle aged dad; oh no, it's a Fish'n + Shoot'n blog. So here's the wrap up from the boys:

"Tally was 42 to the hand with a few MIA. After the rain on Thur’s, water was right up to and under the hut. The pond’s were right up with water flowing over the dam, I think this was the problem with the lost birds as they just kept swimming away. Average shooting didn’t help the cause either, but all in all was a good effort considering how much water is lying around the district and in the wangamarino.

There were some good flights mid morning, but high birds. We only got some good decoying birds on Fri when the weather cleared a bit and rain stopped.

The chimney leaked really badly, but Dick managed to affect a good temporary repair, looks like it needs some proper flashing to water proof it.

When are u planning on heading back in nxt? Will u be taking the bogger?"

"Swamp was very full of water, up to the base of the boards under the hut. Got into the hut Friday night to a feed of orange and sherry duck, eye fillet and veges. Plenty of birds down from the previous days and about 6 down but MIA due to the water.

Saturday morning was pretty fine, very little wind and hardly any rain. Lots of ducks about but either very wary or a long way up. A few lonely mallards dropped in to us in the Willow and got smoked. Mine was about 8m away so ended up looking like a pin cushion.

Had a few passing opportunities that we could have taken but didn’t for whatever reason. All in all was a good day out. Was knackered so didn’t end up going out in Raglan. Eddie reports a small group of ducks but not within range. Not sure of the goose situation."

The ex-Schwampenfurher

Hi Swamprats,

I went in early this morning to pick up the faulty gene and acouple of things of mine which I'd left behind.Water was nearly up to the 2nd step.Drove boat nearly to batch.I decided to have a look around the ponds and it was huge stretch of water with only the highest islands showing any ground.There were birds on Bollocks,another few down the western side of Puru-Bollocks, another bunch in Watsosns,several at back of Park and some at Willow. An amazing sight. All the green fern weed is gone and all in all a great site.

I've returned the punt keys which I had in my waders and retrieved the chain that was underwater by the winch. A quick reminder to all to remember to sweep out the batch before leaving.I had a quick clean out before coming home.

Nick and I are planning to go in next Friday for a couple of days. I might even go in sooner if there's any possibility of wind.


42 birds is pretty freakin good going, for this time of year.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Booger

Well, after a bit of a wait, lots of talking with the boat craftsman and a few tweaks, here's a brief sneak preview of The Booger....

30 Hp goes on back

Clean space. Nothing for lines to catch on.

Casting platform - removeable

Add caption

Kimbo at work suggested the name. I like it.

Monday, May 23, 2011

More from the lads

Thought I'd do a bit of a wrap up report. Yellow Bollocks, Cock & AJ had a good weekend on the mallards, with fresh birds coming in off the ocean. They got 25 odd over Saturday and Sunday, quite a good return. And the battle barge is back in action, no worse for its dunking last week.

Dad, Russell and assorted guests had a good but quiet weekend in the swamp, taking 4 birds on Sunday.

Craig, Mitch, Mick & Hendrik had a good day at PPP on Sunday, taking 8 nice cock birds.
Hendrik's Merkel

Brutus, Heidi & bag

Mick & Mitch
Brian and Mark went into the Kaimanawa's after a sika. They got a beautiful 8 point stag

It was COLD

Brian, Mark & stag
You want to get ahead? Go hunting! (sighhhh)
Andy and mate sprung a surprise attack on the Raglan geese. It didn't work out as the geese sprang them, but it sounds like the learning curve is being climbed. All in all its looking good out in hunting world.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A second opening

Yesterday was the first shoot day at PPPP, our pheasant syndicate. Tim and I got down on Friday night, arriving late to find Craig, Hendrik and Simon in residence and well on their way. Simon poured us some vodka shots and that stuff ($200 US bottle, all the way from Russia) knocked me over. Hendrik and Simon hit the hay at midnight, me Tim and Craig talked until 1am. My head was spinning so bad that it was hard to sleep. Seemed like I'd only just closed my eyes when 6am rolled around and the mad idiots were up and at em for a pig hunt.

Simon stomps along like some Shrek

We walked up a gulley and across a nice bit of native for a couple of hours.

Looking south

Craig with pig gun
The walk revealed plenty of sign but the dogs didn't hit any fresh scent. They ripped a hare apart though.

I'm a big vicious pig dog :)

We got back (walk had cured hangover) and had a coffee and headed out for a morning pheasant walk. As Mitch & Mick weren't arriving until 2pm we hunted the minor release pen area. Birds were evident but cagey as. I just couldn't put myself in a birdy spot. Craig finally got one with a lovely overhead shot on the bushline. Simon chipped in with a lte cock as we were returning to the cars. My effort was a driven turkey that ate 2 loads of #6 as it flew by. It crashed down but damned if I could find it, until Hendrik suggested looking up.... and 10 feet up the tree, there it was.

Anyhow it was a bit of a slog. We got back to the cars and headed back down to the house for lunch and to await Mick & Mitch. Si had to take off so packed up and went.

The boys came in on time so we headed up to the cover crop where the pheasants had been living since release. Mitch, Mick, Craig and dogs worked a ridge while Tim, Hendrik and me covered the gulley. Birds were coming out before I got into position, not sure if the boys could see them all. It was a good manouvre though as Mitch shot a fat melanistic, Tim got one too, Craig nailed a nice ring neck, Mick opened up and Hendrik too. My only shot was a looong one. It was hectic. It took me and Craig ages to find his downed bird, but sure enough he finally found it under a log. His poor old dog Silence was wheezing. We regathered and figured out how we'd work the main crop. We decided to spread out and have dogs at each end and middle. On the way to the crop paddock I got diverted by a cock that I winged. Running him down was certainly not easy and I was puffing... 4 shots to bring him to hand...

The crop was great. Birds were holding and everyone got shots. I closed my limit with 2 more cocks. Craig, Tim and Hendrick knocked birds down. By the end of the crop we had a dozen birds to hand. We then worked the next gulley before I got seperated from the group and ended up working a ridge and went for a loonnnggg detour. It was about an hour before I caught up with the boys and I was shagged. A few more birds were taken, notably a nice cock by Mick. We got back to the cars for a photo shoot.

Brutus and roosters

Me, Tim, Hendrik, Craig, Mitch & Mick

A bloody good day. Final count was 18 birds on the deck.

We had a small drama on the way back. I decided to hit a thick mud patch on the farm track at speed and suceeded in spinning the car so it was nose first into a bank. Luckily Mick was able to tow me straight and we got moving again. Humour.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sometimes I wonder....

Sealegs, a NZ listed company, build amphibious water craft so if you live by a waterway you can simply drive down into the water, roll up the wheels and away you go. Check out their latest and greatest...

$117k NZD... gotta say that I'm relaxed that I never took any equity in that business....

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The adventures of Yellow Bollocks and The Big V

Got a text from Yellow Bollocks (Rick) today "Boat sunk. Waiting for tide".... my reply "Engine ok? Ducks?" and his reply "Limits". Rick and the Big V went into the ponds yesterday to take advantage of the weather. They had a good morning shoot and then Rick went to check the boat to find it had sunk. Dad went down and rescued them, helped them refloat the boat and then towed them to the landing. Sounds like a real adventure, with lots of duck and other action.....

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Friday & Saturday

Having left home after dinner on Thursday, I was surprised to make excellent time to the landing, arriving at 7.25 for my 8pm pick up. I had a quick chat with a few Flax Block hunters, who reported excellent water levels and the best shooting in years. Fantastic, some of those guys have stuck it out through thick and thin, with low to no water having been a common recurring theme. Dad and I nattered for a while, spent some quality time and made ourselves at home. We were up early on Friday, and at the ponds early. Lots of electronica to setup. The morning flight was quiet but we were interupted by a flight of 4 mallardsand brought them down and that set the pace for the day. We pulled out at 11.00 with 10 in the bag, having missed not a bird. Dad even nailed a spoonie drake that buzzed the dekes while I was switching off the robos, he had unloaded and only managed to chamber one shell on its first pass, amazingly after the shot it roared off, turned 180 degrees and roared back, thuis time dad took him down with 2 shots. Bird # 10. We went back to the hut, had a massive lunch involving bacon, eggs, hash browns & mushrooms and set about cleaning our morning back and chilling down the birds. After a quick clean up we puulled the dekes off the Park pond; no one else in the party would be joining us it seemed. We brought the dekes in from Park, McLennan's & Watsons and then decided on a tramp thru to Tukes. Amazing what a difference high water makes, the Puru grass had died back leaving a much more open clearing. 2 Greys made their escape on our arrival.

Dad and Geordie with Friday's bag

We still needed a couple of birds and late in the afternoon they arrived, a pair of greys that we smashed. An amazing day's hunting really, not a single bird escaped. Not often we can say that! Steak, onions and salad for dinner, then we turned in pretty early. Hunting is tiring work.

Up super early Saturday, to a brekkie of muesli. Dad had porridge. Second Saturday of the season is normally a very busy day, with lots of shooters out and about. More on that later. We were set up at 5.50 so killed time chit chatting and waiting for legal shooting time. Right on 6.30 3 birds swung over head. We got into them and I dropped my bird, dad missed I think. While reloading another hen came over and I dropped her into the pond. Even in the semi light i could see she was a bit different - a dead ringer of a bird I killed 3 or 4 years ago. The ginger bird!
Ginger bird - too many Gingernuts?

Gingernuts - yum

The ducks played ball, quite a number came in chatting and with a decent breeze were quite sporting birds. I had a great chance on a flock while dad was away searching for a bird. Hit the drake with the first shot, pulled on a hen and bang, bang, bang, bang she was gone without losing a feather... along with another half dozen birds.

We needed 2 birds and at 10.30 after a decent lull another mob came in to our calling, We dropped one each and high fived. Another limit apiece, good times. We pulled in all the dekes, dropped the dekes back, went out to Willow for a check on the pond, came back in for a legendary meal, cleaned and chilled the birds and then set about tidying. Amazing how much crap we took out with us when we pulled out at about 3.

Saturday's bag

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Monday & Tuesday

Monday morning saw me and dad at Puru, Greg & Tom at Park. It would prove to be a long morning. Ducks were about but making themselves scarce from the ponds, although we had one unprompted flock come in with landing gear down while we were both out looking for a downed bird. It was seriously quiet - where are all the ducks? One observation with having all the water around was that shooting seemed to be coming from all directions. We packed up at 11 and headed in to clean birds. Greg and Tom got a couple.

I spent some time moving decoys around as the wind was getting stronger - hopefully an evening flight would eventuate? It didn't really, but I knocked down a mallard hen that came too close. That was Monday over.

I woke early Tuesday to notice that the temperature had dropped, and the wind had moved around to the South. Not quite what I was hoping for as the fog was heavy. I sat in the mai mai listening for birds. Early on a flock came over cahtting quite happily and that was it for the next couple of hours. All was quiet, except the sounds of the electronic decoys. By 8.30 I was wondering if I'd get a  shot away. 8.45 the fog began to lift. At 8.55, 4 greys appeared and I took the near bird, figuring 1 in hand... at 9 I dropped a pair of mallards, and at 9.30 another pair. Suddenly it was a reasonably good shoot. Limit bird eluded me but I was pretty happy all the same.

Back home for the afternoon, just as the weather really began to pack up.... swapped watch duties with dad, hope he's doing ok.

Opening Weekend

Roll call:

Dad, me, Tim, Tom, Rick, Andrew, Cock and Paul from the core group (Paul turned up with Cock near midnite), Greg came in from Au, with Bill & Marc as the guests. Dinner and drinks ensued after a big day of setting dekes and getting things just so. Plenty of birds were in the air so we were all feeling confident. Marc and Bill slept in a tent outside, man it was hot with the Northerly and the mozzies were out in force so we were all slightly drained when breakfast rolled around. I was hosting my cousin's husband Marc on the Park pond, dad had Greg & Bill at Puru, Tom & Paul were at Willow, Tim at Bollocks, Andrew at Watsons and Cock & Rick at McLennans. Fair to say that the predicted weather didn't arrive, so it was a blue bird day. Marc and I had a ball, limiting out later than I'd have thought, and enjoying ourselves. He's a moose hunter so knows his way around guns, no safety issues there. Once he got his eye in he was away.

Marc & ducks

 Rick & Jase had some really good shots, Andrew set himself up for a limit, Tim got his bag, Tom & Paul struggled and the Puru lads put up quite a few shots.

I think the group total was something loike 47, so all in all not a huge burden to clean and ready for eating.

Rick called in his mates to see how things went; AJ limited, his dad struggled, Guy had a slow time.. all in all it seemed as though the Waikato ducks had spread out. With duck shooting over, the duck hunting began....

I had Bollocks on Sunday morning and managed 3 birds including a spoonie hen. Rick & Jase smacked one each as well. Jase and I hunted Puru in the evening and I rounded out my limit. Andrew, Tim, Bill & Marc had left in the afternoon after cleaning the bag. All too soon another opening over, and it was great.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A week to go

Well, less than a week to the duck season... things have gone skewiff with the big Nthland but it puts me in a place where I can hunt the first week of the season completely - this hasn't happened in years so I'm pretty keen to get stuck in. dad's been a pretty regular visitor to the ponds, keeping the birds fed, warding off pigs, getting things ship-shape and care-taking. Lots of SE wind and rain over the weekend, almost perfect duck hunting weather.

Catch ezine is out again, fine photography indeed.

Lots of last minute fiddling going on in the snuffit household, getting stuff prepared for the swamp stay. Man I'm looking forward to it.

This year we have quite a party:

Der Schwampenfuhrer (dad), my brother Greg, Uncle Bill (dad's bro), Uncle Tom (mum's bro), cousin Paul (son of my mother's brother and child of my mother's brother's lover), Tim & Andy, Uncle Rick (best as I can tell he's no one's uncle...), Cock, me and then my cousin Sarah's husband, Marc. With a "c" as in there's some frenchy stuff going on. (He must be the son in law of my mother's lover's brother).