Thursday, January 22, 2015

ACE Basin: 2015 Duck Season Finale

Buck Howell and Bramblett Bradham with a limit of gadwall ducks

The January 25 ending for duck season is drawing very near so hunters will fire their final volleys this weekend at these migratory waterfowl. A small band of veteran hunters gathered recently for a late January hunt in the ACE Basin, and these wingshooters made their aim count. While the season may end soon, and similar hunt conditions with good numbers of waterfowl may not occur again until next January, the memories from this hunt and from similar efforts by other waterfowlers will endure.
Gadwall duck, also called a grey duck
It’s not really a secret that ducks are looking for something to eat when they migrate South for the winter, and they have instincts that evolve over time about where to find food. Coastal South Carolina and the Lowcountry in particular has always been a part of that equation with a nice mix of saltwater, brackish and freshwater habitat. But in order to concentrate the ducks for the sake of hunting, managers know that planting a crop in an impoundment that can be flooded is usually a recipe for success.

Duck Hunting Success = Right Place, Right Time!
Back in January of 2014 I attended a late January lottery hunt on Bear Island WMA where the ice and cold conditions had the pintails right where we wanted, making for a great hunt memory. This January’s hunt was on a private pond in the ACE Basin and lots of gadwall ducks were in the area. It wasn’t particulary cold, but it had been a very dreary few days with no sunshine and some rain, drizzle and fog along the way. In other words, it was quite ducky weather!
Old School waterfowler

Everyone finishes up duck season with some sort of finale, and these hunts create something intangible to be savored until next January when waterfowlers get another chance to hunt late season ducks.

To view this feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

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