Saturday, January 13, 2018

2018 Duck Hunt in Frozen Bootheel of Missouri

Duck decoys frozen in place - and slippery walking!
We tried to land ducks in a pothole opened via axe
With rain in the forecast, which is a surefire way to loosen up areas of frozen ice, we headed into the bootheel of Missouri (after Arkansas) to hunt ducks in the small town of Gobler. This portion of the Mississippi River delta is flat, and very fertile farming ground. Ricefields and other grainfields stretch as far as the eye can see, and it is prime duck habitat. The local farmers have learned that they can lease pit blinds to avid duck hunters in order to increase and diversify revenue after the harvest. We booked a room at a hunting lodge that was built on farmland not far from where we would hunt.
With the ice frozen about 6-inches thick, our guides had carved out a hole only about 6-feet by 6-feet for us to try to attract the ducks. Decoy spreads and motion decoys are set up on the ice all around the water hole, and the goal is to get any ducks to come land right in the water, or maybe come close enough to shoot at. This system worked well enough for some to harvest a few ducks. Hunting conditions were tough, but locals were using trolling motors, ice eaters, axes and shovels to try and keep a patch of open water.
Elk Chute Hunt Lodge in Gobler, Missouri
Interesting nickname and just West of Memphis
It was painfully clear that we missed the thaw that everyone had longed for, but our window to visit was coming to a close, and we did the best we could. Visiting other states to hunt migratory ducks is a hobby for hunters who enjoy the pursuit of waterfowl. Each state can charge a separate hunting license fee, but in general it is quite a blessing to be able to move around and chase the ducks. This trip yielded lots of information that can be applied to future duck hunts to the Midwest, to revisit old hunting grounds and to make new friends. 

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

To view past blog entries about duck hunting with Drake Field Experts click on Filming 2016 Migration Nation TV show September Geese - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2014 S.C. State Duck Calling Champion

To view past blog entries about hunting ducks in the Midwest click on  Filming Ducks Unlimited TV show 

To view past blog entries for late January duck hunts click 20172016 - 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009

 To view past blog entries about hunting wood ducks click 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009

To View past blog entries from Mossy Oak Gamekeepers Magazine click Fall 2017 Spring 2016 Winter 2016 - Fall 2015 - Summer 2015 - Spring 2015 - Winter 2015 Fall 2014 - Summer 2014 - Spring 2014 - Winter 2013

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