As this is a popular and growing sport, it was no surprise to see an increase in hunting pressure this season. While many struggled due to increased hunting pressure, it actually caused our hunting locations to thrive by pushing birds into our "hunt managed" waters. The management practices of BRVO, keep birds in the areas we hunt by simply allowing no less than 3 days of rest between hunts. Many of our spots are scouted daily, yet only hunted every 5-6 days! This puts us at different locations throughout the season, and keeps our birds unmolested and comfortable. Seldom do we hunt the same location 2 days in a row, and if and when we do it is a location that is holding a high volume of birds where limits can be killed within the first hour. The end result is a high percentage of the birds that never see the gun on the first day, allowing an "opening day" style shoot on the following day. These management practices not only result in higher numbers of birds to hunt, but birds that respond to calling and decoys as they should!
Wood ducks are our primary species during our first split with mallards, teal, and black ducks commonly making up our mixed bag shoots. It is not uncommon to have other species of dabblers in the bag depending on weather and hunting location. Even the occasional diver can be taken on our early season shoots. We have always taken pride in our ability to provide world class wood duck shoots, and this season we experienced superb gunning for these beauties! Over 100 wood ducks have been killed so far by BRVO clients! Not to mention the 8 other species of ducks that made up our mixed bag shoots! Currently, we have almost surpassed last years total number of ducks harvested, and we are not even half way through our season!
Now that the early part of our duck season has come and gone, we now transition into the late part of our season. The outlook for November and December is good with more typical weather patterns than we experienced in the 2015 season. This is the factor that will keep a consistent flow of fresh birds into our area! Divers and Sea ducks will be in huntable numbers on the big water as soon as early November, and migrating puddle ducks will produce good shoots for large migrating Mallards and Blacks in the marshes, swamps, and backwaters. If an early freeze comes in late November or early December, formation of ice will condense birds into areas of open water. This is the type of scenario that can lead to high volume shoots of mixed bags, consisting of puddle ducks, diver ducks, and geese, all from the same hole!
The 2 week season in January will provide world class gunning in the Finger Lakes region this year! Fully plumed, trophy drakes are the target on our Finger Lakes hunts. Redheads, broadbills (scaup), Goldeneye, Mallards, and Blacks, just to name a few! The prized drake Canvasback is also a strong possibility during this time frame! You just never know what you are going to shoot during the 2nd split of the Western zone in January. If wall worthy drakes are what you are after, early December in the Northern Zone, or the first 2 weeks in January in the Western zone are the dates you will want to consider!
It has been a good season thus far, but needless to say, there is much more coming! Our season has just begun and the best is yet to come! Follow us throughout the season on facebook, as we update it regularly with photos, videos, and migration reports. If a world class hunt with a professional, experienced staff is what you are searching for this season then its not too late! Contact us today, and let the BRVO staff show you first hand why our hunters return to hunt with us each year! Let us put YOU where the birds are!
- Capt. Ben Roggie