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The Mallards Are Coming, The Mallards Are Coming

Temperatures in Bismarck, North Dakota were in the lower sixties to high fifties

A fellow club member on a trip to North Dakota as of the first week of October had not shot a Mallard.  They were all north of the Canadian  border per his report.  But they will be coming as they do every year.  Another friend reported there were only 50,000 Mallards at Sand Lake National Wildlife reserve near Aberdeen, South Dakota.  They will be coming.  They always do.

Sunrise at the blind


Temperatures in Bismarck, North Dakota were in the lower sixties to high fifties.  That is the same temperature pattern we are experiencing as we start the second week of October.  The beans are all out near the blind and the farmers were finally getting a good start on the corn.  Intermittent rain had slowed the corn harvest down, but with the south winds we have been having and what is taking place as of this writing, the ground will be dry.  Then they can get into the fields and get the corn picked.  That always helps as the birds will work the fields over for kernels of corn.  With all the wetlands and our 40 acres of open water, things will be good for the Mallards and better for the hunters.

Our man Jackson bringing in a duck.


In the meantime the boys will have to settle for small ducks made up of teal, wigeon, gadwall, and pintails.  The pintail season is about to end.  It is a dirty job, but someone has to do it. With the first blast of really cold weather the small ducks will be gone winging their way south to Arkansas and Texas.  In Texas, I have a friend that will be waiting in the rice fields for the arrival of the teal.  By the time the birds get that far south, they will have been called to and shot at all the way south from the Canadian border.  It is a wonder by the time they arrive at their southern location, they will even respond to a decoy or a duck call, but they do.

Jackson bringing in a duck right at shooting time.  Look at his eyes showing up.  The dogs are the best part of the day.


This next week I am not hunting at all.  Not unless something changes, and from what I have seen of the weather forecast, there are not any major changes in sight.  So what is a person to do?  You can always go up to the blinds and sit and watch the ducks tantalize you as they start to decoy, then wise up.  Their rear-ends remind them that they have been to this location before.  There is always the chance that some fresh birds have flown in, but checking the reserves up north, they continued to show a steady level of birds.  Why should they leave when they don't have to go south?  Water, sand and grain and a safe place to hang out is all they need.  Leaving the reserve can get dangerous and after they have been shot at once or twice, they learn really quickly.


Click on the links below for some great buys before the Christmas rush begins.


Bass Pro Shops


Good hunting, good fishing and good luck.  Hank






More Stories By Hank Huntington

Hank Huntington, Esq., is a native of southwest Iowa, healthcare professional, entrepreneur, accomplished pilot, hunting and fishing enthusiast, connoisseur, father and husband. He developed this web site for people to share their fun and excitement about the great outdoors. The best part of this hobby is, after a successful hunting or fishing trip, you are able to dine on fresh game or fish, after all, “ How do you eat a golf ball?” asks Hank. Hanks father and grandfather were both avid outdoorsmen so Hank learned his hunting and fishing skills from them and has passed the tradition down to the fourth generation. Plus the love of the outdoors, and a craving for exquisite dinning, would round out the package.

As a small boy, he fished a local oxbow lake formed by the Missouri River. The lake is primarily old river bottom mud, is not real clear, and has a lot of vegetation. The southeast corner holds a huge lily pad bed, and it was there Hank learned to drag through the water and across the tops of the pads, a Johnson Silver Minnow, with a pork rind attached. This was the place for big mouth bass, and there were lots of them, and young Hank loved to catch them.

At age of 12 Hank started going with his Dad hunting, and by age 14 he was an accomplished shooter with a 12-gauge pump. Shortly after that he was given his first shotgun a Winchester Model 12 pump; he still has it today. It looks like almost new, but the gun is never to be hunted again. Duck hunting in the late 50’s had little pressure after the first two weeks of the season, and when the north wind blew and it got really damp and cold, the big Canada Mallards came.

After graduation from high school, Hank attended Midland College in Fremont, Nebraska. There he met a fellow outdoorsman, and their friendship developed in the fields and streams of central Nebraska.

Hank had little time for hunting and fishing while attending professional school at Creighton University. After graduation he married his college sweetheart and they settled down to career, family, and as often as possible, hunting and fishing.

Hank and his family frequently flew their plane north to Canada to the legendary Canadian fly in lodges to fish for Northern and Walleye. Here he taught his son all the things his father had taught him about fishing. Most of the time the two went alone to the north woods, but when camping was not involved, his wife Pam went along. She always enjoys the fact that she has caught a bigger Northern Pike than Hank, and he has been fishing for 60 years. Today along the Missouri River valley, the deer population increased to the point that in many areas they are a nuisance. The duck, goose, and turkey has also population have also soared.

Area lakes have been well stocked. Many even have a walleye stocking program that makes outstanding fishing. Several are within easy driving distance of Hank’s lodge-like lakeside home. All packaged together is great dining. By the way, Hank harvests only what he will share at a table with family or friends.

Hank says, “Whenever I am on a lake, in the woods, or in the blind, I am always reminded of God’s great bounty and His constant presence. And whether in the great outdoors or at home with my wife, I strive to be a good steward of nature and all that God has given us.”

Good hunting! Good fishing! Good day!

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