I am sure that I am not alone in my thoughts about the lack of weather this Fall. For central Oregon we are only at one third the typical precipitation amount of 10". Mt. Bachelor is not even open and for the Thanksgiving Holidays they actually trucked in snow to offer a very limited amount of skiing and then closed immediately afterward.
That is making it difficult for both hunter and those animals that are being hunted. The deer and elk are still up high due to lack of snowfall and come down primarily for water. During Elk season it was so dry I couldn't even attempt to bushwhack without alerting every animal within 200 yards of my presence. I stayed on game trails and old logging roads to keep my walking as quiet as possible. The early rain we did have back around late September and early October was just a tease, and is all but a distant memory now.
I sure would like to see some big storms out of the far north start pushing the waterfowl south. I'm talking areas like Northwest Territory, Saskatchewan and then continue to push them out of the Columbia Basin further south. I am cautiously optimistic that we will still see northern birds before the season ends. I have my fingers, toes and whatever else crossed that I can cross. Then when they do arrive, most likely early January I hope there will be open water for them and they'll stay awhile. Reading The Downeast Duck Hunter and The Maine Outdoorsman blogs I am growing increasingly envious of the storms they've been getting. Shoot, and what do we have ? Bluebird weather in December, Oh pleeeze!
When I was in the Klamath basin last weekend there were still White Fronted Geese (aka Specs) flying around. That is unheard of, typically Specs are gone before Thanksgiving in early November. They are not as tolerant to the cold as are Canada Geese. Had I not taken my boat and hunted the Klamath River for divers, I doubt I'd have come home with many birds. As it was even the divers are now decoy shy. My friend Dan and his son Zac were with me and we shot a little over two limits of ducks altogether. Mostly hen Buffleheads, also called "butterballs" for their wonderful plump layer of fat on their breasts. We shot two Scaup, one of each sex and no other divers at all. Not any Redheads, Ring-Necked or Cans. Note that Canvasbacks are completely protected this year, none can be harvested. As for the likes of Goldeneyes(Barrows and Common), well they are known as the harbingers of winter. Once they are in Oregon you know the season is drawing to a close. They are the last to arrive from the far north. They are one of my favorite divers to hunt. They are as tough as they come and you'd better hit them with your whole pattern or say adios! If you cripple one be ready to load and keep loading because they can take a hit. Not only that but they are notorious for diving and not coming back up. They will grab whatever vegetation there is and hang on with their bill and die. I've had that happen more than once and also with Scaup too. Very aggravating to say the least.
Alright all you die hard waterfowlers out there, I am asking you to get involved and start doing your nasty weather storm jig cause we need it big time! Do it before you go to bed and when you wake up in the morning. It can be part of your daily cardio if you like, better yet make it so. I think it is going to take a group effort this year, so times a wastin'. Lets get to wishin' and dancin' for some big ol' nasty, cold and long winded northern storms to come barreling like a freight train into the Pacific Northwest and points south! I want rain, horizontal flurries, frozen rivers, ground fog, and a steady 20 to 30 mph north wind. Does that really seem like I'm asking for to much? I have conditioned myself for those extremes. Both physically and mentally I have prepared myself, just as I have done for the past 30 plus years. Cause when the conditions get really bad the waterfowl hunting gets really good. No doubt us diehards are a breed apart and I would never subject an inexperienced hunter or huntress to such elements. I wouldn't want to lose their interest in waterfowling. There are the fare weather hunters and then there are the rest of us. Some may think we're a half bubble off plumb. Well truth be known, we may well be and wouldn't trade it for nothing!
Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt