Waterfowl hunting in colder weather presents challenges, but, unknown to most hunters, it can also offer some of the best shooting of the entire season. At the end of the season, hunters will be encountering ducks and geese that have had many previous encounters on hunting fields, and have become especially wary of calls and decoys. This means late season hunters must fine-tune their skills to end the season on a positive note. I usually engage a hunting guide from Minturn Anglers in Denver, Minturn or Vail to coach me in late season techniques and to bring me to currently successful hunting locations.
One of the best things about hunting with a Minturn Anglers guide is that they know where to go. They are in the field almost every day, and know the feeding and resting locations popular with ducks and geese around the area. This always saves me time and gets me into position quickly. My guide also takes special care in preparing natural camouflage around our blind, reminding me that waterfowl are very skittish at this time of the year.
Decoy appearance and positioning can be critical to persuading birds to land. I always enjoy watching the adjustments our guide makes to the decoy display, depending on bird reaction, until we get the response we want. Our guide watches where birds land, how many land in the same place, and how close they are together. Then he adjusts the decoy spread to make it more realistic.
Personally I particularly appreciate the tips I receive:
- When there is a strong wind blowing, fewer decoys are needed, just enough for passing birds to see, and a call to get their attention is usually all that is needed
- If ice is starting to form, my guide moves to open water on wind-exposed points or areas where water is moving; watch where the birds are flying and follow them
- I am reminded to stay extremely quiet in foggy conditions, as any noise will scare them off
- When it is actually snowing, our guide is careful to note the flight path birds are using to leave feeding fields, and try to get under that flyway
Whether it’s late season wind, snow, fog or ice, a Minturn Anglers hunting guide knows how to make the best of it.