This is a theory of mine and few hunting buddies that we have been discussing for a few years and I’m going to share to see your thoughts! Really there are 3 stages of the migration. First stage starts in early fall from Canada. Young and dumb with uneducated birds that haven’t seen a decoy or heard a call. Obviously this is the easiest stage for hunter harvest. Birds are just learning what its about and mature birds haven’t quite gotten back with the program yet.
The second stage starts at the border all the way to the wintering grounds. This is the lions share of the migration and birds are hunt-able but it is mostly select flight days and right time right place or bad weather to push them around with no idea where danger is lurking. For the most part the birds stay in larger concentrations of groups and are pretty good at finding refuge. Once these birds stop often they do not stick around with hunting pressure and that natural urge to keep moving south.
Third stage is Wintering ground arrival. Once the birds reach their destination for first few weeks they seem more to susceptible to decoys and calls for the hunters. But as always, once any waterfowl feels the hunting pressure for an extended amount of time they get with the program. After that your best opportunities are bad weather days and sometimes dumb luck.
Now the theory I have is the second stage of the migration is possibly the hardest time to consistantly kill specks. Mostly because once they feel pressure and poor weather conditions, they can just head south. I think everyone will agree the first stage of the migration is the eaisist time to harvest specks mostly in canada and the border states. I’m sure several will agurue that the wintering grounds are the most difficult because they have seen everything hunters have to offer the entire trip south. Talking with many seasond hunters in the wintering grounds the consensus seems to be that birds are eaiser to hunt when they first arrive but quickly get programed and more challanging. With large concentrarions of specks the probablity of birds making mistakes is more common for wintering ground hunters. Also Specks tend to be on the lead edge of the migration giving southern hunters more time in the field with birds in the area. In the Mid-West this year we had large numbers of specks push through before our season even opened. Now the other side of the coin is late season warm weather and reverse migration. If this occours it seems hunting specks becomes more sucessful for mid-west hunters.
So if you are still reading this rant what do you think? Is one stage harder to hunt than the other?