With the 2008-’09 season well underway throughout the country, many are still working to figure out where the birds are going to be next. The knowledge of when the birds will arrive in their area is hugely dependent on weather systems, and everyone knows that—they still just like to complain. And while waterfowl have migrated south for more than 10,000 years, the conditions have never been right for many of the waterfowl hunters I know.
It reminds me of when I used to travel to south Florida to go redfish fishing every year. My great-uncle would take us to his secret holes and we would catch some great fish, but if we didn’t, he would claim the tides aren’t right.
“The tides are in; it’s no good,” he would claim one day. “Oh, the tides are out; the fishing just isn’t any good,” he said the next. And on the last day of fishing we would get skunked, and since we were in between tides, he would claim that was just terrible. I walked away from there as a young man believing that tides in general were just bad fishing. Fortunately, I would return to Indiana and catch bass, not having to deal with those unlucky tides.
It’s the exact same with waterfowl hunting. Bluebird skies, cloudy, partly cloudy, foggy, snowy and even a mix of snow and rain are all terrible conditions. Except when you talk to the guy who smacked a limit of ducks and geese on those days—they will tell you those are the ideal conditions for waterfowl hunting.
So, what really are the ideal conditions for waterfowl hunting? Do you think that we, as waterfowl hunters, have fooled ourselves into believing that one weather pattern is better than another? Or is it whatever weather pattern we have on the day the shooting is better?
“We really need some wind to get these birds up,” I’ve heard hunters say repeatedly. The 30-mph wind comes in the next day and you’ll hear, “Man, that wind pushed all these birds out of here.”
I have tried to create a log of weather patterns that are better or worse, but it seems that too often the bird harvest fluctuates whether cloudy or sunny. There is no set correlation between the two.
This is the first year I’ve managed to put my finger on a particular way to judge whether or not the weather conditions are ideal for hunting. Try this trick at home and I’m positive it will work for you. Get out a calendar and mark every day, whether it’s a weekend or a vacation day, that you’ll be able to get out into the field. Those are when you’ll have ideal weather for waterfowl hunting. The other days, while working, just be happy you don’t have to deal with those terrible hunting conditions.