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John's Journal... Entry 77, Day 3

What Kind of Ducks Winter on the Snake River

click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Outdoorsman Thayne Barrie of Boise, Idaho, loves to hunt ducks on the Snake River near Grand View, Idaho. He and the employees who work at his store in Boise, Sunset Sports Centers, can help hunters obtain information on Idaho duck hunting. Recently I went on one of the best duck hunts with Barrie.

QUESTION: Thayne, we saw an awful lot of ducks today. How many ducks can you legally take in Idaho?
ANSWER: Seven a day. They can be all mallards, with the exception that only two can be hen mallards. But any combination of seven ducks is legal.

QUESTION: Most people think the ducks leave the north country and come south during the winter. Why are they staying here in Idaho?
ANSWER: Many times we get a lot of birds that winter over because of the warmer weather patterns in the valleys of Idaho. We'll have great shooting from the latter part of November through December and the end of the season. We have a good local bird population, and then we get those migrating birds. This is typically as far as a lot of them go in the winter.

click to enlargeQUESTION: Where are these birds migrating from, Thayne?
ANSWER: A lot of them come from Alberta, Canada. We shot quite a few banded birds this year, and most of the certificates coming back show that the birds were banded in Alberta. We did get a few bands from Great Falls, Montana, which is kind of a right turn heading south from where we are. But for the most part, our birds come from Alberta and other Canadian provinces.

QUESTION: So ducks and geese will stop over here rather than come on down the flyway, right?
ANSWER: Yes. Like I say, the 2000-2001 duck season has been kind of an untypical year. We've got a lot more birds that have moved on this year than normal just because we had such a long stretch of cold weather. But this section of Idaho still carried quite a few birds over.

QUESTION: In a morning's hunt with six people, what do you generally expect to take?
ANSWER: This has been an exceptional year with today only the fourth time we haven't taken our limit, whether that would be with four, five or seven guys going out.

QUESTION: So taking 40 or 50 birds with a good number of people isn't unusual here?
ANSWER: The most people we've taken out are seven, and we've shot limits with seven people, which is 49 ducks.

click to enlargeQUESTION: That's a lot of ducks for a morning shoot. Now, where are your geese coming from?
ANSWER: Most of the geese are coming down the same flyway from Alberta, Canada, but we have a really strong local population of geese, too. We've got some good holding areas for geese with the reservoirs in our area.

QUESTION: You're seeing nothing but Greater Canada geese, right?
ANSWER: We've shot one Lesser Canada goose this whole year -- the first Lesser I've ever shot in Idaho.

QUESTION: But no other geese have been coming in, right?
ANSWER: No. Early in the season you'll see flights of snow geese, but they fly right through our section of the country.

click to enlargeQUESTION: How much competition is on the Snake River for ducks and geese?
ANSWER: There's a lot of competition in some places. The more accessible the area, the more pressure there is. We try to find the places to hunt that are more difficult to get to and that fact tends to keep the number of people hunting down.

QUESTION: Are far are we from Boise?
ANSWER: We're about 63 miles.

QUESTION: If you were going to tell somebody where we were hunting, what would you tell them?
ANSWER: We're hunting just right above the Birds of Prey Refuge in the Snake River Canyon, 18 miles below Grand View.

To obtain maps of the Snake River with the best spots marked and to get information on how, where and when to rent boats, contact Thayne Barrie at Sunset Sports, (208) 376-1100, 5804 Fairview Avenue, Boise, ID 83704.

TOMORROW: What You Need to Know to Hunt Ducks in Idaho




Check back each day this week for more about Thayne Barrie On Ducks ...

Day 1 -Duck Hunting on Idaho's Snake River
Day 2 -Setting Up for a Duck Hunt on the Snake River
Day 3 -What Kind of Ducks Winter on the Snake River
Day 4 -What You Need to Know to Hunt Ducks in Idaho
Day 5 -Information on Duck Hunting on the Snake River

John's Journal