The sun came up over the North Dakota horizon and it was a perfect day. We had a light breeze at our backs with temps in the low 60’s and sunny skies. I couldn’t think of better place to be in early October. Fall was finally in the air and it was magical. Right off the bat a 3 pack of Cranes honed in on the decs and sailed over the top of the guys we were hunting with, about 50 yards down from us. They opened up and dropped the first bird of the day, we were on the board!
As the morning progressed, more and more Cranes got up off the sloughs around us but it was evident they were headed to another field today. We had a few flocks get close but most were headed East of our set up. Finally around 9am we had a pair headed our way. Brandon quickly took Kyle’s advice and ran down the corn rows towards the pair. He dropped one and harvested his first ever Sandhill crane. He was elated as this was an important bird he was seeking to knock off on his North American Waterfowl Grand Slam species list, as was I.
The morning was fast coming to an end when we had a nice flock of 8 little Cackler Canada geese (or as Kyle calls them- the Tall Grass Prairie Canada geese), swing right over the top and we managed to knock down 2 to wrap up the hunt.
Even though it was a slow morning and the birds didn’t quite work like we had hoped, it was still a most enjoyable morning and it was evident that Kyle had put a lot of effort and preparation into the hunt. Kyle felt terrible that we hadn’t done better but noted that this was the main reason he would much rather hunt Mallards and Pintails instead of Cranes, as again they are known to be so unpredictable.