It's getting closer and closer---

Al Hansen

Well-known member

Here's for all of you guys and gals that can hardly wait to put on the camo and head to your favorite teal honey hole. Yes, even I still think about it all the time. That made me think of the bluewing drake, which was my first duck that I ever shot, back in western MN in 1954.


This was the first time that I ever saw cinnamon teal that began changing colors this early. Normally I had to see if they had a brown eye or red eye to identify them.

A lot of our teal coming to New Mexico we get from southeastern Alberta, Canada. Thank you, neighbor!






These shots---excuse me, pictures, were taken on September 8th of 2020, which was before our opener.
Good for you, Michael. Normally those jaunts are well worth the time to do. Another close second is that you are doing something you most likely have been thinking about for some time and now it is going to happen.

I'll never forget walking up a very steep incline to attain the flat land on top of the mesa that overlooks the Rio Grande valley where I was interested in hunting. While I was up there I picked up a number of rocks a little bit larger than most and spelled out the word; D U C K S. (Who knows, maybe some day there will be another duck hunter out scouting for ducks and he or she might get up that incline to where I was along time ago. They might see that word I spelled out with the rocks.

With my binoculars along with my Canon 50D and my 100mm-400mmL lens, I actually helped out a couple of ranchers when I took pictures of at least 48 beef cattle that had made the east side of the Rio Grande their piece of private turf. Both ranchers had no idea that there were that many cattle in the area. Both got over there and drove the cattle back. Well, we won't mention the few 2,000 + pounds on the hoof of some Charolais bulls. They seemed to roam at well..I do know that about 18 years ago, one of the bulls walked across the Rio Grande to breed some cows in heat. While there he made the mistake of trying to do some damage to the ranchers side by side four wheeler. The bull was put down.

I found several areas that looked good to me from my vantage point that fall. Two of those spots really produced a lot of ducks. I had one spot that I went to for 3 1/2 years in a row. Yes, it was that good. Not only that but the spot just happened to be in an area that was getting some good rains at the right time. That scouting trip also introduced a new tree to me and it is called a desert willow. Their blossoms are beautiful and the best thing of all is that they attract hummingbirds.

There is another thing that I have observed here at home when observing birds. The desert willow tree produces long seed pods after the blooming period is over. When the pods begin to open just a bit, I will see up to a half dozen Gambel's quail flying up into the branches and begin pulling out the seeds to eat. Of course some hit the ground below and all bets are off for which critter gets there first.

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This yellow lab, Chili, was the best duck dog I have ever had. She was flat out awesome. She only had a handful of ducks that were the ones she didn't find. She was unbelievable in the thick cattails. She sure knew how to line out on a duck.


After getting my limit of ducks, I would pour a cup of coffee and have my camera ready for the next bunch of ducks that wanted to come in. When I first hunted New Mexico, I had never heard of smart weed. Well, this spot had it growing for 4 years in a row. By the way, the word spot is actually one of three of them that could be used in less than a mile of driving. These five big ducks were very close to me. There were 3 greenheads, one hen,and a dandy Mexican duck. These were the good old days and I'm referring to just two decades of time. Since then, with the use of dredges, the Rio Grande no longer looks like a meandering masterpiece of a river but now it has been straightened out, both sides lined to keep the water flowing faster and for sure all the gorgeous islands were scraped out. Now it has been some time since I have been in that area that I knew so well back in the early 2000s. Anyway, in my estimation the BLM and the BOR raped this river. Yes, we are now talking about water rights. Just so you know I am talking about the bureaucrats not the workers that I would meet on a daily basis. They were hard workers and did the job they were asked to do. I had a wonderful time hunting ducks just because I was hunting BLM or BOR (Bureau of Reclamation) land all this time with no one else there hunting. I do know that a few hunters were there but that was only on weekends which I normally didn't hunt. One guy had used my blind and of course he didn't have to put out any decoys because I had mine there. I left my decoys there for the entire season. No one bothered them. How did I know he was there? There was a dollar bill neatly placed where I always put my coffee cup!

When I could no longer use my truck to transport me, this is how I got to where I wanted to be. My best friend who is a darn good welder and farmer made that rack for me. That was quite a sight when I drove that up and into the bed of my truck. Oh, by the way, Jose's name for Chili was "old needle nose"!

The two of us sure had fun.

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