Ballard In the 80s

Discussion in 'Waterfowl Hunting' started by Mossy Oak Boykins, Dec 18, 2019.

  1. Mossy Oak Boykins

    Mossy Oak Boykins 6 pointer

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    Sep 11, 2019
    where my boykins take me
    Found a picture of some of us in the hunt club of a afternoon hunt in the good ole days . Wish I could relive them today resize1576728061835.png
     
    C.O.D., HCDH66, barney and 11 others like this.
  2. DH13

    DH13 12 pointer

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    Shelby county
    I remember those days. REAL GOOD TIMES. It wasn't a Duck thing like it is now. You went down then for Goose hunting.
     
    B.M. Barrelcooker likes this.
  3. Rod S.

    Rod S. 8 pointer

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    Oct 20, 2004
    Pewee Valley, Ky.
    Only time we really hunted ducks was with backwater.
     
  4. 1wildcatfan

    1wildcatfan 12 pointer

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    raised n Bullitt Co.
    My dad made an annual trip to Ballard back in the hey day. I never got to experience it.
     
  5. smashdn

    smashdn 12 pointer

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    Nov 24, 2003
    Palmyra, Kentucky
    Curious what was the limit back then?

    And other than they actually migrated down, what do you think made them the target and ducks the "by catch" so to speak?
     
  6. oddfellow1976

    oddfellow1976 6 pointer

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    Jul 26, 2012
    Cool pic! What club did you hunt with?
     
  7. oddfellow1976

    oddfellow1976 6 pointer

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    Jul 26, 2012

    I think back then there were more geese using the area than ducks. I've heard the refuge holding 100,000 geese back in its prime
     
    HuntressOfLight and FOWLER2671 like this.
  8. Mossy Oak Boykins

    Mossy Oak Boykins 6 pointer

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    Sep 11, 2019
    where my boykins take me
    early on we kept running total of birds that were called in each week and when the limit was reached for that area the season was over for that area but we still had a per person limit like every one else. the state did a lot more back then on refuge to attract birds than they do today. dont know about today but they did flyover counts weekly have seen over 100,000 canada and 40,000 ducks posted several times and thats not counting snows, and blues which when they decided to get up off refuge of the mornings would literally take 3 to 4 hrs for the sky to clear before they would start heading back to roost same thing, kinda hard to explain a sight you had to see to believe.we did kill quite a few ducks back then also but not like geese
     
    HuntressOfLight likes this.
  9. Mossy Oak Boykins

    Mossy Oak Boykins 6 pointer

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    Sep 11, 2019
    where my boykins take me
    it was a private hunt club in Oscar blind were 100yds off refuge line and that said club is still going today
     
    FOWLER2671 likes this.
  10. Grago

    Grago 8 pointer

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    My dad used to hunt Ballard a lot, i usually went on up around horseshoe, union county, or Marion in Illinois, I have not been physically able to waterfowl hunt in a few years, but the last year i remember being a good goose year was i think in 2000 . I remember the old timers talking about the flood or earthquake, or something where everything was flooded and got sand on the crop fields, i dont remember enough to really bring it up but something happened, But i remember as a kid seeing flocks of geese migrating , flying over here where i live, not anymore, i think the refuges really changed things, if you start at Ballard, go a few miles south you got reelfoot, go north a little ways there is horseshoe, then a little father north union county then the one at Marion. I also remember never seeing a resident goose around here in the summer, now they are everywhere. I also dont remember the snowgeese numbers we have now i have heard dozens of reasons, why they dont migrate anymore very good, i dont know those are nice pics, i liked the old camo everybody wore seeing them brings back a lot of memories thanks for posting
     
  11. Bee

    Bee 10 pointer

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    I posted about the guides Hubert and Little Joe on another topic, and they were hunting the Ohio bottoms west of Ballard in the 60s and later. My older brother took me there when l Was a teenager. These fellows were absolutely deadly on geese. Off season they trapped and they commercial fished the big water and were true river men. They knew where to kill geese every day if they could get a boat to the right fields. Sometimes a boat to a high ground place and then a truck to the field, or vice versa. Once they found the fields they would cut huge bundles of green cane and put their hunters for the day in a line, sometimes along a fence row, and use the cane to crate a blind that was some what like the A frame blinds today but keep the cane thick and tall so that the only way to take the shots was literally straight up overhead, by far the safest way to handle a group of perhaps ten shooters, which they sometimes had. Only danger to the line of hunters was getting stoned from above by a 12 pound goose falling straight down on your head. That happened daily.

    Some say the Ky laws about not having more than four guns to a goose blind that were enacted in their era was directly due to how many geese these fellows were killing and how effective their method was.

    They both mouth called the geese . No one else was allowed to call. They could bring down flights from any elevation with hard calling , then more calm as geese approached ,and they would let the geese start to settle in with some fanning, and then really light them up with hard and super loud yodel-calling and the geese would sort of lift up and usually float straight over the cane fence row blinds. When the shot was called everyone was only shooting straight up due to the cane configuration of the blinds. The numbers of geese killed from even a single flight hanging twenty yards up or less over several guns was epic. If you killed your limit you were quickly loaded in to a boat, taken back to the Cairo causeway, and traded places with the next group of hunters who were waiting eagerly to fill your spots. Sometime they would go through several groups a day. On a flight day I have no idea how many geese were actually killed. All I can say is a lot.

    Later year either KYDFW and /or FWS really sat on these guys. I think Huberts home was raided and he had a lot of untagged geese and was convicted for it. Eventually the four man blind limit was imposed. Hubert disappeared on a river trip I think and was presumed to have drowned as I understand it, Foul play rumors flew.

    Later we leased some rights / or day hunted with guides on some of the great fields near LaCenter,Oscar, Monkeys Eyebrow and the refuge. The Ballard hunting slowed somewhat early 80s and we started traveling to Maryland instead, and I also went to northern Manitoba and free- lanced on waterfowl for a decade where the goose and duck hunting was so spectacular it was really too easy. I dont post pictures so sorry about that. Those earliest Hubert -Joe trips were just mind boggling though.

    Smashdn-I think the goose limit off the refuge was 2 per day on my earliest trips. I think perhaps it went to 3 at some point for dark geese. I do not recall seeing snows then but they sure were around somewhere, and I think Boykins pictures above have some snows in them?
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2019
  12. Grago

    Grago 8 pointer

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    What were the decoys mostly used, my mind and memory is not what it once was, But i remember some that were half big as volkswagons were they using some of those at Ballard
     
  13. Grago

    Grago 8 pointer

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    Dec 13, 2016
    What were the decoys mostly used, my mind and memory is not what it once was, But i remember some that were half big as volkswagons were they using some of those at Ballard
     
  14. DH13

    DH13 12 pointer

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    Jan 13, 2012
    Shelby county
    1991 Ballard had a sign showing the Goose count. I think they still do. That day it showed over 500.000
     
    HuntressOfLight likes this.
  15. Bee

    Bee 10 pointer

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    Mar 14, 2005
    Believe this or not those river rats used silouettes and black tires and some full bodied. Due to water moments and having to move the spread . They might move whole thing overnight, in a 18 foot boat. Plus the cane. when we hunted ballard area near refuge it was large full bodies , like the 747, or flambeau super mag mixed in with the regular old routine full bodies of the day.

    When I free lanced in Manitoba I managed to fly two dozen flambeau super mags (won in a DU raffle) in a decoy bag up there for $25 because airline gate agent was very kind .:) also flew a bag of three dozen cheap mallard floater decoys. I left them there because I knew next agent would likely not be kind. Traded the decoys to a guy with a big canoe and small outboard in the area so that he let me use canoe and motor every year thereafter when I was there. With that rig I could carry a big lab, my son and a friend, and decoys in to the smallest interconnected marshes and field edges and then hunting was beyond belief. One of better trade deals of my life.
     

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