There was no way to prepare for such a change in enviroment between duck hunting on the east coast by boat the whole time to scouting by truck and jumpshooting sloughs full of every variety of duck native to North America. We freelanced the whole trip without any guides doing it all from what i had learned from a couple locals over the web the week prior. Rather than detail every aspect of the trip I am going to touch on...........
WHAT I LEARNED IN NORTH DAKOTA:
1. Always research and then research some more your lodging options.
We paid our deposit almost a year in advance prior to driving out to ND from Virginia. We thought we had found great accommodations only to show up to what was a rundown doublewide trailer that has water spots on the ceiling and wall, stank horribly of stale beer from long past, old food in the sink, and carpet the color of mud... wait it was mud. I won't mention any names (Coteau Lodge in Goodrich ND) but make sure you really get a feel for the place you plan to stay. We ended up being rescued by a forum member on Duck Hunt Chat that was awesome enough to let us use his fathers lodge FREE of charge ( MIKE YOU ARE THE Mutha F-Ing MAN!).
The second half of the week we had booked a place called Little Brown Cabin in Montpelier and it was gorgeous! I would HIGHLY recommend it to anone looking for a lodge in the area. It even had a wood stove & washer/dryer.
Little Brown Cabin
2. Adapt and Overcome!
As said before I have never done any field hunting or much pond hunting for that matter, more big blinds on even bigger water around the Cheasapeake Bay. Watch where the birds are heading and take note of all the details like what kind of vegetation is in the water, what kind of cover is nearby, water depth, species that are co-mingling and you will find success!
3. Take the Time to Meet the Locals!
Alot of people are introverts and would rather keep to themselves but and HUGGGGEEEE BUT! is you might miss just out on some of the most fun of the adventure that way. We met some VERY awesome people that we will definitely track down next trip out.
Dani from the bar Dani's Place in Gackle, ND was very nice and makes the BEST chocolate chip cookies and Chicken Ranch Pizza EVER!
Mike and his dad, Jay, who we can't thank enough for not only providing us a place to stay, but also being such fun people to sit, talk, and learn about North Dakota from. Nothing like talking about hunting and how things are done in different regions of the country over some of Jay's home smoked cheese!
Last but not least the guys and gals of Dally Up! Bar and Grill. They were a riot! Blake, Mel, Terry, and Jeannie made the town of Montpelier so welcoming, fun, and full of laughs. all around good time. Where else can you donate a bunch of VA Oysters and then get stuck being the one to cook them on the griddle for everyone to try. They were a HIT!
4. Take Good Company Along!
I opted for one of my best friends and someone I knew would be about the journey just as much as me. If you take someone just to take them, you might just leave them there by the end of the week. Me and Chris know each other well, can read each other's mood, and react according whether its, " Quit being a Puss!" or better off letting that one simmer. THere is no one elses I would have rather had by my side when it comes to an outdoor adventure than my bud Chris, and Jake the Dog!
And now for the Pictures!!!!
Trophy of the Trip!
Jake hiding in my layout blind
The Town of Gackle!
First Day, Decoy spread
Me and Jake, Last morning on the prairie
Sunset Around Streeter by Mike
Chris Breaking Ice