North Carolina has a fairly unique hunting opportunity in that Tundra Swan winter in the eastern part of the state. Tundra Swan tags are given out by lottery draw and not usually to difficult to obtain however this year I was unsuccessful in the lottery. The popularity of this hunt has grown but you still have about a 70% chance of getting drawn for one of the 5000 tags the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission issues each year.
With no tag I still tagged along with my camera in tote to experience the annual event with my friends. Once again we were hunting with Mike and Connie from Conman’s Guide Service and Billy from Avery Creek Retrievers provided the dogs for the hunt.
At daybreak on Monday the fog was thick and we knew it would be a tough hunt, tundra swan unlike most waterfowl fly better on bluebird type days. The threat of winter weather hitting the state latter that day put some added pressure. The decoy spread was in a wheat field with the hunters hiding in a field ditch in a blind. The ditch had a fair amount of water so I was glad to have chest waders on as the water and the mud was over my knees.
It was after 9am before we saw the first swan, it was a lone swan that dropped out of the fog silently and landed in the decoy spread before anyone knew it. Having a life bird walking and feeding around the hundreds of decoys is not to bad because it adds a little movement to the set up. Shortly after the lone birds arrival the action picked up as flocks of swans began to get up off the lake and fly. By noon time we had 13 birds on the ground and a lot of happy hunters.