Grinding....It's Not Easy! Here at Hard Core, we truly embrace the understanding that to consistently put greenheads on the stringer each and every day, you have to be willing to put in the work and “grind it out”! That is what we mean when we say “it's not easy”! Over the last two weeks, that has certainly been the case! The last two weeks have made it clear to us that the 2014-15 waterfowl season is going to be “one of those”, where drastic swings in the weather may present stellar hunting conditions one day, and difficult or even hazardous the next. Coming straight off the heels of super storm Nuri, which brought a massive cool down to the Midwest, as well as massive push of waterfowl we have been stuck in a very interesting weather pattern. Since Veterans Day, we have had a complete freeze up and thaw out on three different occasions. Picture Courtesy of: Tom Forman While the conditions we are experiencing here midway through the season are more typical of later season conditions, excellent hunting opportunities are still be available, if you’re willing to work for it. When it comes to freezing conditions, keep in mind that as long as waterfowl have food and open water, ice really isn’t a limiting factor. Ducks and geese work on a law of diminishing return, as long as they are not expending more energy to keep open water on their roost than they are taking in and storing, you’re in the money. When the “cost” of keeping open water becomes too high, then it’s so long suckers! The last two weeks as truly been a grind for us, but we have been reaping the fruits of our labor. We have been concentrating the majority of our efforts on days where we have steady wind and sunshine. We have been able to maintain a healthy local population of birds, although we have lost several thousand in the past few days. Now that we are midway through season, you must rely on your gear much more than you do on opening day. That’s where the Hard Core Magnum Pre-Riggs really pay off. The birds we are hunting have been pounded for over 30 days, and we have found to be successful you need to: 1) be on or as close to the X as possible, 2) make your best effort to have the most realism in your spread. This also includes have movement in the spread. We love wind, but if that isn’t an option, the Hard core jerk cord system keep the birds feet down the in the hole. 3) Concealment, these birds will be looking for the slightest thing out of place, so we do our best to put forth extra effort to have a good hide. Layout boats have been the preferred method as of late. 4) Be prepared for an all-day sit. When the conditions start to freeze, especially late in the season with wary birds more often than not birds will fly during the warmest part of the day. This has been especially true as of late. Monday found us back at it. Conditions had been 100% ice covered, with ice ranging between 2 to 4” thick. However, we caught a break, with a strong warm front having just pushed through; we were pleasantly surprised to find the majority of the ice had rotted. We liked our chances! The Hard core decoys did their job. We were finishing mallards at 10 yards all day long. Its days like this that make keep looking for that next hunt. Two hours later, we walked out with our limit of greenheads and some smiles on our faces. We caught a big break in that we didn’t have to contend with the ice that particular outing; we had done our due diligence by putting in the time to scout, not being afraid to tackle the difficult hunting conditions and get out a grind! We have been adding ice steadily over the past few days and hunting conditions are beginning to get difficult, however as long as there are birds to chase we’re going to be going after them!