Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Great Day for Specks

Cold, cold day, but we had great morning hunts for specks. Max Sigman came down with his father and uncle for duck hunt in the afternoon - Max gets a gold star for being our youngest hunter of the year and is enjoying a big cup of hot chocolate following their afternoon hunt which was not productive. The positive thing is that Max had a great time, loved the goose mounts and stayed warm throughout the hunt. A young hunter in the making! Pleasure to meet you Max.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas is over - back to duck hunting!

Brothers Albert and Nate had quite the day! Nate was tickled with his banded mallard and Albert had a full bag! Earlier, on the morning hunt, Albert shot a black duck which unfortunately was already in the freezer and missed the photo op. When Albert arrived here shooting a black duck was tops on his list. How cool is that?
Albert is really happy, just a little cold and the ducks were heavy!

Nate and the banded mallard -- pretty soon he will have as many bands as Jeff. Way to go!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Celebrity Youth Hunt Friday Evening and Saturday

Friday evening, the winners of the Celebrity Duck

Hunt enjoyed dinner and a duck calling session by Tim Grounds.

Olivia Thoele, Garrett Brockbill, Jake Wills, Connor Webster, Morgan Lanman and Wade Steele were the lucky winners of a hunt with a celebrity.

Scott Huschle (Saturdays, 7 a.m. 101.3 WMCI) and his son, Zach, along with Chuck LaFore and his son, Kodie arrived early and asembled hunting bags for all the kids.

We had an all-star lineup of celebs for the kids to hunt with: Tim Grounds, John Mabry and his son, J.T., Chris Aiken, Dan Cox, Larry Reid ("Outdoors" Sundays at noon on 1570, WBGZ), Curt Hicken and Marc Miller (Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources). Kirk Stirens and his son, Erik, represented Gander Mountain. Gretchen Steele from Coulterville and David Horning from Eldorado photographed the event.

Murph, Jack Anstedt, Jim Metter and Jeff all came this morning to help in the pits and get everyone where they were going. For all the world, it appeared that it would be a duck slamming day. Wind, snow, rain - we had all the makings of a great hunt -- but the ducks outfooled us and we didn't have the morning we predicted. There were some ducks shot, but not what we had hoped for. Regardless, all the kids had a great time and left happy hunters looking forward to another day of duck hunting.

Many thanks to everyone who helped make this such a special evening and day for the kids!

Jill loved these kids! They all said dinner was great and my tacos for lunch were the BEST! What more could a kitchen slave ask for?

Olivia - brave girl to hang with the guys!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

WELL, they were leaving this morning. . .

SO, Ron and Russ were on their way home this morning and. . . .hunting was so good they stayed for the afternoon and whooooooo, lookee here Jeff and Chugg -- your Dad and friend did it again!!

Back to Ohio Morning Hunt

Ron and Russ are headed back to Ohio after lunch and had another lucky morning! Word is that the afternoon hunt should be really great. Murph is coming down to hunt with Haldy. Reports later.

Celebrity Youth Duck Hunt Saturday Morning

The Hunt Club is hosting a celebrity youth duck hunt Saturday morning. This is a collaborative effort between the Illinois Conservation Foundation, Down River Game Calls, and us. Down River Game Calls hosts a radio show Sat. mornings on 101.3 out of Matoon, IL and advertised the contest for young hunters to enter a chance to win a duck hunt with some well known ball players, world champion duck callers and others interested in promoting youth hunting.

The drawing was held several weeks ago and the lucky winners and a parent will arrive at The Hunt Club Friday evening for dinner and a fun evening of prizes and introduction to the celebrities. After breakfast Saturday morning the kids will head out to hunt with their celebrity, their parent and a representative from The Hunt Club. We are sure hoping that the duck hunting continues to be as good as it has been.

November Buck with a bow

Tom Dunn is here this morning bowhunting and pointed out that I hadn't posted his bow buck on the blog. Oops, I forgot to! Tom shot this deer in November just before the start of the gun season. So today he is on the hunt for a turkey with a bow. Now that would be a first for the fall hunting season. Good luck today, Tom.

Haldy, Ron Eger and Russ are here as well - on the search for another limit of mallards. Hunting report later in the day.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Green Head Hunt

Voting Open Now -- which one does a better job with the duck makeup? That would be Russ on the Left and Ron on the right! Russ and Ron participated in the hunt this afternoon - read more about it below.
Russ, Ron, Haldy and Jeff aren't telling a tall tale about this hunt. I could hear the shooting from the lodge. Here is how it went -- after the first 5 ducks they shot, they decided to skip gadwall's, hens, etc. and shoot only for the drakes. In an hour and 15 minutes (decoy set-up to last duck shot) they all had their limits! They ended up with 14 drakes and 2 hens. Now, THAT is a hunt.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

20 mallards, 1 ringneck, 1 gadwall

The Ohio boys had a heckuva hunt today! Keep your fingers crossed that our winning streak continues. All in all we had 8 limits of mallards today, 1 hunter 3 mallards and 2 others "missed".

Jeff's crystal ball predicts great hunts tomorrow afternoon.

First Group in at 9:15

Left to right: Ray Mong, Dr. Seth and Scott Brown had a morning that duck hunters dream of! In fact, on their first visit to The Hunt Club from Ohio they had limits or close to each day of their 3 day hunt. Glad to have had you hunting with us.

Monday Duck Update/71 Ducks-4 Geese

It would only make sense that you would be asking yourself why on a day when we slammed the ducks would I post a photo of a stuffed pork loin being seared. The answer to that is the kitchen slave, who also takes the photos, had a complete lapse in completing her duties!

13 hunters shot 71 ducks and 4 geese on Monday. Banner day, right?

And the story of the pork loin? Well I finally figured out how butchers tie a butterflied roast with ONE piece of string. Simply too proud of myself. I just bought Thomas Keller's new cook book, "Ad Hoc", and although I couldn't figure it out from his written instructions, the photo did the trick!

As I am writing this, the area north of the lodge sounds like warfare on ducks. We have 12 hunters today, so I expect, judging from the shooting, that we will have another banner day! Stay tuned.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Afternoon Ducks

. Jim and Larry sneaked past my camera and went straight for the cold ones.

Russ, with a different group from Ohio looks like he is ready for wild quail hunting!

Craig and Jeff Eger had a great afternoon hunt. What's wrong with his hat??

Sunday, December 13, 2009

What a way to spend Sunday morning

First time at The Hunt Club, this group of hunters from Ohio shot 20 ducks and 4 geese!

Paul Shelton may have had a slower hunt this morning, but then he DID spend some time getting his ranger out of the lake. . . . .we'll let him tell the rest of the story. Maybe his story can top Haldy's.

Ken Saum and Jeff slayed them this morning as well. Do they need a different brand of make-up? NOT sure what I think of it!

Happy Duck a la Jill

Below the breasts are seasoned and stuffed with sausage before they get seared on the flatop. The question everyone wants to know the answer to is "and then what happens to the duck breasts?" Hmmm, next installment which hopefully will be my cookbook. Yummy, yummy, you know it is a special day when we have Happy Duck for lunch!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mallards For All

Doug James, Trevor Moore and Bill Collins (who is really here for a bowhunt!) joined Jeff for a high-fiveing kind of duck hunt. What is missing from this photo tells the rest of the story -- Murph and Haldy left at noon with 6 & 5 ducks a piece. Jim Metter's group of 3 shot 9 ducks this morning also. What a day - picture perfect weather for duck hunting. Low 30's with a 30 mile an hour wind and cloudy. When I came up for coffee this morning, Murph was really pumped up and yelling "HOO-RAH, HOO-RAH". I wasn't sure what it meant at the time, but I guess he had a premonition for the day ahead. The Hunt Club 36 - Ducks 0.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Weather, Weather, Weather

Hmmm, Ron's new footwear? Or could these be the lucky duck shoes of the chick in the kitchen?
Just like with real estate (location, location, location) with duck hunting, it could be said, it is "weather, weather, weather" and today proved that to be true. In the case of The Hunt Club, it could also be "location, location, location" as well. Jack and his guests along with Murph all harvested limits of mallards. For the record this is the day that a blizzard is humming along the upper midwest dumping large amounts of rain in our part of the world. Looks like tomorrow will be much of the same - only windier. Attention duck hunters!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ducks Galore

Check out the duck "scorecard" - lots of mallards. Jeff and Jim Metter hunted together Sunday and had a great hunt. Jim was excited because he had a black mallard. A fitting end to a long shotgun weekend were the deer Nick and Keith harvested. More on those deer and photos later.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

200" Fitzgerald Deer

No words needed - what a deer! Congratulations Jerry!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Father and Son harvest trophy deer

Jackson (L) and Lloyd Parker both harvested these fine bucks late yesterday afternoon. What a wonderful day for father and son -- this is Jackson's first hunt at The Hunt Club and this isn't the first buck that Lloyd has harvested here. Congratulations, guys!

A Grand Slam Every Day

Steve Sigman (newly added to the Maritz membership roster) and his brother, Joe, hit it big on their first ever duck hunt at The Hunt Club yesterday afternoon.

This is the second shotgun season - maybe we will have a photo this afternoon. Frosty, frosty 19 degrees this morning! Happy weekend to everyone.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Another Grand Slam

Arriving early for shotgun season, Dave Robbins and Tony Adams joined Jeff for an afternoon duck hunt - limits of mallards all around! Tony and Dave were educated on the acrobatics of ringnecks! Too much fun - this was only the second duck hunt Dave has ever been on and though Tony has done quite a bit of duck hunting, he thought this was one of the best ever.

Today everyone is out of the pits and in the deer huts. We had an exciting start to the morning when Ron's little misadventure (oops, backed up into a BIG ditch) brought Jill to the rescue of the hunters stranded with Ron. All hunters made it to their stands in good time, but Jill's heart was a pumping driving on unfamiliar, pot hole laden and flooded cow paths!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Remember this?

Just 2 days now to the 2nd shotgun season and I thought it would be fun to post some scenes from seasons past. Do you think Ron is really sleeping, or just posing?

I noticed my numbers of friends are increasing - makes me feel so happy! See some of you soon .

Monday, November 30, 2009

Recipe for duck hunting

Wednesday conditions: temperatures falling throughout the day, 80% chance of precipitation and major push of ducks into the area = Jeff's recipe for duck hunting. Pothole hunting looks good in the morning because ducks are looking for places to loaf during the day. For sure hunting flooded corn in the afternoon. Maybe we will see you? If we shoot enough ducks, Jill will make Happy Duck!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Murph and Jeff -- AGAIN

Looks like the duo has done it again - a limit of mallards this evening. They saw more flight birds coming in as well. Paul Shelton was in the field too and also harvested 4 birds, but got away before I could document it with my trusty sony. We are 100% for the day. Looks like the hunting is picking up nicely.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Haldy and Murph strike green!

Two duck hunters today - the infamous Murph and Haldy - and they landed 4 mallards. The word from them is "THE DUCKS ARE HERE." Jeff agrees and Ron is hoping they are right. Guess we will know more in the morning.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Jeff Says, "Lightning Strikes Twice"

I was looking for a picture of a wild turkey to post and send along with our Thanksgiving greetings when Jeff and Mitch showed up with a slew (or is it a gaggle?) of ducks - 8 gadwall, 1 ringneck and 1 blue wing teal (which should be in Mexico, Jeff says.) Word is that the ducks worked real well this morning. Jeff is in charge of Thanksgiving dinner at his house - better get going!

Again, Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Hunting with Jeff is like carrying a lucky charm. . . Mitch hunted and Jeff guided (well, come on, Jeff WAS hunting backup) this afternoon at the new levy pit and bagged 4 mallards and 2 ringnecks!! Go guys! Unfortunately, Doug James brought 2 guests down yesterday afternoon with no success in the mallard arena either then or this morning. Well....then there IS that lucky charm... Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Three's The Charm

We LOVE Gary Fitzgerald for his photos! Without his expertise and conscientiousness, all our photos for the last 14 years would be in a shoebox. Show your appreciation by being my friend! Many congratulations to Pat, Rick (oops, he is double dipping in the photos & kudos!) and Troy. Nice, nice trophy deer.

Good times in the Lodge following a productive first day.

If these photos make you feel like you are missing all the fun, YOU ARE!