Ice Conditions

A5 Sweet 16

Member
No offense, but I laughed at the guys who were so certain that by this time of the season all this water would become a non-issue. I was right. Still an issue. In the areas I hunt, open areas (no cattails) in sloughs are walkable. But even after a week of single-digit highs & some bitter cold still nights, cattails are iffy. Some are OK. Some aren't. Went through today, both feet, up to my nuts...twice. (2nd time during the 20' effort to get back to terra firma) Also, bear in mind that many of these areas of abnormally high water....have outlets. Meaning water is still flowing out of them. This not only means open-water creeks (yes...still unfrozen), but cruddy ice on top of & near flowing water. And those little creeks this year are DEEP!
 
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Yep, they are nasty this year. I was in ND where the snow was drifted a couple feet deep in the cats. Went in up to my waist, fortunately had a solid bottom and used my gun to brace on the ice as I crawled out. Dog stood and watched me. Than we got a rooster as I sloshed back to the car. Never had gotten more than damp feet in that spot before. With all the snow they will probably never freeze solid until the season is over.
 

jonnyB

Active member
Wonder if light-weight chest waders are the answer for semi frozen sloughs? Obviously one should continue to be intelligent about thin ice. Waders would force one to go very slow...
 

A5 Sweet 16

Member
For my hunting, the only real answer to going through ice in cattails....is to stay out of the cattails. Unfortunately, with my mindset, that's not always an option. It had been the only option up until this weekend, but no more. I could walk on most of them this weekend, but just came upon an area that for some reason the ice was no good. My best guess is because it was near (maybe 150 yds) a tiny creek that emptied into the main slough. My theory is that the creek water is warmer & produced some strange, under-ice eddies much further from the creek than I would have guessed possible. While I KNOW cattails are iffy for several reasons (exothermic crap going on beneath, insulation by snow, creeks maybe), I still get wet every year because that's where the birds are. That's the insanity of it, plain & simple. Out there in sub-zero temps, walking on crappy ice...just to let my dog do his thing & shoot a bird for him. At least I realize by now that only 1 thing will change my mind, and I believe I'm just smart enough to avoid any situations that are truly life threatening. I hope I'm right.
 
For my hunting, the only real answer to going through ice in cattails....is to stay out of the cattails. Unfortunately, with my mindset, that's not always an option. It had been the only option up until this weekend, but no more. I could walk on most of them this weekend, but just came upon an area that for some reason the ice was no good. My best guess is because it was near (maybe 150 yds) a tiny creek that emptied into the main slough. My theory is that the creek water is warmer & produced some strange, under-ice eddies much further from the creek than I would have guessed possible. While I KNOW cattails are iffy for several reasons (exothermic crap going on beneath, insulation by snow, creeks maybe), I still get wet every year because that's where the birds are. That's the insanity of it, plain & simple. Out there in sub-zero temps, walking on crappy ice...just to let my dog do his thing & shoot a bird for him. At least I realize by now that only 1 thing will change my mind, and I believe I'm just smart enough to avoid any situations that are truly life threatening. I hope I'm right.
Yes we go where the birds are and hope we have enough common sense to avoid the really "bad" spots, unless we are absolutely sure there are birds there. I was worried when I got my artificial knee that falling through the ice would be a really bad thing to happen. Nope, it isn't any worse that with the real knee. They are both wet, cold and miserable.
 

UplandHntr

Active member
As hard as it is trying to climb out of chest high water on to the ice - I cant fathom trying that with chest waders on. No thanks
 

A5 Sweet 16

Member
Yes we go where the birds are and hope we have enough common sense to avoid the really "bad" spots, unless we are absolutely sure there are birds there. I was worried when I got my artificial knee that falling through the ice would be a really bad thing to happen. Nope, it isn't any worse that with the real knee. They are both wet, cold and miserable.
I was soaked to the crotch, pants frozen, squishy boots. But oddly, even though it was only 10 degrees, I wasn't all that cold. It's amazing what long Johns can do. So I opted to continue hunting. But....the creek of which I speak (above) cut me off from where I really wanted to be. I stood there for a few minutes, pissed that I had to just turn around without being able to hunt my intended spot. And....saw several birds flitting around over there....taunting me. Luckily, the taunting was NOT severe enough to make me want to swim in ice water to get at 'em. But it did cross my mind.
 

hunter94

Active member
I was soaked to the crotch, pants frozen, squishy boots. But oddly, even though it was only 10 degrees, I wasn't all that cold. It's amazing what long Johns can do. So I opted to continue hunting. But....the creek of which I speak (above) cut me off from where I really wanted to be. I stood there for a few minutes, pissed that I had to just turn around without being able to hunt my intended spot. And....saw several birds flitting around over there....taunting me. Luckily, the taunting was NOT severe enough to make me want to swim in ice water to get at 'em. But it did cross my mind.
tragedy is just around the corner, someone s bound to be unlucky eventually.....why risk it boys?
 
I was soaked to the crotch, pants frozen, squishy boots. But oddly, even though it was only 10 degrees, I wasn't all that cold. It's amazing what long Johns can do. So I opted to continue hunting. But....the creek of which I speak (above) cut me off from where I really wanted to be. I stood there for a few minutes, pissed that I had to just turn around without being able to hunt my intended spot. And....saw several birds flitting around over there....taunting me. Luckily, the taunting was NOT severe enough to make me want to swim in ice water to get at 'em. But it did cross my mind.
Once , in early season I had that happen to me. Stripped down with everything off below the waist and waddled across. Managed to bag one of the taunters. Don't even try to visualize the scene.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Member
Once , in early season I had that happen to me. Stripped down with everything off below the waist and waddled across. Managed to bag one of the taunters. Don't even try to visualize the scene.
I've stripped down in the outdoors for many reasons. To retrieve a bird. To dry clothes after falling out of a tree trying to retrieve a brand new Rapala. But never to hunt. That's why God invented waders.
I'm guessing you carried your clothes across & hunted with them on?!?! (sorry, can't help but visualize it) ;);)
 
Yes I carried my clothes across and redressed once I was on the other side. But this got me thinking, at home I carry a pair of glacier socks while hunting or hiking. They work like a set of hipboots, but roll up to the bulk of a can of pringles and weigh even less. Just take your boots off put them on and cross the open water. They'd fit in a vest easily. Something else to take on my next trip south. Oh my set must be 30 years old so they are pretty tough.
 

Goosemaster

New member
For my hunting, the only real answer to going through ice in cattails....is to stay out of the cattails. Unfortunately, with my mindset, that's not always an option. It had been the only option up until this weekend, but no more. I could walk on most of them this weekend, but just came upon an area that for some reason the ice was no good. My best guess is because it was near (maybe 150 yds) a tiny creek that emptied into the main slough. My theory is that the creek water is warmer & produced some strange, under-ice eddies much further from the creek than I would have guessed possible. While I KNOW cattails are iffy for several reasons (exothermic crap going on beneath, insulation by snow, creeks maybe), I still get wet every year because that's where the birds are. That's the insanity of it, plain & simple. Out there in sub-zero temps, walking on crappy ice...just to let my dog do his thing & shoot a bird for him. At least I realize by now that only 1 thing will change my mind, and I believe I'm just smart enough to avoid any situations that are truly life threatening. I hope I'm right.
I'm the same way, I go into coattails all the time, because that's where the birds are.Recently, in central Montana, I hunted a crick, that had beaver dams, and cattails everywhere.That crick, was over my head in places, and the ice was sketchy.I had to pass on a few birds, because it would have been dangerous for my dog! The birds were in there, but it was to risky to get to close to that treacherous little 6 ft. Wide crick. I'm sure pheasant hunters loose dogs in places like that, so please everybody take notice.Stay clear, and put dog on leash.
 

HS Strut

Member
tragedy is just around the corner, someone s bound to be unlucky eventually.....why risk it boys?
" It's not tragic to die doing what you love" - Bodhi in " Point Break"

I love these stories. Real men out there chasing their dreams....Living Life. We're all gonna die. Might as well be in a cattail slough chasing roosters that were taunting me.
 

UplandHntr

Active member
" It's not tragic to die doing what you love" - Bodhi in " Point Break"

I love these stories. Real men out there chasing their dreams....Living Life. We're all gonna die. Might as well be in a cattail slough chasing roosters that were taunting me.
I dont think my wife and kids would agree with that
 

Goosemaster

New member
" It's not tragic to die doing what you love" - Bodhi in " Point Break"

I love these stories. Real men out there chasing their dreams....Living Life. We're all gonna die. Might as well be in a cattail slough chasing roosters that were taunting me.
I guess there are worse ways to meet ones demise. I could have died that time I broke through at -10! Luckily, the truck was only a quarter mile away! It has been below zero for weeks, and there were still soft spots.Probably where other people had fallen through.I think a human can usually crawl out, but a dog can't. Also, crossing rivers, and chicks on ice can be very dangerous!!
 

reddog

Active member
If a guy died whenever the chance occurred, we wouldn't last long on the face of this great earth. Trust your gut... its saved my a$$ plenty of times..
 

A5 Sweet 16

Member
If a guy died whenever the chance occurred, we wouldn't last long on the face of this great earth. Trust your gut... its saved my a$$ plenty of times..
Right. Your gut and experience can go a long way. Wouldn't have much fun if we were ultra-conservative/cautious about everything, would we?
 
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