This fall I had a lot of fun scouting and hunting the Pomainville WMA in Pittsfield, VT, which is about 15 minutes north of Rutland. It sits between the Otter Creek Valley to the west, and the Green Mountain National Forest/Killington Mountain to the east. The Pomainville WMA was donated by the Pomainville family, and is a joint restoration project between the state of Vermont and Ducks Unlimited, and includes 356 acres of upland and wetland habitats.
I scouted this property in late October, excited to find a place to shoot ducks so close to my in-law’s home in Rutland. The property is pretty decent size, and features 2 distinct halves. On the north side of the property there are several levy-like gullies that had quite a bit of activity. It also had a flooded field that butts up against the Otter Creek. You can easily hunt this without a dog. The southern end of the property definitely had much more water… Shallow gullies, and large marshes/ponds that measured about 5 FT deep. I ran into a couple of Otters swimming in the marsh, which is where the Valley, the River, and the Beer all get their names!
On my Hunting day I decided to hunt the open pond which had been formed by all the large marshes on the southern side taking on water as the wet season progressed. I was hunting puddle ducks, however, and probably should have stuck to the shallower flooded fields, but I really want a chance to set up my new decoy spread, and test out the riggings!
Before sunrise the geese were all gathered on the larger part of the marsh. As soon as shooting hours opened, I got my first and only fly-by of Mallards and Pintails, flying high and fast. Didn’t have any luck. They were way out of range, and I couldn’t call them in. I Hunted until about 1PM that day, seeing nothing by mile high Canadian geese, and the occasional lone duck in the distance! My duck calling sounded like Gilbert Godfrey arguing in a bowling alley with Tom Waits, and a Vietnamese couple. There was no way in hell I was calling any ducks in. Luckily for me, I was the only hunter out that day, being opening weekend for Deer in Vermont, otherwise I might have come home with a black eye!
Duck hunting in Vermont is tough business – You have several mountain ranges that intersect and force migrating birds a couple hundred miles to the east to the eastern-flyway, and there aren’t many lakes. So you’re basically left with local ducks, and migrating geese who can fly high.
The plan for next season is to get my duck calling up to par with the help of a more forgiving, beginner, single reed duck call, and lots of practice in my truck!
I didn’t get anything but experience that day, but that’s not walking away empty-handed at all! As someone new to waterfowl without a mentor, it’s up to me to get out there and create my own adventures, and learn. If I had said to myself, “Oh well, if I had someone to go with, maybe I could get into that” every time I decided to get into a new hobby, I would have never discovered guns, archery, or hunting. Sometimes it’s about going out there on your own, making mistakes, and perusing your interests… all alone if that’s what it takes!