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Band Tales: 2020 Double-Double Down

Mexican Jewelry: Wild brant hunt yields a shiny bonus.

Band Tales: 2020 Double-Double Down

Dustin Kuehn was trying to enjoy a morning brant hunt in Obregon, Mexico with his dad, Dave, but things just weren’t going their way. “Our first spot didn’t produce any brant,” Dustin related. “Nor did we even see any. Meanwhile, we kept hearing barrages from the other two groups in our hunting party, off in the distance.”

Things looked like they might change for the better when their guide arrived in an air boat, frantically motioning for them to get their stuff and get in. Another group had limited out and they were being moved to their blind. By the time they got there however, the brant had quit flying.

Dustin still wasn’t discouraged. “It was slack high tide, and being an experienced black brant hunter, I knew the brant would fly again once the tide started receding.” Sure enough, they soon had singles and pairs coming into the decoys. Unfortunately, Dave’s gun kept jamming after the first shot. Dustin quickly downed two singles and then a triple to finish his limit of five before handing off his gun so Dave could fill out his limit. Then, the birds stopped flying again.

“The skies were empty for a while, except for a few groups of cormorants, which would get our heart pumping until they did their cormorant-glide,” said Dustin. Then he caught a glimpse of big, black birds working their way up the shoreline. “I couldn't tell if they were brant or cormorants, but I started mouth calling.” When it looked like the birds were going away from the hunters, he quit calling and was about to express his frustration when he heard the brant calling back.

“They were coming up the shoreline but we couldn't see them from our blind. I whispered to my dad to get ready, and I started mouth calling again.” The birds approached on Dustin’s side, so low Dave couldn’t see them before they splashed into the decoys. In a hushed but excited tone he instructed his dad, “Stand up and fire a shot to get them up.” With his first shot, Dave put the birds flying and with his second, dropped a single. The brant were fleeing quickly and nearly out of range when a third shot neatly folded two birds about 40 yards out. “Woohoo! You got your limit!” Dustin hollered.

Dustin was snapping pictures while Dave picked up the first bird, a handsome mature gander. When he picked up the second, Dave yelled back, “It's double banded!” Then he picked up the third and said to his son, “Dust, you're not going to believe this.” Grinning widely he responded, “Yes, I am. “It's also double banded, isn't it?” Indeed, it was, and the bands were only eight numbers apart. They subsequently learned that both birds were banded on the same day in the same location, undoubtedly from the same flock and maybe even father and son.

The Bands

  • Hunter: Dave Kuehn
  • Band #: 2007-42152
  • Species: Black Brant (M)
  • Banded: 07/26/2019
  • Location: Near Nuiqsut, AK
  • Recovered: 02/19/2020
  • Location: 6.8 mi W of Lilipa, Sonora, Mexico

  • Band #: 2007-42144
  • Species: Black Brant (M)
  • Banded: 07/26/2019
  • Location: Near Nuiqsut, AK
  • Recovers: 02/19/2020
  • Location: 6.8 mi W of Lilipa, Sonora, Mexico
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