February 2017 Newsletter

End of Season Newsletter ​​February 1, 2018
Eagle Lakers,
​The season just wrapped up on Sunday and all the fun is over. Now the hard work begins. The guides are already back at it after a couple days off. They will be filling in goose pits the rest of the week. Then they move into going through equipment, repairing decoys and blinds, and storing everything until next season. Draining ponds and dike repairs are right around the corner. Before you know it, they’ll be prepping the fields and planting corn will be on the agenda. I don’t know if everyone realizes how hard the staff works to provide you the incredible experience that we offer year in and year out. It all starts with my guides. They work their tails off all spring and summer to have the properties in pristine condition for the upcoming season. Then they go 100+ days with only a day or two off. They’re truly an amazing bunch, including our part time guys who save their vacation days to help out when we are really busy, to be at our disposal for all weekends. My office staff is also incredible. The job Kaci does with reservations, accounting, and guest accommodations is second to none. She also manages the whole lodge including our chefs, servers, housekeeping and David our bird processor. Her assistant Becky comes in when hunting season starts and brings a tremendous amount of energy and passion to her job. Betty and Bonnie are responsible for preparing all the delicious meals served each day at the lodge; we received more compliments on our food this year than ever before! Keep up the good work ladies!! The lodge is always beautiful and clean thanks to our tres Marias. Maria G., Maria H., and Maria R., (aka cookie) have been our housekeepers for years and continue to be a hard working and loyal crew. David and his helpers make sure your birds are cleaned and processed to your specification, and then vacuum sealed for easy transport back home. With a 16,000 square foot building quite a bit of maintenance is required. That’s where Scott comes in! His knowledge and handiness are greatly appreciated around a place in need of weekly upkeep. Lennie our night lady has been with us for 14 seasons and is the lovely voice behind your wake-up calls and sweet smile serving your breakfast each morning. She’s very social and loves to chat with, and learn about our customers…a staff favorite for many of our long-time customers. Last but not least we decided to run with a small, but very reliable team of servers this year. We have gotten great reviews on the job that Billie, Alla, Becky, Kaci, Carson and Carly did. I would like to personally thank each and every member of our staff that makes our family business what it is.
2017-18 Season at a glance:
October- Very few non-limit shoots for the month. With an excellent local hatch and an early migration, the shooting couldn’t have been any better.
*Observation: We only wish we would have had more duck hunters in the last week of October with as many birds as we were holding. There were also numerous cycles where we could have ran another 2-3 goose hunts a day.
November- Ducks and Geese were unbelievable!! We had our strongest November in several years. Most of the hunts lasted less than 2 hours, with lots of shooters electing to upgrade to a combo hunt if they weren’t already signed up for one. We were extremely busy this month, with lots of happy folks that went home with a bunch of ducks and geese to munch on throughout the year.
*Observation: There were some excellent dates in early November still available. The guests that were here enjoyed a quiet lodge and tons of birds. I would suggest to anyone wanting to hunt with a little less pressure and not as many bodies in the lodge to look into these dates. The second week in November through Christmas is always our busiest time.
December- We started off the first few days of the month with great duck shoots. Starting on December 4th the hunting over the next few weeks could only be described as streaky. We were still having some quality hunts, but way too many tough hunts mixed in. We were also having to work at it morning and afternoon to salvage some groups hunts. Thankfully the goose shooting was epic for the most part. After harvesting a ton of lessers early in the season, we slammed the honks all month long. The fantastic goose hunting helped take some of the pressure off when ducks were looking slim.
*Observation: Don’t change a thing!! This is always one of our busiest cycles and we normally have incredible duck shooting this month. A bright full moon from Hell, accompanied with no wind and stagnate weather made for uncharacteristically challenging days. The ducks just loafed around all day and then started moving just before or right after shooting hours.
January- The hunting in January was good for both ducks and geese. We had some cycles that were fast a furious and others where we worked at it all day to get our clients into some birds.
*Observation- After last years cold weather with snow and ice storms right on top of each other, this January was a good month. I would have liked to see the birds work a little better down the stretch with the 40-50 degree temps and lots of open water.
Prices- There will be no changes in pricing for the 2018-19 season.
Cancelations and Rescheduling- This was one of our most difficult years with short notice cancelations. We are always so accommodating and try to find alternate dates for guests who have to reschedule for legitimate reasons. Please be aware that when we move your dates and reschedule you for later in the season we are taking away availability from another group being able to book, therefore effecting our revenue. For example when one guys stubs his toe and can’t make it, that doesn’t mean the other 5 in the group can’t come. For the 2018-19 season we are going to enforce our policy as it is written on the confirmation sheet that is to be signed and returned. If you lose a hunter from your group it is your responsibility to find a replacement. Those groups that want to reschedule when it’s short notice and we have no way to fill those dates will only be allowed to do so if its really a family emergency. We had several time periods where we were busier than I wanted to be because of rescheduling issues.
Deposits- We are already over 50% booked for the 2018-19 season for lodge package hunts. For those of you who already have your dates picked out, Kaci will be charging credit cards or accepting checks starting in mid-March; sooner if you call in and give her the go ahead. For those of you who haven’t picked out your dates I would jump on it as soon as possible!
Specials- Drive direct hunters please check out our newsletters or Facebook for up to the minute hunting reports and specials. There are occasions where we have a hole in the schedule and need to get some spots filled. Another idea that worked out great this season for a lot of customers was requesting to be put on our short notice list. This is where you request a call if we have a lot of birds around, but not a lot of bodies to defend the properties!
New Projects- We have two new corn ponds that will be ready by the season opener for some amazing action. They are located right in the heart of some of our already existing homerun projects that you know and love. We are also working on several new goose leases that will be excellent additions to our existing repertoire of existing properties.
New Properties- Our new series of corn ponds were an overwhelming success. The birds decoyed in there as well as I’ve seen ducks decoy, including in the triangle when its on fire. A lot of the ducks didn’t even circle, they just dropped right in your face. We had some awesome feedback from some guests that have been hunting with us for many years, that it was the best duck hunt they’ve ever had.
Doves- September 1st is the opener and there will be non-stop action as always! Great for the kids getting out and getting comfortable with a firearm in their hands. We will shoot morning hunts and afternoon as well.
Deer- Archery and Modern Firearm
Ryan only has a few available dates so please get in touch with him soon if you are planning a trip. The success rate is always very high and quality animals is the norm with a Brute or two harvested every year.
Eagle Lakes Alberta- Grand Prairie duck and goose combo hunts are getting very popular with our clients. Hunt ducks in the morning and geese in the afternoon or shoot limits over the same decoys in the pea and barley fields. Ryan does a phenomenal job up there and the prices are so reasonable for our Eagle Lakes customers. The Peace River Country is world famous for giant honkers and tons of mallard and pintail. The best part is, it’s their first exposure to man. The birds decoy so nice up there, that several of my long-time clients are going to Canada with Ryan and have cut out one of their annual two trips normally spent at Eagle Lakes.
Ryan- (509)528-8754 or ryanbernsen@yahoo.com
Shooting Lessons- The boys and I are in early discussions about having a couple of weekends during the summer where you could come over and get some pointers for the upcoming season. We guarantee you will be knocking down some birds at a much higher rate. We will mix in some fishing for bass, walleye, or salmon as well. It will be user friendly so the whole family could come along. If anyone is interested please contact the office and we will get some dates figured out.

I will have your Eagle Lakes Calendar done in a month or so, but Kaci already has the books put together now and she is taking reservations for the upcoming season. Opening day is Saturday October 13th, 2018. We would also like to get your feedback on what you think is working well and what you think we could improve on. We genuinely value and appreciate our customers and want to do our best so that you can have the most enjoyable experience possible. Please email us at eaglelakes@cbnn.net with your thoughts!

Thank you all for your continued support of the Bernsen Family and the entire Eagle Lakes Team.
Regards,
Mike