OUTFITTER REVIEW ON:
Part 1:THE HUNT
A Wyoming Field Waterfowl Hunt For The Ages
With Maximum Waterfowling
By Joe Mahler
|Imagine your dream mallard hunt, a steady stream of green with wings cupped up in your decoys. Birds that want in so bad that you could be standing in the spread and still shoot a limit. Gary and Cole Kirchefer put on this mallard dream hunt for us when we visited them this past January. There is nothing better than late season ducks because every one of them is fully colored and plump fat from a season of feeding. Its hard to imagine a 15,000 bird duck feed until you see it firsthand. Join us on the adventure we had hunting in Wyoming and Nebraska with Maximum Waterfowling.|
|TAKE ONE: In The Pit|
Outfitter Gary Kirchhefer, born and raised in south east Wyoming started hunting at a very young age. While working full time as a teenager he hunted whenever he had the opportunity on the side. At the age of 17 Gary had the chance to take a few of his fathers friends hunting a couple times of year for fun. After many successful hunts word of mouth began to spread about the quality of the hunting. A year or two after Gary started to get busier and busier is when Maximum Waterfowling took off. Gary now has been guiding goose and duck hunting trips on the Wyoming and Nebraska border for over 30 years. He has an exceptionally good work ethic which continuously yields him results day in and day out. His right hand man is his son Cole Kirchhefer who has a diehard passion for waterfowl and business just like his father. This dynamic duo are up each morning before 3 a.m. moving pit blinds and setting new spreads each days for the hunt.
WYOMING WATERFOWL HUNTING OUTFITTERS:
GARY AND HIS SON COLE KIRCHHEFER
|In January of 2017 I took a trip out for a Wyoming goose hunting adventure with Maximum Waterfowling, consisting of a three-day hunt and it will go down as one of my favorite hunts to date. We arrived into camp on a Thursday afternoon and it was evident that the birds were in the area. While driving into town the sky was lit up with Canada geese as far as you could see. When guests arrive they will meet at the Long Branch Steakhouse, this is Gary and his wifes family restaurant. Gary and Cole were there to meet us when we pulled in and we grabbed a bite to eat while talking about our hunt for the following day. As we enjoyed a great burger and Gary and Cole explained that we would be hunting out of heated pits in high traffic areas in between where the birds roosted and fed or even some days on the feed. They had about 8-10 pits in the ground and constantly were moving pits in the middle of the night to not overhunt certain areas and to always be under the X. Never hunting the same field two days in a row produced limits every day for us!|
Maximum Waterfowling offers lodging right beside the Long Branch in a large trailer that has all the amenities that one could need! A Full kitchen for cooking meals, living room with a flat screen TV fitted with couches and recliners for relaxing after the hunt, as well as a full shower inside a large renovated bathroom. The lodge comfortably sleeps 4 hunters but can sleep up to 8 with the pull out coach and a couple roll away beds. While we were there our camera crew stayed in the lodge and we stayed in Torrington just 15 minutes away in a Holiday Inn. The town of Torrington, WY has several hotel options in close proximity to where we hunted each day.
|The next morning, we woke up around 5:30 and geared up for the morning hunt. We were meeting Cole at the gas station right down the street from our hotel at 6:15 and this is where we would grab a quick breakfast sandwich and depart for the hunt. On this morning we were hunting in Nebraska just a couple miles over the Wyoming boarder so the drive was only about 15 min. As we followed Cole we pulled into the field to see the spread completely set up and boy did it look good! Over 350 full body geese with several lucky duck goose decoys to pull in even the smartest of birds, the spread came to life. All we had to do was walk our gear over 15 feet to the pit, hop in and enjoy the most comfortable and heated hunting experience. Gary takes a lot of pride in building his own pits and after 30 years of working on them he has them mastered. They are the best made hunter friendly pits I have even had the pleasure to hunt out of. Soon the excitement was starting to build as the sun came over the horizon.|
It wasnt long until the action started and it happened quick. Quickly we were engulfed with birds from every direction while Gary and Cole called and flagged them in. It was a privilege to listen to Gary call birds because he is one of the best goose callers I have ever had the privilege to hunt with. The way he worked the birds was exceptional. If anyone has ever hunted traffic for geese, they know that calling is a huge resource to capitalize on to consistently kill birds. As we didnt have a touch of wind the birds were a bit stubborn and hard to center up over the pit. Gary continued to flag them until we had a three pack right out front at 15 yards... TAKE EM! We popped out of the pit and dropped our first three geese, not just any Canadians they were all Cacklers!
|While the morning went on Gary and Cole continued to work the birds right into our face with zero wind which is a goose hunters worst enemy. By 10 a.m. we had over 25 birds and they continued to come! The Nebraska daily limit is 5 Canadian|
|geese per person. On that day we had 7 total shooters so our total limit was 35 birds. We hunted until about 11 a.m. and ended with 30 birds on the morning, what a start it was and the day wasnt even over. We headed into the town of Morrill, Wyoming for lunch and enjoyed some delicious steak sandwiches at a local restaurant. After lunch we headed back to the blind to finish off out limit of geese while waiting for the ducks to hit the field.|
|When arriving back to the field we were walking from our trucks to the pit only to see over 150 geese sitting in the decoys that decoyed in over lunch! As we got closer to the pit we literally walked right up to some birds that wouldnt fly away! They felt so confident that the decoys surrounding them were real. It was quite a funny thing to see. We hopped back into the blinds around 1 p.m. and it didnt take long to finish our last five Canadas of day. We had stacked up 35 geese on the day ranging from Lessor Canadians, Greater Canadians, and Cackling Geese! What an exceptional hunt but now it was time for the ducks. Around 4:30 the ducks started to get off the river and hit the fields, this was just thirty minutes before shooting time ended. They worked us and eventually decoyed from the heavens!|
|The first flock of mallards came in and did it perfect, we dropped 5 ducks out of the flock and quickly loaded up for the next go around. Next we had a two drake widgeons cupped up at 10 yards! Gary called the shot and they didnt make it far
Lets just say Cole blew the wing clean off one of them! We quick picked up the ducks we had and hopped back in. The next two flocks continued to work us perfectly and we ended the day with 13 ducks, 11 beautiful triple curled mallards and two gorgeous drake widgeons, minus a wing on one of them! Our first day had the total WOW|
|factor! We shot 35 geese and 13 ducks, 48 total birds on the day, there was never a moment the entire hunt as we always had birds flying!|
That night we headed back to the hotel after the hunt and laid low for the evening. We grabbed a bite to eat at the sports bar next store which had a great atmosphere and good food. The next morning, we would be hunting in Wyoming and planned to meet at the Long Branch at 6:15 a.m.
|On our second morning we were hunting about a quarter mile off a large refuge in Hawk Springs, Wyoming. Cole had explained that in the last few years the refuge would always freeze up in the colder months and the birds would go south to winter. Recently they started an ice eater project with the local DNR. The project was to run 5 ice eaters in the refuge during the winter months, to keep the water open and keep the birds around. It worked exceptionally, some days the refuge would hold over 25,000 birds which has yielded exceptional hunting in the area. |
On our second day of the hunt the weather was about 15 degrees colder than the first day, which made the birds sit tight during the morning hours. We scratched away at a few birds as the morning went on and ending up with 8 Canadas before we went to lunch at 11 a.m.
We arrived back at the blind at 1 in the afternoon and the birds turned on like a light switch! We had hundreds of birds working us. Of course we didnt have a touch of wind again so they were difficult to center up in the kill hole but we could be as picky as we wanted with the amount of birds we had working us. At one point we had too many birds around to shoot! Gary is very wise in the fact that he doesnt like to shoot into the bigger flocks, he does this to not educate all the birds on the refuge which will generate consistent hunting success for the entire season.
|Soon we had over 60 birds landed in the decoys and hundreds in the air above us! Watching the birds work was spectacular, we had Canadas, Specks, Lessors, Cacklers you name it! The birds wanted in. We even had a few Canadas from Quill Lake with beautiful coloring on them. Finally, the larger flocks started to leave and we began to chip away at the smaller flocks and it didnt take long. We shot close to a 6-man limit in less than 30 min! Birds came from every direction and wanted in the field bad! It was spectacular to see how many birds came off the refuge that night and as a diehard goose hunter myself I can appreciate what Gary and Cole had done with the ice eater project to create this sanctuary for the birds. What a fun hunt, we ended the day with 24 birds an exhilarating six-man limit of geese!|
That night after the hunt we went to the Long Branch for the prime rib special! Garys family has a great reputation around town and the crowd in the bar always are curious to hear about the hunt and get to know the hunters in camp. We had a great time swapping stories and the dinner was spectacular! Gary and Cole were game planning for the next days hunt and sure had a treat in store for us. They had been watching two fields for the last week one of which loaded with geese and another with over 10,000 ducks in it. It is safe to say we were pretty excited to get back in the blind.
AN INCREDIBLE 6 MAN LIMIT OF 24 BIG HONKERS IN WYOMING!
|On our third morning it got hot and heavy! We had hunted a pit that Gary and Cole had put in the night before at 1 in the morning. Did I mention that these two guides are the hardest working guys I have ever met? Well they were, every morning they were up before 3 a.m. setting decoys or putting in new pits. In the morning we were hunting in Wyoming and had seven of us in the pit with plenty of room to spare. The pits are huge and very roomy for all your gear. The geese came in like bees on a honeycomb. They floated in from the heavens and as Cole said We powder puffed them! They were in our face and we shot fantastic, we shot our limit by 9:15 in the morning. What a hunt. A 28 bird morning in no time at all, a lot of which were Lessor Canadians and Cacklers! We helped pick up the spread and headed to the Long Branch for breakfast. Garys wife the owner and the cook made a fantastic breakfast. We all ate like kings. I highly recommend the eggs benedict!|
|This is what we waited for all day, the duck hunt for ages. Cole and Gary had been watching this duck feed for the last three days and it was loaded. The only problem was that the ducks were hitting it a few minutes after shooting time each day. We took the gamble and set up on them that afternoon, setting up 70 full body geese, 2 dozen Dakota flocked heads mallards and 5 lucky duck mojos. The spread looked bad to the bone. We got set up by 2 p.m. and played the waiting game. Shooting ended at 4:58 and we had no idea when they would come so we wanted to be ready. Hours passed and 4:40 rolled around and there they were. They came from miles away and poured down into the field from the heavens. When you think about your dream mallard decoying action this was it, and then some. The first flock of 500-1000 mallards worked us and worked us as we were picky for the perfect shot.|
Here they come guys
Get ready Gary said, 1,000 green heads cupped up at 15 yards is something you dont get to see every day. Its what every duck hunter dreams about. TAKE EM! We rose from the blinds and dropped 12 mallards in one flock with just 5 shooters! It was a rainout of mallards if Ive ever seen one. We quickly grabbed the birds and got back in the blinds, now 4:55 only three more minutes of shooting time. Birds were everywhere. Gary was patient with calling the shot and one minute before shooting time we had a flock do it right and we dropped 6 more beautiful drakes making it 18 mallards in just two flocks! Although we only shot our guns into two flocks because we ran out of time watching the birds work was worth the price of admission. It was something for the ages and it is a memory I will always cherish. Gary and Cole put on a show for us and Im happy to call them great friends and two of the most accomplished hunters I have had the opportunity to hunt with.
Part 2: THE REVIEW
|OUTFITTER KNOWLEDGE / PERSONALITY: ||Score||5 / 5 |
|We thoroughly enjoyed our time with hunting with both Gary and Cole. After 30 years in the business Gary has the art of working waterfowl into the spread down to a T. Gary is an exceptional caller and his experience has taught him exceptionally well how to pattern the birds in his area. Time in the blind flew by as we were always consumed with birds and enjoying each others company. 5/5!|
|QUALITY OF |
|Score||5 / 5|
|The equipment used on this hunt was exceptional! The pits we hunted in were completely custom made by Gary which are roomy and fantastic to hunt out of. The pits are camouflaged so well that you better watch your step, you might fall in! Our decoy spread was 400 top of the line Big Foot decoys that pulled in birds from miles away. For our duck hunts we used Dakota flocked heads mallards that looked amazing. There were no short cuts for equipment on this hunt! 5/5!!|
|Score||5 / 5|
|The hunting was unbelievable! We shot our limits every single day! We hunted a new field each day to target fresh birds and never over hunted an area. It was nice to get a change of scenery every day of the hunt and see new terrain. We shot 118 birds in three days on our hunt: 30 mallards and 88 Canada geese! It was some of the best goose and duck hunting I have been a part of from shooting Cacklers, Lessor Canadas, Big Honkers and full curled Mallards! We even had the opportunity at some Specks one afternoon! Phenomenal hunting experience. 5/5!|
|QUALITY OF MEALS |
|Score||4 / 5|
|At Maximum Waterfowling they have a lodge in Hawk Springs, Wyoming that comfortably sleeps 4 people but can sleep up to 8. It is a spacious fully furnished trailer. It has all the amenities of home and it is where they meet each morning before the hunt. They charge $35 per night for lodging, so it is very affordable! Clients also have the option to stay in Torrington, Wyoming where there are several large hotels at an affordable price as well! |
The lodge is right next to their family restaurant the Long Branch Steakhouse! They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not far is the town of Torrington where there are several other dining options such as: Mexican, Burger joints, Sports bar, Steakhouses and more! 4/5!
HUNT PACKAGES AND
|Score||5 / 5|
|Maximum Waterfowling is extremely reasonably priced for the quality of hunt they offer. They charge just $250 per day, per client and it is an all-day hunt or until you get your limit. Lodging and meals are not including in the price but their trailer where clients can stay is very reasonable, just $35 per night per guest. 5/5!|
|OVERALL QUALITY |
OF THE TRIP:
|Score||5 / 5 |
|This hunt was an exceptional experience without a dull moment. Im happy to call Gary and Cole great friends after a very fun week in the blind. We shot a limit of geese all three days in a different field each day. Over 30 years in the business Gary has built up a great reputation in the area and has access to the best spots. If you are looking for a homerun hunt for you and your hunting buddies this is the hunt to be on. 5/5!|
|Overall Maximum Waterfowling Scored A 29 Out Of 30 Giving Them An "A" Rating. We Would Not Hesitate At All To Refer JJ For Any Of His Spectacular Wyoming Canada Geese and Mallard Hunts!|
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Part 3: Booking Information
|Contact Information For: Maximum Waterfowling|
Outfitters: Gary and Cole Kirchhefer
Additional Hunts Offered:
- Guided Duck Hunts (Nebraska and Wyoming)
- Guided Canada Goose Hunts (Nebraska and Wyoming)
- Guided Spring Snow Goose Hunts (Wyoming)
- Guided Turkey Hunts (Colorado)
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