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What a shame!!!

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I dont know, last year I shot a nice drake mallard that folded and came right down in the cattails about 10 feet in front of me, it hit the ground hard (there was dry ground in the cattails) so I figured since it folded and hit the ground with a big thud, that bird was nothing but dead. Wouldnt you know it I go into the cattails and find a bunch of feathers and blood but no mallard. I found a blood trail but still couldnt find it after searching for about a half and hour.

We were catching farm raised swans out on that pond before the ice came one year and one got into the weeds. We couldnt find that thing at all. A big white bird somehow blended into the weeds enough that we couldnt spot it from the water or in our waders inside the weeds.

My point is, those birds could've been shot, flew for a while, and crawled into the weeds to die. They might not have even been shot at the same pond. Unless you have a dog, sometimes those little guys are hard to find.

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So there is no chance these birds were lost? Birds in heavy cover are hard to find with or without a dog.

You can't fairly accuse people of violating wanton waste laws as you just don't know. I hunt areas that are heavily hunted, and it's common for the dog to go on a run and bring back a duck or 3.

For all you know...these hunters may have been of the highest ethics, and even included those ducks in their daily bag limits...and here you are bashing them!!!

I suppose you've never lost a bird before???

[This message has been edited by TrashDux (edited 10-05-2004).]

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Kind of quick to judge.
We have all lost ducks.
I hunt with 2 dogs and have lost ducks.
Well maybe 1 or 2 in the last 10 years.
It could have been someone without a dog that needs better shot selection.

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"He who cast stones..." sound familiar, happened to me last weekend on a northern lake, dropped a teal not for than 10 yards in front of me but also landed in a small floating cattail clump, went out to get it, no bird, my son and I loooked, and looked for a long time, never did get it but did count it in my bag. Have dropped mallards RIGHT in front of me and the second they hit the water they dive for the bottom and crawl up underneath the vegetation. Point is, if you didn't actually see people disposing of birds there you should.....do what your grandmother said.

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I hunt a lake that has a ton of pressure.

2 years ago while searching for our own cripple, we found 5 dead birds in the same bog!! And that was not counting our bird.

It happens, unfortunetly.

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I've read somewhere that recovery on ducks in like 75%. With crippling being a major issue, skybusting etc. It's a bad deal but a reality.

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If that 75% number is right then duck hunters need to find an answer to that. If you are hunting in an area that ducks are hard to find then you better have a good dog along. If you keep shooting ducks at the same spot and repeatedly lose a lot then maybe a hunter should start hunting a different spot that is easier to find the ducks. I take a lot of pride in my dog finding the birds that we down. This year opening weekend out of 4 guys and 2 dogs we knocked down 41 birds and cleaned 39.
I will say that when I was younger my dad always hunted this spot that we would shoot a lot but maybe only find half of them. I guess that I have become more wise in thinking if you don't think that you are going to be able to find them then don't shoot at them..
Duckbill

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We were on a four day ND hunt that I just got back from last night. We killed and recovered 43 ducks bor bour people. There was one mallard that my buddy shot and I watched it go down with a broken wing. His dog, who has the best nose of any dog I have ever seen took off to the fall area. After about 20 minutes of looking I went back to get my lab who was on the first hunt of her life, but retrieved 18 of the 43 birds. She could not find it. Total, we looked for about 45 minutes with two guys and two dogs. It happens and a winged bird can almost be impossible to find. This situation seems different though where two different dogs find dead birds by an access. I too have been tired after a hunt and not wanted to clean birds, but guess what, I did anyway. There are plenty of clay shooting courses around now for guys that just want to shoot.

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I have hit birds and droped them, but I have also had them fall and fly away going to retrive them or sending the dog. I consider this poor shooting skills or just bullet proof ducks. I remember last season of going to retrive two birds one of each me and my buddy shot. We had a dog and did'nt send her due to the ice and the freezing cold. I retrived his bird and when i got five feet from mine it flew away. I drilled this gadwal with T shot from less then 15 feet. I thought it was dead, yet it flew away. I have no idea if it lived or died. That is one of the problems with hunting. I practice picking up **** left by slobs, and also retrive all kills. The fact is that not all hits are kills and that is a reality. This might be to soon to judge, but I think it is skybusting slobs, who have no reguards for common practices.

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I blame it more on steel shot than poor shooting.

I dont know how many times I have nailed a bird, feathers flying everywhere and still had that sucker keep flying away. I'm sure they died later. The amount of cripples has gone way up since steel became mandatory, in fact, I believe, and this may be way off, that more ducks die because of being crippled by steel shot than they did from lead poisoning.

I have been using Remmingtom Hevi-Shot this season for geese, and if it wasnt so expensive, I'd use it for ducks too. The stuff is incredible. When you hit em, they come down like a load of bricks. The killing power is untouchable.

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Tom,

I agree with you 100% about steel but you will never get to shoot lead again over water and I can't afford to use any of the harder hitting loads for ducks either. I have to draw the line somewhere on what I spend on duck hunting. I spend a lot but need to pay my ******** too.
Duckbill

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Just a thought, curious as to what the input is.

Would the ducks that are lost/ or lightly hit and unrecoverable due to steel shot outnumber the number of ducks killed to lead poisoning from expended shot?

How much lead does it take to affect a bird?
Could we create shot that was only 25-50% lead that wouldnt poison waterfoul, which would result in cheaper, better loads for waterfoul?

Just curious?

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Like duck said, we'll never be allowed to hunt with lead again and yes, most non-tox alternatives to steel are expensive, but we can do one thing that is in our power to make steel shot more effective.

And that is to QUIT SKYBUSTING.

If you let birds get within range, 20-30 yards, steel shot is quite effective and adequate. Taking questionable shots only increases the chance of cripples.

Take some full sized targets of ducks, place one at 20 yards and one at 30 yards and one at 40. Learn to recognize the difference in size at each distance knowing that a 40 yard shot with most steel loads is one you should not take.

I know some of you are saying "well, I can drop em at 60" yes, people do sometimes kill them that far out, but it does not happen all the time.

Be responsible, know your range and take high percentage shots. Less cripples mean more ducks in the future.

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The main birds I've heard to be affected my lead poisoning are Loons........probably because people seem to care more about them and being our state bird and all people notice them more. Although, I have seen many loons scouring the bottom looking for weeds confused.gif But hey maybe that's just me.
I know there has been a huge drop in Bluebill populations, but from what I've heard that was from Zebra Mussels eating everything....or some toxin from the Zebes that killed them.

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JP Z
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Well said Tom. I agree 100 percent........

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I believe it only takes one BB of lead shot in the gizzard to poison a duck. Bluebill decline is due more to a decrease of habitat (i.e. freshwater shrimp and other invertebrates)than lead poisononing, although that definitely affected the population years ago.

Steel is a poor substitute for lead, but there are alternatives. When you consider the cost of say, three steel loads to kill a duck, then the other non-toxic alternatives aren't really all that expensive by comparison - if it only takes one shot to kill a duck. If I knock a duck out of the sky and it's still alive once it's on the water I shoot again just to make sure they don't dive, swim into the weeds, etc. There's one opr two more shots I shouldn;t have needed. Then there's the ones you rock, feathers fly, and you end up pumping two more shots after as it flies away and leaves you scratching your head. With a good load like hevi-shot, bismuth, tungsten, whatever you'll probably knock that duck down dead on the water.

I still use steel somewhat but I try to buy other non-tox throughout the year so it's not a huge dent in the wallet come October. don;t get me wrong, shooting steel is fine as long as you don't shoot past your range, but it seems too many duck hunters don't seem to know the difference between a legitimate killing shot and skybusting.

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We used to cut open the gizzards in the ducks we shot before lead was outlawed. We were surprised by the number that had lead shot in them. I am not a fan of steel, but like you say the others are to exspensive. I use 3" 4 shot.

------------------
Hunt&Fish tell you drop!
I.B.O.T's 250 & 249

[This message has been edited by HUNTER2 (edited 10-08-2004).]

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The fact is we will have cripples regardless of shot type and skill of shooter. Tom said it well. Shoot at ducks you can kill and hope for the best. Make every attempt at retrieval and take home what you shoot.
Lead deffinately killed ducks, but I also remember many cripples from stray BBs, or the delayed head/heart shot-bluebills especially.
Bottom line is shoot at birds you can KILL over open water and hope for the best

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