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eyepatrol

Being Prepared

8 posts in this topic

Hunting waterfowl is a tradition that has been carried on through my family for a couple generations, one of which I hope to continue with my children when they are old enough to participate and decide for themselves if it is something they can be passionate about. The beginning of this season marked my 23rd year of waterfowling and one of the many things I've learned to do over the course of time is to be prepared; not only for the season, but for each outing.

All of my years of waterfowling have been spent on a 1,000+/- acre lake that I grew up on. Most of the preparations I note here are based on hunting the water, but may apply to those that hunt in the fields or other locations. I'm not going to get too detailed, but the preparations I go through for an outing on the water are as follows.

My first and foremost preparation is my gun. There are a few items of hunting equipment that can injur or kill a person and the gun has to be at the top of the list, whether it's your own gun or your partner's gun. Before the season starts and after each outing I disassemble my gun and give it a thorough cleaning, making sure the inside of the barrel is clean, the trigger system and safety system works properly, and so on. From there I pack my gear into a large, plastic toolbox that we use as a shellbox. I'll put my shells in, extra pairs of gloves (both cloth and waterproof), gun lubricant in case for some reason the action on my gun sticks, a pocket knife, calls and before I pack the shellbox into the boat, I put my cell phone in. I've lost one cell phone due to it falling out of my pocket into the lake before the sun came up, so I now keep it in our shellbox. smirk.gif I also pack an extra flashlight in the shellbox just in case the spotlight I use goes out.

Next is the boat where I make sure that the 14' aluminum boat we use has the plug in it along with a full tank of gas. I also make sure the oars (or for some a push-pole) are in the boat and that my PFD is in.

After making sure the boat is ready on my folk's shoreline, I'll head back home and get my clothes out. I personally will dress myself to be a little too warm for the conditions. I can always take an item of clothing off out on the lake, but it's not as easy to add on clothing unless you pack additional clothing (which I don't). Know the forecast and the conditions you'll be hunting in is the approach I take. And, I always put my clothes downstairs as my wife and kids are upstairs sleeping and I CERTAINLY don't want to wake them up! wink.gif

After my clothes are all set out and ready, I get to what I consider one of the most important pieces of hunting preparations - the coffee maker!!! grin.gif I'm one of those guys that can't go out without a full thermos of piping hot, blacker than black coffee. wink.gif

Before I hit the hay I set my alarm and more importantly, I let my wife know where I plan to hunt and what time I plan to be home. Even though my wife knows I'll be on the lake, I still let her know what my plans are. Always tell someone where you're going and what time you will be back. If something tragic ever happens to you (especially if you're alone), authorities will have an idea of where to begin looking, etc. If my plans change at all, I use my cell phone and simply make a 30-second call to my wife.

When it comes to setting my alarm, I've found over my years of hunting that people around here generally plan to go out at the top or bottom half of the hour. I hunt on public land, so this is an important piece of information to me. Because of this, I'll set my alarm for something like or 4:15a.m., or 4:40a.m., or some other "odd" time. It takes me 30 minutes to get dressed, load up the boat and get to the hunting spot, so waking up at an "odd" time puts me on the lake at an "odd" time. You'd be surprised how many outings I got to the good spot by just 10 or 15 minutes by doing this. In fact, my hunt yesterday was a perfect example. I was at the spot at 4:20a.m., the next boat came at 4:30a.m. and the next one at 4:40a.m., all wanting the spot I was hunting at. Also, like many others, I get very pumped to go out hunting, but I try and get to bed at a decent hour to get enough good rest. Being overly tired can be about as dangerous as being intoxicated, so I try and get at least 4 or more hours of sleep (plus I don't drink alcohol the night before…just my personal policy).

Before and after each outing I make sure that all my decoys are in good order; that they don't have holes, the knots on the lines and weights are secure and there isn't a chance of having a decoy float away on me when the ducks want to pour in. It can be extremely frustrating to have a decoy or two float away on you when the ducks are pouring in. mad.gif

One other thing I keep in our shellbox is a set of the hunting regulations along with the waterfowl supplemental regs. They can be helpful with many things ranging from sunrise & sunset times, bird identification (although for most this probably isn't a problem), limits and the TIP line.

Last, but not least, become familiar with survival techniques. We always hear of hunting accidents where somebody's boat capsizes and people drown due to one factor or another. Wear your PFD, know how to improvise to make flotation devices, keep your decoys bagged to use as flotation devices, know what the cold-water survival techniques are, drive your boat close to shore if you can….anything to improve your odds of survival should some freak accident occur.

In general, these are the preparations I go through for each outing. There are other minor preparations I go through, but the ones I've shared here have added to the enjoyment of the hunting experience in past years and for years to come.

If anyone else has some preparations they'd like to share, I'd be very interested to hear about them. I'm always up for gaining new ideas and tips to make my hunting experiences better!

Good luck to all and enjoy the rest of the season. The best hunting of the waterfowl season is just around the corner! laugh.gif

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long post but fun to read nonetheless. I do many/most of the same things as I think most other duck hunters (at least the serious ones) do.

I've never heard of the "odd time technique" you mention but agree that it probably rings true sometimes...a lot of people, especially when meeting other people at the ramp, agree on a time at the top or bottom of the hour.

One thing I always do is hitch up the boat and load all the gear the night before, so once I get up I can do the minimum amount of things before I can leave...this also helps prevent leaving things behind. I'll also lay out all my clothes on my floor in one spot the night before, and if there is anything else to grab (something from the fridge, a charging roto battery, etc) I'll just make a note on a piece of paper and set it with my clothes.

Oh, and if I'm meeting someone at the field or launch I'll always give 'em a ring on the cell while I'm driving there to make sure they got their butts outta bed!

Sartell Angler/ woodduckwizard

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Good tips guys!!!

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Definitely SA! Since we hunt on the lake my folks live on, we just meet up at their house. Usually we both get there a few minutes before we agree to the night before, so if it gets 5 minutes past that time, one of us is calling the other to make sure they woke up. smirk.gif

I too try and have the boat loaded with as many things as possible the prior night. There's enough to carry from home like the gun, coffee thermos, snacks, spot light, and what ever else. smirk.gif

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I leave everything I need short of my shotgun in my vehicle throughout the hunting season, including extra clothes.

My usual morning routine is to wake up just long enough to get both eyes pointed in the same direction, jump in the truck and stop at the nearest gas station for coffee.. head down te road to the freeway entrance... turn around and go home to grab my shotgun that I forgot worrying about morning coffee!

I need to get an automatic coffee maker with a timer!

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Bass,

Good info that you presented. Looking at your profile I too have hunted this 1000 acre lake. It has produced well in the past. Plenty of helpful information that I will pass on to some of my fello hunters/coworkers. A LOT of info here, must have been a slow day at the office wink.gif

I'm always looking for pointers on being a better waterfowler. Thanks-

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Actually had typed most of this up on Sunday after getting in from hunting, and finished the last little bit off yesterday.

Would you happen to be from Gaylord? Wonder if I might know you...

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not from Gaylord just guessing about the 1000 acre lake in looking at your profile - not too many lakes that size in that area. Your profile says engineer smirk.gif looking at the number of posts you have each work day you must work for the highway dept grin.gif

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  • Posts

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      Posted (edited)

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  • Posts

    • Sorgy
      Consider me in on a personal boycott of The Landing. Horrible horrible horrible customer service skills by the owners/management. 1) it is much quieter on the water without the big blasters running up an down the lake from the Landing. 2) Had a craving for wings while out fishing one night. Called ahead ordered up some wings- great taste- tiny crappy wings. Asked for a side of Blue Cheese and Celery - upcharge of like $3.00 for those. Washed it down with a bottle of Coors Light. $23.50 Large group went in one night and they usually tear up the bar. Were told they can't play jukebox until after 10 pm it was 9:40 PM- ONLY GROUP IN THE BAR.  "They are trying to build up an Ambiance" Got their bar tab and they were done. Yearly group that dropped a lot of cash in the past. Never again until new ownership is on board. Unfortunately they have deep pockets. As soon as new ownership / management takes over the crowds will return.
    • Big V Bobcat
      That place is sinking faster than a boat anchor! I couldn't figure out why they were putting in so much money into it, especially since every time I'd drive by at dinner hour, there'd be at best 5 cars parked there. Always a good crowd at the Crescent of course. I don't mind the lack of view...since I'm usually on the lake most of the day already. I remember the days of Judd and Jack, and the place was lively and included the locals. Now it is mostly oblivious resort guests who see it as the only option. Very "pretentious" place that would be better suited in the Brainerd lakes area. My wife's co-worker told her that he was there this summer and they charged him $2 for a glass of water and .75 for mustard (in a stainless steel cup of course). I'd like to check out Wolf Bay, but I need a faster boat first! Don't even get me started on the $7 beers....
    • OhioVike
      My entire family loves coming up to the lake. We make it part of the routine to stop at the landing at least once per trip.  At the end of the day a few extra bucks per entree is no big deal. Our meals have always been good, service has varied with the crowds which is true everywhere up there.  Run the per pound cost on your walleye catch. The few meals a year you eat there would pale in comparison.  I hope they stay open, it is a fun part of our trips!
    • FrazerBay
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    • LakeofthewoodsMN
      Walleyes and Saugers continue to move closer to the south shore. Good fishing in 23 feet of water outside the Lighthouse gap and all along the south shore. Shiner minnows in the area keeping large schools of walleyes active! The bite will continue to improve in the coming weeks. Anchoring and jigging with a shiner minnow successful with gold or pink/gold the colors of choice. Some crankbait action in the afternoons to cover water to find active schools. Lots of ducks and geese in the area as local waterfowl still around. Should expect a good northern push in a few weeks as it gets colder. The Rainy River continues to get better each day as more shiners and walleyes push into the river. Fall walleye fishing on the Rainy River can be some of the best! Sturgeon are being boated up and down the river daily.  Up at the Northwest Angle, walleye and sauger action is hot. Drifting with a bottom bouncer, spinner, and a minnow doing great. Anchoring and jigging with a minnows doing good as well. Look for deep holes and mud areas in 18-30 feet between Oak and Flag Island. Also look for points with depths of 8-18 feet as shiners have started moving into bays. On the Ontario side, walleye fishing is red hot as the feed bags are on to bulk up for the winter. Use electronics to locate schools of fish in 18 to 28 feet and use a jig and minnow. Bottom bouncers with spinners can be used to cover water to locate fish. Crappies over 15 inches are stacked up in sharp drop offs and around flooded timber in 30 feet. Muskie action has turned to trolling large minnow baits in 10-18 feet. Plenty of waterfowl in area with local birds still around.