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BeerHunter

Flocks of Hooded Mergansers

20 posts in this topic

Went out duck hunting on Sunday morning and had something happen i have never seen before.

There were divers flying every where and coming into out decoys verry well. We then noticed that all the flocks that we were seeing were hooded mergansers. I had not shot one Merganser in my life before this year and now i would have been able to fill a boat with the dumb things.

Wondering if anyone else has notice more Hooded mergansers around than normal.

Got 2 beautiful drakes along with 4 hens and 5 mallards for the 3 of us. And i never tried eating one yet, anyone know if they taste different than mallards?

Thanks

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IMO they taste way different than mallards. For comparison purposes only......

Ribeye Steak = Mallard.

Dogs butt = Hooded Merganser.

Others may disagree, but yuk.

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Boilerguy, is that the pink ring on the doggies rear end or the inner area? tongue.gif In all seriousness, he's correct... mergies are fish eaters and Mallards are dabblers that eat mainly green stuff.

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"yeah, you probably don't want to eat that" is what I'd say to someone who was debating whether or not to eat a merganser.

I have shot a couple over the years but now if I decided to shoot one it would just be to put a nice one on the wall--and since I'm just a college kid and already have a nice goldeneye on the wall I don't anticipate doing that anytime soon.

We made up a bunch of jerky with goose breasts one time and added some mergies we shot to that--pretty sure the mergie ruined the goose!

I have too been seeing far more mergansers around this year though--must've had a tremendous year.

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we shot two on sunday. saw lots of flocks and they would easily decoy. the hen and drake we shot im thinking of having them mounted together.

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I would have to agree....

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Kind of figured they would taste bad. Knowing that it could ruin jerky is the main reason i asked how they would taste. I am planning on doing a drake hen Mount, I do taxidermy on the side my self and am planning on doing head mounts of every kind of duck for in my garage for something different.

SO now i have 2 beautiful drakes and a very nice hen that will not be eaten but stuffed.

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I am usually pretty good at I.D.ing hoods in flight. They look like a flock of large hummingbirds. However, two weeks ago we shot 3! Out of 2 different flocks! And, we shot a spoonbill. If we could of found a ruddy duck, we would have had the junk duck trifecta!

We ate the spoonie. Sometimes they are palatable. The hoods get used as training birds.

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hooded mergansers,or fish ducks, I allways wondered why I would see pictures of or hear about people including them in thier bag. I know this may seem odd to many people but I generally flay all my ducks (oh yea first everybody is right they are awfull eating) that said here is what I do if I get really hard up for ducks to eat, being I really crave duck meat, when I flay ducks instead of plucking I also cut out the legs to be grilled or fried in pan w/butter and onions and actually the legs and liver from fish ducks taste just as good as any other ducks, this is also the same for spruce hens the breasts are awfull but the legs taste just fine, not very much meat though good for snacking. Oh yea I allways see fish ducks at the end of the season, and you know it really is the end if you see common mergansers I haven't tried those. Good luck.

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a former hunting buddy of ours (he now attends college out of state) went on a late-season hunt with my brother and I. We shot 4 geese and 3 big common mergies. He took the liberty of making jerky out of all of these birds, and wouldn't you know it he gifted us the common merganser jerky. Needless to say the jerky was not good (total waste of seasoning/effort) and we were not happy with his greed after basically guiding him on the hunt with our boat / decoys.

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All mergansers are NEIGHBOR ducks. Give them to your neighbor you don't particullarly care for! smile.gif

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I just put them in a marinadie. Then I grilled them. They didn't seem to tast too bad. If I shot any I would breast them and grill them in a marinadie.

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Boilerguy, thanks for belly laugh, thats the hardest I have laughed in a week.

But I agree...Yuk. After all they do eat primarily fish. I enjoy targeting Goldeneyes this time of year and the two ducks seem to migrate at the same time. Beautiful bird though.

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Just an FYI, the limit on HOODED megansers is 1 per person, you can have 5 of the other two species and they don't count toward your duck limit, but the hooded is ONE. We have them in our area all the time. We try not to shoot them cause they are not the tasteist bird. We have a couple mounted and the drakes are awesome looking. They always have decoyed very nice.

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The limit was bumped up to 2 hooded mergansers this year.

From the DNR website

DAily limit is 5 no more than two may be hooded mergansers. The possesion limit is double...

So shoot away...

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You can shoot 2 hoodies per day, this is a new regulation this year

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I've cooked them up like kc, breast 'em and marinade them overnite to throw on the grill the next day. That made them bearable, but I don't usually shoot more than a couple each year. Those drakes are beautiful, but they're still "fish-ducks" grin.gif after all.

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Sunday went past Mille lacs and saw hundreds of merggies and mallards , not many divers not as many as the week before.

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Tons of hoodeds around thats for sure. 5 of us set up off of a point Sunday morning. Just has it got light enough to see the dekes. First a pair dropped in then a small flock then the flocks kept getting bigger. It was just an awesome sight watching them fish ducks dance there way into the decoys. We try not to shoot them. Wasn't long the mother load of buffle heads with a few bills mixed in made there way to our set up. We finished the morning with 25 ducks.i have never seen so many butterballs in one morning in my life. What a way to end a great year of duck hunting.

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I apologize, I did not notice the reg change. Thanks for pointing that out. It seems like it been one for so many years.

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