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RumRiverRat

Do you shoot hens?

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RumRiverRat

Or do you try to select drakes?

Do you only do this with easily identified drakes?

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jparrucci

Depends on the situation. While I certainly try to take drakes inky, on the days where there isn't much flying I'll drop the occasional hen. I spent way too much time, money, and vacation to hunt ducks. While I will do my best effort not to take a hen when there are drakes to be had, I will in no way limit myself if that is the only duck that presents itself. This year I have a new pup in training so my selection is not as limited as some other years. I want him in as many ducks as possible.

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fishuhalik

+1. Also depends on who's with me. I've killed enough ducks. If its myself and another seasoned hunter & we're on a good set, I'm real picky. If I'm with a newby I'll shoot whatever my limit allows us. Also depends on how hungry I am lol

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smackem33

If it flies it dies! I love eating duck, that being said I only can hunt weekends and will never reach a possession limit now because of the three times the limit and eat em all up during the week. I will pick drakes out of flock but will never pass up a shot because its a hen.

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dan z

If she's by herself its a pass. If in a flock and she's behind my bead I pull the trigger.

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walleye18

try to pass on the hens when I can....sometimes, they get shot. They all eat good!

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CANOPY SAM

Some of you might find it hard to believe but I actually look for the jewelry. Much easier to see on geese, but if you're blessed with really good eyesight, and you can get the birds to present themselves right, you can sometimes pick out the banded birds.

Otherwise I'm picking out drakes whenever possible, or minimally the biggest birds in the bunch.

I don't even shoulder the gun on teal, woodies or other small species ducks.

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B-man715

Some of you might find it hard to believe but I actually look for the jewelry. Much easier to see on geese, but if you're blessed with really good eyesight, and you can get the birds to present themselves right, you can sometimes pick out the banded birds.

Otherwise I'm picking out drakes whenever possible, or minimally the biggest birds in the bunch.

I don't even shoulder the gun on teal, woodies or other small species ducks.

you are so cool......

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Pherris

I only shoot hens because I am a male chauvinist pig. This thread is better then the comedy channel IMO.

Carry on!

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Pherris

Some of you might find it hard to believe but I actually look for the jewelry. Much easier to see on geese, but if you're blessed with really good eyesight, and you can get the birds to present themselves right, you can sometimes pick out the banded birds.

Otherwise I'm picking out drakes whenever possible, or minimally the biggest birds in the bunch.

I don't even shoulder the gun on teal, woodies or other small species ducks.

Just curious do you bother to eat the birds you shoot or is it all about jewelry?

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fishuhalik

You don't pull on woodies?! I'll take a limit of 3 drake woodies over a limit of mallards any day!! To each their own, more for me!

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CANOPY SAM

Only on FM!

The topic is about what you try to take when duck hunting, drakes or hens? I respond by saying I try to take drakes, not hens, and I try to look for banded birds whenever the opportunity is there. And this is enough for a few of you to mock, insult, and make rash assumptions about me? Thanks guys.

I think bands are cool, and it's interesting to find out the approximate age of the birds, and where they were banded. I shot an early season goose this year that was banded in Missouri in 1999! That's cool!

fishuhalik, yes, I let Woodies fly. I'm not a fan of wood duck in the crockpot. I prefer fat northern corn fed mallards for eating. Nope, I try not to pull on my woodies. laugh

I know lots of "seasoned" waterfowl hunters that look for bands. They have call lanyards covered with em'.

Is that wrong too guys? crazy

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TylerS

I shoot hens. Absolutely. You may not know this, but approximately 80 percent of the BWT you shoot this time of year in the northland are hens and young-of-the-year ducks. Ninety percent of drakes BWT head south well ahead of everyone else.

Science does not back the "don't shoot hens" mentality we waterfowlers have propagated so ferociously, especially with burgeoning species such as mallards. You know what shooting only drakes does? Look good in pictures. That's it.

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strait-meat

If it flies it dies! I don't discriminate.

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Todd Caswell

If you think the fat "northern" mallards you are shooting are corn fed, then they aren't coming from Canada very little corn grown up there.

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Todd Caswell

I agree if it flies it dies, harvest of hens by hunting has little to do with the numbers, if you really want to save some ducks, start killing skunks .

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bemidjibasser

Killing predators i.e. coons, fox, skunks, coyotes, feral cats etc. will far out save not shooting hens. Good point Mr. Caswell.

As stated above, if I'm on the X I will try to pick out drakes because they do make a great photo... Plus a few of the guys I hunt with have a little deal set up where a hen costs you $$$ if you shoot one. Just makes the hunts a little more fun and besides, who doesn't like a little competition and a chance to give their buddies some heck for shooting hens?

However, if there is very little flying I am not too proud to dump a hen or two.

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fishuhalik

Yup Sam, that's wrong. What a terrible sportsman you are for wanting to shoot trophies (saying this as I walk to my deer stand to shoot a buck with the biggest antlers in the woods) lol. Come on guys, you're really gonna come down on a guy for being selective? Maybe it would be better if he went out 5x a week & shot his limit of ducks (with hens) every time. I like eating duck too much to be that selective, but more power to ya!

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Guest Kyle

Teal are by far the best eating duck.

They just get overlooked because they are small. On extended duck trips we try to shoot as many teal as possible at the beginning of the trip so we don't have to try to eat so many big ducks.

Plus teal are so agile, and in most cases very hard to hit in the air. They also can be in large flocks which makes for a great show when the flock comes blazing at mach 5 right into the decoys!

I'll pass on mallard hens if there is a drake within range, otherwise I don't discriminate.

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walleye18

Teal and Woodies are my favorite to eat.....but I like all ducks as table fare.

Hens, drakes, etc.....right next to the potatoes and vegetables. I'm a hunter and meat eater.

God made them for us to eat....no hurting the population (scientifically) when you shoot hens.

Want more ducks....create more habitat and keep the skunks/racoons and coyotes in check/balance.....but saying one shouldnt shoot hens....we'll to each their own.

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fishersofmen

Teal and Woodies are my favorite to eat.....but I like all ducks as table fare.

Hens, drakes, etc.....right next to the potatoes and vegetables. I'm a hunter and meat eater.

God made them for us to eat....no hurting the population (scientifically) when you shoot hens.

Want more ducks....create more habitat and keep the skunks/racoons and coyotes in check/balance.....but saying one shouldnt shoot hens....we'll to each their own.

^^^^^^This.

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B-man715

Only on FM!

The topic is about what you try to take when duck hunting, drakes or hens? I respond by saying I try to take drakes, not hens, and I try to look for banded birds whenever the opportunity is there. And this is enough for a few of you to mock, insult, and make rash assumptions about me? Thanks guys.

I think bands are cool, and it's interesting to find out the approximate age of the birds, and where they were banded. I shot an early season goose this year that was banded in Missouri in 1999! That's cool!

fishuhalik, yes, I let Woodies fly. I'm not a fan of wood duck in the crockpot. I prefer fat northern corn fed mallards for eating. Nope, I try not to pull on my woodies. laugh

I know lots of "seasoned" waterfowl hunters that look for bands. They have call lanyards covered with em'.

Is that wrong too guys? crazy

Sam, sorry to come off like I did. I was just messing with ya smile The first image that came to my head was a guy in a duck blind sipping on tea with his pinky in the air smile I give a guy at work krap all of the time because he tries to only shoot ducks for the wall...... his point is: How is it any different than a guy that only shoots big bucks for the wall???? Valid point wink

Banded birds are something special. I've been lucky enough to hang a few on my lanyard. One was a goose that was 8 years old and banded in southern Illinois smile That is a pretty cool program! I hope it continues as along as there are birds in the air wink

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Matt Breuer

Only once in my life have I been able to spot jewelry as the birds are decoying, and I watched it get dusted as I swung on it. No idea how you are able to see bling at a pace, Canopy!

I shoot hens, gladly. They taste the same as drakes, and are just as sporting. Now, if we're having a good shoot, and picking out drakes is an option, we'll do so. Only other time is diver hunting, which we do a lot of. Typically we'll just take drakes if we can, but sometimes the ladies get caught in the crossfire!

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Gordie

I shoot hens, gladly. They taste the same as drakes, and are just as sporting. Now, if we're having a good shoot, and picking out drakes is an option, we'll do so. Only other time is diver hunting, which we do a lot of. Typically we'll just take drakes if we can, but sometimes the ladies get caught in the crossfire!

Yes this.

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Guest Kyle

Where I hunt in the dokotas, we never are hard pressed to get our limits. Like I said, except for mallards I don't discriminate. Given the option I will try to kill drakes simply because they are pretty and look better in a picture!

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deets22

I only shoot hens drakes are too pretty to kill. I killed a drake woody once and felt like I robbed the world of the most beautiful treasure. I heckle drake murderers!!!!!

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walleye18

I shoot hens and have been known to "arkansas" birds too....

Like its been said prior - if it flies it dies...and if it sits, it dies too!

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hockeybc69

Quote:
if it flies it dies...and if it sits, it dies too!

We at least upduck them before we cut 'em. smile

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wally243

No

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CANOPY SAM

I don't have any birds on my wall. Fish and deer only! laugh

A good ole' college buddy of mine and I were jump-shooting ducks many years ago in NoDak. We were scouting around and watched a small group of ducks drop into a nearby pond, so we stealthily made our way over there to see if we could get a couple.

When we finally made it close enough to see what was there he turns to me and quietly says, "They're all hens!" I whispered back, "Yea, so!?!" I stood up, shouldered my gun, and said loudly, "Get up ladies!" and proceeded to drop two hen mallards as they rose up off the water.

I turn back to my buddy and smile and he's looking at me like I just mowed down a jungle village of women and children. He never let me forget it. He is a waterfowl hunting guide in southern Minnesota, and I actually do have a lot of respect for his hunting and fishing ethic.

There really wasn't anything wrong with taking a couple hens, and please don't get me wrong, I still do take a hen or two from time to time. But I guess that little field lesson so many years ago kind of stuck with me.

I try not to shoot hens for two primary reasons;

1) The DNR, or scientific community, or perhaps both, discourage the taking of too many hens, and encourage the taking of more drakes. This does make sense, and has worked very well for many, many years.

2) I'm at a stage in my "hunting and fishing" life where I'm more then happy to bring home just a couple birds. Last Sat morning I could have easily filled my limit with various species of ducks (and hens), as well as geese, but I'm just not interested in taking that many birds.

I too enjoy eating a few wild birds and fish from time to time, and yes, you can't tell a hen from a drake on the dinner plate. I just don't eat that many, so I like to just watch a lot of them fly.

Matt, you doubt virtually everything I say. That's fine. I've been truly blessed with incredible eyesight, and I'm very thankful for it. Anyone that's ever hunted with me is amazed at how I can pick out a group of birds from miles away, and if you simply slow down, and don't rush your shots when the birds are cupped and committed, you'd be amazed at what you can see when quickly scanning thru the flock before pulling the trigger.

By the way B-man, no offense taken. I drink coffee in the blind, and my calls are typically full of chew spit by the end of each trip. If you really knew me you'd know, in almost every way, I'm a lot more like Willie Robertson then Thurston Howell III! Ha ha ha... wink

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