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Rick

Waterfowl Hunting

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Guest

I was out this AM. Man was it cold. Had to break ice to get to my spot but it was worth every bruise I got on my shins(If you have ever walked through Ice with your waders you know what I am talking about). There were lots of ducks, I managed to get 4 mallards and 1 woodie. Lots of ducks around and lots of ducks V'd up heading South. Should be a good weekend, lets here some good reports on Monday. I will be bowhunting, but anyways, it will still be a great weekend for duck hunting. ScottS

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ScottS
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Benny

Borch, you are right about the first weekend. We went to the other side this Saturday, there was one other canoe out there and they shot at every thing!
So about 8:30 AM we pulled out and went to Duett pool, no one was there. we ran in to the head CO and he told us of a couple of pot holes to jump, we got 3 Mallards off them. Went to French lake Sunday, we were the 3rd ones out at 5AM. Some idiot shot at a pair of trumpeters, the CO was up on the hill by the farm watching so im sure they will get thier ticket. A few hunters were yelling at them also, still can't beleave people mistake them for geese. We did not fire a shot at any ducks, they we to decoy shy. Well good hunting, Benny

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Guest

I was out in the thunder lake area this past weekend and did pretty well. My brother and I shot two Mallards, two Bluebills, Redhead, and A snow goose. We had a flock of seven Snows and Blues come into the duck decoys. My brothers gun jammed and I have no excuses, I shot REALLY BAD.
All morning waiting to set up decoys we herd hundereds of snows flying over. I guess I never knew snows fly that far east. Anyone know if this is common? It wasn't just a couple of flock there were hundreds.
When we got back and cleaned the ducks one of the mallards had white specks in it's breast. I have seen this in fish, Is this also common in ducks?

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SEwalleye

does anyone have any duck reports?? just wondering where all the ducks are at!!

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Guest

Well no ducks around the St Cloud area. I have heard great reports from Winnie and the Frazee area. They are coming, but this South wind and warm weather is not helping. I have hung up my waders for the week, I am heading to South Dakota for the pheasant opener.ScottS

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ScottS
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J.A.Say.Tree

Just got back from hunting waterfowl in Saskatchewan. Millions of birds up their, but that doesn't help our local hunting. What will was the number of birds we noticed on the drive through Southern Manitoba. Tons of mallards. Hope they find our flyway..... let it snow, let it snow, let it snow........

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Rick

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Rick

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Guest

Anyone--
I have been a avid duck hunter for the last 10 years. looking for some new info. In the past years I have had a lot of ducks and geese land on the outskirts of my decoys out of range. I have tried everything from 5-6 puddles of 8 ducks to the one that looks like a "v" or "u". and i am unable to get them any closer. would like some ideas on decoy setup and calling sequences and calls. i have a double reed, single reed and a sure shot call. any info would be great. My pass shooting has been very poor lately so I have let the ducks come in a nd land then scare them up and shoot when they are out to a good size pattern and have had varying results. let me know any opinions you guys have.

Thanks-
Broncosguy

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Bryce

Stay away from the goups unless all else fails. Too hard to set and pick up decoys. Keep working on your "v", "u", or even a "w". Also try stringing up a couple of super mag hen backwards and place them in the landing pockets. Call hens. Have seen several drakes land right on the decoys. Keep on scaring the ducks out of the decoys. anything less than 6" off the water is "Arkansas" style shooting.

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GullGuide

Bronco,
One of three things might be happening-
1) You are hunting in an area where the birds are heavily pressured,
2) The birds do not like your location, or
3) The birds are seeing something they do not like.
Let's deal with each topic in more detail-
1) Birds that have been pressured get used to the "decoy game" and become very weary. I have sat and watched pressured birds do what you are describing even when landing next to real birds. Until they see some movement such as a flapping wing or birds diving for food, they will land a ways away from the other birds and move in after seeing this movement.
2) Location- Where do you normally set up? On shore? On a point? On a floating bog? What is the wind direction? From behind you? a cross wind? Fill me in on the details.
3) Another problem might be they see something they do not like or that they find suspicious. This could be your blind, again your location, and your decoys. I would not stray away from using groups, although I find that 3 groups would be the maximum I would ever use. I prefer 2 groups with a space in between, the "landing area" as wide as about twice the length of your boat or blind. Another big mistake is placing the decoys too close to the shoreline, bog or point on which you are hunting. I try to have the outside edge of my groups about 20- 30 yards out with the closest decoy no less than 10 yards away. This serves two purposes-
1) Having them too close increases the chances of the birds seeing movement within the blind or they may spot a deficiency in the blind itself, and
2) Having the decoys out away from the natural windbreak that a shoreline, bog or point provides, enables the wind to create movement within your spread which is a necessity.
One more thing to add, a cardinal sin amongst waterfowlers is getting in the habit of calling too much. Overdoing a highball can turn any flock. Once they have spotted you and are beginning to work into your spread, minimize the calling to a few soft feed chuckles and a few single quacks. Also if the ducks start to talk to you as they work your decoys, by all means, answer back with just a short soft quack here and there.
Hope this helps and again fill me in on the location you hunt, not the area, just what kind of spots you set up in. This might also be a problem.
>"////=<

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Guest

GULLGUIDE,
I am hunting in a bog area that has a big opening, there is a floating bog that I rarely set up on because the wind moves it to the opposite end. I set up with the wind at my back. I usually set up my decoys about 20 yds from my blind. I hunt in the St cloud area after the 3rd week of the season. I have found out that most hunters in that area are usually pheasant hunting by then so the pressure is off. As for my blind I pull in to the cat ails just far enough into them to hide my entrance. I have painted my boat with a cat tail design so it blends right in. I pull back the cat tails to cover where I enter into my blind and then pull cat tails towards me to hide me as much as I can. Then in the blind I knock down the cat tails tat I can so I have about 2-3 shooting lanes. I have set up in just about every area of the slough that I hunt. Have 28 decoys I set out, 12 magnums and 4 feeders, and the last 12 are smaller. I have heard if you paint a mallard decoy black it makes for easier seeing is that correct or does that hinder them? Usually call to get there attention. and then some feeder. I call less to not scare them away, not to great at the feeder call. Thanks for the info and looking forward to your thoughts. Also what are your thoughts about lining up like I have set up blue bills before for mallards?

Broncosguy

[This message has been edited by BRONCOSGUY (edited 08-13-2001).]

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Duck-o-holic

Bronco,

Gull has some great points! I'll try and add some ideas to what he's already pointed out. It does sound from your response that your spread is a little close to the blind. I would recommend having my furthest mallards at least 35 yards out to enable them to be better seen from passing birds. I also like setting them out in two groups, or using a U or modified J pattern. If you have a slight crosswind (let's say the wind is blowing from behind, but over your left shoulder instead of directly behind you)... I would bulk up my dekes on the left (downwind) side, and pull the upwind dekes a bit closer to shore. Again, the key is to have an inviting opening. I like to think of mine as an EXAGERATED opening- one that is made to be very obvious to the birds as to where to land!
As to answer your question on the bluebills and mallards together, I LOVE hunting late season divers, and often pull in flocks of mallards. The key here is to know each birds preferences... divers like following lines... whether it be the break between calm and moving water, paralleling the shoreline or ice, or flying along the tail of a raft of their own kind. Mallards (as you've found out) do not, and will often land short of a group of birds without passing over them. Many hunters use strings or lines of diver dekes run 100 yds. out or so to suck the divers to the main part of their spread. If you are only using a dozen or so bluebills in addition to your mallards, this is not really an option for you... but realize the theory! Keep your species seperate in this case... and I'd have my bluebills out further than the mallards, but also DOWNWIND of them, as mallards don't like flying over ducks to land like divers do. As in the wind situation above, I'd have the bills on the left, and the mals upwind (on the right) and in closer.
As far as painting your mallard dekes black... I know about the theory, but wouldn't recommend it. Birds in the air will pick up a black colored object on the water easier than any other color-- even white! Duck counters in planes even confirm this. If you are aiming to get mallards in close, the more your dekes look like the real thing, the better!
Gull was right on the money with his calling advice as well! I can tell he is an expert caller without ever having heard him-- just by what he wrote. The long, loud Highball is not actually used to sound like a real duck... but rather is to get a birds attention! Once the birds are working your set, you don't want to blow them off the water. Like Gull said, use soft single quacks mixed sparengly with the feeder chuckle. Birds should be calling to you when they are working your spread. Listen for this, and always mimic the tone and sound back to them. There is nothing like getting a dialect going with a flock of birds! This is also true for working geese.
As far as your shooting problem, I will say that the best shots you will take are at birds backpedaling above your spread, facing you, preferrabley at 20 yards out! I would not recommend letting them land, and then taking them once they take off... you will be contending with hitting wings and backs that way, instead of being able to take your time and hitting breasts and heads as they are facing you... and not knowing what's about to happen! I would also recommend shooting some trap before/during season. Moreso to build confedence in your shooting ability than anything else! The last shooting tip for the day is... Tru-Glo sights!! They are about $20, and snap onto the rib of your gun, and give a great reference point-- especially in low-light conditions!!

Good luck...

Duck-o-holic

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Guest

thanks for that insight i never really thought of it that hard or way, just went out and put the dekes out. if the day before set did not work i tried something else. Just curious as to what type of duck call works best and easiest for the feeder call??

thanks-
Broncosguy

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GullGuide

Right on Duck!
I know we hunt the same water, we should get together and make a joint effort sometime instead of competing...enough competition on "Ol Mud" the way it is!! smile.gif
Bronco, as far as what type of call, it's hard to recommend one since I use a handmade "Marshland" call. The maker who lived in Nebraska, passed away about 6 years ago and they are now considered collectors items. Most people who have them have put them on the mantle for display, but not me. I'll be using that call till it rots smile.gif What kind do you use?
Good Luck
>"////=<

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Guest

I beleive it is a lohman's single reed (made of wood) maLlard call. I also have a dual tone (made of plastic) that I can not get the feeder to work with so I use the single reed for the feeder call and the dual to get 2 different sounds. there is a air hole to plug for a higher pitch, and if I do not cover the hole it is raspier. My goose call is the long river call(I think)

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Duck-o-holic

Gull-- We will definitely have to hook up this fall for some fowling! You are right about the tremendous competition on Ol' Mud! You've got my email address...
Bronc-- One thing I'll say is, a good caller on a bad call will always outgun a poor caller on a good call! Like Gull said, there are almost too many good calls to choose from out there! Every year the list gets larger with new lines coming out, and additions to the old ones. Calls can also vary from $5 to hundreds. I would recommend starting out with something inexpensive (under $20) and really getting good on it. If you are serious about getting good at it, it cannot be something that you just start practicing on a few weeks before season. I keep my calls in my vehicle pretty much year round and also find this is the best place to practice on them. Pick up an instructional tape or CD to call along to. You might get some weird looks from the motorists around you... especially if you are in a traffic jam smile.gif

As for what has been on my lanyard for the last three seasons-- I have a Primos shaved-reed goose call, two different model Roy Rhodes single reed duck calls, and a double reed Big River duck call.

The Rhodes calls will become more familiar to hunters this year, as I was surprised to see that Wal-Mart is now carrying them. I am assuming that you have the Big River goose call? I used to have one of the flutes, and a Tim Grounds half-breed call that were both excellent goose calls. I kind of combined the good qualities of each with the Primos, which is louder than the Grounds, but still gives the range of goose sounds (including the lay-down growl) that I was looking for. The Big River double reed is my softer, in close call for ducks.

Keep in mind also that a double reed call will be a lot easier to blow than a single. I'd start out with a double and get good on it first. Big River, Primos, Duck Commander, Buck Gardner, and Rich-N-Tone make some great double reeds that are not too expensive to start out or add. Olt is oldschool, with some excellent calls, but also some that I don't care for. Haydel's has beefed up their line and are now better in my opinion. Faulks I would stay away from. Flambeau is new to the game, but had a nice sounding double (sweet suzy?). Quaker Boy also is pretty new with their duck call line, which I think is so-so. The list goes on and on... but the main key is still practicing!

Any other preferences out there anyone? Let's see what everyone else is using...

Duck-o-holic

PS- Sorry this was so long-- I guess I have a hard time sleeping this close to season opening up!!!

[This message has been edited by Duck-o-holic (edited 08-17-2001).]

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Guest

I have actually been practicing since May 1st. figured the more I call the better off I am. I have more trouble with the double reed call then the single. Is that normal?? because I have been called abnormal a lot when it comed to hunting ducks and geese. the goose call is the river call you mentioned. I like that very much. I have had no problem getting the geese in. Called 7 geese back after we took 3 out of the flock the last few years. I was taught to stay as still as possible when calling so is it a good idea to try more then 1 call when ducks are in sight??

Thanks-
Broncosguy

p.s. I can not sleep much this year either, but I have to wait until the 2nd week of the season becuase my wife scheduled us for Las Vegas on opening weekend, she is still hearing about that. I told her if she has our kid that weekend she could be in trouble and need a back up coach(j/k)

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Duck-o-holic

Bronc-

Trust me-- Being abnormal isn't so bad... plus, it can actually a good tactic to use when hunting heavily pressured birds! The majority of callers I've heard have a harder time blowing a single correctly. I believe a lot of callers don't have the concept of how to use air from their diaphragms correctly. This can make it harder to get the correct "raspiness" out of a single reed. More air is needed on a single, and many people blow into it harder, like they're blowing up a balloon. Instead they should be using air from their diaphragm, like they are huffing on a mirror to fog it up.

Sounds like you don't have a problem with this... now all you probably need to do, is fine tune this-- and apply it in the field. That's great that you've been practicing it early. What's even better than listening to calling tapes is to actually listen to live birds and then try to mimic them. Listen to when they are calling, and why they are calling that way.

I carry different calls for different situations. I have a loud, open-water call that works great on windy days or to get attention of birds at long distances. I also have a medium volumed call, and a soft call that is great for working birds in close. Loud calls that echo will spook birds every time. A real duck will NEVER echo, so be conscious of this if you are hunting in or around a lot of trees! If you are echoing-- you need to change calls, call softer, or don't call! As far as switching your calls during a sequence... I do it all the time. You are correct about not wanting to be seen by working birds, but if you are camoflagued correctly you'll be fine. Also limit your movements to when the birds are circling away from you.

Sounds like you don't need any tips on calling geese. I know a lot of people who have had similar results with the Big River.
Still waiting to here what others are using and liking for calls out there...

Good Gunning,

Duck-o-holic

PS- To bad about missing opener. She must be a keeper!! smile.gif Guess you've still got time to train her!

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Bryce

Used a Quaker last season and was very impressed. Very affordable acrylic. Rich-n-tone makes a polycarbonate that blows very much like an acrylic. I prefer the hard single reed in most conditions but will switch to Sure Shot double reed when I need to tone down. You cannot overblow this call. Goose call without a doubt is the pit crew by I believe Paul England. Not exactly sure on that name. Makes calls right here in the Twin cities. Spent a lot of money on oter calls to have a backup and finally went to another pit crew tune slightly different. Not the most attractive call but you can make all the sounds that real geese do.

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Duck-o-holic

Bryce- I haven't seen the Quaker Boy acrylic yet... I'll have to check it out. I did have the pleasure of meeting Paul England last fall out by where I hunt, and also got to know his son fairly well. I also got to hear his son blow both the Pit Crew and the duck call that his dad makes. I was VERY impressed! I guess he has won some competitions with these calls. I am definitely interested in purchasing a couple.

Duck-o-holic

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Guest

Duck---
What calls do you have I saw you said 3 one for loud, medium, and softer. I think I probably need to look into the soft call. It seems like when I try to tone it down the call definately does not work correctly. Also will the feeder be easier with a softer call?? let me know.

Thanks-
Broncosguy

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Duck-o-holic

Bronc--

Right now I'm using a Big River double-reed for my in-close calling. It is easy to blow, and does give a great feeding chuckle. Before buying a call, I always try them out in the store (usually after asking). This is a great way to try different brands and models of calls. Gander Mountain, Cabela's, and Scheels all have great selections. Gander even has one of each of their calls on display for people to try, but some of these get pretty beat up.

Good Luck!

Duck-o-holic

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Guest

Duck--
Thanks for the info I will try that.

to anyone--
Also in need of a good trust worthy gun smith to replace a bent ejector pin on my Savage 720 semi auto. I liv ein the Spring Lake Park/Blaine area.

Thanks-
Broncsguy

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Finlander

My duck call that I would suggest is a
Illusion Mini-Mag Duck System duck call.
This 3" call is easy to blow both soft and loud. And is easy to do a feeding chuckle or any other type of in between calls.
It is a double reed!
My Canada goose call is a Primos Shaved Reed.
This is a sweet call that talks to geese very well. Really brings them to ya!
HAPPY HOOTIN!!

------------------
BBB,T,F.

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Duck-o-holic

Fin--

Kudo's to the Shaved Reed!!! You also mention a great double reed. Although I've never owned an Illusion, I've blown them and like their sound! They make a great goose call as well. Another call worth mentioning are the Cutt Down series calls. These are also small versions of what traditional calls look like, but deliver a great sound.

How 'bout you other fowlers? What are you having success with??

Duck-o-holic

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Guest

Does anyone know where to see what the status is/was for the duck populatoin this year??

Thanks-
Broncosguy

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Rippinlip

I have been invited to go with some buddies on the early season goose hunt. Since I have not been into the waterfowl thing, what do I need to start? Guns, Ammo, Camaflague, Calls.
Or should I just "wing it" no pun intended.
This sounds like a golden oppurinity and I do not want my first experience to be a bad one.

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Duck-o-holic

Bronc-- A few good places are the MPLS.Tribune Sunday paper, Outdoor News weekly, Mid West Outdoors paper, Minnesota Sportsman magazine.... The list goes on. From what I've seen so far, counts are down on most species. Mallards are at their lowest since 1984(?). Cans aren't doing well-- and there is only going to be a 20 day season on them.

The good news is that the rest of the regs should not be affected more than that. The daily limit will stay as it was last year with 6 daily, 12 possession for ducks. The species limits will also stay the same: 4 mallards (no more than 2 hens), 3 scaup, 2 redheads, 2 woodies, 1 can, 1 pintail, 1 blackduck. The regular season is set for running Sept.29th - Nov.27th.

In all actuality, last year was supposed to be a banner year for most of the migratory species (except maybe the bluebill)... but many hunters did not witness this on the water. Many attribute this to the change in the migration patterns of the Mississippi flyway over the past decade-- shifting further westward to the pothole-rich Dakotas. So what does all of this mean in the big picture? There will still be birds to see this year... but you may need to really put your time in scouting and being on the water, and may have to be a bit more mobile and go to where the birds are. Enjoy all the rewards of the hunt itself rather than how many birds you bag. I myself am in heaven already just getting ready for the upcoming season!!

Scoot-- not sure how to answer your question as I am not too familiar with the Fargo area geese and crops. Possibly you are seeing fields that have already been fed through. Maybe seeing the fields at the wrong time of day, or were seeing them before the geese were flying as a family unit... or maybe many of the locals there are finding what they need in town and on the golf courses.

Rippin'Lip-- Sounds like you are going to get a taste of something truly addicting! I would rely on the friends you are hunting with to let you know what to bring. I would not suggest bringing a call right away until you are proficient with it. If any in your group are callers you should be fine. Camo, Gun, and Ammo are all musts. If you don't have a gun, it might be wise to borrow one from one of the guys you're hunting with. Get a good feel for what you want before rushing out to buy one. If you are shooting a 12 guage for early season geese, you can get away with using a bit lighter load as the geese usually decoy better, and don't have much body fat to speak of. I personally use BBs in the early season instead of BBBs or T shot which I favor later in the season. I also always use the largest size shell that my gun can handle although this is not necessary.

Once you find out how you like this new sport, you can start dumping the big $$$ on all of the fun stuff that one thinks he needs to go along with it! As for now, keep it simple and ask the advice of the friends you'll be hunting with!!

Good luck, be safe, and HAVE FUN!!!!

Duck-o-holic

[This message has been edited by Duck-o-holic (edited 08-24-2001).]

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Bryce

Looking like a long construction season. (notice posted time and realize I just got done with supper) Listening for ideas on hunts after Christmas. Travel not a problem. Rig is ready to go on the road and looking for ideas or goups looking for additional numbers/equipment.

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