Waterfowl Hunting Articles
Making that pre-season run to the sporting goods store expressly to meet your needs in the waterfowl shotshell load department can be an exercise in stress now-a-days. Checking over any listing of new or older ammo will uncover a multitude of load options that can cause any hunter to develop a powerful headache. With that in mind what are some of the required elements of a workable field load today? In every case, is the most powerful and longest range shotshell first up on the required needs list? No, I think not, and here are some ways to make a quick check and see how best to meet your needs and still keep a few bucks in your wallet at the same time.
A flight of 15 geese are set up at 250 yards and coming right for our goose decoys
, against a dark grey, last light sky. The clock is running out. With 5 birds to go to fill our 30 bird limit this flight is going to have to pick up the pace and hopefully make no more than one pass. Our clucking and flagging get more intense as one of the party calls out "we have 3 minutes till shooting time"! The anxiety and anticipation from the group is so intense you could cut it with a knife.
This year the ammunition industry has continued to roll ahead with advanced load development so as to make the job of gunning ducks and geese more effective for the hunter. If anyone thinks that lead shot is ballistically good, well you have not seen anything yet, because many of the advanced loads that are on the drawing board and being packed in boxes for the store shelf are almost beyond belief in terms of effectiveness afield.
I've been formally teaching waterfowlers how to operate calls for over 15 years. I've literally worked one-on-one with thousands of guys. That's not counting those I've worked with over the phone and with which I've exchanged tapes all these years. I can't tell you how many times I've heard the plea, "If you could just teach me to chuckle!" Guys have called me on the phone simply to just ask me to demonstrate a feed chuckle. There is something almost magical about the sound that seems to mesmerize duck hunters.
Over the years, geese have been fooled by decoys made from simple yet effective ideas such as floaters crafted from plastic one liter bottles and field goose decoys made from tire halves. However, in today’s competitive hunting environment, aided by the advancement of high quality realistic looking decoys, it is more important than ever to take advantage of using these decoys. Realistic decoys have greatly increased my success rate in hunting as they have for many other hunters along each of the flyways. Fortunately, with multiple companies producing high quality decoys today, the competition has become greater, leading to higher quality products and price wars. These price wars have made decoys more affordable than ever to the consumer.
Volume has always been a very important element of calling waterfowl. In its simplest form it can be said, "Too loud and you’ll blow ‘em away...too soft and they can’t hear you." In reality it’s a bit more complex.
First off, one should be aware of the acoustical environment in which he’ll be hunting and calling. A timber pothole surrounded by hardwood trees, combined with the hard surface of the usually still water will generally dictate a softer volume call in an effort to prevent echoing.
“Here they come...put that call away!” “Stop calling...they might come in!” “The first swing is the closest!” “Call ‘em on the wingtips and tailfeathers!” These all are old and very familiar sayings in the waterfowling community. And they all, to some extent or another, refer to that often times overlooked aspect of the sport we term, “Reading The Birds".
The early teal and goose season is over, the days are beginning to shorten and the nights are becoming cool. Waterfowlers all over America are awaiting Opening Day and have been longing to lay their hands on the newest gear of 2004. So dust off your old favorites and catch a glimpse of the newest gear to hit the field in this year.
We’ve all heard the terms, “a versatile caller” and “a versatile call”. Without question versatility is a wonderful thing. But what is versatility and how does it relate to waterfowlers, calls and calling?
I’m a callmaker. In addition, I’ve spent over a decade competing on the competitive calling circuit all over the United States. I’ve been formally teaching waterfowlers on proper call operation twice a year for over 14 years, having instructed well over a thousand students. I’ve also been fortunate enough to win the World Duck Calling Contest in Stuttgart, Arkansas. One question...really almost a plea...that I hear from what I would term “average” waterfowlers from across the country is, “How can I get really good on a duck call?” This is usually followed by an inquiry as to whom I might suggest they contact in their neck of the woods for personal instruction.