Hunting > Upland & Waterfowl

See No Evil (Page 2)

Hard-hunted waterfowl are experts at spotting danger, and nothing will flare them faster than hunters who don’t hide well.

Know When to Forget the “X”
When you see tons of birds bombing into a field, it’s certainly confidence-building to set up exactly where they were feeding. But if the “X” is in a spot where you can’t find enough cover to adequately hide, then hunting there makes no sense. Instead, start looking in the direction of the roost. Try to get under the flight path going to the “X” where you can hide—even if that means setting up a half-mile away or more. Hunters can get so focused on setting up exactly where they saw birds feeding the night before they forget about the No. 1 factor for success: being well hidden.

Sometimes being different from other hunters in your area is as important to success as good calling and realistic decoys. In an area my friends and I frequently hunt, lots of hunters set up along field edges, which is why we’ve resisted doing the same and usually hunt out in the fields. At the same time, they tend to bunch their decoys in a big blob tight to the edge.

This season we decided to hunt field edges and shadows of irrigation ditches because cover was scarce out in the fields and the geese were wise to our blinds. Instead of crowding the decoys right in front, we set them in family groups and strung them up to 60 yards wide but no more than 30 yards into the field. We relied on calling and a slightly greater concentration of decoys in front of us to bring the honkers within range. And if we had the option, we chose a fencerow or ditch where the geese would land parallel to it, not toward it. All this made our spreads look more appealing and different from the other hunters’, and it worked like a charm most days. In your area most hunters probably hunt out of layout blinds in the middle of fields, in which case hunting field edges can be an easy way to hide and offer a new look to hunter-weary birds.

Other Considerations
Calling and flagging at the wrong times can help geese and ducks pinpoint your hides. As a general rule, the closer the birds are, the less noise and movement you should make; and the less you’re hidden, the greater this rule applies. If birds are circling, don’t flag or call when they’re facing you. Wait until they’re quartering away.

Finally, not all camo is equal, and what works well in the whitetail woods usually will stick out like a sore thumb in a stubble field. Camouflage that’s darker than your surroundings will appear black from farther away, so if you’re intent on hiding from prying eyes, wear camo that really blends in well with the surroundings. While you’re at it, make sure your face and hands are covered and your gun barrel or sunglasses aren’t glaring in the sun. Given all the time and effort you’ve invested in each hunt, it’s a shame to let one seemingly minor oversight kill your chance of success.

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