Hunting > Upland & Waterfowl

Hunting Sunburned Ducks (Page 2)

When the weather is more suited to sunbathing than waterfowling, hunters must adapt or get burned.

Proper placement of the decoys and talented calling helps. It sends a message in duck dialect: “Ignore that leafy blob and come down here where you are welcome; we are friends and will keep you warm and safe.” Something like that. I really don’t know that much about duck psychology, but the ducks looked well-adjusted when they set their wings and dropped into the decoys.

When we were done hunting, the blind came down and everything went back in the trailer, even if we were returning to that spot that afternoon or the next morning. I guess the idea is to not give a duck or goose a lot of time to think about it. After all, it only takes one curious duck with a big mouth for word to get around.

Of course the biggest factor for success is timing. Going to a place where you saw birds last week is not going to be as productive as going to a place where they were feeding last night. The migration is on and there is a constant flow of birds passing through. They find food sources by watching the birds that came in ahead of them. But it’s a time of transition, a time of flux, so the spots are constantly changing. Fresh, up to date, real-time scouting is the key.

The secret to success, even when the weather is better suited for water skiing than goose hunting, is simple. Hunt where the birds were feeding a few hours ago, not a few days ago. Yesterday’s birds have moved south for the winter, so hunt today’s birds. Hang loose, stay flexible and ignore normal.

That’s what we did, and to steal a line from Robert Frost, “That has made all the difference.”

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