Black Ducks' Olfactories and the Perils of Smoking

Someone over at the Dogs, Shotguns and Other Vices facebook page asked about my buddy Jon's joke in a recent video about black ducks' sense of smell.


Jon doesn't actually think black ducks have olfactory senses; however, black ducks are so cagey that plenty of old-timerseven educated onesthought they could smell. The book Jon refers to, "The Outlaw Gunner," is a classic work of non-fiction penned by a medical doctor in 1971. The author advocates stalking black ducks with the wind in your face, and never while smoking.


Clearly black ducks don't decoy easily, since many hunters were convinced there was no way the large birds could so skillfully spot a duck blind with their eyes and ears alone. Later, of course, it was determined that blacks do not possess olfactory senses.


Much credit is still given to black ducks for their craftiness, but in my experience much of it is hype. Don't get me wrong, I consider black ducks the kings of the Atlantic Flyway (maybe even more so than canvasbacks since cans are prevalent in other flyways), but I don't think killing a black is noticeably more challenging than killing a greenhead.


What do you guys think? Are mallards as savvy as black ducks or is a big migrating black the ultimate waterfowler's prize?



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1 Response to Black Ducks' Olfactories and the Perils of Smoking

Jimmy Rabbitt wrote:
December 15, 2010

Complete poppycock! Everyone knows that you can smoke a blackduck with aged hickory chips and it will turn out much better than this Draper character's dismal life.