The Dream Six-Duck Limit
October 04, 2010
I've been asked numerous times to name my favorite duck, but for the life of me I can't pick just one (Heck, I even like spoonbills). I am able, however, to answer a similar yet broader question: What is your ultimate, dream limit of ducks? I figure that gives me up to six drakes to choose from, so here goes:
Fat, Northern Mallard
If you ask me, a wise, late-season, fully plumed, double-curled mallard is as fine a trophy as can be found in all of hunting. Such birds are covered in a thick layer of fat, and any meal preparation that doesn't involve plucking and roasting is absolute sacrilege.
The pursuit of this big, powerful beauty has frustrated me for years. Believe it or not, I've never killed one. Last year I missed three days of duck hunting with my buddies, and in each instance they bagged a can. This will be my year, though. Of course, I've been saying that every October since the early 90's.
I love black ducks. They are so darn wary that just a few decades ago it was believed they had a sense of smell. If you bag a black duck, you know you've done something right.
If there's a duck that almost appears to dance through the air, it's the slender, elegant pintail. The bull sprig in my ultimate limit would have a fully plumed tail and a purple streak on the side of its head (the kind reserved for really mature drakes).
How do I expect to bag a black duck (found almost exclusively in the Atlantic Flyway) and a cinnamon (predominately found in the Pacific Flyway) in the same day? Hey, this is a dream limit. Nobody said it had to be realistic, and I've always wanted a fully plumed cinnamon for my wall.
The acorn-eating woodie is as delicious to the eyes as it is to the tastebuds. Even a hen wood duck is adorned with stunning colors compared to her drab counterparts. So beautiful is the woodie that early Indians even painted them on their bowls and pipes.