Guest Blog Written By Cal Brock an avid hunter and angler.
If the popularity of the television series “Duck Dynasty” is any indication, Americans certainly enjoy waterfowl hunting. By that, we mean hunting a vast variety of species of ducks and geese. Hunters all across the nation are itching for the 2014 waterfowl season to get underway, and for good reason. Due to the longer than usual winter, high levels of snowmelt and spring time precipitation have caused the duck and goose populations to thrive. Once the migrations begin, the flyways across the nation will be jam-packed with every hunter’s favorite flying target. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re ready to hit the water once the season starts up.
Check Your Call
Unlike land-based hunting, where an animal is baited or stalked, waterfowl have the entire sky to roam. To ensure that the area overhead attracts plenty of birds, replacing the reed on your duck or goose call will help it sound as fresh and clear as possible. It’s worth searching the web to find real recordings of ducks, so you can practice matching the pitches with your calls.
Show Your Shotgun Some Love
Even if she fires true every time in your eyes, any gun that sits in a cabinet in between seasons will need some attention. Strip your shotgun down as far as possible and thoroughly clean and disinfect every piece. While reassembling, be sure to lubricate any moving part, to ensure smooth firing and combat against jams. Purchasing your favorite ammo before the season begins can be a money saver, as well as a convenient stockpile for those days when you can’t seem to hit anything.
Care for your Ride
We’re not referring to an automobile here as the majority of waterfowl takes place near a body of water. Getting to and from remote hunting blinds is the most important part of the hunt. Successfully getting all equipment, ammo, and firearms to the blind, all without disturbing the
wildlife, is quite a task to undertake. Many hunters have moved from land-based blinds to using jon boats, kayaks, and canoes, which give them the ability to move stealthily through the water. Be sure to make sure that any water vessel will be safe to operate and handle any additional loads that could be brought aboard.
Prep your Decoys
Any good waterfowl hunter is going to have a small army of decoys set up around their hunting area. Without these decoys, ducks and geese would just pass right by. By making sure your decoys are in top shape before the season begins, you can rest assured you won’t spend any days chasing them around the water as they float away. Remember to check all the anchor lines and knots, making sure to replace any frayed lines. Adding a snap swivel to the anchor lines is a great way to change out decoys on the fly. Repainting any faded or chipping decoys will keep your flock looking as attractive as ever.
Get Out and Scout
In the days before the waterfowl season begins, get out to some of your favorite hunting spots and assess the area for any changes that may affect your hunting, both positively or negatively. For instance, if a lake that has provided for you in the past’s water level has fallen significantly, it may not be worth your time to start the season off at that location.
Conversely, if a large swath of land in your hunting area has been flooded out by a river nearby, or farming in the area, then you may have just hit the jackpot. By knowing the lay of the land before actually heading out for the hunt, you’re able to develop a plan for the season and make the most of your hunting time. Things such as decoy positioning, blind positioning, and hunting technique can all vary based off of the surrounding environment, so it’s best to be ready instead of scrambling to make adjustments on the first day of the season.
Year after year, waterfowl season has proven to be one of the most popular hunting seasons in the nation, and this season seems to be building up to be another great one. Be sure to handle your firearms responsibly, follow all local and state ordinances, and most of all, enjoy the hunt!
Cal Brock is a hunter, angler, outdoor adventurer, loving husband, and proud father from Tuscaloosa, Alabama.