Preparation Tips for the Upcoming Waterfowl Hunting Season

Guest Blog Written By Cal Brock an avid hunter and angler.

waterfowl
Image Flickr via  Mark Bowman

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

Image Flickr via Patrick (Buzz) Hayes

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.

Sources: concord monitor, bidgunner.com and duck hunting chat.

 

Happy Hunting with Avery Outdoors

Hunting is one of those outdoor activities you wouldn’t expect to require a lot of gear. You have your hunting rifle, a bag, and a way to travel discreetly (we prefer a kayak). However, this is not the case. Hunting effectively requires an arsenal of gear that make it not only easier to hunt but also more comfortable. This is where Avery Outdoors hunting gear comes into play. When you buy an Avery Outdoors product, you can rest assured you are purchasing a quality product that will assist in making your hunting trip the most comfortable it can be. Do you prefer to stand, crouch, and kneel the entire time? Or does a comfortable and discreet stool sound a little bit more pleasing? Do you travel to your favorite spot via kayak or canoe? These are all things to consider when gearing up for your next hunt.

To help you better navigate ACK’s selection of Avery Outdoors hunting products we have compiled a list of a few of our favorite items for you to consider. If you know what your favorites are feel free to check out our entire line here.

Avery Outdoors Folding Floating Shotgun CaseAvery outdoor floating gun case

The floating shotgun case is a necessary bag if you like to hunt on the water. The buoyant closed-cell foam walls will keep your gun afloat if it slips out of your kayak and the water resistant exterior will not budge keeping your prized possession safe. The case also comes in a variety of patterns to suit any environment you plan on hunting in. Overall, this attractive case is not only effective and protective but also discreet, compact, and affordable.

Avery Outdoors Floating Blind Bag

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Avery’s flagship bag has been a fan favorite for years. This floating bag has nine compartments to maximize organization and storage as well as a seam-sealed inner compartment to keep your important items safe. The amount of space allows you to easily carry your shells, gloves, camera, choke tubes, phone and your other favorite hunting items while the quick access port and multiple pockets lets you grab them at a moments notice. If you are looking for a smaller bag that will ensure that your items are protected from the elements look no further, the Avery Outdoors Floating Blind Bag has you covered.

Avery Outdoors Trac-Loc Push Pole

Avery outdoors push pole

The Avery Outdoors Trac-Loc Push Pole is a kayak hunters dream. This push pole is a must have for navigating waterways while hunting and fishing due to its 3 length options, rust-proof aluminum design, and DuraGrip handles. It gives you the ability to handle different depths of water with ease with its original 51″, second extension at 76″ or full extension at 115″ while being sturdy enough to seamlessly push off logs, soft ground, hard ground or any other condition you encounter while on the water. The Trac-Loc push pole is easily stored and transported and was made to work with the Avery Outdoors 3-in-1 Paddle Attachment and Avery Outdoors Marsh Foot Attachment (both sold separately). These attachments assist in navigating shallow waters and overcoming barriers with little effort. If you are a Diablo Kayak fan, the paddle attachment is great when you choose to switch to stand up paddling!

Avery Outdoors Marsh Seat

Avery Outdoors Marsh SeatThe Avery Outdoors Marsh Seat provides a comfortable perch that is easily transported while on the move. With its sink proof retractable marsh foot and adjustable height you can feel good knowing that you don’t run the risk of falling too deep in the muck or peeking too far out out of cover. Our Austin store manager, Justin Fees, is an avid hunter and swears by his marsh seat. He explains, “When I was in college kneeling down and crouching in awkward positions for hours didn’t bother me. Now, 10-15 years later, comfort is key and this marsh seat provides just that.” The seat adjusts between 27″ and 37″ in height and comes complete with a DuraMax covered padded seat for optimal comfort and customization. If you are looking to optimize your comfort while hunting then the Avery Outdoors Marsh Seat is the accessory for you.

Want to watch a product feature video on the above products? Click here.

Ultimately, when choosing your hunting accessories you have to keep in mind comfort, safety, and utility. All of Avery Outdoors hunting products have something different to offer and provide different comforts while out in the wild. Check out the other Avery Outdoor products we have here to fully outfit your next hunting adventure. Happy hunting!

-Dayvee @ ACK

 

Pack Rack Plus Kayak Gun Mount Makes Kayak Hunting Easy

Written by Austin Store Manager Justin Fees

The Pack Rack Plus Kayak Gun Mount
The Pack Rack Plus Kayak Gun Mount

Gun mounts are not just for atv’s, four wheelers and trucks…they can also be used on kayaks! Kayak hunting is a favorite pastime for many paddlers, including myself and it all starts with the gun mount. The Pack Rack Plus Kayak Gun Mounts make it easy to carry and secure your shotgun or rifle to your kayak while you move through the water. These are basically the same design as most gun mounts for off road vehicles but have a base designed to be mounted on most any kayak or canoe.

The Good & The Bad of the Pack Rack Plus Kayak Gun Mount

I am a big fan of these mounts and have them installed on my personal kayak. I find that they make it very easy to access my firearm quickly when I’m trying to get a jump on wild game. Flexible rubber grips inside the mount that act like teeth and the locking rubber strap work in tandem to create a secure connection so I never have to worry about loosing my gun by knocking it off or flipping my kayak. These will fit most any long gun so no matter what type of game I’m after, the mounts work well. Mounting these brackets are fairly easy and are designed to fit most any application. In some cases you may have to purchase additional hardware depending on where you want to mount them.

Give kayak hunting a try!
Give kayak hunting a try!
Img Source: http://adventureonthewater.com/

The one negative I’ve experienced when using these mounts is that they sometimes get in the way when exiting my kayak. Granted, the opposite side from the mount is not affected and still easy to exit, but that means I’m constantly forced to remember which way to pull up to the bank or dock. These mounts will sit several inches off the deck of the boat so make sure you don’t get anything snagged on them, or you could end up tipping the boat over. It hasn’t happened to me yet, but it’s always a concern.

Overall I am glad to have these mounts installed on my kayak and recommend this product for the any kayak hunter. See more information about it here: http://www.austinkayak.com/products/1353/Pack-Rack-Plus-Kayak-Gun-Mounts.html

Come Join ACK for National Hunting and Fishing Day!

National Hunting and Fishing Day!
National Hunting and Fishing Day!

Get the Kids Outside With this Free Event!

This Saturday is National Hunting and Fishing Day and to celebrate we’ll be joining up with the City of Round Rock and Kid’s Outdoor Zone for another weekend full of paddling. This free event is geared towards getting the kiddo’s excited about being outside, and we’re pumped to be a part of it!

Austin store manager, Justin Fees, along with Customer Service rep James Everhart and myself will be out manning a kid’s paddling area, making sure proper safety techniques are being followed. We’ll also have some stuff for the parents to look over while their kid’s are on the water!

RSVP and find more event details on the Facebook event page. Hope to see you there!

–Joseph

Off Season? What “Off” Season?

As I sit here getting ready for the upcoming boat shows I think back about how great of an “off” season it was. For many paddlers that reside in Texas, late November through January is considered the “off season”. Of course, we do experience a few days where temperatures will get back up into the 70’s, but for the most part it stays just cold enough, especially early in the morning to keep most folks off the water.

Early Morning Sunrise

Well, I guess you can say that I am not like most folks. For me personally, it’s one of my favorite paddling seasons. This is mostly due to the fact that it is hunting season and with it being a bit more manageable at the store I am able to take more days off to chase after waterfowl.

Looking back over the past few months, I think about my most memorable times which started with opening weekend, paddling out into the dark at 1 am make sure that I got the spot of my choice on my favorite lake. Second to that was taking a few extra days off just before Thanksgiving to head down to the Gulf Coast for a “Cast and Blast” with my best friend which ended with a 2 day paddling trip with limits of ducks and trout. It may not sound like fun but hunting just before a cold front only to have to paddle back across the lake in 30+ mph winds and 2-3 foot swells was an exciting experience for me. Admittedly, that trip was a little too wet and cold but it was made easier utilizing a Hobie Mirage Kayak. I must also add my recent hunting trips during the coldest days of the season as of yet. There is nothing like breaking through ice in a kayak when its 22 degrees outside with a wind chill of 15 degrees. And of course, the countless days of getting up at 4 am for a short hunt just to make it back in time to open up the shop. Yes, good times indeed. I do always recommend that if you plan to paddle during the colder months, be sure you are outfitted with the proper apparel.

Another Early Morning Shot

Now, the off-season wasn’t just about hunting and taking time off either, I was able to get some work done too! We took the time to focus on remodeling several areas of the Austin store. This includes the addition of a fully outfitted camping section, an expanded fishing section and an increased apparel offering. I am also staying busy planning for the Austin Boat Show, which is this week.

Enjoy the pictures and I invite you to drop by the store sometime soon to see how we’ve improved it. We’d love to hear about your winter paddling experiences, or better yet tell us all about these experiences by commenting below.

Justin Fees
ACK Austin Store Manager

Kayaking Season Isn’t Over Yet!

With the proper gear, you can paddle all year long!

You are probably starting to notice a slight trend in topics related to colder weather paddling. I think it is pretty obvious why,  just because the temps are dropping, doesn’t mean that you have to put your kayaks in storage yet! This is especially true for those in the southern regions. If you prepare yourself with the right gear and take some safety precautions, you’ll find a number of activities that involve kayaks throughout winter.

For those looking for a little alone time, get out there! Now is the time when the water isn’t full of tubers, swimmers and recreational power boaters. I know lots of people that specifically go out in the winter because there are fewer people to dodge and the cooler overcast weather is very refreshing compared to burning up in the summer heat. For some ideas on cooler weather gear check out  this recent blog post about winter weather apparel from a fellow ACK employee.

Time to take some photos! While much of the country is in the middle or maybe even past the peak season for fall foliage, many still have an opportunity to take some great photographs from the water. The reflection of the red, orange and yellow colored leaves on the water makes for a brilliant photograph. Fresh snow on the banks of a river also provides a great backdrop for your pictures. Make sure you use a dry box, case or bag to keep your camera equipment safe.

For all the hunters out there, hunting season is in full swing and kayaking is a great way of getting to those hard to reach locations.  I utilize the Hobie Gun Mounts which helps secure my rifle to my yak while I go duck hunting.

Fishing is an ongoing year round sport regardless of where you are. For a more comfortable and somewhat “dryer” ride consider a sit inside kayak. Half of your body will be protected from the elements providing a more comfortable paddling experience but some models with larger cockpit openings still make it easy to keep you gear close at hand. For more warmth and protection you can add a skirt. One example of a great fishing sit-inside kayak is the Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 Angler.

No need to put off your kayaking until the springtime, with the proper gear you’ll be paddling all year long — unless of course your favorite watering hole freezes over!

Dave Graves
Assistant Manager
ACK – San Marcos