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an introduction to duck hunting

Even though most hunters are out there looking for the big game, don’t forget about the ducks and other waterfowl because duck season is still open. Remember to check your local Fish and Game regulation books to see what birds are still in season. You can also go to the respective department’s websites (that’s www.fishandgame.idaho.gov for Idaho regs, and fwp.mt.gov/hunting for our neighbors to the east) to see what is in  season.

Make sure that you are camouflaged and blend into the surrounding vegetation when you are duck hunting because you don’t want the waterfowl to notice that you are there. You need something to cover the “shine” of your face: either paint in colors like brown, black, and different shades of the mossy green color, or a hat and face net that could help hide your face. You need to be dressed for wet, cold weather because you are going to be sitting in your duck blind for long periods of time. Hip waders are really good to have if you don’t have a boat to use.

While you are out duck hunting it is a good idea to have a dog with you who will retrieve the waterfowl that you shoot. Make sure when you have your dog with you that he is quiet and calm because you don’t want to scare the ducks away. Having a dog to retrieve the ducks and/or geese is a great thing to have and it is fun to go out with your dog, even if you don’t get anything.

I know from experience that having a dog with you while you are out is a lot of help and fun. My dog, Sam, was great at going duck hunting. He would wait until you told him to go and then he would be after the duck. He was the perfect example of a great duck hunting dog. He would never bite down too hard or chew on the duck, which is what your duck hunting dog needs to be able to do, so that it doesn’t ruin the duck.

A duck blind is the perfect thing to use when going duck hunting. It gives you great cover so that waterfowl has a harder time spotting you. There are many different types of duck blinds, both complicated and easy, that can be built by you or with someone else. It’s a fun and great way to spend time with someone.

I am going to tell you about an assortment of duck blinds that you can use when going out hunting. Some of the easier types of blinds to use are blinds that you can buy at a store. You can make one by setting up stakes, then wrapping them with chicken wire, and then  add camouflage-patterned cloth.

Some people like to use natural grass and tree limbs to build a duck blind; it takes more work, but it is a great duck blind. If you want a very simple duck blind a perfect one would be to sit down by the water covered by some brush, so that waterfowl can’t see you. From here you can set your duck decoys out and wait for the birds.

All of the duck blinds you can make or buy can be set by or near the water, so  if you want to use duck decoys you can watch them from your duck blind. You don’t have to use decoys, but they help a lot, especially if you are trying to call ducks in.

When you are calling to ducks you need to be sure that you are doing it the right way. Sounding like a real duck and knowing how to call ducks are two different things. Don’t feel bad if the ducks don’t come because not all ducks are callable. Signs of callable ducks are fluttering wing beats and ducks working a large area, not flying in a straight line.

Remember, don’t over-call because in most cases over-calling results in ducks skirting your decoys as the unneeded calling will help the ducks zero in on your blind and find something that doesn’t look right. When possible use a duck call that matches the species you’re calling because it might confuse the ducks or make them not want to land.

Some people like to use duck decoys because it makes it a little easier to hunt the ducks. If you’re not familiar with setting decoys, it’s not a necessity, but it’s a good skill to learn. When hunting in large, open water areas, it is better to use more decoys for ducks and other waterfowl generally because that is where larger groups of waterfowl gather, such as ducks and geese. However, in smaller water areas such as ponds, potholes, etc. where waterfowl are often found, only a few duck decoys are a good idea.

Remember, Safety First! When you go out duck hunting, you need to be careful and always keep track of your dog, and any partners you are hunting with. Happy hunting, and happy holidays, too!

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Tess Vogel Tess Vogel Tess Vogel is a junior high student at Clark Fork Jr/Sr High School

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