I hope you enjoyed your holidays as much as I did. I got to smother my one month old daughter with gifts and spoil my wife with a few surprises.
Why should you take kids hunting and fishing.
Some of my favorite childhood memories involve hunting and fishing trips with my father. Whether it was a simple trip to a pond or a hour long run to Baffin Bay, it provided everything from lessons on patience, why to not keep everything you catch, but most importantly quality time with my dad. Although 90 percent of the time I was a burden when I was younger, bird nesting reels, talking loudly in the blind or playing with the live bait, my dad put up with me and provided some amazing adventures and memories.
This week I had the opportunity to go duck hunting with a good friend and his son, they provided the boat, since mine is out of commission for the winter, and I provided the decoys and calling. We saw a good number of ducks, missed a good amount and ended up coming home with 2 ducks. But one of the last flocks we shot at worked our decoys as beautifully as I have ever seen. The group of 6 were locked in from the second they saw the decoys, cupped up for a second then started to fly like they were going behind us and at the last second fully cupped up and dove in like they were on fire. It was beautiful to watch and was the best working flock I’ve had in two seasons up here.
In conclusion it was fun hunting with a father and son because it brought back some fond memories hunting with my dad. I forget how exciting every ripple or splash on the river can be for a young hunter still learning how to pick out and identify ducks. I hope you all had a great Christmas and next time you go hunting or fishing remember to take a little one with you and make some good memories that will last a lifetime.
My must have items for Duck hunters
Of the many items a duck hunter will have in his boat/ blind I have a few that I consider must have items.
A good decoy spread is a essential part of duck hunting. Typically I prefer 2 to 3 dozen decoys. The combination of species changes every hunt depending on my location. Any motion decoy will increase the realism of your spread however a moving wing decoy can flare birds on rare occasion.
A life jacket is a must for any duck hunter. One thing working Search and Rescue has taught me is to view my life jacket as a survival vest as well. I keep a high intensity LED Flashlight , a pea-less whistle, survival knife, and flare kit in the pockets of my lifejacket. In the event I need assistance I have every tool I need on my body at all times while operating my boat or wading away from it. Also not pictured I keep a Uniden Atlantis waterproof 16 channel VHF radio clipped to my waders or life vest at all times
Walkers Game Ears are one of my favorite items. They amplify surrounding noises and have a Sound Activated Compression (SAC) circuit that protects hearing from both loud or sustained sounds. The only downside the game ears have is it amplifies my duck calls, which distorts them so I have to turn down the ears to call. The benefits of the game ears outweigh the call distortion because I can hear the whistling of ducks much better and can hear woodies from a mile a way
Last but not least is a tool/parts bag. My bag contains everything from a grease gun with grease canisters for my boat trailer, to spare batteries for electronics. If I have learned one thing from a lifetime of being on the water is that if something can break, it will break at the worst time and its good to have the parts and tools to fix it. My main spare part is an extra prop for my motor.
Thank you for reading and come back for future posts.
A quick and easy way to make decoy storage easier and not have untangle decoys after every hunt is to Texas rig them. Here are a few steps and materials for a homemade Texas rigged decoy.
Step 1- Materials.
Weed-eater cord, the thickness depends on you. The thicker the cord, the harder for a knot or tangle to form.
Cable ferrules, the diameter depends on what thickness cord you use.
Lead weights, the size and type of weight depends on how you hunt, a open water or river hunter is going to need bigger weights than someone hunting a flooded marsh or coastal flat.
Step 2- Building the rig
First, run the cord through the eye of the weight and attach the ferrules making a loop at one end. Crimp or hammer the ferrule shut.
Second. Run cord through one side of the ferrule. Then, run the cord through the attachment hole on your decoy. To finish the rig run the cord back into the ferrule completing the loop on the decoy. Crimp or hammer the ferrule shut.
Step 3- Storage
When storing your decoys pick up the loop at the end of the cord, as a result the free sliding weight should slide all the way down to the decoy keel. When you have a number of decoys configured like this slide your hand as close to the decoy’s weights as possible and loop the cord into a loose overhand knot. When you go to untie the knot the stiff cord will return to its original shape. The knot will not cinch down.
Note- a word for the wise there is no such thing as tangle free, just tangle resistant. If you do not ensure the weights are all slid down to the keels you will end up with a mess. But not as bad a decoy string with fixed weights tied to the end.
Now that you have some Texas rigged decoys its time to go kill some ducks!
A often overlooked aspect of duck hunting is the hazards involved and safety items that are must have for any serious duck hunter who operates boats in periods of darkness. During any break in the season spend some time to inventory and inspect the safety equipment on your vessel.
#1 WEARING YOUR LIFE JACKET WHEN OPERATING THE BOAT!
When operating your boat you should always where a life jacket of some type, one misplaced stump or awkward wave and you could end up in the drink wearing waders which is a situation most duck hunters don’t even want to think about.
#2 HAVE A FLOAT PLAN WITH A FAMILY MEMBER OR FRIEND!
Have a detailed plan of the area you will be hunting and what time to expect you back. In case you don’t return in a reasonable time that individual can contact the Coast Guard or local emergency services to initiate a search or at least tell friends where to look for you.
#3 HAVE A EMERGENCY KIT ON YOUR BOAT!
Have a kit with food rations, flares, space blankets, first aid, hand warmers …etc. It might not be you that needs them, coming across a hunter in trouble/distress isn’t a everyday event but we are all out there together and you never know when someone might need your help.
#4 KNOW YOUR BOATS LIMITS, AND DON’T PUSH THEM.
Manufacturer information located on plates on the stern of most boats aren’t there for decoration. Manufacturers thoroughly test your boats safe operating limits and just because you have done it once with nothing bad happened doesn’t mean the next time in different conditions will be as fortunate. When hunting stretches of open water on calm days keep in mind winter weather can change very quickly and turn a river or bay from glass to a nightmare very quickly. And besides, most waterfowl hunters see bad weather days as a good day to be hunting migrating birds, increasing the chance for something to go wrong.
In conclusion it is always better to be prepared and have the right safety equipment than need it and not have it ready or in good condition. Using a life jacket properly will save your life when needed. Be safe and have fun.