Waterfowl Hunting Articles

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Green-Timber Greenheads: The Duck Hunting Zenith

In any of its forms, duck hunting is a fascinating, even addicting activity. But hunting mallards in flooded woods (green timber, to those in the know) is the ultimate waterfowling experience, and most of those who’ve tried it agree. A pit blind in a flooded rice field is a fine...


Stuttgart: A Primer for the First-Time Visitor

They come from the North: Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, the Dakotas, the Lake States and elsewhere. Blue-winged teal first, and then gadwalls, wigeon, pintails and greenwings. Finally mallards . Flight lanes narrow as they come. Smaller migration routes merge and then merge again. The overall pattern resembles a giant tree,...


10 Waterfowling Items You Don’t Need But Shouldn’t Be Without

Each summer, when the sun is blazing down, mosquitoes are at their thickest and ducks are sneaking around the weeds, unable to fly, it happens: The waterfowl hunting catalogs start arriving. Inside are pages upon endless pages of the latest gear, gadgets and gizmos guaranteed to pull birds in and...


Big-Water Ducks: A Game for the Serious Waterfowler

Most duck hunters are landlubbers. They hunt marshes, backwaters, brakes, flooded fields, and green or dead flooded timber. These are wet places, sure, but they’re land-based. The hunter is standing in shallow water or hunting from a boat or blind adjacent to or surrounded by shallow water. But there’s another...


4 Things That Make Ducks and Geese Flare

How many times has this happened to you? A flock of ducks or geese spots your decoys from a distance and turns on a dime. It was if they had seen a party in your blocks and decided to swing in. Here they come, on a string — wings cupped...


Hunting Dog Care in the Field

My buddies and I have a running joke that, through various misadventures, we’ve acquired the name and number of every veterinarian in the Dakotas. That’s a stretch, of course, but it has some basis in truth. After almost 20 years of hard-hunting prairie waterfowl and upland-bird trips, our dogs have...


Waterfowl Hunting: What Makes a Trophy?

As sportsmen and women, we like numbers. We seemingly have some innate desire to quantify everything. Flip through the grip-and-grin photos in an outdoors magazine and you’ll see what I mean. We’re bombarded with pictures of outdoorsmen posing with 5-pound bass, 150-inch bucks and turkeys with 10-inch beards. It’s all...


Waterfowling's Promised Land: A Prairie Primer

Duck hunting offers many bucket-list opportunities, including mallards in green timber, eiders along marine coastlines or canvasbacks on the Mississippi River . But for many folks, a trip to the prairie pothole region tops them all. This North American treasure is the remnant of what was once the world’s largest...


4 Ways to Survive Crazy Public-Water Duck Hunting Openers

It might be the most anticipated day of the year, but you hate it. Go ahead. It’s OK. Admit that you love yet despise the opening day of duck season if you hunt public water. You detest the crowds, loathe the skybusters and can’t stand the circus atmosphere. You can’t...


How to Hunt Sandhill Cranes

Images of giant, sharp-billed birds descending amid trumpet-like calls might seem more like a deleted scene from Jurassic Park instead of a waterfowl hunt. Yet across many areas of the country, that scene plays out year after year, as a small but dedicated group of hunters pursues a unique bird:...


Building a Better Duck Dog, Part III

So far, we’ve looked at the basics of training, covered a few simple drills for marking and learned some pro trainer tips to help you get on the right track. Now, let’s assume that your dog has the basics covered and is running lines on single and multiple marks with...


Building a Better Duck Dog, Part II

Before we get into single marks — that is, situations when a dog sees the bird fall, remembers the fall and goes to retrieve the bird on command — let’s make sure you’re not jumping the gun on training . First, your dog must have the basics down cold. That...


5 Calling Tricks That Will Kill More Ducks

Duck hunters love calls. We fill our lanyards with single-reeds, double-reeds, goose flutes, pintail whistles and others and wear them proudly every day of the season. Yet despite our long infatuation with calls and the sounds they produce, many folks seem to ignore certain vocalizations or simple tricks that might...


Build a Better Duck Dog Now

So, what makes a good retriever? To start, there’s the obvious belief that a dog will fall back on its genetic predisposition to retrieve. Beyond that, you have the dog’s desire to hunt when the object to be retrieved is not readily seen or available. The latter often requires a...


Help Your Duck Dog Avoid Field Fails

Many gun-dog owners can relate to that sinking feeling. You’ve trained hard all summer, and your pooch is a machine, remaining steady until released, marking birds with uncanny proficiency, and taking whistle commands and hand signals like a robot. Then duck season arrives, and Rover barrels into the water the...


Me, Boo and the Milky Way

Darkness fills every corner of the world at ground level, hiding even my hand at arm’s length. Yet a small glance upward reveals never-ending light from millions of torches, setting the sky ablaze from horizon to horizon. It’s the middle of the night in early October, and I’m a few...


How to Hunt Ducks and Geese in Fields

Most folks associate waterfowling with lakes, marshes and rivers, but some of the best hunting occurs where birds — and hunters — don’t get their feet wet. All types of geese and many puddle ducks — mallards, pintails, black ducks and, to a somewhat lesser extent, wigeon, gadwalls and greenwings...


Gale Force: A Cautionary Tale of Ducks and Weather

October 27, 1988, promised to be a remarkable day. Vice-president George H. W. Bush was rolling over Michael Dukakis on his way to the White House. The classic movie ET had just been released on home video. And a strong weather pattern had blown into the Midwest, sending temperatures plummeting...


How To Hunt Late-Season Ducks

The first couple weekends of duck season provide plenty of shooting via summer-softened ducks. Hunting pressure on the average waterfowl marsh, especially public water, seems to fall away like leaves on bank-side trees as the season progresses—especially as temperatures plummet. Ruark’s “Old Man” remarked that you had to be crazy...


The Mobile Waterfowler Kills More Ducks

“We’re not going to shoot a duck sitting here.” Though everyone had been biting their tongues, someone had to speak up. I hate not being satisfied with my position when duck hunting, and my two hunting partners knew it. They knew we were in the wrong spot. Not the wrong...


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