Changing Up Your Decoy Spread

Mallards, gadwalls, wigeons, pintails and teal all fly great distances for winter migration and do you know what they all have in common? They all get shot at and see more of the same looking decoy spreads along the way. Making them more and more wary of decoys as the season goes on.

I’m not going to give ducks credit for being smart animals and having the capability of telling the differences between a real duck and a fake duck. They have a brain the size of a pea. But I will give them credit for being able to recognize the same old decoy spreads time after time and coming to realize or having some sort of instinctual trigger kick in making them say hey every time I fly into a spread like that one I get shot. If they weren’t able to detect danger waterfowl would have went extinct a long time ago.

Most duck hunters have an all mallard spread and who can blame them. Everyone loves shooting limits and mallards and they are the most dominant species of duck in North America. But how often do you just see mallards sitting in a field or on a pond. Not very and I am willing to bet that there is another species of duck sitting in there with them. So why not have more than one species in your decoy spread. It will help lure in other species of ducks to fill out your limit and also set your decoy spread apart from other hunters. Especially helping out when you’re hunting high pressure hunting areas.

I am going to leave you with one more thought. Confidence decoys. They say to ducks all clear everything is safe down here. Goose decoys are a popular choice and will feed in the same area as ducks and will also give you a chance of being able to bag a goose or two if you are lucky. Herons or cranes are another popular option and are some of the wariest birds and by placing one 45 yards or more outside your spread will help instill safety in your decoy spread to other ducks. If you are hunting in an area where coots are around I recommend giving them a try. They often feed in the same areas as ducks and I guarantee you will be one of the few hunters that use them. Just place them on the side of your spread. You may get laughed at by fellow hunters when you pull out your coots, but you will have the last laugh when you are on your way home with a limit of ducks and they are still sitting in the blind wondering why ducks aren’t decoying into their spread.

A Breeze might turn to a storm

Drake, the Innovators in Waterfowl Hunting recently released a whole new type of decoy.  Drake’s Breeze-Ryder™ Decoys brings a change in the way your wrap your decoy line and it’s movement in the water.

Each Breeze-Ryder™ Decoy comes with integrated Cord Wrap Cleats allowing you to wrap your decoy line without a keel providing maximum movement.  These molded Cord Wrap Cleats offer durability and strength.  Located at the front and back of the decoy, the Cord Wrap Cleats have built-in Depth Adjuster Cord Locks for quickly adapting to different water depths.Drake-Breeze

The Cord Wrap Cleats are also equipped with Anchor Points providing you with two rigging points.  There are also two other extra Anchor Tabs allowing for rigging your decoys from multiple positions, which creates variable decoy movement.  Change your tabs on different decoys to give your spread a mix in movement.

Drake didn’t forget about the times when a keel is needed, so they introduced a new type.  The Breeze-Ryder™ Twist-Lock Keel is designed for those hunting situations that require a keel.  This cylindrical (circular cylinder) shaped & sand filled keel is unique and provides a hydro-dynamic, minimizing drag & maximizing decoy motion.  Drake-Breeze2The keel attaches to the decoy with a simple twist-lock mechanism which will keep the keel securely in place.

The new Breeze-Ryder™ Mallard Magnums retail for $70 while the keel’s MSRP are $12.00/half dozen.

“Duck Numbers Remain Strong”, says Delta Waterfowl

Breeding Population Survey estimates 45.6 million ducks; Water conditions right for excellent duck production

 

BISMARCK, N.D. — North America’s spring duck population is down slightly from record levels, but pond counts are up 24 percent over last year, according to the 2013 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey released today.

chart-dwThe survey, which has been conducted annually since 1955 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Canadian Wildlife service, puts the breeding duck population at 45.6 million, the second-highest level ever recorded.

“We started with high numbers of breeding ducks, and we have great water in the right places for renesting and duckling survival,” said Frank Rohwer, president of Delta Waterfowl. “Duck production should be excellent.”

Read the full story here.

WI – Sharpen your waterfowl shot.

East Troy, Wis. – As the pre-season gets closer, most waterfowlers will head down to their favorite shooting range to bust a box or two worth of clay pigeons.

Trap, skeet, and sporting clays provides us a challenge in a control environment.  They attract hunters by 10s of thousands year after year.  With clay pigeons being the target these sports, we as waterfowlers seek it to better our shot and become more familiar with the pattern of our favorite load.   Thus, making our skill level higher and wounded bird count lower.

Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has brought a pilot program to their hunters this year.  Their “Wingshooting for Migratory Birds” program is intended to help with over-all shooting, shotgun patterning,  technique of leading, distance estimation, selection of loads and chokes as well as the awareness  and effectiveness of shooting ranges.

This program is a great idea, especially for those just getting into shooting and/or waterfowl hunting.  I wouldn’t be surprised if other State DNR began to follow suit.

American Waterfowl Systems

awsAmerican Waterfowl System started as a dream to marry the passion and drive we all experience in waterfowling with technology. American Waterfowl Systems(AWS) wants to bring the outdoors to your Android or Apple iPhone by making some of the best waterfowl and wildfowl ringtones in the industry.  Go check out their ringtones on Google Play on your Android phone and on the iTunes App on your iPhone. https://www.facebook.com/americanwaterfowl

The Colored-Enhanced Shot

 

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If you have ever hunted with multiple friends in the blind, you know what’s it’s like for everyone to shoot at one bird then everyone claim it.  Well, now you can be certain if you shot it or not with Spectra Shots new premium shotgun shell.  Watch the video below to see first-hand!

Spectra Shot™ rolled out with a game changing shot shell for skeet shooting, turkey and waterfowl.  Loaded with a quality wad, hull, powder, and their patented -coated pellets, each shell makes for an optimal shot.

Their American made steel is cut and polished to tolerance making 99% of the pellets exactly the same.  While the coating is a DuPont type and also made by an American corporation.  The coating has been approved by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as it is non-toxic and leaves no residue.  A great benefit of this coating is, it adds a little bit of weight allowing for better impact and more clean kills.  Spectra Shot offers 4 colors such as Blue, Green, Yellow and Orange.

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With an average speed of 1480fps and the recoil management at the forefront of their engineering and design, the recoil was measured less than 30ft pounds.  Adding their coating to this helps even more by allowing a little faster show but not breaking up the pattern at the same time.

Out with the old, in with the new site.

The Fowl Life LOGOChad Belding, waterfowl specialist from Banded Nation and the Fowl Life has rolled out a whole new website.

As the Banded empire continues to grow, a new-modern and user friendly website becomes live.  The new www.BandedNation.com  becomes the home of The Fowl Life.  The website also brings all of their co-brands into one place.  Such as Dead Dog Walkin, Banded Fushion, Banded Hunts and much more.

The website offers fans live twitter feeds, news & updates, on-the-road blogs and many clickable links.  The Banded Nation is now also offering you a way to become part of the Banded Nation for as low as $25.  Not to forget they are holding a contest for a lucky winner to hunt with Chad by purchasing a package of Lucky Brand Jerkey for as little at $5.

Banded Capture

They are also showing off their new Banded Gear, from hats 7 shirts to can koozies.   Head over and check it out for yourself, www.BandedNation.com.

More teal in early-season bag…

More teal in early-season bag, higher possession limit encourage hunters

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – July 1, 2013 – This fall, early-teal-season hunters may have an opportunity to bag more teal. Additionally, if the Department of Interior finalizes the waterfowl harvest regulations as initially proposed, the possession limit would increase. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed a six-teal bag limit for early teal season and a possession limit for all seasons equivalent to three daily bag limits. Current limits are a four-teal daily bag during the special season and a possession limit of two daily bag limits.

“Ducks Unlimited is always pleased to see increased opportunities for waterfowl hunting,” said DU Chief Scientist Dale Humburg. “Harvest regulations are biologically based, and teal population trends have certainly been favorable in recent years.”

Habitat conditions in the Prairie Pothole Region have generally been wet and favorable for the last several years, laying the foundation for excellent nesting success for prairie nesters. Habitat conservation efforts by DU and others across North America have also served to bolster waterfowl populations.

“To date, Ducks Unlimited has helped conserved more than 13 million acres of important waterfowl habitat across the continent, but we cannot rest on that success,” Humburg said. “Despite record numbers in the breeding waterfowl surveyover the last few years, if left unchecked, all prairie-breeding ducks will be negatively impacted by the continuing trend of wetland and grassland losses.”

The higher possession limit will be especially helpful for the thousands of waterfowl hunters who travel for hunting trips each year and want to take their harvest home with them. If approved, they will be able to possess up to three daily bag limits at a time, rather than two. For hunters that take week-long trips across the country to harvest waterfowl, this change will make a difference. Because state regulations may vary within the federal framework, DU reminds hunters to check state-specific regulations before heading to the marsh.

Click here to continue reading…

Tennessee Waterfowlers Are Asked for Their Opinion

Not too often do hunters get to give their input into their state’s wildlife decision making but Tennessee is asking just for that.

The first issue-TWRA is asking for your help is the 2013/2014 opening day.  Normally opening day for duck hunters is on Thanksgiving morning, which kicks off their 60-day season.  The TWRA has the option to change the opening day to November 16 which has the possibility of little or not enough water and ducks or to November 23 which is also opening day of deer rifle season.

Both dates proposed by TWRA have their conflicts.  Daryl R., Chief of TWRA’s Wildlife & Forestry Div. had this to say about the conflicts. “Considering the potential conflicts that all those options present, we would like to hear what our waterfowl hunters would prefer.”  To input your opinion, click here to take their online survey!

Their second issue they are seeking input for is the possible Sandhill hunting season.  Recently the USFWS (United States Fish & Wildlife Service) recommended a potential 60-day season on the “Ribeye-of-the-sky” Sandhill Crane.  The majority of the population typically migrates to the southeastern area of the state, so that is where the proposed Sandhill Crane zone would be restricted to.  To submit your input on the Sandhill Crane issue, send your email to TWRA.Comment@tn.gov, subject line of “Sandhill Crane”.

Both of these issues comment period will be available till August 10, 2013.  If someone you know does not have internet access, they can still submit their input by sending a letter to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Att: Waterfowl Regulations, P.O. Box 40747, Nashville, TN, 37204.  Be sure to include your TWRA ID number if you are submitting your input on the opening day issue.