Steady to Shot

Submitted by: Caleb Wilds

It’s the perfect storm, a black cloud of ducks are circling into your spread and like usual that one or two ducks are coming down and landing on the water before the rest. I know what you are thinking. That’s great! They are committing! But before the rest of the ducks have the chance to cup up in front of you, your dog breaks and spooks them and they flare away. I don’t know about you but nothing is more aggravating to me than when a dog breaks and scares away the ducks.

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Steady to shot is pretty much duck dog basics 101. I don’t mean your basic commands like sit, come, lie down and stay. If your dog does not know those commands you might want to consider leaving your pup at home next hunting trip. There are only two I am really concerned about when I am taking my pup on a hunt and that is place and they do not break or some may call it steady to shot. In my opinion a dog breaking is an inexcusable offense in a duck hunting dog and if not it should be!

IMG_2498Steady to shot is a very important aspect in a hunting dog. Because you won’t have to deal with your pup leaving the blind at inappropriate times or getting to excited and running into someone when they are taking shot or running all over the place looking for a bird when you missed, instead you can just tell him or her no bird. (Side note, I am just going to use her or she from now on because my dog is a girl.) You don’t have to use a gun or a starter pistol when you’re training your dog. It’s just not practical for some people due to the location they live at. You can start in your backyard with your dog sitting next to you on a leash or a lead rope in your hand and a bumper. You tell her to stay and you throw the bumper. If she breaks you pull her back to the spot she was sitting wait a few seconds then you can command her to go get the bumper. I just use her name for the command and let go of the lead rope. When they begin to stay you can start to test them by making different noises, making sudden movements and saying different words beside for the command you use. After she is not breaking from these steps you can start introducing guns into the mix.

Your dog knowing how to place is a handy tool to have when you are on a hunt. No matter if you are in a make shift blind next to a pond or out in a layout blind in the middle of a field. You will never have to worry about your dog being out of place when she knows how to place. You can start in your house with a dog bed or you can go ahead and start out side. You can use a small platform if you want or you can do what I do and use a mat. All that matters is that they get the idea. Start about three feet away. Have her on a leash and tell her to place, then point at the mat and lead her to it. When she gets to the mat tell her to sit and then reward her with either your praise or a treat. After a couple of sessions you dog should catch on. Then you can increase the distance.

IMG_2490Once you have these two down you can combined them and when you tell her to place you can teach her not to move from that spot till you say it’s ok. Place will come in handy and you won’t have to worry about your dog being in the wrong spot in or outside the blind and you can also use it in the field when you want them to get in their dog blind. Also you will not have to worry about them making the wrong move and scaring your birds. After all that work you should have a well disciplined hunting dog and on next season’s hunting trip your buddies can brag on her and you for how well trained and behaved your dog is.

Happy Happy Happy

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Phil Robertson, founder and star of A&E’s most popular reality TV Show talks about his life’s journey.  From sex, drugs and Rock and Roll to a multimillionaire duck hunter.  Happy, Happy, Happy is a reference to Thomas Jefferson – “All men are created equal….life, liberty and the pursuit of HAPPINESS.”

As the nation starts to welcome Phil into their lives by watching Duck Dynasty, many of duck hunters know what the Duck Commander believes in but his new book is a no-hold, tell-all bio.  In his book he says, “Faith, Family and Ducks in that order..”.  There is no question to that as each show comes to an end, the family sits at a large table, bowing their heads to pray and eat their harvested ducks during the waterfowl season.

Phil talks more about what started his repentance and how it came about.  In a video interview with Lifeway Christian Store he says, “When I was 28, some guy with a Bible came in a beer joint that I was running, and he wanted to talk it over.  So I basically ran him out of the place.  My sister is the one that brought him and while he was at the back trying to get a bible study going with the old guy here- yours truly, my sister was up at the front handing out bible tracks.  So that created a little bit of a ruckus.  So I ran the guy off.   But later on I looked him back up.”  “So at 28, I finally sat down and listened for the first time in my life to the story of Jesus of Galilee…”

Phil’s great story tells us how he had a promising career in football but followed a calling from God.  Soon after, he invented a duck call that would begin an incredible journey to the life he had always dreamed of for himself and his family. With great love for his country, his family, and his maker, Phil has finally found the ingredients to the “happy life”.

Available at WingSupply.com

Jerk Line

It’s a cold, dark, quiet and calm morning before the sun starts to rise.  The weatherman said to expect a 15-20 mph South wind.  While sitting in the blind after setting out a small spread, we start to hear that infamous sound of getting “buzzed” by some Teal.  The anticipation was almost at its capacity as shooting time started.  Only to discover the birds had left and there is no wind.  Not the best start for a hunt!

I’ve been there perhaps too many times.  The birds that had been there before we arrived are now gone and there is no wind to help bring in the birds into the spread.  We start hitting our feeding and social calls and it doesn’t take long till we start seeing a couple Mallards flying directly over our spread.  Before we even raise our guns, they flare and are in another county.  At this point we are determined to make this morning successful.

Our Mojos are out there, teal and mallard, but we are in need of some water-level movement.  If any ducks fly over because they heard someone feeding and all they see is 8-9 decoys sitting still, they aren’t going to want anything to do with us.  So we take our handmade, inexpensive jerk line and strategically place it in water.  Now, we already have several decoys out and adding our jerk line to the mix adds three more.  Depending on what you found when you were scouting, adjust the number of decoys.

A jerk line can be made with just a couple decoys, string or thin rope, a bungee cord, stake or anchor and a lead spool of line.   As pictured below, you have your “anchor”, bungee cord/rope, decoy string to your decoys using snap swivels, then your spool.  I will sometimes switch out one of the three decoys with a feeder using those snap swivels.  This helps to adjust when you are having a slow morning and birds are not committing   Once you learn how to make one, the sky is the limit when it comes to making it to your preference.

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Now, giving life to your new jerk line if fairly easy.  With the anchor or stake placed in the water, string the decoys back towards your blind and begin giving them a few short-quick jerks.  This causes ripples around each decoy mimicking live moment.  These short-quick jerks are great when you see birds coming in, have just passed by or even geese that are flying a little high.  You simply want to make your spread inviting with this movement.  Have fun and happy hunting to ya!

Limit in the Morning, Gold in the Afternoon. Redemption Calls provides high quality duck and goose calls, at a price you can afford.

Redemption Calls LLC is proud to announce the newest additions to our product lineup:

The Keystone Crush Goose Call and the Fits-the-Bill Duck call.

Redemption Calls LLC strives to deliver great products, at a price hunters can afford. We do everything we can in order to get you a call at the lowest possible price possible. We spend hours perfecting our processes in order to provide the best sounding and most durable calls on the market. We take our savings and pass them on to you, so you can enjoy hunting and reap the success of these calls like we have, at a price you can afford.

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The Keystone Crush goose call is one of the most all purpose goose calls on the market today. With its wide range of tone the Keystone Crush can hit anything from deep, gravely murmurs all the way up to high pitched fast calling. This call can earn you a limit in the  morning, and get you a gold on stage in the afternoon. The call has an endless amount of choices whether it is in Acrylic, Cocobolo, Bocote, Hedge, Walnut, Goncalo Alves, or African Blackwood it sounds great!

In the field: For nearly two years, the staff at Redemption Calls has tested the Keystone Crush in the harshest terrain and landscape that the east coast has to offer. Through all this testing the Keystone Crush has proven time and time again to be one of the most reliable calls on the market. The Keystone Crush allows the hunter to go from loud calling down to subtle, finesse calling at a moments notice. This is a call made by hunters, for hunters.

The Keystone Crush has the ability to hit deep, gravely tones in the beginning of the season for those large resident birds, all the way up to fast high pitched tones for those late season migrators. The best part about it is all of this can be done without ever changing the tuning of the call.

On the stage: The Keystone Crush’s unique design not only allows it to be a versatile, all purpose hunting call, but also allows it to be one of the best sounding competition goose calls on the market today. The Keystone Crush has a large range of volume and power that make it a force to be reckoned with when you step onto the stage.

The Keystone Crush combines explosive volume and a lightening fast response with the unique ability to hit any note a judge could want. Whether you are hitting higher pitched, high volume hails, or your working down to the finesse trick notes and murmurs, this call has everything you could ever want in a comp call.  Visit the link below to hear the Keystone Crush in action.

(Link to Call sound file): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3c7OuaagZM

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The Fits-the-Bill duck call is a call that both birds and hunters can’t get enough of. This duck call’s raspy tone, with its whiny squeal makes it perfect for that soft, sexy calling that drives Mallards crazy. This call features a single reed or double reed design with a smaller back-bore so the call blows soft and easy for those close in birds. We offer this call in many different colors of acrylic, Cocobolo, Bocote, Hedge, Walnut, Goncalo Alves, or African Blackwood.

In the field: Much like our Keystone Crush Goose Call, The Fits-the-Bill duck call has heavily tested in nearly all types of climates on the east coast in the Atlantic Flyway. The staff at Redemption Calls took this call out into the field hunting and put it through a gauntlet of tests to ensure that it would hold up in any condition. Whether you are feed chuckling to some close in mallards in the middle of snow and freezing rain, or hailing  to a group of ducks out in the distance on a sunny day, this call will perform flawlessly.

We originally designed this call to be used as a hunting call, and that is evident from the moment you pick it up and start blowing it. This call is all duck. It can get loud and hail out to birds in the distance, or get low and soft to work those close in birds with finesse and pure-duck tone. We have enjoyed a ton of success using this duck call our in the field and we hope you can too. Get yours today!

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Delta Waterfowl’s 2013 Spring Raffle

All ticket buyers will be able to enjoy Delta Waterfowl’s 2013 Spring Raffle knowing they are spending money on continued conservation efforts.
With 40 prizes to be raffled off, such as a 2013 Polaris Sportsman, commemorative Stoeger 12 gauge coach shotgun and a Wood Duck box signed by multiple legendary stock car drivers, a $50 ticket seems to be a little bit easier to explain to my wife.
Take a look at the whole prize list before the deadline on July 1, 2013. Then be sure to not miss the drawings on July 5th. Delta Waterfowl gives you the options to purchase your tickets through the site with a debit/credit card (North Dakota gaming law does not allow credit to be extended for raffles. Please enter your debit card information only) or by contacting Delta’s Bismarck office at 1-888-987-3695.

Mallard Life Cycle – Ducks Unlimited

In the space of one year a duck experiences the full spectrum of seasonal changes that usher in opportunities and challenges. Follow the life cycle diagram from breeding to wintering for a better understanding of the activities and energy requirements in different phases of a duck’s annual cycle.

For the full article, please click HERE.

Low Pressure Tactics for High Pressured Ducks

Submitted by: Michael Pendley

We’ve all been there. The scouting trip from the previous evening had pinpointed that perfect public land spot. The birds had poured in, the cover was thick enough to hide in and the wind was forecast to be perfect. Early the next morning you make the trek back to the spot, hopes high and spirits soaring with the promise of the high paced shooting to come. Then you see it, the tiny pinpoint beam of headlights in the distance that lets you know someone else had marked the spot as well. Or even worse, you get there and place your decoys, build your makeshift blind and hunker down to wait for shooting light only to watch someone come in and set up on top of you, ruining both your chances for a good hunt.

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Photo courtesy of B. Pendley

Or maybe you have had the spot mostly to yourself for a while now. Several good hunts have resulted and it has been a pretty spectacular season so far. But lately the ducks are shy, flaring farther and farther out and refusing to work. No amount of added decoys or pleading calls can coax the fowl into shooting range. It is clearly time to make a change.

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Photo courtesy of B. Pendley

It’s time to make a move. Hang up the decoy bags and break out the maps. Downsizing the water you hunt and the equipment you use can be just the ticket this time of year. Follow these simple steps to get back on the ducks.

Internet scouting can work: No, I am not talking about scanning the forums for grip and grin photos of successful hunts then paylaking their spots. Instead, pull up your hunting area on Google Earth or Wikimapia.org. Can’t get good images of your spot? Pick up a good old fashioned topo map of the area. Think back to previous hunts and scouting trips in the area. What flight path did most of the birds use?  Check that area for smaller ponds and creeks away from the road. Keep an eye out for hardwood timber areas where beavers might have dammed a creek and flooded a section. Moving water can be particularly productive in the late season when standing water has locked up with ice.

Hang up the decoy bags: When you find a hot spot on small water, a half dozen decoys is more than enough spread to attract attention. To make up for the small number of decoys, run at least two of the six rigged as a jerk string. Ducks can pick up on the movement from remarkable distances as they fly over. Since you don’t need a lot of decoys, make the ones you do use the most lifelike available. As the birds make their fly overs, they will have time to check out each and every deke, make sure they pass inspection.

Leave the waders at home: I like a good pair of hip boots for small water hunting. To get away from high pressured public areas often requires one heck of a hike. Chest waders will wear you down in hurry. Most small waters are wade-able with hip or even knee boots. If you do find a deeper spot, pack your chest waders in a backpack and put them on when you get to your destination.

And keep the calls in your pocket: Well, not really, but tone your calling WAY down. High pressured birds have been hit with more highballs, feed chuckles and pleading comebacks than a contest judge in Stuttgart. Once the birds start to work, stick mainly with quiet chuckles and quacks. Throw in a drake call or two or mix things up with gadwall, pintail or wood duck calls to give the birds something they haven’t heard. When the birds are in range, take the shot. Wary birds over small water are hard to land. They might not make that extra pass either. Don’t pass a shot when you have it, you might not get another chance.

Next season, when the birds get shy and the crowds get thick, put these small water, low pressure tactics to work. The shooting might not be as hot and heavy as an open water blind with fresh birds, but it beats the heck out of sitting all day without picking up your gun.

Looking for Bloggers

We are looking for bloggers to add to our writing staff here at DuckHunter.net.  Duck and goose hunting bloggers are what we are looking for.  From conservation, to do-it-yourself, to news in the industry.

What’s a blog?

A blog gives you your own voice on the web. It’s a place to collect and share things that you find interesting— whether it’s your duck hunting commentary, a personal diary, or links to web sites you want to remember.

Many people use a blog just to organize their own thoughts, while others command influential, worldwide audiences of thousands. Professional and amateur journalists use blogs to publish breaking news, while personal journalists reveal inner thoughts.

In simple terms, a blog is part of a web site, where you write stuff on an ongoing basis. New stuff shows up at the top, so your visitors can read what’s new. Then they comment on it or link to it or email you.

Sounds interesting? Go to our Contact Us page and fill out the form provided or leave a message on this post with your contact method!

Report-A-Band NOT coming to an app near you.

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As cellular technology continues to amaze us with well-built & convenient applications, we start to expect more out of our devices.  Sometimes the excitement and anticipation of reporting a band can almost drive us crazy, especially when it is your first!  There a many helpful applications available and useful for a duck hunter.  Rather it is designed for you to follow the migration or to help you mark where you have found ducks with a GPS location, there is not one with a way for you to report a band without having to call 1-800-327-2263 or find a data connection to report it online.  Most of us will resort to just giving them a call like we have for years now.  But we start to expect more convenient ways to do things that need done.

I contacted the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center Bird Banding Laboratory where they mentioned that finances, technology sources and government regulations are the three things standing in the way.

DCVR Superior Outdoor Products allow you to transform floaters into field decoys.

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DCVR Superior Outdoor Products released their new innovated products featuring the most popular, Amphibious Decoy Stake.  These products let you take any decoy with a “keel” and quickly and easily transform it into a standing decoy.  Made of ¼” cold-rolled steel and powder coated, it makes it perfect for placing them at the water’s edge, through ice in a shallow pond, cut corn field and many other scenarios.  DCVR has released a total of 8 different stakes including the Turkey Auger Stake, Spinning Wing Auger Stake, Spinning Wing Decoy Stand, the Amphibious Decoy Stake, Stand, Low-Profile Stand, Dual Decoy Stake & Stand.  In select stake boxes, DCVR gives you one Defeeters Duck Feet and Goose Feet.  These along with their black rubber Stabilizers, are available as accessories.