Tuesday, September 30, 2008

All ducks lined up and ready to rumble

© By Othmar Vohringer

Yesterday I sat in my office, also serving as my hunting gadget storage room, getting all my duck decoys ready by attaching new anchor lines to each of them. Each time I finished a decoy I set it on the floor in a neat line, drake, hen, drake, hen... From the TV upstairs my ears caught the faint announcement form the Canadian Comedy Channel, “are you ready to rumble?”

Looking at my duck decoys all lined up on the floor I thought to myself. “Yes indeed my ducks are all lined up and I am ready to rumble – in the duck marsh that is.” For weeks I am lining my ducks up to get ready for waterfowl season.

It started weeks ago with daily visits to the shooting range to get my shotgun patterned. I am very particular with shooting accuracy. I want the best performance possible be that with bows, rifles, muzlleloader or rifle. To get the best out of every weapon I have to spend considerable time at the range. “This will do” has never been an option for me.

I went through several boxes of various brands, shell and shot sizes, trying out different choke tubes until finally I arrived at a consistent pellet pattern. It’s a lot of work but the end result is worth that work. My trusty Mossberg performs a consistent pattern with Federal Ultra Shok 3” loaded with # 3 steel pellets pushed through an improved choke. Fortunately, the heavier BB shot, which I prefer for geese, of the same brand and shell size performs equally well with the same choke. I do not have to waste time exchanging choke tubes in the marsh when ducks and geese fly in together. All I have to do is load quickly a shell with the proper size pellets.

With the gun performing at its best it was time to scout a few good spots to ambush waterfowl. About a ten-minute drive from our house I found several perfect spots. All the spots are accessible by boat only, which is a good thing. Not many hunters here will go out of their comfort zone for waterfowl hunting. It’s just not that popular around here. One of the places I found receives frequent visits from bears, and judging from the prints in the soft shore sand they are huge. It’s a secluded place and that makes it attractive to ducks. When I go there I might take the rifle along too just in case a bear shows up when I am there too.

The other spot is located in a huge reed field. I cut a channel into it that will accommodate my boat perfectly and stay hidden from any approaching duck’s view. All in all I am pretty confident with the locations I have chosen. The gun shooting well and promising stand locations found I had half of my ducks lined up. I could turn my attention to duck and geese calling practice. I am a great believer in game calling because it works when all the conditions are right and the hunter masters the proper sounds and sequences.

The only downside is, that if you hunt so many different game species you need to practice a lot of different calls. There is just no way that I can consistently practice deer, turkey, elk and waterfowl calls on a regular schedule. The good news is that ones you learned the calls its like riding a bicycle. You never will forget, but you get rusty if you don’t do it for a few month. So, for the past two days I am brushing up on my waterfowl language.

The last job remaining to do was to attach anchors to my brand new set of Flambeau duck decoys. Everything is ready to go or you could say, my ducks are all lined up and I am ready to rumble.

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Anonymous said...

Good luck. I hope to be reading that you got some ducks or a goose soon. For heaven's sake, be careful of the bears though.

Tom Sorenson said...

Wishin' ya luck! I just haven't ever gotten in on the duck/goose hunting thing - but I have several friends who are simply crazy about it, so I'm guessing there must be a pretty strong pull to it!

Matt said...

I too am a Mossberg man. Good luck!

Othmar Vohringer said...

Kristine - Thanks for your wishes and concern. I am getting use to be around bears and it one reason why I take the rifle with me, even when shotgun hunting, and I always purchase a bear tag too, even so I am not keen on eating bear meat.

Tom – I am not addicted to waterfowl hunting but I do like to engage in all available game hunting. My father was an avid waterfowl hunter and I use to with him as often as I could. Then when he passed away I gave it up because I got very emotional sitting on my own in the duck blind. Now almost twenty years I feel good about going duck hunting on my own and so I would like to get back into it.

Matt – I like the Mossberg shotguns but also recently I have set my eye on the Benelli Super Nova. The Winchester Black Shadow Model has been my turkey shotgun for many years.


NorCal Cazadora said...

Daily visits to the range - wow! Wish I could do that. I am, however, doing little things at home to practice (calling, gun mount).

Sixteen days and counting!

masterbutcher said...

I am luckier than most in that the shooting range is only a ten minute drive from our house, so is access to some of the best fishing and hunting. I am very spoiled in that regard.

Besides the daily visits to the shooting range there are, like you, many things that I can do at home too. Practicing duck and geese calling is one of them. Although I don’t know for how much longer my good neighbors will put up with it. Lol.

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