Thursday, February 9, 2012

More Places to Spend Your Money

North Carolina Duck Hunters seem to have an endless supply of cash. Well, not really, but they spend money on duck hunting much quicker than they would any other thing it seems. Childcare payments? If duck hunters could, they put they're child in a pillowed room. Well, probably not. Still, duck hunters, as quick as they are to spend their funds are always looking for an edge when spending there hard-earned money. There's almost always a cheaper way to do things. Still, things have to be done right to prevent additional costs and loss. Most chump change is pushed towards decoys and decoy rigging. I know that's where most of my money goes, not including the boat and it's fuel and maintenance. I have some places I like to frequent, granted their all in cyberspace. Sure, the shipping charges can get you good, but it beats having to ship yourself 60 miles round trip (or more) to a large sporting goods store. Making one trip to the internet for all of your needs beats the heck out of three trips to the Bass Pro Shops...but I do understand that many like to see and touch before they buy. Still, Bass Pro Shops has sticker-swapped and hoodwinked me for the last time. Other than the time the BPS tore down my friends outboard, and then asked him to come get it when they decided they couldn't put it back together and the time when I purchased an 8 pack of grass mats for $60 and then opened the package to reveal one, ONE grass mat stuffed with bubble wrap, my other experiences there haven't been hateful. Just bad. At their rate, shipping from the internet is a much better bargain. Cabelas, though, is still a wonderful store, as is Gander Mountain. Gander Mountain ships for free, but us North Carolina Duck Hunters have to pay sales taxes on the shipments, since Gander Mountain maintains warehouses here. Cabelas regularly has deals that allow for free or reduced shipping when purchasing in large quantities. Gander Mountain gives bulk discounts on decoys, if you're in to buying plastic birds... Here are some of my favorite websites to look at for all hunting supplies. Some just make me wish, but they also give me great ideas. Some are operated by the average hunter, and those websites can be creative and helpful... is a fantastic midwestern business that sells new, closeout, and reject decoys as well as everything else under the sun. For Christ's Sake you can even get sea gull, cormorant, and snipe decoys from them. Their shipping rates are astronomical, but the prices more than equalize the shipping. I'd call the company when making orders, though, as you can get a better quote on shipping than their website's shipping calculator. is one place that I will probably never make a purchase from unless I hit the lottery. They specialize in the uber-expensive and high quality E. Allen decoys. EA's a re high density two part urethane foam decoys that are tough as nails. You can order unpainted birds, but unless you're a great painter, you want do the foam molds any justice. The molds are highly detailed, with raised feathers from the mandibles to the curls, so unless you've got the skills to paint, order the painted birds when in stock. He also keeps a wad of paint in stock, too. You can also order replacement heads for your old Herter's on occasion. is one website where I like to kidnap ideas for my diver hunting. These folks specialize in open water rigging, so you can find all the tarred nylon, decoy flags, mainlines, clips, crimps, and assorted stainless steel giblets available. They're economically priced, but you can still source out the parts from other websites and build the rigs you need based on the kits they sell. I learned virtually everything I know about longlining and gangrigging from these folks. If you don't have the time or patience for sorting out your own rigs, give them a shot. is the ultimate big box, online, and storefront for duck hunters. I've been to Stuttgart and entered the store. It is the dream that each of us imagines. They really do have everything. I'm a little disappointed that they cater to deer hunters, since deer hunters are essentially known as January 1 Duck Hunters among North Carolina Duck Hunting circles. They also keep some fishing stuff, as well as turkey hunting supplies. Still, it's catered more towards the Generation X waterfowler and they carry limited supplies of diver decoys. Still, you can get mallard decoys from every maker. They've got decoys that vibrate, gyrate, and emulate mallards. And for those of you who don't know better, you can also pick up a Mojo, should you feel the need. I like their high end Le Chameau rubber boots. is also a great place for good deals. No, I'm not joking. I take a conservative approach to waterfowl clothing. I dress to be cold or cool, so I don't require all the technical, spandex-y material that's suggested by the best duck hunters on TV. I wear wool. And Maine's top outfitter of outdoor gear carries plenty of it. Wool will even keep you warm when it becomes wet. You don't have to wash it - OK, you can't wash wool - so there's no need to worry with womanly work. LL Bean created the quintessential duck boot, too. Nowadays, Bean boots aren't equipped to handle most waterfowling situations, but they do carry top pf the line waders. They have some cork decoys, which are classic, legendary, and glamorously overpriced. Still, they're collectible AND usable. But you can carve your own much cheaper. is a great place to LOOK at nice clothes that will last a lifetime. I have one Guide Sweater from there and I wear it straight from the boat to the office. McAlister makes fine clothes, too, and they're cheaper than Filson. I have several McAlister sweaters and coats. However, they've been purchased by a mallard shooting company, so I will not post that address here. is the last website I'll list. Still, it may be the most important. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is the gateway to public duck hunting for all free lancers. I've built my lifelist of places to hunt based on this website. Information on all refuges is available, as well as Duck Production Areas. Most refuges allow some type of waterfowl hunting. Reading and understanding any and all permits, user fees, and regulations is paramount to capitalizing on the wealth of available land that's open to hunters. Unless you own a private impoundment or a large body of water, it's beneficial to learn your way around this site. It's full of ideas - but you can spend a lot of money on a freelancer's trip to anywhere in the world. I'm looking for the perfect duck hunting companion to go with me on my trans-country tour, wear I'll hit up the Horicon Marsh, Devils Lake, and Wilapa Bay refuges. On the southern swing of my journey, I hope to hunt the Klamath, Suisun, and Bayou Meto refuges. It's an ambitious undertaking! The North East tour, as I have called it, will visit Brigantine Bay, Bombay Hook, and Back Bay. Well, not Back Bay - it's a zoo!

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