Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How I do it...

Obviously, I'm not going to divulge a tremendous amount of secrets on here. I'm certainly not going to say where I see and shoot ducks, unless I use terms such as "northern Pamlico Sound" and central "Albemarle". My out of the way places are actually known by quite a few people, but I know when to hunt them. I keep an eye on them and bounce in when those places have been left for dead. But being a good duck hunter is also like a qualifier for the CIA. Only the most secretive survive. Sure, I've blabbed a bit too much, and I've got some buddies whose lips are as loose as their decoys' heads. But, I continue to least I hope I do. But most times, I capitalize on my ability to be prepared when the opportunity arises. I don't do a lot of practice shooting at the range, though I probably do so more than the regular dudes. I do have a skeet range within earshot of my residence. Still, when I go and the results are less than desired I still have a good time because I do things my way, and not the ways suggested by your friendly outdoor television show in order to keep things pleasant, this is what I do...

Picking a place to hunt: I'm a meticulous note-taker. If I kill or see ducks in a place, I combine the weather, moon, location, and duck data together. I award points for each category - nevertheless, the more points a date gets, the better. I'll highlight the exceptional days and once I've had two good days under said conditions, it becomes "law" meaning that when the conditions are there, I can expect to see ducks. I've given up on some ducky looking places because of this, though.

Gear: There's not much to say here. I pack up everything I need the night before so that I can be ready to roll in the morning. Generally, if I wait until I wake up, I may change my mind. However, nobody is a clear thinker at 0200, so it's best for me to monitor the weather the day prior, and go from there. Also, I forget more things if I get ready in the morning. Still, I never leave the house without a spotlight or the 6 decoys that remain in my boat all season. Six buffleheads are effective absolutely anywhere in coastal North Carolina.

Gun: People scoff and giggle at it, but I don't care. I shoot a twenty gauge shotgun. There, I said it. I've got some 12 bores, including a double gun, but generally, they kick too hard for my wormy frame. I also shoot a full choke in my 20. Sure, I miss some, but the ones I hit are down for the count. My 20 is lighter and the recoil is significantly less. I used to return with headaches from shooting my 12's, but not anymore. Also, I always shoot #2 shot. Larger shot acts strange from a full choke, and smaller shot just isn't lethal enough. And I always, ALWAYS, shoot cheap steel shot. But I like to get ducks in very close before I pull the trigger or call the shot.

Clothing: Wear wool. And waders. Each time. Oh - and layer. I never wear camo because everyone else does. Lurk in the works and I swear it.

Decoys: I use the exact same spread each time I hunt a specific location. Also, I hate plastic decoys except when I'm sea duck hunting. Sea Ducks just don't care...but I never set up a decoy pocket facing land. It always has water in front of it, if I'm pursuing divers.

Superstitions: I never pass shoot the first flock. I let them work to determine how the birds will work for the rest of the morning. Also, I always hunt with the sun to my back. And I never, ever wear sunglasses. Also, I only hail call when birds are over 500 yards away. Once their working the decoys, it's clucks or purrs only, depending on the species. But I will blow the fool out of a wigeon whistle. Additionally, I always keep shells in my pocket and not in a blind bag. In fact, I've gone to not even carrying a blind bag. I also never hunt within 100 yards of the boat, unless of course I'm hunting from the boat, which I hate, OR if I'm hunting from my blind that has a boat hide.

Leaving: I never hunt past 10:00am. If I haven't done any good by then, rarely will I after10:00. And if birds decide to work later, then I'll let them live. Eventually, they'll screw up.

Hunting partners: I love hunting alone. Everyone else is a liability. But I do have some hunting pals that know how I am and they let me maintain the order. Those that shoot out of turn don't get many chances. If you talk or call too much, you get shushed and embarrassed. It's my boat, my decoys, my time, their privilege.

No comments:

Post a Comment