Friday, March 9, 2012

Things I've learned in the last two weeks...

Learning is a lifelong mission - and it should be, especially for the good waterfowler. I'm always learning, but I have to keep my mind open to new ideas...

1) Gordon Macquarrie and Nash Buckingham are not the only great outdoor writers. Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Havilah Babcock to the table. Havilah writes none about waterfowling, but his writing does justice to the English Language. Often, he writes about Mr. Bob White, his anthropomorphic version of the wily quail. His writing is mostly about quail hunting, but he does write a little about fishing and even turkey hunting.  Havilah, long dead now, enjoyed the serenity of an easy walk through the South Carolina Low Country's uninterrupted sedges, watching dogs point and coveys rise.

2) Sometimes, contemporary decoys are just as collectible as old decoys. There's nothing better than obtaining an Outer Banks canvas covered goose or swan. It's a link to our heritage as waterfowlers and an example of the ingenuity our predecessors possessed. Still, people are actively carving working birds that absolutely beautiful. When it comes to canvas covered decoys, nobody does it better than Nick Sapone of Wanchese. Wooden birds are generally the most collected, especially highly desired works by carvers such as Ned Burgess and Mitchell Fulcher. Still, current carvers like Cameron McIntyre, Jerry Talton, Kent Hood, and even Tom Taber turn out birds either for the mantel or the water. I like the genuine working birds. Taber's birds are a little folky for my palette, but to each his own, right?

3) Some people still hunt out of season. What a travesty! Over the last weekend, I overheard a conversation that involved the communicators recalling a mid-February Wood Duck and Canada Goose combination shoot in Wake County. Listen up...if you're shooting birds in February, you're breaking the law. How? Well, the season is out. Why is the season out? Because many birds are weaker after the winter and are more susceptible to the gun. Also, many ducks have already paired up, while some might have even been bred. The strongest of a species pairs earliest, so according to Mr. Darwin, if you kill a duck now, there's a high likelihood tht you are killing a genetically-blesses animal that may or may not be carrying 6-12 eggs. Kill one hen - and 12 eggs. Nice work jacklegs. If you want to shoot birds in February, go after Snow Geese. They need killin'.

4) The Farmer's Almanac is a load of mularkey. I picked one up in January of 2011. I was hopeful of a strong season, as I knew that massive snow fall would result in massive snow melt in the Great Plains. Wet plains make for a perfect duck nesting habitat. And as my suspicions were confirmed, the breeding and nesting was phenomenal. I wanted to be able to better prepare for my hunts, and the Almanac can help one to expect when the fronts will pass through. what was expected to be a brutal winter was only brutally warm. From now on, I'll just pray for rain, instead of expecting the weatherman or the Almanac t bring it to me... 

I'm sure I learned a lot more...and I'll keep trying and sharing what I learn - it's all enjoyable!

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