Outdoor Articles

Tips for Birds at the Buzzer

by Pursue The Outdoors on December 29th, 2006 in Waterfowl Hunting

While waterfowl seasons across the county begin to come to a close, hunters may start to feel a little bit of pressure as time starts to run out. Competing with crowds and getting pressured birds to cooperate may be frustrating to say the least. Here’s a few tips and tricks to help you bag your limit of birds before time expires.

Knowing when and how to call is essential in waterfowl hunting. With more calls on the market now than ever before, ducks and geese are starting to become call shy due to the hundreds of hunters that have honked, quacked and whistled to them along their distant journey. Calling to frequently will turn birds away, and will give them more of a chance to listen and study your call. Try calling once birds are spotted from a distance to grab their attention, once the birds are moving towards you, sit back and watch your decoys work. The only other time you should need to call now is if the birds spot something “fishy” and decide to turn away. Giving a few quacks or honks will sometimes change their minds and offer you another chance. Keeping a close eye on the weather and watching if any storms are headed you way is also a good factor to consider while hunting later in the year. Storms coming from the north will often push new ducks into your area that aren’t as weary, and just want a place to rest.

Decoys are an invaluable tool in the waterfowl world, and often is the difference between having a tasty meal, or going home skunked. Try setting out a smaller decoy spread consisting of only a few birds. The birds may feel more comfortable landing in small groups, and a larger decoy spread gives you a larger margin for errors and mistakes that can turn shy birds away. Place the decoys well within your shooting distance and leave a piece of open water or land between your decoys so the birds will land right in your face. Don’t forget that ducks and geese land into the wind. It is critical that you have the wind at your back at all times. Watching and paying close attention to the ducks as they are coming in tells you if you need to critique or change your spread. Ducks that often circle but never commit is a hint that something isn’t right.

Now before you take a step out that front door, take a good look at yourself in a mirror, and make sure that you are covered from head to toe in camouflage. Ducks are underestimated for their amazing eyesight, and have been known to pick up the glow of a face from 1 to sometimes 2 miles away. Wearing a mask or putting on face paint will help in breaking up the human outline. Since your hands are constantly moving using calls and reaching for your gun and other equipment, make sure to bring along a pair of gloves as well. Know the habitat and the vegetation that surrounds the selected area that you are going to be hunting so you can buy your camouflage accordingly. If your hunting marshes with lots of cattails, or a field with 4 inches of snow, having a pattern such as sage brush or fir trees, probably isn’t the best idea. Spending that few extra dollars for good quality camouflage, is well worth it.

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It may be close to the end of the season, but it’s not to late to go out and grab your limit of waterfowl. Putting in time and effort will surely pay off in the end. Be mobile and be prepared to move your blind and decoys quickly, as mother nature often throws dirty curve balls.

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