Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hello Winter

When I got up this morning and looked out to see snow covering my lawn, I was thrilled and sad at the same time. Her we are in the 2nd week of the season and the weather in like mid November.
We battled through the wind and icy roads this morning and made it to our spot in spite of getting beat to the landing by several people. Right before shooting time I was calling in groups of mallards like crazy to the decoys. With 5 minutes to go I had them land right in front of my brother and then take off. I told him to get ready because I was calling them back around for him. I really wanted his first weekend out for the year to be good. Sure enough I called them back around but they were right in front of my dad and I cupped. I let the first one go by for my dad and took the rear on. We each hit on the first shot. Great blind retrieve on the second by King on the 2 drakes.
Shortly after that I had 1 green wing teal shoot down the shoreline right in front of me and before I could tell them there was a bird it was dead. Now by brother is frustrated so he moves closer to me to get in on the action. Right after that I call in a small flock of mallards that circle right over where he was standing! Now he is frustrated and confused but he stayed put. About 20 later we had 1 hen canvasback circle, again where my brother was standing, and come around behind us. My dad and brother start shooting at it but when it got to me I shot and hit her thinking that she would hit closer to the water. Not so. Myself and the dog climbed through and over some of the thickest cattails you could imagine with no luck. On the way back to the blind I spotted a teal flying right at my dad and my brother so I yell TEAL! I hear shooting and see the splash so I take the dog down there to get it. When I get there I find out that my brother set his gun down to warm up his hands and didn't get a shot.
After awhile things slowed down and we decided to pick up. My dad and my brother started picking up when a big flock of mallards got up I watched and noticed that 2 strays ere behind but catching up to the flock so I hit the call hard. They broke off and turned around right at us with my brother standing in the decoys with a bag picking up. I told him not to move and was able to hit 1 of the 2. A nice hen wigeon. With the exception of almost getting frost bite on my numb fingers that started turning blue, it was a good morning. My brother did come through with a military trick to fight off the frost bite that most likely saved my fingers.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Features Added to Website!

We have added more features to our website! Here are just a few...
  • Ducks Unlimited Videos
  • Links to TV Program Pages
  • Links to Newsletters
We want our website to be your go-to spot for all things fowl hunting so keep your requests coming and we will keep adding!

We plan to add more items to the Get Our Goods page soon! We will offer T-shirts (short and long sleeve), as well as sweatshirts or zip-ups and vehicle decals in the immediate future. Let us know what Duck Junkies logo gear you would be interested and we will certainly look into getting it for you!

Also, please remember to support our sponsors! Click on their ads and check out their websites and/or buy their products!

Happy hunting!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Old Duck Hunting Article from the Strib

This article was from 2003 but it's worth a read today...
Dennis Anderson: Ducks shortchanged, not short-stopped
Star Tribune

Oct. 20 is a date I remember well.

Dawn broke cold and heavily overcast. A cold wind blew from the north. Snow slanted from a low, gray sky.

In Minnesota, a perfect duck hunting morning.

Or so my young son, Trevor, and I hoped.

We were north and west of Willmar, in what traditionally has been one of the state's best areas for autumn overflights of mallards, widgeon, gadwall and teal, as well as the divers: bluebills, redheads and canvasbacks.

Having met up with a couple of friends, we shuffled to blinds on a pass that separated a large marsh from a small lake. There we loaded our guns, looked to the sky and waited.

It wasn't that long ago that a Minnesota waterfowler afield on Oct. 20 could count on taking a few birds, even a limit, within an hour or two. If he (or she) were lucky, a mallard or other dabbler might be among these. But typically the peak of the diver migration through Minnesota occurs about the third week of October. So usually the bag would feature bluebills, redheads and, along the Mississippi River, canvasbacks.

But Minnesota duck hunting has changed -- mostly because ducks in the state are ever fewer.

So marked is the decrease in duck numbers in the state that some experienced waterfowlers -- Don (Duckman) Helmeke of the Twin Cities is one -- in recent years haven't fired a shot on opening day.

Still, when Trevor and I awoke that cold Sunday last October and made our way to the truck to exercise the dogs, we couldn't help but think that on this cold autumn morning, ducks -- eager to seek warmer climes down South -- would fly.

So we waited.

And waited.

Finally, when it became apparent the morning would be another in a long string of Minnesota duck hunting disappointments, we headed home. Few ducks seen, no shots fired, the dog still dry.

But it's not news to report that Minnesota duck hunting isn't what it once was.

The news is that, last fall, Minnesota waterfowlers weren't the only ones who saw fewer ducks. Southern duck hunters, particularly those in Louisiana and Arkansas, had the same complaint.

Many of those waterfowlers, looking for someone to blame, cast an eye north, saying hunters up here somehow short-stopped "their" birds, keeping them from flying to their traditional wintertime haunts.


To their credit, Louisiana and Arkansas waterfowl managers have explained quite specifically what forces combined last fall to produce so (relatively) few birds in those states.

Weather peculiarities were partly to blame. So was a lack of quality habitat, particularly in Louisiana, where two major tropical storm systems last year compromised the duck-carrying capacity of large swaths of coastal wetlands.

The fact that ducks experienced poor production on northern prairies this summer and a greater proportion of birds that flew south were adults also reduced hunter success throughout the Mississippi Flyway.

But problems cited in an Arkansas report about duck hunting in that state underscore challenges duck hunters face throughout North America.

These challenges won't go away anytime soon.


• In the past 10 years, the number of Arkansas waterfowl hunters has risen from 39,000 to 95,000, with increases also in commercial hunt clubs and non-resident hunters. (Increases during the same period in hunter numbers also were recorded in other states where ducks congregate, including North Dakota.)

• Average days hunted per active adult in Arkansas have increased from 10.38 in 1976-80 to 14.52 in 1996-2000.

• The mallard harvest in Arkansas increased between 1976-1980 and 1996-2000 from 523,160 to 871,100. The average total duck harvest in Arkansas for the same period was up 50 percent.

The upshot: If ducks (and duck hunting) are to be saved, not only must more and better habitat be made available to them where they nest and winter, hunter pressure on ducks in those areas must be mitigated.

Minnesotans can do their part by beginning the hard work of restoring biological integrity to the state's relative handful of remaining wetlands -- no small task considering many of them in recent decades have been recast as storm-water holding ponds.

If that task were completed, Minnesota hunters could again hunt ducks near their homes.

Note to Southern waterfowlers:

We're not short-stopping your ducks.

We're shortchanging them.

And have been for a long time.

-- Dennis Anderson is at

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Far Cry From Yesterday

In past years the second day has yielded more birds than the first. After all the birds we saw on Saturday, but didn't necessarily get to shoot at, we went back to the same spot thinking that a sunrise shoot would be great.
On the lake behind us they started shooting 5 minutes early and once again you could tell that many were not hitting much. Two groups were so close together that you could almost count 4 seconds between when the birds would fly past one than the other. We listened as one guy chased a cripple around the marsh.
As for us we didn't see a flock, or any birds, for about 20 minutes than a small flock riding the water line popped out. I pulled up to shoot hitting one on the first shot but tried to hit it again with the second as it sailed out. We watched it hit the water and immediately dive never to return to the surface. Nothing worse than having to tell the dog "no bird buddy". About 20 minutes after that we had another flock of wood ducks get up and fly by but they turned out of range for me. My dad got off 2 good shots folding up one nice drake. Then the thing I hate worse than sky busters showed up. A fisherman. With the whole lake available, he choose to fish 100yrds outside our decoys. After not seeing many birds, almost none at all, we decided to call it a day before 10am.
Hopefully next weekend we hit on a good spot. Sounds like wigeons and gadwals are on the move in the area. Had a buddy get a few in Mora today along with a greenie, teal and a hooded. It is hard to do some good scouting with 2 kids under the age of 2, but I'm sure we'll eventually find the "X". I just hope sooner than later.