Saturday, May 8, 2010

Lots of ducks in central North Dakota along with a lot of water. Hopefully some warmer weather on the way for nesting time. I well keep you posted.

Terry ND.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Off season in Northern Iowa

The past couple of weeks we have been hunting and scouting for timber chickens. They have been gobbling around 5:15am to 6:00 am. I happened to seal the deal during 3rd season and put on in the dirt lol. Shot it at 55 yrds with my shotgun. My dad also sealed the deal during second season to. We have been find morels alot. Almost everyday, been bringing in acouple bags or hand fulls. But i am excited for this years duck and goose hunting that will be coming up.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Passing Time In The Off Season

Clean Up Those Old Decoys

Every couple of years I will wash my decoys. It is a great way to make your spread more life like. Most decoy manufacturers are using life like iridescent paints, these paint patterns look and work great if they are not covered up with mud. The simplest way that I have found is to get a five gallon bucket and fill it with water and dish soap. Then with a stiff brush simply scrub them down with the soapy water. You will be amazed at how this simple task will bring new life to your decoys. One other important part of decoy maintenance is checking the anchor lines, and the knots that bind the weight and the keel. Depending on what type of line you use, over time it will become frayed or rot out, and knots weaken. No one likes chasing loose decoys in the middle of a hunt. So keep those decoy lines in good shape. And remember a little super glue on your knots will go a long way.

Start Your Preseason Dog Training

I am sure you have a system in place for your dog's training needs, but if you don't there is an almost limitless amount of literature out there for the dog owner. Now, everyone has different hunting styles and they need their dog to fit the need of their particular situation. For me, I like to look back on last seasons hunts and try to put a strategy in place for what I feel my dogs need work on. If you make a list and try to pin point these areas of training, in combination with general maintenance training, you will be well on tour way to having a top notch retriever.

Tune Up Your Shotgun Skills

Shooting trap, sporting clays, or just having a buddy throw clays with a hand thrower can improve your shooting skills in the field dramatically. The ability to mount and point a shotgun may seem easy, but in actuality it is fine tuned motor muscle memory. Without practice and repetition your shot to kill ratio may be much lower then that of an individual who has spent time practicing in the off season. I don't know about you, but I am not an exhibition shooter by any means, so if a little practice will put a few more birds in the bag I will do it. As a bonus you get to put more rounds through that old duck gun. Every waterfowl hunter I have ever met likes to shoot a shotgun, so get out there this summer and break some clays. I know that my dog wishes I would practice a little more.

I know that there is no substitute for the duck season, but maybe some of these activities will help keep your mind off the fact that we still have to wait four or five months till the opener. It seems like a long way off but the season will be here before you know it. So take some time to improve your odds next season.

Dan Scanlon

Duck Junkie Pro Staff

Southern Wisconsin

Blinds and Coverage (on website)

How many times have you been in your blind and those ducks are going by and you bust out a hail call and low and behold they turn, they are coming right in. You start getting ready, these ducks are really checking you out. They like your spread but then they flake off. Missed another chance. Could it have been your blind? This happens all to much. In many areas its hard to find good coverage from all angles. When your hunting the edges of water and there isn't a bush or tree all around, or your on that pond and the only place to be is on the leve or the dam,what do you do?

There are many options you can take in these situations. Most of us hunt on public lands and run the risk of permanent blinds being taken over by other hunters. I am a firm believer in the portable blind. Everyone has their own twist on these but here are some ideas.

Take some iron posts or aluminum whatever you can get your hands on. Fence posts like T-posts work but are a little heave and harder to get in the ground. Go as light as you can and as simple as you can. Depending on the size of your hunting party, take 3 or 4 stakes about 4 to 5 feet long. take these and place them in the ground far enough that they are sturdy but not too deep that its going to take the from down too far. Make either a triangle or trapezoid shape out in front with enough room to keep your gear inside. Find some burlap or other camo covering that matches the surroundings fairly well. Depending on how rugged you want to go you can fasten the covering to the stakes. You can use heavy duty zip ties, or other fastening material and fasten enough of the material to each stake that it will hold up to the abuse.

If you have some sort of back drop where you plan to set up use it to your advantage. Find some good overhead coverage if available. If you don't you can take the same stake material and cut them about 2-4 feet longer than your front. at the last 2 or so feet of it bend it to whatever angle you wish that you can comfortably stand up and get around in. Get the same camo material you but on the front and take it to the top of the stakes. If you don't have a lot of material and need to skip out a little take it higher rather than lower. Set all this up in your yard and get a feel for it and get your stool or whatever seat you use and check the heights out for what you need. This is a quick and relatively cheap way to get a portable blind set up. If you looking from something a little more permanent than switch to a heavier fence post or a heavier grade stake. You can weld some hooks up and down the stakes to hold your material. If you going after the more natural look and have enough of cat tails or tall grass or whatever it may be and want to spend a little more time, do the same sort of floor plan as the portable one, take some chicken wire or other mesh wire and weave whatever you have into it.

If your like me and get out and check for new hunting spots in the off season, get you ax or saw and go take a walk and get some natural stuff where you think you want to set up for the oncoming season. I have used everything from young stands of aspen trees to willows and cat tails. Get creative. Take a few steps out in front toward the water as you go and find the holes. My recommendation is using the fans from the lower tree limbs around, if there is any. However I would wait till the season gets closer so that when you get there on opening morning your not scrambling to find some more cover.

If your state permits it, take some of your buddies out with the shovels and get down a little bit. It the art of concealment. Hunting is dynamic, you must change for what the situation asks for. Good luck to you all and like always lets preserve what we love and spread the enjoyment to others.

John Gilbert
Southwest Colorado
Duck Junkies Pro Staff

Sunday, May 2, 2010

*May contests: Instead of having a big contest, we will be running multiple small contests on the Facebook fan page and kicking off our monthly "Hidden Code Hunt" on the website! The code will be "hidden" on the site on Sunday, May 2nd, 2010 in the evening.

*We are still collecting clips for our Duck Junkies promo video! Take a second to record yourself saying "I am a Duck Junkie" and send it to us. The deadline for submissions is May 15th! (ALL videos of good enough quality will be used.)

*Sunday, May 16th, Duck Junkies will be auctioning off a Limited Edition Banded Dog Collar on the HHS online radio show to benefit wounded/returning soldiers.