Thursday, June 10, 2010

Choosing a new shotgun (On website)

Choosing a new shotgun can be difficult. I know this first hand because I'm a left handed shooter in a right handed world. When I was looking for a new shotgun I tried to get by with several right handed guns, these however did not fit right and I had difficulties shooting accurately with them. Sure I could've fixed the problem by spending some money and taking it to a gunsmith, however I felt that for the money I spent it should shoot how I want it too without having to spend the extra money.

First one needs to decide what amount of money they are willing to spend on the new gun. Secondly style needs to be decided such as pump, over/under, semi-auto, etc. Thirdly going and trying different brands and how they pull up and fit. Lastly going home knowing that you made the right choice.

There is a wide price range in shotguns today. They range from $300 all way upto $6,000. When choosing my gun I set my price to less then $1,500. Well with my trade in I ended up paying $700 cash. So I did stay under my price range. The pumps and single shots are on the lower end of the shotgun spectrum. Your semi-automatic is next in the spectrum and then the fine over/unders are on the top of the spectrum.

Next one must decide what brand and style of shotgun they like. The brand names out there today are Remington, Browning, Winchester, Benelli, Escort, Stoeger, Franchi and many more that I have not mentioned. Remington makes the 870 pump, 887 pump, 11-87 semi-auto, and the Sp-10 semi-auto. Browning has the BPS pump, Gold semi-auto, and the Silver semi-auto. Benelli has the Nova and Super Nova pumps, Super Black Eagle II semi-auto, and M-2 semi-auto. To name a few. Currently the only pump and semi-automatic shotguns manufactured in left-hand is Remington and Benelli. The gun I ended up getting was the Benelli M-2.

Go to your local gun dealer like Cabela's, Bass Pro, or your hometown gun shop is always a good choice. Pick different guns and pull them up and swing them. This is the only way one can tell if the shotgun fits. When I picked up the M-2 the pull up and swing motion were fluid. These movements should be an extension to your arms. If it doesn't feel right try another gun.

Lastly take your gun home and feel confident in your choice. If you think you may need to practice with your gun pulling up the do a daily excercise of pulling the gun up like you would do in the field.

View this article on the website.

First Aid in the Blind

So your hunting partner (or you) sustains an injury or gets ill while out hunting. What do you do? It's a really huge topic to cover. I'm going to try to cover a couple of the basics in case of an emergency.

First and foremost- Keep a cool head. Easy for me to say as I enter my 20th year in the Emergency Medical Services. Try not to panic and think things through clearly. Don't become a second victim rushing to get the ill/injured party to safety.

Communication- Call 911 if you feel the ill/injured party needs immeadiate medical attention. Probably not nessesary for a simple cut or "boo boo toe" but in the event of severe bleeding, breathing difficulty, chest pains or fractures it's probably a good idea to get some help going. Cell phone coverage is getting better all of the time. Let the 911 dispatcher know the extent of the injury/illness and where you are. It's always better to let the help come to you. First Responders will assess the situation and determine the best and safest way to get a victim out. If your out of range of any sort of communication, send someone for help if you can or get them to safety as safe as you can.

Traumatic Injuries
Bleeding- Bright red spurting= Not Good. Direct pressure over the injury is still the best way to control it. Same thing with oozing blood.

Fractures- Is the appendage bent at an odd angle? If it is, it's probably broke. Immobilize it the best you can. A couple of straight sticks and some duct tape can be used to fashion a splint. The main reason to immobilize a fracture is not to cause more damage.

Burns- Stop the burning process- get away from the heat source. Try to keep the area as clean as possible. Cover the area up with as clean as you can find cloth and irrigate with clean water.

Medical Conditions
Medical conditions can be a wide range of problems from difficulty breathing, chest pains, allergic reactions, the list goes on. Like I wrote in the beginning, keep a cool head. Call for help and keep the victim calm and as comfortable as possible. Call for help. If you don't have communication, send somebody for help or get the victim to safety as safe as possible.

I can go on for days and days on what to do in case of an emergency. Nobody plans on getting sick or hurt but it happens. The best way to deal with these situations is to be prepared for them. Let someone know where you'll be and the times you'll be there and when to expect your return. Carry some sort of reliable form of communication and a well stocked first aid kit. Take a course in first aid and CPR.
"An ounce of prevention..." Well, you can try to prevent an emergency from happening but if it's gonna happen, it will happen. Being prepared for an emergency may make the outcome a little better.

Enough of that stuff. 2 1/2 months to early goose season here in Connecticut. My decoys are all set, been practicing the calling. I've been seeing alot of geese and ducks with little ones around here. I was out on a local golf course recently and was amazed by the amount of goslings this year. Looks like it's shaping up to be a good season.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Plenty of water in Eastern Dakotas

I spend a large amount of time in the eastern North Dakota, and eastern South Dakota country side checking on waterfowl numbers in my hunting areas. So far this year has been very wet. It seems to rain every other day up here. The landscape is dotted with small(temporary), medium, and large bodies of water that have filled up over this spring and summer. With this large amount of water comes a large number of breeding waterfowl.

The duck numbers are looking really good and I just started seeing some mallard and pintail ducklings lately. I actually had to stop on a highway, along with other traffic, to let a hen mallard escort her brood of 9 ducklings across the road. This is a common occurrence this time of year in eastern ND.

The goose numbers are looking great as well. It seems with all this water and early hot weather I was seeing goslings much earlier then usual. I just saw a couple broods today that are the size of bowling balls if not bigger. They were busy feeding on the green wheat so they paid no attention to me at all.

With all the sloughs, and potholes filled to the brim and beyond this fall in the Dakotas is looking to be another great waterfowling opportunity.

Northern waterfowl could be sitting ducks in Gulf

Northern waterfowl could be sitting ducks in Gulf

The clock already is ticking on the waterfowl fall migration, and what birds seeking refuge encounter upon their arrival could be disastrous.

Ducks Unlimited

In two months, blue-winged teal will begin leaving Minnesota for the coastal marshes of Louisiana and other points south. Within weeks afterward, wood ducks will join the autumn migration, followed by many of the other duck species that nest in the North but spend their winter months along the Gulf Coast.

What exactly awaits these birds is unknown.
But for the 13 million ducks and another 1.5 million geese that historically have used Louisiana's coastal marshes either for the entire winter or a portion thereof, it likely won't be good.

Worst-case scenario:

Oil continues to flow from BP's deepwater well off the coast of Louisiana, and tropical storms and perhaps hurricanes this summer and/or early fall would push the crude not only into barrier saltwater and brackish marshes, but also farther inland, into freshwater marshes and ponds.

This would kill not only ducks and other birds, but despoil critical habitats, perhaps for generations.

Worse, it's possible that oil flowing from the well won't be staunched for many months. Or even, as was the case in Mexico in 1979, for up to a year.

If so, thousands -- perhaps hundreds of thousands, or even more -- of ducks, geese and other migrants, including shorebirds, could be killed this fall.

Already, North America is not exactly flush with ducks. In fact, if many hunters and
others who spend long days in the field in autumn can be believed, the United States
and Canada host far smaller populations of ducks today than was the case even 15 years ago.

But what if circumstances surrounding BP's oil well improve significantly, and quickly?

Perhaps, for example, the well will soon be capped or its oil otherwise collected, and instead of coming ashore, most of the oil already on the Gulf's surface will stay farther at sea, dissipating, over time, either (somewhat) naturally or due to chemical dispersants.

Even if that occurs, some damage already has been done to the nation's richest and most productive coastal wetlands. And wildlife -- particularly marine life -- likely will be adversely affected for some time. As will countless local residents and their

What then to do now? Should vast, new temporary habitats be developed near the
Gulf Coast, if possible, as a way to lure birds from oil stained marshes?

Should state and federal waterfowl officials attempt to "short-stop" Mississippi Flyway ducks in Missouri, Arkansas, northern Mississippi and northern Louisiana, by
feeding them?

Should waterfowlers in those areas be asked to forego hunting this fall, in an attempt to keep birds north of the Gulf Coast?

Hard to tell.

But there is time to discuss various scenarios and devise contingency plans. And if the U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl and other groups don't begin to do so immediately, they are forgoing their responsibility not only to their supporters, financial and otherwise, but, especially, to ducks and geese.

• • •

Last week, top Ducks Unlimited officials, including new CEO Dale Hall and chief
biologist Dale Humburg, toured parts of the Louisiana marsh, guided by Louisiana wildlife and fisheries officials.

Friday, I talked to Humburg in Louisiana via cell phone while he and others were still in the marsh, wrapping up their trip.

"Our primary intent over the last couple of days has been to get a handle on the scale of the issue, that is, the size of the landscape that could be affected by the spill," Humburg said. "We also wanted to determine what is real in terms of immediate impact, and some idea of what the impact could be, if things get worse.

"What we ended up with is a high degree of uncertainty. Unfortunately, until the oil is contained, we won't know the extent of the problem. And without an idea of the extent and the distribution of the oil, we won't know what the response should be."

So far, Humburg said, oil coming ashore on the coastal marshes generally has been
limited to saltwater marshes on the open Gulf, with minimal impact to date on
freshwater or brackish areas.

Species of special concern, given conditions that exist today, would be scaup (bluebills) and redheads, both of which have tended in recent years to raft up in vast flocks in the Gulf of Mexico -- in areas that already are contaminated with oil.

Mallards, though in places abundant, are not overly common in many areas of coastal
Louisiana. Instead, teal, gadwall and widgeon (the latter two often are grouped as "gray ducks" by Louisiana hunters) are common species, as are ringnecks and pintails in areas.

Humburg said one option being considered is expanding the amount of flooded acreage on the northern edge of the marsh. This would begin to address the deficit of habitat that already exists in the region.
"The challenges of coastal marsh deterioration have taken decades to develop
and will take years to address effectively,'' he said, adding that the oil spill brings immediate focus to a waterfowl and wetlands conservation challenge that has existed for some time.

"We spent an hour in a boat getting to the edge of the Gulf [of Mexico], and what a trip like that does is give you a pretty good dose of reality regarding the scale of the challenge, and the scale also of the response that might be needed to make a difference," Humburg said.

Asked whether it might be possible to shortstop some birds in Missouri, Arkansas, northern Mississippi and northern Louisiana by feeding them and by abstaining from
hunting, Humburg said such actions might have a local and perhaps regional effect.

"But these would be short-term impacts," he said, "and I suspect that they and similar actions might imply we have more control over the migration than we actually do. The fact is, when days shorten in fall, the weather turns cold up north and food becomes scarce, ducks migrate. And always have."

• • •

I'll add here a few additional "doses of reality'' that should disquiet anyone
concerned with ducks and this latest threat to them:

• Waterfowl management in this nation, as led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is chaotic, at best, with competition among states for "their share" of the resource more often the case than cooperation.

• The Fish and Wildlife Service's duck harvest scheme is steeped in mystery and technical mumbo jumbo that few understand but that somehow always favors the highest possible limits and the most days afield. This despite near universal acknowledgment of a still- declining North American habitat base and countless reports from hunters (as above) that ducks are scarce, if not (in many regions, such as Minnesota) altogether gone missing.

• In the management of U.S. ducks and duck hunting, politics traditionally have played as big a role as science.

Given these realities and the potential they imply for institutional inaction, obfuscation or both, concerned waterfowlers and their state and congressional representatives should demand immediately that the Fish and Wildlife Service and its Mississippi Flyway Council begin without further delay a series of meetings to explore all contingencies for the fall migration that is only a short time distant.

Waterfowlers and others should demand as well that all options (including hunting and not hunting) should be on the table, meaning that no choice that might benefit waterfowl should be precluded from consideration.

Especially important to all concerned should be an awareness that nonhunters as well as hunters will be watching how duck managers respond, especially given that they have the a advantage in this foul-up (that marine life managers did not) of acting before any actual crisis occurs to their species of concern.

Finally, DU and other waterfowl groups should -- if necessary, and if potentially effective -- consider amassing thousands upon thousands of volunteers from throughout the nation along the Gulf Coast to help clean birds, vegetation and water, if it comes to that.

Such an effort would be the right thing to do.

Not incidentally, it likely also would gain the groups many new members among a skeptical American public that increasingly disbelieves that any institution --
government, especially -- actually does what it claims to do.

Dennis Anderson •

Monday, June 7, 2010


Well happy spring to you all. All this warm weather is getting very nice. Making me wanna get out and go. The fishing is starting up camping and all the other great activities. With that being said I want to bring up some safety issues that come with boats. A lot of waterfowlers use boats including myself, quite often actually.

So, I have a 15 foot aluminum boat and usually have 3 people and a dog and all the gear in it. Now the lakes i usually hunt and fish are not to wide or long but im sure if I was swiming it would be! Most of you have a larger budget or a larger boat that fit more people and children and all that.

I would like to talk about the gear I carry on my boat for hunting season and fishing season and ill bring up some safety tips to keep you going.

I always have life jackets for the amount of people. Thats what my state says i have to do. Check with your state laws for the regulations they have before boating. I also always carry my "decoy retriever." This is a collapsible golf ball retriever that extends to about 14 feet, that I puchased at wal-mart for about $15. so far its retrieved everything from a fishing pole I found in the water last week, to the lead weights from my decoys when they so misteriously fall of every year! It even works as a good shove pole. I also have enough rope to damn near stretch from me to you. I use this often too. I always have my two oars in the boat as well, and an extra boat plug, just in case!
These are the thing I carry all the time winter and summer. Now like I said the lakes im on I can almost spit across. However some of you might be on some that you cant even see the other side. Here are a few things I would recomend:

Air horn, or whistle, depending on your regulations lighting. A VhF radio with the freaqs. already entered! Extra gas for the motor, and anything extra you can think of that can go wrong or break bring another one. A perfect little kit is a old army shell box. Throw the spark plugs in there maybe a screwdriver and a wrench some duct tape and some teflon tape.

So to make things a little easier on my boat, I have done a few things. I have added some driving lights to the bow and ran the wires totally protected all the way back to where i keep my battery for the electric motor. This is also borderline must have. Another thing is i have added is tool clamps that are strategically placed in my boat mainly for my guns, but double up oh so well with my fishing poles and shove pole. These clips are made by End of The Road and are called Quick Fist Clamps. They work great. I have also Built a blind for my boat but I will let you all be creative with yours I dont want to give away all my secrets!!

The U.S. Boating statistics show that in 2006 there were 710 boating related fatalities, personal injury was at 3,474 and property damage due to boating was at $47.3 million.

Another very important point to make, well its important to me. Its Zebra muscles. Im not very educated on these things but they cause devistation to the lakes they infest. In Colorado there have only been 2 reports and they think they have caught it early enough to contain the infestation. Almost everywhere you go the authorities are inspecting and reinspecting your boats. Some of the small lakes here have even gone as far as not allowing boats with live wells or bilge pumps on the water. So keep your eye out. always have you boat dry before you put it into any other body of water if you notice that your boat may be infected find a decontaminate site that will wash your boat for you.

This is just a brief report of what you can do to be a little safer and make life a little easier. For more information visit your states Department Of Wildlife website.

SO BE SAFE. Whether your out taking a cruise, water skiing, fishing, hunting or whatever you do on a boat do it safely. We want you to come back to hunt another day!!! ENJOY

John Gilbert
Southwest CO
Duck Junkies Pro Staff