Saturday, June 19, 2010

June 2010 Featured Junkie

Katie Sholly from Washington Boro, Pennsylvania.

I live in a household of 2 men who live and breath waterfowl hunting.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Welcome OSO!

Welcome to Duck Junkies Ocean State Outfitters!

Are you interested in joining us too? We have great Pre-Launch ad specials going on right now. CLICK HERE to see simple packages! If you would like larger packages or want to be featured in a section not listed, please contact us.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Core Sound Waterfowl Museum

Core Sound in southeastern North Carolina is known for two things: fishing and waterfowl hunting. In 2000, after years of acquiring permits and raising funds, the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum was opened on Harker's Island, NC across from the Cape Lookout National Seashore. It's mission was to "establish a facility that will enhance the community, state, and region by creating a resource which brings together the historical, cultural, artistic, environmental, and educational elements needed to preserve the rich waterfowl heritage of eastern North Carolina associated with the Core Sound Area" ( The museum itself sits on a spit of land that sticks out into Core Sound, an area littered with blinds and famous in North Carolina for its duck hunting. Outside, there is a boat-building exhibit and a 4 acre freshwater waterfowl habitat area containing hiking trails and viewing platforms developed using the expertise of Ducks Unlimited as well as many other wildlife habitat organizations. The planks of the large, wrap-around porch contain plaques that members can dedicate to family or friends when donations are made to fund the many outreach and youth programs the museum sponsor. Two years ago, my father dedicated a plank to my brother and I (his "huntin' buddies") and it is a great way to support the waterfowl heritage while honoring those people that mean the most to you. When you enter the building, the sights and sounds of duck hunting surround you. The exhibits show how life on the Core Sound was when inhabitants engaged in subsistence hunting and fishing, and have a full-size model of a decoy carver's workshop built into the room with examples of every hand-carved, hand-painted decoy possible displayed on the walls. Along with their annual Decoy Festival in the fall, the museum also holds a Junior Duck Stamp competition as well as a waterfowl weekend for the community. The museum truly has something for every aged waterfowler and a definite destination for the family any time of the year. Halfway between seasons duck junkies need to get our fix somehow, and visiting this place and others like it can not only give us an appreciation for our waterfowling community but also encourage us to get involved in conservation efforts for the future of waterfowl.

Jessica Idol
Duck Junkies Pro Staff
North Carolina

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Future Uncertain For Gulf Coast Waterfowl

Well it sure is a mess down here in the open Gulf of Mexico and along the coastal reaches of Louisiana, Alabama and the western panhandle of Florida. No one seems to know when they're going to cap that darned oil leak or just what effect the spillage is going to have on our fisheries or waterfowl season.

In speaking with several biologists this week I learned that there are so many levels to this mess it's impossible to retell all of them here. Suffice to say diver duck hunting and waterfowling along the coastal marsh lands is probably going to be difficult at best.

With the changing nature of this calamity, finding open and unpolluted water is going to be key. Tides, weather systems and varying conditions of all kinds will play important roles in the months to come as more birds begin the migration down to the Gulf Coast. The hunter who can devote enough time to finding these undisturbed areas will be the most successful and will likely find what birds there are concentrated in these locations. Now more than ever, homework will pay off.

For the time being, there has been no discussion of closing waterfowl season along the Gulf Coast of Florida, but that may soon change. As time goes by, more and more oil will surely make it's way to shore. What remains to be seen is how much and when it will happen. With any luck, perhaps our government will move to finally find a solution to the problems at hand.

Inland areas won't be affected at all and may see an increase in the number of visiting waterfowl (one can only hope). Water levels are good in much of Florida right now and habitat is doing well from the northern state line to the Glades along the inland and eastern coastal areas of the peninsula.

More information will be coming in the days and weeks ahead, but the key dates to watch for ar August 27 & 28 when United Waterfowlers - Florida (a local conservation and hunter's activist group) will hold their first annual Waterfowl Summit.

The brain child of members Duke Dubois and Pat Stone, this summit is bringing together biologists, land managers, hydrologists, conservation groups and all manner of experts in the field of waterfowling and related issues to explore the state's present conditions and future outlook with real hunters and the men and women who live the waterfowling way of life. It's the first time (outside of the Flyway Council meetings) that both governmental and private industry folks will have a chance to sit down for a meeting of the minds. Certainly an exciting prospect and possibly a template for future events to take place in other key states.

It's too early to speculate on what will become of our coastal areas, but the tenor is ominous for the time being. I'll keep you posted on what transpires without the spin of government intervention. In the meantime, God bless you all, and enjoy your summer scouting time.

Off-Season Improvement (also on website)

There is always something you can do to better you season as a duck hunter, and some can be fun for everyone. First make sure you dont forget how to shoulder your gun effectively. As a competative shooter for almost a decade I can safely say that one key to good shotgun shooting is gun placement on the shoulder. It only takes the gun to be a little off center to cause someone to miss. There are local ranges all over the US that have awesome Sporting Clays courses but even if they only have skeet or trap fields you can still have just as much fun and get the practice that will improve your shooting. Sometimes you may need to put a spacer in the stock of your gun to compensate for all of the clothes you may have on in the winter just make sure once it gets cold again to take out those spacers so the gun is not hanging up on clothes and ruining the good shot you worked on all summer.
You can also go scout for places that will be an interesting place to hunt in the winter, but since the ducks probably arent there yet take some fishing poles and run around rivers or lake systems looking for places with vegitation that ducks look for in the winter. It is also a great way to get kids into the outdoors and get them used to an area that they may end up hunting in the not so distant future.
Last I know many people don't have to read this but keep your calls near by. Call, call, call this is one thing that separates the men from the boys you may think you sound great when you pick up your call for the first time in months on opening day, but everyone else in the blind can tell you haven't picked up a call since last season. You can always get a tape from a pro or a cd and on your way to and from work throw it in and practice your calling it will definatly make a huge difference.
View this article on website.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Livingston-Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of taking a private tour of the Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy in Litchfield Connecticut. The LRWC began it's life as a lifelong private waterfowl collection of the late S. Dillon Ripley, an orinthologist and professor at Yale University who later became the secretary at the Smithsonian. Along with his impressive backround an a passion for waterfowl the LRWC was born. Mr. Ripley is credited as the first person to propagate some of the most endagered species of waterfowl in the world such as the NeNe goose of Hawaii and the Red Breasted goose of Siberia.
NeNe Geese from Hawaii.
Today the Conservancy is dedicated to waterfowl research and preservation of wetlands. Our guide (and fellow waterfowler) Ian Gereg is the Director of Aviculture and Education at the center. Ian walked us through the many enclosures and around the ponds of the center and educated us on the many worldwide species of waterfowl in the Conservancy's collection.

Note the antenna on the mallard. The center is testing solar powered GPS tracking harnesses. Several LRWC ducks are currently being tracked. One is currently on the Connecticut shore while another is hanging out in Belfast, Maine

This Woody was hand raised for educational purposes. He is brought to classrooms all over to teach children about waterfowl

The center is currently researching the unusual mating habits of the Ruddy Duck

This King Eider resides in the recently completed sea duck habitat. Little is known about sea duck habits due to their remote summer locations

If you ever decide to vacation in Connecticut. The Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy is a must see place for the avid waterfowler. They have ducks and geese from all over the world in a very impressive facility nestled in the hills of Litchfield Connecticut. Check them out at

Suggested NC Set Up (also on website)

Here are a few decoy suggestions for the NC area:
Divers: 3-5 doz total.
Puddle Ducks: 2-4 doz total.

Divers decoy suggestions:
3 doz bluebills,
1 doz redheads,
1/2 doz buffleheads,
1/2 doz ring necks

Puddle Duck Suggestions:
1/2 doz mallards
1/2 doz wood ducks
1 doz blue/green wing teal
1/2 doz widgeon
1 doz pintail
1/2 doz black ducks

Geese Suggestions:
1 doz floaters
2 - 4 doz field full bodies

I use all Avery Green Head Gear Brand Decoys. I buy them at:
Or any place I can find the best deal.

I use a mix of gang line rigs and regular weight systems.

I swear by standing decoy bags, they help you move fast and keep your deeks secure. They provide easy, hands free use, while in the boat or on the bank.

Rig them right decoys weights are sweet for the puddle ducks. I dont like them for the divers because water depth can vary so much and the rounded weights tumble along the bottom in a steady wind.

Just a few ideas/thoughts to get the juices flowing.

Get out and prep your gear, the season is around the corner.

Josh Bourne
Duck Junkies Pro Staff
North Carolina (NC)

View this article on the website.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

California Habitat Updates


Northeastern California is a critical waterfowl region not only for California but for the Pacific Flyway. The region consistently supports one of the highest concentrations of breeding mallards in the state. It also provides an essential spring staging area for waterfowl on their migration back to their northern breeding grounds. The region also provides a unique opportunity to truly "restore" wetlands due to the relatively unaltered natural hydrology.

To request our services, or if you would like more information about projects in Northern California contact Rick Maher, Northeastern California Regional Biologist.

Current Projects:

Ash Creek Wildlife Area:
We are scheduled to complete a 3-year project that will reduce erosion and improve seasonal wetlands on the north side of the wildlife area this year. This project has already reestablished water delivery to an area that had become very difficult to flood. We are excited about the new breeding habitat and hunter opportunity that has resulted from this project.

(Click for full size map)

West Pit Project - Modoc NWR:
We have finished our first project on Modoc NWR this year. This enhancement project focused on a 100-acre unit adjacent to Highway 395. Several new ponds and swales have been constructed and over 1 mile of river banks have been improved. Read more about this project.

(Click for full size map)

Tule Lake NWR:
We are continuing to work with refuge staff and many other partners to expand the Walking Wetlands program. California Waterfowl is partnering in a large, multi-agency project which will allow an additional 1,100 acres to be flooded.

Wetland Reserve Program (WRP):
WRP is a federal Farm Bill program that is intended to take marginal agricultural land out of production and restore them to a natural wetland complex. This program has been instrumental in protecting and restoring wetlands throughout the state, and particularly Northeastern California. California Waterfowl staff are currently working with local agencies to protect and restore over 12,000 acres of wetlands on private lands through this program over the next few years.

Completed Projects
• Northeastern California Completed Habitat Projects Map

Regional Biologist

Rick Maher

Rick began working at California Waterfowl in 2000. Since joining us he has used his years of wetland restoration experience and agricultural background to advance our mission in a critical region of the state.

Meet all the Waterfowl and Wetlands staff.

June 12, 2010

The Sacramento Valley is the core waterfowl area in California. Each year millions of waterfowl migrate to or through this area to take advantage of the plentiful food provided by the many public wildlife areas and refuges, private duck clubs and flooded rice fields. In any given year there are at least 400,000 acres of available water for waterfowl in the region.

California Waterfowl acknowledges the tradition and importance of the Sacramento Valley and focuses on habitat projects that will improve and sustain the conditions in the Valley for many years to come.

To request our services, or if you would like more information about projects in the Sacramento Valley, contact Chadd Santerre, Wetland Project Supervisor/NAWCA Coordinator.

Current Projects:

Upper Butte Basin WA (UBBWA):
California Waterfowl has been working diligently to improve UBBWA for many years. This year's efforts include a 365-acre restoration project on Little Dry Creek WA's units 116, 123 and 129, and an overhaul of the water delivery system to units 110-121. Both projects will be completed and ready to go for the upcoming waterfowl season.

(Click for full size map)

Private Lands Projects:
Funding has been secured for work on 7 private clubs this year scattered throughout the Valley. The cost-share projects will improve wintering and breeding habitat on privately owned and managed wetlands that are critical to waterfowl in California.

(Click for full size map)

Completed Projects
• Sacramento Valley Completed Habitat Projects Map


California Waterfowl has been very busy in the Yolo bypass since 2003. The Yolo Bypass WA was acquired by the state of California in 1997. In 2001, the State purchased an additional 13,000 acres to expand the wildlife area. In partnership with DFG, California Waterfowl was able to leverage millions of dollars in federal funds for habitat restoration and enhancement projects in the region.

To date, California Waterfowl has received over $4-million in state and federal funding since 2003 for work in the Yolo Bypass. The vast majority of our work has been focused on improving habitat and hunting access on the Yolo Bypass WA.

To request our services, or if you would like more information about projects in the Yolo Bypass contact Paul Phillips, Wetland Projects Coordinator.

Current Projects:

Yolo Bypass WA (YBWA):
California Waterfowl will again be working to improve and increase waterfowl habitat and hunting opportunity on YBWA. This year's projects will enhance over 500 acres, restore 90 acres, and improve water delivery to over 1,000 acres of wetlands on YBWA and the adjacent private duck clubs.

Another unique project that will be completed this year is a newly restored youth hunter area, the Fireman's Unit. Construction on this project began in 2008 and is scheduled to be completed and open to hunting this hunting season.

(Click for full size map)

(Click for full size map)

For a map of all California Waterfowl projects on YBWA since 2003, click here>>

Private Land Projects:
California Waterfowl is working with 6 different landowners in and around the Yolo Bypass. These projects will enhance over 2,000 acres of wetlands in the region.

(Click for full size map)

Completed Projects
• Yolo Bypass Completed Habitat Projects Map

Regional Biologist

Paul Phillips

Paul came to California Waterfowl after working for DFG at Yolo Bypass WA. His local knowledge and good working relationships with DFG staff has allowed habitat development projects in the region to run very smoothly.

Meet all the Waterfowl and Wetlands staff.


In recent years California Waterfowl has become very active in Suisun Marsh and is currently working closely with the Suisun Resource Conservation District (SRCD) and the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) to continue to deliver quality habitat projects in the Suisun Marsh.

2009 promises to be a busy year for us in the Marsh. We are scheduled to spend over $2-million of federal, state and private funds to enhance over 13,000 acres of habitat throughout the marsh.

To request our services, or if you would like more information about projects in Suisun Marsh contact Robert Eddings, Suisun Marsh Regional Biologist.

Current Projects:

Grizzly Island Wildlife Area (GIWA):
California Waterfowl has several projects running on GIWA this year. Our biggest project is a large upland restoration, enhancement and waterfowl nesting research project on fields 13 & 14. This project has allowed us to use years of gathered data to develop a plan to improve local waterfowl nesting habitat on GIWA.

Additional work planned for this year on GIWA will include a continued effort to upgrade and replace old water control structures and lift pumps. This will help DFG staff manage the area efficiently and help reduce mosquito production.

(Click for full size map)

(Click for full size map)

Joice Island Wildlife Area:
We have been working hard on Joice Island for the past 4 years. Past projects have replaced all water control structures with new plastic pipe and stainless steel gates. This year's efforts will focus on pond grading and swale excavation to improve water flow, habitat diversity and improved public hunting opportunity.

(Click for full size map)

West Family Unit Youth Hunt Area:
A complete overhaul of the habitat and hunting access will be completed this year. Extensive pond grading and swale excavation will improve the habitat quality and diversity and improve management of the area. Additionally, many old, dilapidated hunting blinds will be removed and replaced, and a new mobility impaired blind will be added. Read more about this project.
(Click for full size map)

Grizzly Ranch:
A grant was recently funded to improve habitat conditions on the 900-acre Grizzly Ranch which hosts California Waterfowl's Youth Hunting Program. The goal of this project is to improve the overall quality of habitat on the property and to improve and increase youth hunting opportunity on the ranch.
(Click for full size map)

Private Lands Projects:
We will be working with 20 different landowners this year to improve waterfowl habitat on their lands in Suisun Marsh. Projects are focused on improving water flow through the habitat to help minimize salt accumulation to ensure wetlands remain attractive to waterfowl.
(Click for full size map)

Completed Projects
• Suisun Marsh Completed Habitat Projects Map

Regional Staff

Robert Eddings

Robert has been with California Waterfowl since 2003. He has worked throughout the state on many habitat projects, but has settled in Suisun Marsh and has driven California Waterfowl's efforts in Suisun Marsh.

Meet all the Waterfowl and Wetlands staff.


The San Joaquin Valley used to be one of the most waterfowl rich areas in California. But, extensive diversions and pumping dried up much of the Valley and agriculture replaced wetlands. California Waterfowl has focused on increasing dependable and sustainable water delivery to wetland areas and continues to build infrastructure that will allow public and private managers alike to use water as efficiently as possible.

To request our services, or if you would like more information about projects in the San Joaquin Valley, contact Rich Wright, Grasslands Regional Biologist.

Current Projects

Mendota WA:
Working with California Duck Stamp funds we will provide a water source for fields 3 and 18. Water delivery is currently being re-engineered to provide a reliable water source to flood the units completely. Additional state funds through a mosquito prevention agreement will focus on ensuring wetland units can be flooded and drained quickly and reducing problem vegetation. This includes work on many of the main pumps that flood the wetlands. These efforts will reduce mosquito production and improve wetland food production for waterfowl.

(Click for full size map)

Los Banos WA:
The planned work includes vegetation control done by disking wetland units, excavating and cleaning delivery and drainage waterways to improve flooding and drainage capabilities, and earthwork focusing on improving micro-topography. Earthwork is concentrated in units 25 A,B,C, and unit 67A. In addition, federal funds are going to be spent on the Buttonwillow Lakes to help restore natural hydrology.

North Grasslands WA, Salt Slough Unit:
California Duck Stamp funds are being utilized to change and increase the size of weirs on the main water delivery system, re-grade field 41 to improve habitat quality and eliminate perennial pepperweed and to construct swales and levees in field 4. Mosquito funds are being spent on cover management, which will reduce tall emergent vegetation and promote new stands of low growing waterfowl food plants.

North Grasslands WA, China Island Unit:
Work on China Island will cover many of the wetland units and water supply. Units scheduled for work include 10, 11 and 12. A main water supply well will be rehabilitated to supplement surface water deliveries. In addition, the main flood control levee will be retrofitted in spots where erosion is a problem. Lastly, the return water system will be cleaned up to allow for water re-circulation that will save valuable water to be used on wetland irrigations.

Grassland Water District Infrastructure Projects:
California Waterfowl has been working on Grassland Water District Projects in both the North and South Grasslands. In 2009, the Bennett Ditch will be improved with a large new weir, excavation and bank building. In addition, the Agatha Canal and its extensions are being worked on. This compliments earlier work on the Helm Canal completed in 2008 in the South Grasslands. All of these projects help ensure reliable water delivery to public and privately owned wetlands throughout the region.

San Joaquin River Parkway:
California Waterfowl has partnered in a riparian restoration project in the San Joaquin River Parkway. The parkway is a wetland and upland area that stretches along the San Joaquin River downstream of Friant Dam. The area is currently being restored and will provide many recreational uses.

Kern County Tulare Basin Private Wetland Enhancement Project:
Work has started on 2 new deep wells, one lift pump, a return water re-circulation system, and over 9,300 feet of PVC pipelines. All projects are seeking to bolster water supplies and improve water-use efficiency. Pipelines transport the water to wetlands, reducing water loss due to percolation and evaporation. These water savings and increase in supply will improve wetland habitat and will also provide more water during the spring that will be available for irrigations of wetland food plants. USFWS and Kern NWR are partnering on the project and will benefit from increased water supplies as well.

(Click for full size map)

Private Land Projects:
California Waterfowl and its partners, including the Central Valley Joint Venture and Wildlife Conservation Board and a litany of private duck clubs have been enhancing habitat by improving delivery and drainage of wetlands, rebuilding levees, and installing weirs. This year's efforts will improve wetlands on 12 private duck clubs in the region.

(Click for full size map)

Completed Projects
• San Joaquin Valley Completed Habitat Projects Map

Regional Biologist

Rich Wright

With degrees in wildlife environmental science and biology Rich is well suited for work in the San Joaquin Valley where water is always a limiting factor.

Meet all the Waterfowl and Wetlands staff.


California Waterfowl's first habitat project in southern California took place at San Jacinto Wildlife Area in Riverside County in 2007. In 2008, we hired a full-time biologist and stationed him in Murrieta to continue our efforts. Since then, we have received over $2.5-million in state and federal funds for habitat work in the Mystic Lake and Salton Sea Areas.

Although wetlands are not as prevalent in these areas as they used to be, California Waterfowl will continue to improve and restore and increase waterfowl populations throughout the region.

To request our services, or if you would like more information about habitat projects in southern California contact Greg Heydeman, Southern California Regional Biologist

Current Projects:

Imperial Valley WA - Wister Unit:
California Waterfowl was the recent recipient of a $438,000 Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) grant to enhance 225 acres of wetlands in the Wister Unit of the Imperial Valley Wildlife Area. The grant will also enable a water delivery pipeline that will benefit an additional 315 acres.

(Click for full size map)

Private Land Projects:
California Waterfowl completed enhancement projects on 4 private duck clubs near the Salton Sea. During 2009 over 370 acres of private land wetlands were enhanced in the Imperial Valley.

(Click for full size map)

Completed Projects
• Southern California Completed Habitat Projects Map