It has been over 25 years since the ban on lead shot for hunting waterfowl took effect. In spite of this length of time, a tremendous amount of misinformation still exists regarding non-toxic shot. In order for beginners and experienced waterfowl hunters alike to find the non-toxic shot that is right for them, let’s take a close look at the various forms of non-toxic ammunition.
Waterfowl Gear & Technique
Like anglers, duck hunters have their home waters they know well, but, just like fisherman, they dream of other places, destinations famous for the opportunities they offer. Sometimes those stories are just rumors, but in the case of these ten waterfowling destinations, the reality is often even better than their reputation.
10. Beaver Dam, Mississippi – Made popular in the early part of the last century by Nash Buckingham, this flooded oxbow still holds its own today as a great place to fill the bird strap with a mixed bag of mallards and gray ducks.
It is safe to say the Versa Max semiautomatic shotgun has secured a place in the pantheon of storied auto-loaders from Remington. For the past three years, the shotgun has redefined how auto-loaders should operate: reliably, no matter what kind of shells you stuff in the magazine. Now that its success is cemented, Remington is expanding the line, including this new Waterfowl Pro edition, which I had the opportunity to put through the paces during a snow goose at Habitat Flats last spring.
All the essentials you’ll need for a day of waterfowling
Back in the day, duck hunters didn’t carry blind bags into the field. I know my pop, now 75, and I didn’t. And the reason was simple: We didn’t need them because we didn’t carry much stuff.
As waterfowl hunters, there are topics of maintenance we tend to on a regular basis. We clean our shotguns, post-hunt, with almost a religious fervor. Boats are washed, decoys are organized and stored, and blind bags emptied, checked, double-checked, and repacked. Retrievers, too, are fed, rubbed down, and, if they are anything like ours, set to sleep on a blanket in front of the wood-burner. After all, they have certainly earned the right, eh?
It’s an old joke, but it’s quite appropriate given the topic here. A young man, an up-and-coming professional violinist and new to the Big City, asks a seasoned musician the question: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Without a moment’s hesitation, the artist replies matter-of-factly: “Practice, young man. Practice.”
I’ve owned a lot of decoy bags since my first duck hunt in 1974.
In fact, I’d hate to think how many decoy bags I’ve owned and lost or ruined or sunk over the past four decades.
Some of these plastic-toting packs have been quite well-designed and have worked exactly as intended; others, well, I’m not overly upset I don’t have them anymore.
So, jaded man that I am, I unwrapped Cabela’s Northern Flight Floating Decoy Bag with mixed expectations.
It’s true. There are some incredible public-land waterfowling opportunities scattered across this great nation of ours. Take, for instance, the Columbia River. Or Kansas’ Cheyenne Bottoms. The Mississippi. California’s refuge system. The Chesapeake Bay. Some hunters spend their entire duck hunting careers on these open-to-anyone waters, and wouldn’t think of going anyplace else.
Even so, I’ve enjoyed many memorable waterfowl hunts on private lands from coast to coast.
Things happen, guns fail and the perfect hiding spot isn’t always readily available. These things surmise the life of duck hunters who spend their time outdoors in the most unforgiving conditions.
While new-age blind bags are full of pockets and organized space, that doesn’t mean we have to fill each of them up with extra ammo, food and four game straps either. Instead of wasting space, try taking these five tools with you on your next adventure.
While you might never need to use them, they can sure save the day when you do.
The satisfaction of watching a group of Canada geese confidently landing 10 feet in front of you is undeniable, especially when your well-rehearsed calling convinced them to commit.