This is supposed to be brief, ah it's in the soul... be warned - I've been divorced for the reason "Your honor, he spent too much time out hunting ducks." I like to write about my favorite sport WATERFOWLING. Waterfowl hunted in MN since 1968, started around age 4, of course I didn't shoot. My father learned the sport and art of setting blocks from an old market hunter during the 1950's - 60's, he taught me. By the mid-70's the birds had shifted to the west toward the dakotas and less and less bills came to the big waters of Winne and Lake Superior. I moved westward in my college days and discovered the flyway At that time I used as many Bluebill decoys as I could afford or find, Mallard decoys and 6 Canada Goose Floaters. This was really the first experience I had with calling and decoying geese, and shooting Canvasbacks and Redheads. During the early 80's I lived in Alaska, it was here I found that shingles placed on the field and a white/black hankerchief waved could work quite well on Speckle Bellies and Cranes. Alaska shooting was unbelievable with flocks of puddle ducks, divers, cranes and geese. Served the country on both coasts, it was while on the Virginia seaboard I found out about tides and Mallards that taste like fish. I reside in Oregon state. Some mallards still can taste like fish, especially if they've been eating Salmon eggs. Been whackin ducks and geese here and in Washington for about 30 years. Recently, I've taken to hunting geese during the winter and spring seasons while hunting ducks as the storms move them down the Pacific Flyway. Most my childhood experience was all Bluebill shoots with bags of decoys, long anchor lines and ice cold water. Now it seems I shoot more puddle ducks and geese, watch the tides and the weather, haul less quantity and more quality, no not exactly. Tangle free decoy line and large snaps revolutionized my decoy rigging. I use what has worked and experiment too. I do still like to hunt from a boat, set a large spread and have the rush of the jet engine sound as the birds hit and bank. My part of conservation is don't shoot the birds that need help, go whack the ones with healthy populations. There's nothing wrong with Green Wing Teal and Widgeons if they have good populations or clean tasting Mallards. I attempt to promote the sport through family and friends. Currently I have 2 new hunters interested, it's great when birds are in and the guns go Boom, Boom, Boom. Most of the group got motivated by eating the meat first. There's a lot to be said about cooking wild game so it tastes better than any other meat source. There's been a not so long line of awesome Golden, Black, Yellow and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. I'm not a great shotgunner, nor caller, nor dog trainer, though I don't leave home without 'em, hunt 100% over some type of decoy, use of a boat can be optional, use of a dog is not. I shoot many different shotguns, though have used Browning most of my adult life. Black Cloud is always in the line up on short - mid range ducks. I don't need the long range anymore, taken to shooting 2 3/4" #4 and the 3" #2 vs the heavy 3 1/2 BC in BB for ducks and geese. Safe and happy Hunting!
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