November - December 2015

ND15

Cooking: Wild Ducks on the Side

About this time every year, I get requests from folks who want to share their harvested ducks and geese with family and friends during the holidays. Wild waterfowl don't look or taste like their domestic cousins, but they can still be part of your holiday dinner. One of the best ways to serve them is in creative and flavorful side dishes. Here are two of my favorites. (By Scott Leysath)

Cradles of American Decoy Carving

Following are some of the storied places that spawned the golden era of American decoy making and the carvers who turned simple blocks of wood into functional works of art.

Plan Early for Next Year's Waterfowl Season

Not long after the season ends, most waterfowl hunters are already thinking about the next one. Over the ensuing months, they check out winter snow cover on the prairies, waterfowl population and habitat surveys, and summer wetland conditions. Finally, sometime in late summer, comes the announcement of waterfowl hunting regulations, which include season frameworks and daily bag limits in each flyway. Only then can waterfowl hunters make their plans for the upcoming season. That's about to change.

Geese on a Budget

You see them on outdoor TV shows—goose guides driving monster pickup trucks and pulling decal-covered trailers loaded with full-body decoys, ATVs, portable blinds, flags, and other gear. Former world goose calling champions Field Hudnall and Kelley Powers advise hunters against mistaking these accoutrements of success as necessities for it. Here's their advice on how to experience quality goose hunting without shooting holes in your budget.

Seven Pointers for Puddle Ducks

Many duck hunters are generalists. Sometimes, though, it's better to use specific tactics to target individual species. Following are tips designed to help you fine-tune your waterfowling methods to bag more puddlers in these and other species-specific hunting scenarios.

Conservation: DU's Wings and Wetlands Initiative

The Pacific Northwest encompasses some of the most beautiful and varied landscapes in North America, including vast forests, soaring mountains, broad river valleys, fertile farmland, and productive estuaries. This breathtaking region, spanning Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, supports millions of migrating and wintering ducks, geese, and swans that follow the Pacific Flyway.

Understanding Waterfowl: Ducks in Motion

Whether it's a huge flock of lesser snow geese passing overhead, a hen pintail leading her recently hatched brood overland, or a canvasback diving for aquatic vegetation, waterfowl are fascinating to watch when they are on the move.

Waterfowler's Notebook: Keeping Warm

Many non-waterfowlers share the misconception that you have to be cold, wet, and miserable to hunt ducks and geese. That couldn't be further from the truth. With modern outdoor wear, it's easy to stay comfortable in the blind, marsh, or field regardless of weather conditions. Here's how.

Super Sniffers

Many years ago I had a German short-haired pointer named Nick. He was the runt of the litter, but he grew up to become 65 pounds of solid muscle. We were living in the far northwest suburbs of Chicago at the time, and I was a member of a small duck club that just happened to share a property line with a commercial put-and-take upland bird hunting operation. Pheasants, quail, and chukars that eluded the day-shooters sometimes ended up on the duck club property, where they became fair game.