May - June 2016

MJ16

2016 DU Member Photo Contest: Hunting Honorable Mentions

Take a look at the outstanding images captured by this year's winners

2016 DU Member Photo Contest: Retrievers Honorable Mentions

Take a look at the outstanding images captured by this year's winners

2016 DU Member Photo Contest: Waterfowl Honorable Mentions

Take a look at the outstanding images captured by this year's winners

2016 DU Member Photo Contest

Check out this amazing collection of images captured by this year's winners

Cross-Training Your Retriever

Retrievers that lie around all summer and pack on weight are not likely to perform up to par in the duck blind when waterfowl season starts. Because there are no shortcuts to conditioning a duck dog, Mike Stewart recommends regular exercise throughout the year. He's a big believer in cross-training retrievers by engaging them in a variety of activities such as hunting, swimming, running, and walking as part of a sporting lifestyle. Here are seven fun cross-training activities that you can do with your retriever to add variety to his training program during the off-season.

Secrets of Successful Shooters

Great waterfowl shots are made, not born. It often takes thousands of rounds fired at clay targets and game birds to master the art of wingshooting. While there is no substitute for experience, good advice can save you from common mistakes that separate average shooters from experts. Recently I interviewed five of the nation's most accomplished shotgunners for their advice on how waterfowlers can improve their shooting skills. Here's what they had to say.

Status of the Pintail

As you read this, hen northern pintails are well into the trials and tribulations of their annual breeding effort. What happens during these few short months, including the number of ducklings that hatch and fledge and the number of females that survive, greatly influences whether the pintail population grows or declines. Where pintails choose to nest across their vast breeding range has a significant impact on their productivity and, consequently, on how many birds migrate south in the fall.

Savory Grilled Duck or Goose Kabobs

When it comes to casual dining, there are few items as handy as a tasty ribbon of meat threaded onto a wooden skewer. You grasp the skewer in one hand and hold your favorite beverage in the other. What could be better than that on a pleasant summer day?

Understanding Waterfowl: The Amazing Egg

For waterfowl, the cycle of life begins anew each year with the eggs that are laid and carefully nurtured by nesting birds on their breeding grounds. An egg consists of three main parts: the yolk, albumen (egg white), and shell. Everything a duckling needs for its development is contained within these three components.

Mastering the Blind Retrieve

Retrievers are hard-wired to fetch fallen birds. When a retriever sees a bird fall, his natural instinct is to go out and get it. Honing that innate ability so the dog hunts for you and not for himself is the key to the training process. For this reason, the blind retrieve is perhaps the ultimate test of a finished duck dog.

Shotgunning: Fighting Recoil

Recoil is a mathematical function of three factors: gun weight, payload weight (shot, wad, and powder), and payload velocity. Gun makers can't change the laws of physics to make guns recoil less, but they can soften the blow by reducing felt recoil (aka kick). Bear in mind, however, that everyone feels recoil differently. A recoil reducer that works for one shooter may not help another. Following is a look at the best technology and techniques available for taming excessive recoil.

The Alaska Initiative: Born to Fly

Alaska is home to some of the most expansive and unspoiled wetlands on earth. The state also ranks among North America's most important waterfowl production areas, supporting 15 to 20 percent of the continent's breeding ducks, geese, and swans. From the rugged southern coast to the sprawling interior to the remote tundra of the North Slope, Alaska is a vast and wild place.

Will Water Be the Oil of the Future?

Mark Twain has been credited with coining the phrase "whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over." When I checked out a website dedicated to verifying quotes from Mark Twain, it stated there is no firm evidence that he made this statement, nor evidence to discredit it. Mark Twain died in 1910, and there is little record of this statement being used before the 1980s, when Warren (Bob) Neufeld, director of the South Dakota Department of Water and Natural Resources, was quoted as saying "whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting."