9. Spruce Up Your Duck Blind
Building a better duck blind is all about having the right perspective-that of a duck in flight rather than your own earthbound view. Think back over last season. If circling ducks frequently appeared to shy away from your blind, you may want to make some changes.
If, for instance, birds often landed wide of your blind, maybe you should rethink your brushing strategy, modify the width of the shooting box, lower the overall height of the blind, or possibly even relocate it. (Sometimes ducks land around the next bend in the creek simply because that particular spot-even though only 80 yards from your decoys-naturally appeals to them.) Now is the time to decide what, if any, changes should be made, and to get on with the work.
If you hunt from a boat blind like the Avery Quick Set (800-333-5119), be sure to inspect the camouflage panels for damage, leaving enough time before opening day to purchase new ones. If stored properly after each duck season, these camo panels should provide many years of use.
10. Get in a Duck Hunting State of Mind
As the hot summer days grow a little shorter, a subtle crispness in the night air pushes your thoughts northward-to the pothole country. You imagine mallards by the thousands feeding in the barley, fattening up for the journey soon to come.
It seems an eternity ago when you watched the sun set on another duck season, but now the dawn of a new one is close at hand. And, just like last year, you're thankful to be a part of this again, waiting on the first cold fronts, anticipating the first flock-wings cupped, greenheads colorful as autumn-dropping into the decoys.
Slowly, you are returning to a duck hunting state of mind. Here are some suggestions to make the anticipation all the sweeter.
- Reread your favorite waterfowling stories. Gordon MacQuarrie, Gene Hill, Nash Buckingham, Norm Strung-they (and others) will refuel your passion for birds, decoys, dogs, and all things waterfowling. A few personal favorites: Strung's "Bayman's Solstice"; MacQuarrie's "Nervous Breakdown," "Pothole Guys, Friz Out," and "Make Mine Bluebills"; Hill's "Geese and Men" and "Martin"; and Buckingham's "What Rarer Day."
- Get involved in your local DU community. Ask the committee chairman how you might play a role in making this year's event the most successful ever. Volunteering your time and skills for the benefit of the resource not only engenders great personal satisfaction, but also opens the door to new friendships with others who enjoy the outdoors.
- One final way to get in a duck hunting frame of mind: Watch great waterfowling action in classic North American settings on DU TV. Of course, most of us will be working on duck blinds (or fishing), training retrievers (or fishing), or searching for new hunting spots (or fishing) on Saturday mornings over the next few weeks, so this might be a good time for the kids to explain how to program the VCR.