For many years, I hunted ducks from a small, two-person plastic boat with a trolling motor powered by a battery. For a headlight, we used a fisherman's floating crappie light-essentially a car headlight mounted in a styrofoam case. This inexpensive lamp provides plenty of light on small waters and will float if dropped overboard. -Mark Miller, Bettendorf, Iowa
Looking for a readily available material for camouflaging your duck blind? Try using pampas or ornamental grass that is widely used for landscaping. A good time to find it is in the winter, after it has died, when many landscapers are glad to get rid of it. Try inquiring at golf courses, which often use a lot of this vegetation. Use gloves when working with the grass, because some varieties will have sharp edges. This durable, natural material blends well with most autumn marsh vegetation and can be easily affixed to boats or blinds. -F. Schlenk, Via E-mail
One of the greatest pleasures in waterfowling is enjoying a hot cup of coffee or tea in the duck blind on a cold morning, and many waterfowlers carry a thermos in their gear bag for this purpose. Cleaning the unsightly stains left in a thermos after a season of heavy use, however, can be a problem no amount of scrubbing can cure. An easy solution is to use denture cleaning tablets sold at your local drugstore or supermarket, which will remove the toughest stains from the steel, plastic, or glass interior of most thermoses. -John and Donna Pittenger, Fergus Falls, Minnesota
I hunt a lot of shallow marshes requiring scouting by foot in the early hours of the morning. For this type of scouting, your trusty pocket flashlight will not provide enough light to see more than 10 feet in front you. To help me find hidden holes in the dark, I take a Q-beam and a motorcycle battery (much lighter than your car battery) stored in a modified, hard plastic cooler. I cut two holes in the top of the cooler lid to tightly slide over the battery terminals and lock in place. This not only helps keep the Q-beam clips secured to the terminals, it also keeps the battery from getting wet. Now you can scout all over the marsh and report back to your buddies at the boat, "I found it. Grab a bag of decoys!" Carrying the Q-beam and battery is now the easy part. -Nathan E. Miller, Jacksonville, Florida
When cleaning up waterfowl at home or back at camp, be sure to place the birds in the side of the kitchen sink that does not contain the garbage disposal. Unlike softer lead shot, an errant steel shot pellet, especially large shot sizes, can lock up your disposal and cost you an expensive plumbing bill. -T. Knighten Starnes Jr., North Little Rock, Arkansas
True North Memory Aid
Dabbling ducks typically land short of decoys. Early season-use more hens than drakes. Calling will add realism to your decoys. Offer the birds an inviting opening to land. You should keep puddler and diver decoys separate. Insure that ducks can land into the wind over your spread. Nasty, windy weather is a duck hunter's best friend. Go where the birds are. -Chuck Kartak, Center City, Minnesota
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