Many hunters spend a weekend or two each fall cutting willow and oak branches to brush their duck blinds. One weekend last spring, I dug up the rhizomes (roots) of cattails and young willow saplings and planted them in the mud around my blind. They grew well over the summer and made my blind much less conspicuous this season. In the future, a little pruning will be all that is needed to prepare my blind for the hunting season.
—Mark Ernst, Bedford, Texas
Geese are easy to age. Simply look at their tail feathers. Juvenile geese have a V notch at the tip of their tail feathers. Adult geese, however, have a rounded or pointed tip on their tail feathers.
—Fran Gough, Macungie, Pennsylvania
The philosophy behind the movement of decoys is to make the decoy seem alive and draw the ducks' attention. Most of the new motion decoys, however, are expensive and can be a hassle to operate in some hunting areas. An inexpensive solution is to tie some of your decoy anchor lines around the center of the keel, using a cleat hitch. This makes the decoys much more responsive to wind and current than when the lines are tied to either end of the keel.
—Steve Mayes, Hopkinsville, Kentucky
How does your duck calling sound? If you are a beginning duck hunter or a seasoned veteran, you can improve your calling by listening to yourself. This can be accomplished by recording yourself with a tape recorder. Listen for weaknesses in your repertoire, then practice to improve them.
—Matthew Johnson, Lawrence, Kansas
A great way to put a realistic camo paint job on your duck boat or other equipment is to use pieces of tree branches with leaves as stencils for spray paint. Hold the natural stencil material near the boat and make a pass with the spray can, creating a faint, shadowy outline. Try to make shadowy images rather than hard, crisp impressions. Move around the boat, making spray patterns at different angles and with different colors. The end result will be a highly realistic camouflage that is much more aesthetic than most paint jobs you see at the local boat landing.
—Larry Robinson, Lupton, Michigan