By Wade Bourne
Sometimes tradition can get in the way of a good duck shoot. Several years ago, I was in Arkansas for a hunt on a private green-timber reservoir. At breakfast, my host informed me, “If we don’t get our limits by 9:30, we’ll come in then.”
“Why do you quit so early?” I inquired.
“That’s just the way we’ve always hunted,” my host responded. “The best shooting is usually in the first three hours of the morning. After that, we don’t get much action.”
I bit my lip and kept quiet, but I wanted to say, “You might be missing some of the best shooting of the day.” Sometimes the midday period offers spectacular action. It can be a time when ducks work well or when flight birds show up.
For instance, one of my regular hunting locales is Reelfoot Lake in northwest Tennessee. Reelfoot hunters typically get a flash of action the first hour or so in the morning, and then the shooting slacks off. But on many days, big flights appear in the 10 o’clock to noon period, and they are usually in a working mood. These ducks have fed in rice fields in northeast Arkansas or southeast Missouri and are returning to the lake to rest throughout the afternoon. They respond well to calling and the lure of the lake’s big decoy spreads. Hunters who give up and head in too soon miss this return flight.