By Wade Bourne
As Confucius once said, "Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated." The same axiom applies to waterfowl hunting. Sometimes we make the sport more challenging than it has to be by burdening ourselves with too much gear
, traveling great distances in search of birds, and pushing our bodies to the point of exhaustion.
I've hunted ducks and geese for more than five decades, and over the years I've learned that great waterfowling doesn't have to be difficult. Following are several ways in which I've simplified my waterfowling and also increased my enjoyment of the sport by planning better, hunting smarter
, and fine-tuning my priorities.
Block Out Some Time
Years ago when I was working as a waterfowl guide, I had a regular client who owned a horse farm in Kentucky's Bluegrass region. Every day I'd have to ferry him to a nearby store two or three times so he could make business-related phone calls. He couldn't relax because of his continual need to check in, and of course this put a damper on his hunting success and enjoyment. With today's mobile devices
, you can even stay connected to the office while you're in the duck blind. And that's not necessarily a good thing for waterfowlers.
When hunting season comes in, a busy schedule complicates and adds stress to a waterfowler's life. To avoid conflicts, block out your hunting dates, then adjust your schedule around the times you've set aside. Put in for vacation time well in advance of opening day. Arrange meetings and appointments around the dates you chose. If possible, do the same with family and holiday activities. Be sure to make these hunting dates inviolable. Then stick to your plan.
Hunt Closer to Home
I live in north-central Tennessee
, and for several years I hunted mainly in Arkansas
. The hunting was good, but the travel was long. My drive from home to camp was six hours. Many times I'd hit the road after work and arrive in camp late at night. I'd hunt hard for a day or two, then make the long drive back home, arriving exhausted and ill-tempered. It was just too much.
Today I've shifted most of my hunting to western Kentucky
and southeast Missouri
. I'm still hunting in good country
, and I've cut my driving time by more than half. As a result, I'm more rested and less hurried.
Instead of spending long hours on the road, look for hunting opportunities closer to home. Minimizing travel can help you maximize your hunting time.