Waterfowl tips that help improve your success in the field.

Snow Goose Hunting Concealment

Snow goose hunting can be some of the funnest waterfowl hunting of the year. It can also be the most frustrating. No matter how many dozens of decoys you set, if you are not hidden, then you can kiss your success good bye. Trying to fool flocks of hundreds if not thousands of geese offers an incredible challenge. As if all of the eyes weren’t enough, you could also be dealing with geese that have been around for 10 years or better. In order to have any kind of success at all, staying hidden should be priority number 1.

Layout Blind Strategies

Layout Blinds For Snow Goose HuntingLayout blinds are a great tool for waterfowl hunters. They offer the comfort of a head and back rest and will also help keep you out of the elements. Unfortunately, they can be a snow goose hunter’s worst enemy. Snow geese have a knack for picking out those rectangular coffins even when immersed in 1000+ decoys. If you’re going to use layout blinds while snow goose hunting, stubble your blinds until you think it’s good enough, then stubble it for 30 more minutes. Even then, it might not be concealed enough! When we use layout blinds for snow goose hunting concealment, we typically offset them away from the landing zone. Instead of arranging them along the leading edge of birds, we’ll set it to the side. This takes the focus off us. Snow geese feed agressively and like to land on the upwind side of other geese. Rather than having our blinds be in that area, we’ll hide off to the side of it. If you’re using windsock style decoys, being off to the side will mean the decoys will be pointed across you rather than in line with you. Decoys lined in this manner will offer more concealment across your blinds rather than in line with them. It’s far from fool proof, but it can definitely increase your odds for getting snow geese into the decoys.

White Suits

Another tactic we’ve utilized is white suits. Tyvek painters suits are readily available at Lowe’s, Home Depot, and even Walmart. They’re cheap and offer snow goose hunters the ability to lay among the spread while blending in. There are also snow suits for purchase out of regular material, but when dealing with the muddy conditions often associated with Spring, cheap throwaway tyvek suits are a better alternative. This option for concealment while snow goose hunting doesn’t offer protection from the elements, but gives hunters an un-obstructed view of all that’s going on. It is definitely a different perspective then looking through the mesh of a layout blind. Hard Core Brands is coming out with a great tool for snow goose hunters who like to lay in the decoys. Their Snow Goose Blind/Decoy Bag is basically a wedge that will offer back support and double as a decoy bag. This will help keep your upper body out of the mud and offer more comfort than simply laying on the ground. Be sure to wear a face mask and gloves if utilizing the method for snow goose hunting concealment.

Successful snow goose hunting is a lot of about numbers of decoys, but if anything rivals being #1, it is concealment. You’re dealing with a large number of geese and many of them had many numerous trips up and down the flyway and have Snow Goose Hunting Concealmentseen countless numbers of spreads. Making it appear as though you are not there is a huge part in winning the battle.



Why I Waterfowl Hunt

waterfowl huntI like to think of myself as a versatile hunter. I chase turkeys, squirrels, rabbits, deer and doves throughout the year with plenty of dedication and passion. Despite the gusto I give each game animal, I believe every hunter should have one type of hunting by which he or she defines themselves. For me this is waterfowl.

My obsession with waterfowl borders on the unhealthy. What is so special about waterfowl hunting is that it takes some of the best things from other hunting pursuits and then adds in it’s own special characteristics that make it unique. Here’s what I love about it:


Waterfowl have incredible eyesight and in order to be successful you have to get your camo right. I have a closet full of different patterns that I like to mix and match depending on where we are hunting. The search for concealment extends to our blinds which give us plenty to stay busy with during the off-season. And of course there’s facepaint which has become all the rage in the hunting world and for good reason. It’s effective and it looks pretty cool in photos. My daughters call it my ‘war paint’.


I love my deer rifle, but my shotgun is my pride and joy. Waterfowl hunting means shooting animals on the move. It’s fast-paced and requires constant practice to improve. For me it’s also the most challenging and quite frankly the most fun type of shooting I do.


There’s a reason that waterfowl hunters get a reputation for being crazy. We welcome adverse conditions because they bring on some of the best action we get. Rain, sleet, cold. We take pride in hunting with ice in our beards. We’re like the postmen of the hunting world.


Upland hunters get to take their dogs into the field and I’ve loved hunting behind them when I’ve had the opportunity, but usually they are out in front and the interaction with them is mostly all work. With waterfowl hunting, the dogs are in the blinds with us, sharing a snack and snuggling up to us in cold weather. On solo days our dogs make great companions and I have been known to have long conversations with my lab. When they get a chance to make a picture-perfect retrieve it almost feels like a bonus.


Hunters love their gear. If the saying, “He with the most toys wins,” then waterfowlers are the champs. Our style of hunting can require dozens of decoys, plenty of clothing, a variety of blinds, boats, waders and the list goes on. I won’t speculate about how many marriages have been placed in jeopardy by the quest for more gear, but I will say that my Cabelas wish list is obscene.


Especially when hunting ducks, we take to the water. Whether it is a knee-deep pothole or the open ocean, waterfowlers are happy to be on the water because that is where the birds are. It adds an extra dimension to our hunts and feels a little more like an adventure.


I use calls with deer and turkey and occasionally even with squirrels. It’s a chance to interact with animals and calling adds an extra dimension to any hunting trip. With waterfowl hunting, effective calling is the mark of an experienced hunter. When you turn a whole flock in your direction, your hearts skip a beat. Working in tandem with other experienced callers is an art itself. And let’s face it, a lanyard full of calls is the universal symbol of waterfowling. You won’t ever catch me in the field without mine.


Lat year I shot my deer on opening day of gun season. I just needed one doe to fill my freezer and while I was happy it was a successful hunt, it was weird driving home and knowing they season was already over. With waterfowling I can shoot plenty of birds all season long and not feel greedy about it.


Waterfowl hunting is often a team sport. Because it doesn’t require perfect silence you can have a good conversation when there aren’t birds overhead. Working as a team to call and flag birds into gun range is extremely gratifying. Having friends there to take your picture after the hunt and recount the best moments of the day is even better. The older I get the more important I find these friendships to be in my life. Waterfowl hunting gives me lots of opportunities to spend time with competent hunters in pursuit of a sport we love and for that I am grateful.


Mike Dwyer is a writer and outdoorsman from Louisville, KY. His work can be found at Ordinary Times and at mikedwyerwrites.com. Mike is also active on Twitter and Facebook.

PRT Retriever Training Products

Quality retriever training products are essential for proper training. Most hunters have thousands of dollars invested in their retriever, and each year dozens of hours go into training for hunt tests and waterfowl hunting season. Ease of use, durability, and cost are all important when selecting retriever training products and PRT Products are at the top of each of these categories.

The Cache River Blind

This blind stands on it’s own when it comes to training blinds. As a memeber of my local UKC retriever club, I have worked with quite a few blind stands. The 500D Cordura® Nylon fabric that this 8 foot blind is constructed with is by the most durable, water proof fabric I’ve seen on a blind stand. The three poles are made of thick steel that will put up with whatever you throw at it. In my opinion, this blind is the best on the market and the most reasonably priced! Whether I’m training on blind manners for a hunt test or using it to hide a launcher or bumper boy, this blind is perfect..

Dog Training BlindsPRT Retriever Training Products


Lone Gunman Deluxe Shotgun Stand

When it comes to training and using shotguns, a gun stand is a necessity! Handling a dog and a shotgun at the same time is unsafe and an accident waiting to happen. This stand has a very soft material on the cradle to rest the gun in. This helps keep your gun’s finish still intact with no harsh metal on metal contact. The two hooks on opposing side are ideal for hanging training essentials such as poppers, training remotes, calls, and whistles. Let’s not forget about the steel it’s made from as well. Coming from a guy that is hard on equipment, I have no fear the steel used in these products will have no problem holding up to my abuse.

Shotgun StandProducts


Hammertime Tie Out Stake

Retriever Stake

Once again, another well made steel product from PRT Products. Don’t let it’s small size fool you. I believe this tie out stake shows the the durability of all the products PRT constructs. The stake has a swivel top that let’s your dog run all the circles he or she wants to with no chain wrapping issues. I have taken a large hammer to this tie out and beat it into the hard summer ground. The Hammertime Tie Out Stake took all my swings with ease and no breaks. I was then able to pull out the stake with minimal to no effort. This was after a 75 pound lab pulling and yanking on it for an hour!


This is just a sampling of the PRT Products retriever training line. All of their products are constructed with quality and durability in mind while still being affordable to help you with all of your retriever training needs.

Re Flocking Waterfowl Decoys

Re Flocking Waterfowl Decoys

Putting decoys in bags and taking them out rubs the heads and eventually they will show signs of wear. No matter how much babying you do to your decoys, it’s inevitable they will show the effects of use. Re flocking waterfowl decoys is a cost effective way to bring new life to your decoys spread without having to buy replacement heads or even worse, new decoys.

Re flocking waterfowl decoys is not a project you want to tackle in a couple hours. It takes time and planning, but the end results can leave you with new looking decoys for waterfowl season. Before you begin, you need the following things.

1. Flocking material

This can be found in numerous places. Our was purchased from a taxidermy supply company, but is also available on Amazon and Ebay. A little bit of flocking goes a long ways. We used 1 pound and were able to re flock over 13 dozen decoys and still have plenty left over.

2. Black enamel paint

This is the base coat that is applied to the areas you will be re flocked. Just as the the flocking, a little bit of paint goes a long ways.

3. Paint brushes

Used to apply the paint.

4. Tin pans or large rubbermaid totes

We used these to collect excess flocking material.

5. Plastic condiment bottles

Fill with flocking and tap or lightly squeeze to apply the flocking.

How to Re Flock Waterfowl Decoys

1. Get any dirt or dust off of the flocked areas of your decoys. This will allow for a smooth, unblemished look when complete.

IMG_96612. Lightly apply the enamel paint. The tricky part is to keep the paint from running on the decoy. Apply a thin coat to start and dab it on to ensure the cracks are being filled. If you just brush it on, some areas may be left without paint. After initially covering the decoy, apply a second light coat, but not to the point that the paint runs.

3. Hold the decoy over the tin pan or rubbermaid container and light tap the condiment bottle that is filled with flocking. Cover an area then lightly shake the decoy to allow the excess flocking to fall into the container. Continue on the entire decoy only covering small areas at a time and letting the excess fall off. Every once in a while, the bottle will get clogged. A gentle squeeze will break the flocking loose and you can resume just tapping on the bottle to apply the flocking to the decoy head or tail.


4. Once you have the entire area covered, give the decoy a good tap or shake to get any excess flocking off. You want the flocking to be smooth as it adheres to the paint on the head.

5. Allow the flocking/paint to dry over night before storing the decoys back in bags.

It’s not a hard process, but it is definitely one that you’ll want a large space for and if you’re doing more than a dozen decoys, you definitely want to invite some buddies over to help. Reflocking waterfowl decoys is a great off season project and is cheaper than buying replacement heads or new decoys.

Re Flocking Waterfowl Decoys


Off-Season Retriever Training

Keeping Your Retriever Sharp In The Off-Season


Off-Season Retriever Training

It’s that time of the year again, the off-season.  That time of year when we pack all of our hunting supplies up and shove them into a hole in the basement until fall rolls around again.  While dust collects on decoys, bags and other miscellaneous hunting gear, I believe a lot of people let activities with man’s best friend fall to the way-side. Dog training should never stop! I see it time and time again with hunters and their dogs. Once the off-season arrives, they just let their dog go. Nothing is worse than the beginning of hunting season coming around and you bring your beloved companion out hunting, and he/she only becomes a nuisance.  It reflects badly on you and annoys your friends, possibly to the point to where you are no longer invited.  To prevent you from becoming “that guy,” here are some helpful retriever training drills and advice to keep your dog in peak condition during the off-season.

Marking Drill

There are hundreds of tips and drills I could go over, but with this post I am going to touch on marking.  Marking is your dog’s ability to judge a downed bird’s distance by their sight and make a successful retrieve. The biggest problem I ran across with marking drills is finding help while training.  Marking drills seemed like a two person job and good help is hard to come by.  Don’t be discouraged thoughRetriever Training Drills because I have a marking drill that just requires YOU!  The first key to this exercise is having a steady dog. Have the dog sit, then start walking away from the dog telling them to stay if you are unsure of how they will handle sitting there by themselves. Keep the distance short for the first couple of retrieves.  Second, throw the bumper high up in the air so that your dog will see it.  Then give your dog the “go” command.  It’s that simple!  This will keep your dog’s marking skills up to par. Once you feel like your dog is getting good at this drill stretch it out. Push the dog to a 50 yard mark, then try a 100 yard mark and then finish with a short mark.  Mix the distances up to keep your dog on its “toes.”  Just remember to make it a fun activity with them.  Keep your training sessions short and your dog always wanting more!

If you have any questions about your hunting dog submit them to FowledReality.comFacebook & Twitter and we’ll try to answer them in our next retreiver training post.

Nick Graves