Waterfowl tips that help improve your success in the field.

Bag’em Outdoors Waterfowl Gear

Waterfowl Hunting Accessories Waterfowl Gear for Organization and Transport

As waterfowl hunters, one of the aspects of the hunt that we dread is setting up and tearing down. It takes a ton of time and at the end of the hunt we often throw everything in the trailer as fast as we can in order to go eat or get home. In muddy situations we are forced to strap decoy bags anywhere we can find on the ATV or carry as much as we can through the mud. The end result is exhaustion from multiple trips and dirty waterfowl gear for the next hunt. Problems with decoy bags, trailer organization, and transport are a thing of the past thanks to Bag’Em Outdoors who offers decoy bags, ATV Decoy Bag Racks, and Decoy Trailer Bag Racks.

Trailer Organization

The hunt always starts at the trailer where all your waterfowl gear is stored. We often stack bags, totes, and blinds on top of each other. These can lead to disorganization, items falling in transit, and wasted space. The Bag’Em Outdoors Decoy Trailer Bag Rack solves these issues. The racks are easy to install with a handful of washers and screws. The rail systems, made of 11 gauge heavy duty steel, go at the top of the trailer on both sides. The rails are custom sized to fit your trailer and coupled with a support rail at the connection of the two tracks. This system allows us to hang decoys at the top of the trailer opening up storage underneath for other waterfowl gear. In transit, we no longer have to deal with stacks of items falling over. We attached the decoy bags to the slide poles using the heavy duty carabiner and simply slide the pole to the front of the trailer. Our trailer system utilizes three poles and allows us to hang 6+ decoy bags depending on the size of the decoy. The poles are locked into place via the Channel slide pole locks that fit into the rails. Many guys build shelf systems in their trailers. While this keeps gear in place, it also takes away from storage space for waterfowl gear. The Bag’Em Outdoors Trailer System takes up virtually no space, but still keeps your decoys in place and maximizes storage.

 

Decoy Bags

The decoy bags (dimensions: 36L x 34W x 24H) are heavy duty nylon and feature an eyelet on each side for attaching a carabiner. This allows the user to hang the bags higher than if the carabiner was attached to the handles. The Bag’Em Outdoors Decoy Bags feature shoulder straps for carrying, individual pocket drainage, and are large enough to fit even the biggest decoy. We were recently using Bigfoot Canada Goose decoys and could easily fit 6 in a bag with feet attached. We could also fit 20 dozen Snow Goose socks in the bag. The 20 dozen fit comfortably and depending on the type of sock used, you could fit up to 700.

ATV Decoy and Waterfowl Gear Transportation

Transporting the decoys and waterfowl gear from the trailer to the field is achieved through the ATV Decoy Bag Rack. The racks are customized to fit your ATV. They can be attached to either the front or rear rack and fastened with u-bolts. The rack system has arms extended off both sides allowing you to hang gear or decoy bags out of the mud. The best part is this gear is hanging away from the ATV so you still have room on the rack for more decoy bags, waterfowl blinds, or other gear. If you were to have racks on both the front and rear you could carry up to 8 bags at a time. Your transport time will be more than cut in half, you won’t be exhausted, and your decoys willstay clean. The arms conveniently fold in or you can take the side mounts off by removing two pins for pulling your ATV into the trailer. You’ll spend more time hunting rather than preparing for the hunt.Waterfowl hunters are always looking for ways to make the hunt easier. The guys at Bag’Em Outdoors have created decoy bags for trailer organization and transport that save transportation time and space for waterfowl gear. They’re hunters just like us who would love to hunt every day of the week. Instead, they’re limited to a couple days a week. The products that Bag’em Outdoors offers helps maximize the limited amount of time many of us actually get to spend hunting. We all lead busy lives and there’s no time to waste organizing trailers, making multiple trips across fields carrying waterfowl gear, or pulling a stuck truck and trailers out of fields. The Bag’Em Outdoors Decoy Bags, ATV Decoy Bag Racks, and Decoy Trailer Bag Racks give hunters solutions to these problems and allow them to hunt smarter, not harder.

 

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Patterning Shotguns For Waterfowl Hunting

Patterning Shotguns for Waterfowl Hunting

Patterning shotguns for waterfowl hunting is an often overlooked aspect of the hunt. So much emphasis is put on decoy placement, concealment, and scouting, but none of that matters if you’re throwing a pattern out there that that isn’t uniform and has holes in it. The only way to find out what your gun is doing is to test it on the range much like turkey hunters do. You want to give yourself the best chance possible at harvesting that passing duck or goose and firing some shots down range is the way to do so.

 

The Test

We gathered some waterfowl hunting buddies up in southern Illinois and ended up with a small arsenal of guns and ammo.  We were well prepared had a fight broke out! Each shot took place at 40 yards into a 20 inch circle without the use of a bench. Targets were marked and labeled after each shot, then grouped by gun. We used the Winchester Super X2, Beretta A400, Beretta XTrema 2, Benelli Super Black Eagle, Remington 870, and the Remington SP-10. Bear in mind that no two guns are the same. You could take 2 of the same make/model of gun and not get the same results from using the same choke/shell combo. You can use this data as a starting point for your patterning shotguns for waterfowl hunting, but don’t take it as the gospel. Just because a choke/shell combo didn’t perform well in our test doesn’t mean both should be abandoned. Try the same choke with a different shell or the same shell with a different choke. Most of us have a few chokes laying around to use and by inviting some buddies to the range with you, you’ll have a variety of shells that you can all try.

Setup

Our setup wasn’t ideal. It wasn’t by the book like most people say how to do it, but it was consistent. Every shot was fired at the same distance and the same size circle. Most tests you read about take place at 40 yards into a 30 inch circle. We had chunks of cardboard from a recent move that only measured 20 inches.  We used what we had and for the sake of consistency, they worked. Now don’t go comparing our shot numbers and percentages to other tests because their targets are probably larger allowing more pellets to be counted. What we wanted to do was see what our guns were doing and give others an idea of how different shell/choke combos stacked up against each other. This is far from scientific, but come on, we are resourceful waterfowl hunters!

What to Look For

When patterning shotguns for waterfowl hunting, it isn’t just about the number of pellets in the circle. You want your pattern to be uniform throughout the circle and have a minimal number of bare spots in it.

Patterning Shotguns for Waterfowl HuntingEveryone would like to see a completely uniform pattern across the circle, but it is nearly impossible to achieve. Good results minimize and keep the gaps at 3 inches or under. The example at left shows a centered pattern, but there is a noticeable gap at the bottom left of the 20 inch circle. The pellets that did hit low and left hit outside of the target circle. When shooting a smaller size shot, the shell has more pellets in it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean more pellets on target. Some load and choke combos just don’t work well. The number of pellets on target is an important part of taking a bird down, but it’s penetration that kills. Penetration comes from the speed and size of the shot. It obviously takes more energy to penetrate the thick down of a goose and since they are a larger animal we typically utilize BB shot size. For ducks, their feathers are thinner and they aren’t as large as a goose so 2’s typically work well.  Shot size for ducks or geese isn’t set in stone. It carries a bit of personal preference in the decision, but keep in mind your typical shot distance and the size of the birds you’re going after.

Our Patterning Shotguns for Waterfowl Hunting Results

Gun Choke Shell Size Shot Size Shell Make Hits/TotalPercentage
RemingtonSP10 Factory I.M. 3.5 2 RemingtonHS Steel 82/?/?
Factory Modified 3.5 2 Black Cloud 121/18864%
Remington870 Factory Modified 3.5 BB Black Cloud 60/10856%
BenelliSBE Factory Modified 3.5 BB Black Cloud 71/18838%
WinchesterSX2 SRM Terror .655 3 3 Black Cloud 75/19838%
SRM Terror .655 3 2 Hevi-Metal 81/18644%
Briley I.M. 3 2 Hevi-Metal 88/18647%
Kicks Modified 3 2 Kent 50/15632%
SRM Terror .655 3 2 Kent 50/15632%
SRM Terror .655 3 1 Estate 56/12943%
SRM Terror .655 3.5 2 Black Cloud 121/18864%
SRM Terror .655 3.5 BB Kent 57/9958%
BerettaXtrema 2 Wrights Full 3 1 Estate 61/12947%
Wrights Full 3.5 2 Hevi-Metal 77/21137%
Wrights Full 3.5 2 Black Cloud 70/18837%
Wrights Full 3.5 2 Black Cloud 65/18835%
Wrights Modified 3.5 3 Black Cloud 50/18827%
Beretta A400 Factory Full 3 2 Hevi-Metal 67/18636%
Factory Full 3.5 2 Black Cloud 77/18841%
Factory Full 3.5 BB Kent 47/9948%

You can see the number of pellets in the shell didn’t always mean more pellets on target. The Super X2 shooting the 3’s is advertised as having 198 pellets per shell while the 2’s have 186. The 2’s had 6 more pellets on target while being advertised as having 12 fewer pellets in the shell. It all boils down to finding the load(s) your gun performs best with.  For the SP10 we used in our shotgun patterning, the load that performed best was 3.5 inch #2 Black Cloud through the factory modified choke tube. The center of the pattern was slightly high and left, but still managed to put 121 inside the 20 inch circle.

Patterning Shotguns for Waterfowl Hunting

Take these results as a guide. Each gun is different and it’s up to you to test and obtain your own results. We owe it to the waterfowl we pursue to limit the number of cripples and lost birds. As diehard waterfowl hunters we are always looking for something to do in the offseason and what better way to get a fix than patterning shotguns for waterfowl hunting this coming season.

 

 

Am I Concealed Enough When Duck Hunting?

Concealment is one of the most important factors in successful duck hunting. In order to pull birds in close, the hunters must blend with the surroundings. Whether it a corn field from a layout blind, a levee on a flooded rice field, or a secluded pocket of a lake, taking time to blend into the native vegetation will help draw ducks into range. Layout blinds must be mudded to reduce shine and hunters should spend time before the hunt using the native vegetation to break up the outline of their blind. Boat blinds need a dark base color on both the inside and outside of the blind. You also need to utilize elements from the environment you’re hunting in. Cattails, young willow trees, or entire stalks of corn can be fastened to the outside of the blind. Be sure to cut shooting lanes to allow shots at ducks flying by, but don’t make them so big that they ruin your hide. Pit blinds, while 90% hidden already still need work done to the top. When duck hunting, birds have an aerial view and can see right down into the pit. The top or lids of the pit must be concealed. Using vegetation from around the are will help the hide, but you must also remember to keep the lid closed as much as possible to keep from being seen. These are just a few tips you can use next season in order to fool weary ducks and improve your duck hunting.

Snow Goose Hunting Tips For Success

Successful Snow Goose Hunting

The first Spring Snow Goose Hunting conservation order seasons will open in around a week.  For those of us that chase snow geese, we know the battle that is about to insue against mud, hundreds, if not thousands of decoys, and the goose that can be so stupid yet so smart.  It’s an obsession that a lot can’t relate to.  Why spend hours setting up decoys in the mud with the possibility of just shooting a few birds?  It’s about seeing one of the most amazing sights in waterfowl hunting; thousands of birds screaming with wings locked straight up from you.  To get to that point in the hunt, much care and work has to be done.  Here are a few waterfowling tips for increasing your odds this snow goose hunting season.

 

1. Concealment

As with any waterfowl hunting, you have to be hidden.  It’s one thing to fool a flock of 15 ducks or Canada geese, it’s another to stay hidden from hundreds or thousands of snow geese.  In past years, we’ve always used layout blinds.  We pack decoys and fliers around the blinds in order to break up their outline and use as much brush from the field as we can find.  This year, we are going to give white suits a try. Whether it be white tyvek painter suits or white sweatpants and hoodies, wearing white will help you blend in with the decoys.  It may not be as comfortable and warm as a layout blind, but it’ll increase your odds at getting snow geese in close.

 

2. Decoy Setup

We’ve tried every pattern in the book and studied tons of geese feeding in fields.  We feel the best way to arrange your spread is as random as possible.  There’s no one right way to do.  What works today, will not tomorrow.  The only mainstay is having a large concentration of decoys on the upwind side of the spread.  Snow geese are aggressive feeders and are constantly fighting to get to the next available chunk of food.  The thickest group of birds is going to be at the leading edge.  What you do with the rest of the decoys is up to you.  We space some out while we pack others in at random.  String some lines of geese downwind and add a couple small groups off to the sides. You can leave a kill pocket or not.  Most of the time when you see snow geese landing on other snow geese, they find whatever room they can find and drop in wherever or they’ll land ahead of all of them to get to the fresh food.

 

snow goose hunting tips

3. Don’t be Greedy

In our first few years of chasing snow geese, we got mesmerized with the large groups of birds tornadoing down onto our decoy spread only to wait too long and only shoot a couple birds.  We quickly learned to take the first opportunity given.  Chances are, you’re not going to get the entire group in range.  If 6 birds drop out lower then the rest, take them!  Granted, every once in a while it might pay to be patient, but more often than not a couple birds will pick up on something and the rest will follow.  Don’t give them the chance to leave if they’re in range.

 

4. E-caller

The use of electronic calling is allowed during the conservation order seasons.  The most effective e-caller has clear, crisp audio, and multiple speakers.  Arrange the speakers so that the audio covers the entire spread.  Ideally, you have at least 4 speakers where you can point them in all directions increasing your odds of drawing the attention of distant flocks.  In a perfect world, you have more than four allowing you to cover your spread and put a couple pointing up or a separate mp3 player on a couple other speakers allowing you to run a different track.  Snow goose audio track are layered.  Being able to layer a couple layered tracks creates all sorts of different sounds coming from your spread!

 

5. Scouting

We’ve chased the “X” for years only to be burned many times.  Often times, snow geese will not return to the field they were feeding in the prior morning or afternoon.  They feed so aggressively and in such large numbers, they can exhaust a food source very quickly.  What we do it look for the most used flight line or an area with multiple groups on the ground.  They might not return to the same fields, but chances are they’ll be back in the same area.  Being setup in that area will definitely increase you odds of putting down good numbers of snow geese.  If you can’t find multiple groups on the ground, you can at least see where the most geese are flying over.  The more geese you can be under, the more that will make mistakes!

 

snow goose hunting tips

 

It takes an incredible amount of work to be successful in snow goose hunting.  Short nights, ankle deep mud, and having to set 10’s of dozens of decoys deter many from snow goose hunting, but some many of us, it’s the point in the waterfowl season we look forward to the most!


 
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