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Video: Late Season Duck Hunting in Missouri

Duck hunting late season birds can be a challenge. Ducks have been pursued for six months and have seen/heard it all, but all hope is not lost. Put in time scouting, take extra time getting concealed, and mix up your decoys and calling and you could be in for a great hunt.

This week we’re with C&L Outdoors for a awesome late season duck hunt on a small farm pond in southwest Missouri. There were hundreds if not thousands of birds on this pond the day we scouted it. We utilized around a dozen decoys and called sparingly to end up with a great bag of mallards.

 

 

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New Waterfowl Hunting Gear for 2013

New Waterfowl Hunting Gear for 2013

It’s that time of year again when companies begin unveiling new waterfowl hunting gear for the coming year. Last year we had a collection of posts regarding new waterfowl gear and we’ll do the same this year. The SHOT show was just a few weeks ago. This is an outdoor industry show where manufacturers from every outdoor industry come together. Since it takes place during the end of our season, we were unable to attend, but we’ve found some new waterfowl hunting gear for 2013 that has been put on the internet. Look for more posts on new waterfowl hunting gear in the coming weeks. Even though the season is over, it’s never to early to start thinking about next year!

Bag’Em Outdoors Windsock Decoy Bag

Bag'em Outdoors Windsock Decoy BagWhen snow goose hunting, you’re dealing with hundreds if not thousands of decoys. It requires lots of work that often takes place in muddy fields. The new windsock bags from Bag’em Outdoors gives snow goose hunters a solution for quicker transport, ease of storage, and cleaner decoys. Their new bags are made of the tough seed bag material. In the past, we’ve transported our Silosocks in 6 slot honker bags. We end up with 20 dozen in a bag and stakes poking everywhere. Holes quickly get poked through the tops of the bags and carrying 20 dozen at a time get tough. The new bags from Bag’em can carry up to 15 dozen of any windsock style bag. The tough material will not get holes poked in it from the stakes and is sturdy enough to stand on it’s Bag'em Outdoors Windsock Decoy Bagown. The 6 slot bags we used to use required two people to fill them. The material they’re constructed out of falls over on itself. Instead of one guy filling bags and the other pulling decoys, it required both people resulting in a longer tear down time. This is no longer an issue! Whether you use Silosocks, White Rocks, Northwinds, or any other windsock snow goose decoy, these bags are for you.

 

Winchester Blind Side HV

 

New Waterfowl Hunting Gear 2013

A faster shell will carry more energy upon entry, thus causing more damage and more downed game. Winchester has followed in the footsteps of other shotshell manufacturers and increased the speed of their Blind Side shell. The original was just 1400 fps, but the new Winchester Blind Side HV is now 1675 feet per second which makes it one of the fastest on the market. Way faster than the older Blind Side. The main marketing for Blind Side centers around the 6 sided shot. These shells are not filled with your standard rounded pellets, but rather small little cubes. They are said to result in faster kills and 250% more trauma. The cube shape also allows 15% more pellets to go into each shell. A typical 3 inch #2 shell carries 1 1/8 oz. of shot. The ability of the Blind Side pellets to stack tighter allows for 1 3/8 oz. of shot to go into a 3 inch #2 shell.

 

 

Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades

Mossy Oak is coming out with a new waterfowl hunting gear pattern, Shadow Grass Blades. The original Shadow Grass was great for the marsh and cattails. The new and improved pattern looks more high definition. They’ve added detail to each blade, varied the layout of the blades, and added more color. The final product offers more depth and detail than the previous version. Some grass blades on the new Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades are straight up, while others are bent, bowed, and broken over. It present a true to life representation of a typical scene you would see in a wetland environment.

New Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades

New Waterfowl Hunting Gear 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thermacell Heated Insoles

New Waterfowl Hunting Gear 2013When it comes to waterfowl hunting gear, this one might be the most important. Whether you’re standing on a cold concrete pit, a frozen corn field, or freezing water cold feet are a waterfowl hunters worst nightmare. As the mercury dips, the hunting always seems to get better. No one wants frozen feet to force them back to the house. This problem could be a thing of the past with the new Thermacell Heated Insoles. Thermacell has long been a player in the mosquito and gnat deterrent arena, but now they’re moving elsewhere. Their new heated insoles are wireless and rechargeable. No need for carrying around packages of batteries. You just need to keep track of the remote and remember to re-charge them at the end of the hunt. The beauty of these is that they offer varying degrees of warmth. You are able to control how warm or hot you want them depending on the conditions you’re hunting in. This allows the waterfowl hunter to keep from getting too warm and begin sweating. Hot hands or heat packets for insoles offer no control over the heat they put off, often resulting in sweaty cold feet. Many times, when waterfowl hunters get cold feet, it’s from sweat, not from the cold itself.

Waterfowl Migration Update January 10, 2013

Wild swings in temperatures has affected the waterfowl migration over the past week. We’ve gone from inches of snow cover across much of the southern portion of the state, to 60 degrees and sun just days later. Many small waters that were locked up are now thawing out and many ducks and geese have been noted heading back north with warming temperatures across much of the central United States.

Duck Migration

Waterfowl Migration OklahomaMost of the duck hunting zones in Illinois and Missouri are now closed, but many ducks remain. As the season closed in the south-central zone, if you had open water, you were killing ducks. It was a great end to the season for many duck hunters across the area. Further south where the season is still open, many ducks are still around and with the warm weather and thawing ice, many reports of a reverse waterfowl migration are popping up. The bounce back should be short lived as an arctic front and possible winter storm are slated for Sunday. Canada Geese and Snow Geese should follow along with the ducks with the coming weather.

Goose Migration

For the first time in two years, there is a huntable number of Canada Geese across much of central Missouri and Illinois. Not a ton of geese, but enough to mess with if you can find a good concentration. Patterns are tough to get on because of the swings in temperatures, but with sustained cold looking to move in, early next week should provide solid feeding patterns to hunt.Waterfowl Migration Missouri The key is to locate the “X” with the number of geese that are around. Hunting off of the field they’re using might yield a little success, but there isn’t hardly enough geese around to make it worth while.

Snow Goose Migration

With highs nearing 60 yesterday, many snow geese were northbound. Look for that trend to continue tomorrow with highs in the mid 60s and a 15 mph south wind.  Many snow geese will ride the wind and warmth north. Concentrations of snows have been noted across power plant lakes in Illinois, but the bulk of the snow goose migration has moved south of I70 which is good news for the Spring Conservation Season.

Illinois River Waterfowl Migration Survey, Mississippi River, Southern Illinois, Missouri

Waterfowl Migration Update – November 29, 2012

Waterfowl Migration Update

The cold fronts moved through as advertised, but they didn’t bring the mass migration that many of us thought it would. There were a few birds that moved south with the first front on Friday. Since that cold front, temps have been cool and more birds have trickled in. The latest front moved through Monday and coupled with the full moon on Tuesday, more reports of southbound waterfowl have accumulated. It’s not the type of waterfowl migration where everyone reports great hunting with new birds, but some have had good luck in the past few days.

The cold weather we’ve enjoyed over the last few days will be short lived as the latest warming trend commences. Waterfowl hunting success will be hard to come by this weekend with temperatures in the upper 60s and clear skies. In the places holding ducks, the birds will likely loaf all day with no need to feed extensively. There are hints of the next cold front in the middle of next week. Let’s hope it holds true. This pattern of 3 days of cold followed by 5 days of warm is getting old. Just when hunting starts to get going, it grinds back to a halt with unseasonably warm temperatures. As a whole, I’d say we’ve had more “cold” days already this year than last year, but we’ve been plagued with nearly the same warmth as last season. We can only hope that winter truly sets in and takes hold in December to get the waterfowl migration going.

Waterfowl migration numbers in Illinois continue to be ahead of their averages for the most part. The percentage of mallards on survey sites continues to rise compared to the last surveys. The amount of teal still in the central and northern part of the state tells us that the waterfowl migration is still in it’s early stages through Illinois. Their numbers are declining, but just like last year, many people will be killing teal into December. The number of birds in southern Illinois has declined from last week, but is still above it’s long term average.

Southern Illinois Waterfowl MigrationIllinois River, and Mississippi River.

Waterfowl migration numbers in Missouri have not been updated yet, but from the sounds of reports, they’ve experienced the same movement as we have here in Illinois. A slow trickle of birds coming in over the past week has increased numbers. Mallard percentages continue to increase as earlier migrators work their way south.

Snow Goose Migration

Snow goose numbers are on the rise across much of the central US. Many birds are already in portions of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi. Each north wind day seems to send more birds south. Hopefully this year, winter will get cold enough to force all of the snow geese to migrate south of us before their return trip north.

Atlantic Flyway Waterfowl Migration

Waterfowl Migration

We just returned from a trip to Michigan with Muddy Dog Outdoors hunting divers on Lake Erie. The cold front that swept through the midwest late last week brought thousands of divers into Lake Erie. We were only up there for a couple days, but the number of birdsaround was impressive. Sunny skies and calm winds hurt our success, but we still killed a few while layout boat hunting. The full moon allowed these birds to move the entire night. During the day, they spent most of their time in large rafts 10+ miles out in the lake. As the full moon fades, daytime activity and hunting success should increase.

Central Flyway Waterfowl Migration

Levi Daniel of C&L Outdoors

Southwest Missouri

private land waterfowl hunting

“Last Friday brought us a cold front, which we expected to bring new birds with it. But we couldn’t have been more wrong! Our local conservation area was holding close to 100k birds and lost them with the front with no new birds behind them. The hunting over the weekend washer of the same for us; slow days in the blind trying to coax stale birds into the decoys. We were able to scratch a few out here and there but nothing to really speak of. It’ll happen eventually, it always does.”

 

Bill Witt of Bag’Em Outdoors

North Dakota

decoy bags“Cold temperatures have moved a lot of the ducks out of the southern part of
North Dakota, but goose numbers are still high.  Thanksgiving was a good
weekend, we limited out 2 out of 3 days of hunting, with the cold
temperatures and high winds birds seem to commit and reacted to calling
well.  Most of the bodies of water are frozen over, but a few large still
remain holding most of the geese in the area, with no snow cover and plenty
of feed as long as the large water’s stay open the geese should hold.”

 

Waterfowl Hunting Canada

Waterfowl Hunting Canada

Many have the dream of waterfowl hunting Canada. Increased bag limits, limited pressure, and uneducated birds often lead to incredible hunts that create memories for a lifetime. We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to waterfowl hunt Canada just a couple weeks ago. We ventured north with plans to freelance hunt just as we predominantly do back home. The thought of not having any hunts lined up in a foreign place 25 hours from home was intimidating, but it all worked out in the end.

Hitting the Road

The trek from Illinois to Saskatchewan was a long 25 hours. With 5 guys in the truck, we ran it straight through taking turns along the route. Upon arriving, we unloaded what we could to the hotel rooms, unhooked the trailer, and set off in search of birds. We quickly located a couple good flocks of snow geese, spoke with the farmer, and had our first field lined up. A great start to the week! A few miles down the road we spotted a pea field holding snow geese and ducks. Field #2 was now set. With the first two locations close together, we took off west to locate some birds in another area. We located a pond not far off the road that appeared loaded with birds. Feathers and dropping were everywhere around it. Scouting for WaterfowlEventhough there were no birds on the pond at the time, the sign couldn’t be ignored. Since the pond was small, we figured it was utilized as a loafing area mid-day and not as a roost. We were able to gain access to that location as well and ended up planning on opening up our Canada trip on the pond the following morning.

Time to Hunt

We arrived early not knowing 100 percent what was using the pond or how they were using it. Shortly after first light ducks began to fly over the pond. We shot a few, but the Canada Geese and Snow Geese were flying off in the distance. The few dark geese that would fly over were on a mission elsewhere and we were beginning to doubt our decision to hunt the pond. Finally, around 10am, a small group of honkers came over the tree line barrel rolling and locked. These were our geese! They got inside of 25 yards and flared, but it was too late. Six of the 7 fell and another group was right behind them. The second group bugged out at 40 yards, came by for a second look and was gone. A few minutes later, another group coasted over the treeline with wings locked. The flared at 30 yards, but we managed to take a few more. We quickly moved the decoys to the far side of the pond to try and force the birds over us. The plan worked to no avail and the subsequent groups continue to flare. We checked everything around the blinds to see if anything was shining or sticking out in the sun. The only thing we could figure was wrong, was that they’ve been shot from this location recently. The farmer said we were the first to hunt it, but the reaction of the birds seemed otherwise so we decided to switch gears and hunt Snow Geese.

Our scouting the day before lead us to a roost/loafing pond with a barley field across the road. We had hoped the birds were resting mid-day as we made our move, but there were already a few hundred in the field. This field was located in a triangle of 3 roost ponds so we knew this was the place to be. We went ahead and setup a few hundred yards from the feeding snows. The birds that were on the ground didn’t have a care in the world as we set a spread of around 500 decoys. The birds we saw the day before were spaced out while feeding. They were content and had no plans of migrating unlike when we hunt them back in Illinois. We placed the decoys according to what we saw, climbed in the blinds, and within a fewSnow Goose Hunting minutes the first bird hit the dirt. The next few hours were some of the best snow goose hunting we’ve ever experienced. Groups of 4-6 birds would drop in and not leave. Single and pairs would break off of flocks flying between roosts and feeds and sail in for a look at our spread. That afternoon we were able to shoot 79 snow geese! We quickly learned that snows are much easier to hunt at the start of the migration and when the juveniles have zero education.

The pea field was next and with snows and ducks in the field two days before, we ran a mixed spread of decoys. When we previously looked at the field, it was loaded with waste grain sitting on top of the chaff and dirt. As the sun rose that morning, the amount of peas was far less than what we had previously seen. We still enticed quite a few birds in that morning, but cut the hunt short because it was time to scout again. The locations we were hunting were 45 minutes from the hotel so 3am wake up calls and laying back down at 11 after cleaning birds, eating, and charging camera batteries was the norm. Exhausting, but worth it for waterfowl hunting Canada!

Waterfowl Hunting Canada

Scouting Leads to Success and Failures

The weather had been pretty warm and dry. There weren’t a ton of ducks and geese down from the north. The birds that were around, were predominantly locals other than the Snow Geese. The dry weather had many of the potholes lacking water, so the birds were sticking around larger ponds, lakes, and Ducks Unlimited Projects. This concentrated them few areas and by mid-week other hunters were in the area hunting the same birds that we were. Scouting was vital to our success and in order to scout we had to give up many of our afternoon hunts. One of the few days we hunted the afternoon we ended with a 5 man limit of 100 Snow Geese. For years we had dreamed of hitting that bench mark, and we finally accomplished  it while waterfowl hunting Canada! One of the negatives we experienced on this trip was arriving at pre-scouted field that was loaded with geese and ducks only to find another group of hunters already setting up. The farmer had given us both permission and failed to say it was a first come, first serve basis. They beat us in there, so we had to relocate elsewhere.Waterfowl Scouting

Looking Ahead

All in all, it was an awesome trip! We traveled around 4000 miles in total. Our scouting and traveling from hotel to field took up around 1000 miles. Lots of driving in 5 days of hunting, but we played the cards we were dealt. Tons of drive time for a few hours of hunting each day. This year started much like last year ended for us with a lack of ducks and dark geese so we resorted to Snow Goose hunting. In 5 days of hunting, we were able to shoot 271 birds. The farmers are very grateful when you return to their house with bags of meat. Not only does it help fill their freezer, but it also is a great gesture for them allowing us to hunt their land. Next year, they’ll remember us and hopefully allow us to hunt their land again. Speaking of next year, we will make our Canada trip later in October and hopefully hit it during prime time instead of early like we did this year.

From what we saw waterfowl hunting Canada, the Snow Goose hatch appeared to be great. There were juveniles everywhere. We really can’t say anything about the record duck hatch reported this year. The groups of ducks we did see were comprised of many young birds, but there wasn’t enough flocks around to enjoy the reported record numbers. Shortly after we returned home, snow fell across portions of southern Canada and the Dakotas. Birds are moving south and hopefully as we continue to push toward winter, the cold fronts will continue and the 2012-2013 waterfowl hunting season will be one to remember.

 

 

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Hard Core Decoys

HCLogo

Hard Core Decoys is comprised of guys who have taken their love for waterfowl to the next level. All Hard Core brand products are designed and tested by waterfowl hunters and these are the guys that will answer any questions consumers may have. They stand behind their products 110% and their customer service is second to none. Their product lines cover every facet of a waterfowl hunter’s needs and their attention to detail assures their products will meet your demands. “It’s Not Easy”, but with Hard Core products, it’s definitely easier!

http://www.hardcore-brands.com/

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Muddy Dog Outdoors

Muddy Dog Outdoors

The Fowled Reality team is proud to partner with and represent Muddy Dog Outdoors. For all waterfowl hunting gear needs, check out Muddy Dog Outdoors. From calls to decoys and their own line of waterfowl gear, Muddy Dog Outdoors is the hardcore waterfowlers place for gearing up for the season or for the newest DVD release from names all over the industry. With quality proven products, easy access customer service and 100% satisfaction guaranteed, we think you will find everything you need at Muddy Dog Outdoors. Rugged waterfowl hunting gear for rugged hunters!

http://www.muddydogoutdoors.com

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