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Why are you just sittin’ there? If you’re reading this on Wednesday, then you’re missing the opening day of Canada goose season!
For some reason…being a little slow might explain it…I had it in my head that waterfowl season opened Nov. 24, Thanksgiving Day.
Then, as I always preach, I read my 2011-12 Kentucky Hunting Guide for Waterfowl. Know what I found? Found that Canada goose season opens a day earlier…Nov. 23. And, it runs continuously through Jan. 31, 2012!
Duck season does open Thanksgiving Day, and runs through Sunday, Nov. 27. It closes, then reopens on Dec. 5 and runs thru Jan. 29, 2012.
Why the staggered opening and closing dates? Don’t know, they just are!
And, while you’ll get up to a day with no school, a kitchen soon to be filled with fat boy delights, a home to be filled with family and friends and a schedule of ball games to watch, Thanksgiving morning will find the Quack Shack already in the duck blind!
After an hour or so of sky watching and imagining every sparrow, black bird and other feathered creature to be a duck, somebody…probably Mark…will say “Let’s eat.”
Then, after our duck blind cuisine is finished we’ll each head out to do the “family thing.”
So what about the rest of the holiday weekend?
Were you not paying attention? Already told ya that goose and duck seasons are “both” open till Sunday! What to do indeed!
-- I was asked when I’m going to offer my list of Christmas gift ideas for the outdoors man or woman on your list?
Well, it’ll be “after” Thanksgiving! Has anyone else noticed how ya can’t seem to enjoy a holiday coming up, cause the “system” wants to jump ahead to one that’s more “profitable.”
One chain of stores had their Christmas stuff out before Halloween!
My other complaint: Is it Christmas or X-mas? My opinion: It’s truly sad if ya had to think about that one.
-- We just came off of what I consider a “spotty” deer season. While I didn’t get a deer…everything I saw was on another property. I know of a few huge deer that were taken. Not a lot, but several!
Our zone was changed so as to hopefully increase quality, as opposed to quantity. But, we’re a few years away from knowing how that’s going to work out. For now, the harvest was “respectable”!
What I found to be surprising was the use, or rather lack of, of our Marion County Wildlife Management Area.
On Saturday and Sunday of both weekends, and a couple of days through the week, I drove by the parking lot and saw no parked vehicles. It’s public land and anybody can hunt it. I didn’t hunt it because I’ve never scouted it. But, I don’t know why everyone else avoided it…or at least it seemed that way!
-- I actually know people who don’t hunt waterfowl.And I respect that…don’t understand it, but respect it!
For those who do, there are a few things we should recall from seasons past. Decoy spreads need to look like real ducks…and real ducks move. Jerk strings (low tech), battery powered spinners (high tech) and just kicking the water if you’re wading (Arkansas two-step), will all cause your decoys to appear more realistic.
As for calling: Most everybody likes to call…and usually call too much. Now I’m no expert…and yes, I hear the snickers…but if you have a duck’s attention consider shutting up! If they turn to leave…and circling isn’t leaving…you might hit them with a comeback. If ya just have to call, single soft quacks work well. I think an overused…but very cool…call is the “feeding chuckle.” It’ll give you something to do, just do it softly!
Camo everything, and I mean everything. Yes, everything from your gun to your eyeballs. Camo, or at least dull, gun stocks/barrels. Glasses give a lot of us old-timers away. They look like mirrors from the air. So, wear a facemask or camo paint on your exposed skin and “peek” from “under” the visor of your cap. A better idea, which will never happen, is to have only one member of your group look, while everyone else keeps their head down till the birds are out front and the shot is called. Okay, I said it’d never happen!
Now understand that this whole preparation, presentation and fooling waterfowl is for one purpose…to get the birds close enough to shoot at. Notice I said shoot at!
The actual hitting the bird, with a load of sheet shot, is fairly simple. Just shoot where the bird is going to be, not where its at!
I use the four B’s method of shooting at…but maybe not hitting…birds. It works for me, but you do what you want!
The four B’s: Butt, belly, beak, boom. When shooting crossing birds just start your barrel swing “behind” the bird and swing “thru” the bird, then pull the trigger, i.e. butt, belly, beak and boom. Just keep swinging…even after you pull the trigger…NEVER STOP THE BARREL!
For birds coming straight at you just start your barrel swing “under” the bird, come up thru the bird till your barrel “hides” the bird, then pull the trigger. Again, NEVER STOP THE BARREL. Butt, belly, beak, boom! It’s “almost” that simple.
Word of advice: Shoot some clay birds, wearing your hunting garb, prior to shooting at real birds.
Once more, don’t over think your shot. When you follow the four B’s process your mind will take over and lead will be automatic.
In my mind, when hunting waterfowl, you’ll spend more money, work harder, loose more sleep and have less return for your time, money and efforts than just about anything else you’re likely to hunt around here!
So there, I’ve warned you! Now, if you choose to take up waterfowling, and it becomes an addiction/obsession, it’s not my fault!
-- We have a major traffic holiday coming up. Families will travel, eat and in some cases party a little too much.
A full belly can make you sleepy and too much alcohol will make you stupid…or, to be politically correct…impaired!
So, to make sure your next family gathering isn’t at the hospital or funeral home…don’t drive when you’re tired, sleepy and/or drunk!
Harsh! Yes! Don’t want to hear it? Tough!
In my next article, we can start talking about some Christmas stuff!
Guess that’s it for now. Get out and enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer. Have a blessed Thanksgiving. Stay safe and I’ll see ya next week!