Watch a dog fight blustery winds and choppy waters to perform his work. This is his passion, even under the most challenging conditions, and during times like these he’s on top of the world! Taking on such challenges calls for trusted, tried nutrition like Purina® Pro Plan® brand dog food. Pro Plan® Performance Formula delivers important benefits to help support the hardworking dog: • rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including EPA and DHA • contains natural sources of glucosamine for joint health and mobility • supports increased endurance and lean muscle mass • optimizes oxygen metabolism (VO2 max.) so dogs burn fat more efﬁciently • real chicken (#1 ingredient) provides high-quality protein to help support muscle mass for strength and provides energy For more information of interest to sporting dog enthusiasts, visit proplan.com/sportingdog/mag. Purina is a proud sponsor of:
Trademarks owned by Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland
Down in the trenches, on top of the world.
Vol. 24, Issue 3
Deer, Quail, Turkey and Russian Wild Boar Hunts Available. Bostick Plantation is a blend of the Old South with the latest in Game Management Philosophy. The state-of-the-art management techniques at Bostick Plantation allows you to focus on the hunt. Along with 24 years of working experience with wildlife experts, Bostick Plantation has produced the finest in commercial hunting facilities. So go ahead and start creating those memories.
features relive your first hunt - 12
Teaching the youth about waterfowling can be a very rewarding experience. â€œLast Shotâ€? columnist Wendell Shepherd describes the day while remembering his first hunt. BY WENDELL SHEPHARD
Photo courtesy United States Fish and Wildlife Services
anything can happen - 20
The Fowl Boys return to Watefowl Magazine, describing their latest conquests, in their unique fashion. BY DARREN HAMREY
mallards: the strait meat way - 26
Jeff Foiles lets outdoor writer Tom Long into his world, talking about waterfowling, Foiles Migrators and life in Central Illinois. BY TOM LONG
Vol. 24, Issue 3
from the field
Photos courtesy of Dana Arthur, Aiken, SC.
departments Volume 24, Issue 3
the first shot - 8
Thoughts and opinions from the Director of Advertising and Publications.
hunting hotspots - 9
Ready to take the ultimate waterfowl hunting trip? Look no further than our collection of excellent waterfowl guides.
spilger’s shots - 16
Waterfowl Magazine writer Jarrod Spilger reviews the most important tool of our passion - the shotgun.
feathers - 30
Briefs, waterfowl media, and other news from the waterfowl world.
from the decoy bag - 32
Writer Tom Long dives into the world of waterfowl hunting products and accessories, helping you find the right equipment to improve your hunting experience.
“buy” the book - 37
Featuring must reads from leading writers to help us enjoy the sport even more. .
the last shot - 38
Thoughts and humor from columnist Wendell Shephard.
about the cover
Jeff Foiles, owner of Foiles Migrators is featured on this issue’s cover. Learn more about Jeff, his business and his passion of waterfowling with an exclusive article from Waterfowl Magazine’s own Tom Long. Turn to page ## to learn more about this maverick in waterfowling. 6 6
Vol. 24, Issue 3
the first shot...
thoughts from the magazine director Dimes for Ducks
Statement of Purpose National Waterfowl Alliance is a 501-C-3 tax exempt organization dedicated to creating interest in preserving the remaining wetland waterfowl habitat with the United States. It is our goal to bring together America’s biologists, sportsmen, and bird enthusiasts to ensure our American heritage and that our right to enjoy the out-ofdoors is preserved.
Officers and National Headquarters Staff Roger L. White (South Carolina).............................................................President Thomas L Santo (Michigan)...............................................First Vice-President John Hastings (Virginia)................................................ Second Vice-President Robert Hastings (Virginia)..................................................Third Vice-President Don Roberts (Indiana).......................................................Fourth Vice-President Craig Curry (Missouri)....................................................................................Secretary Terry Graven (Missouri)............................................................................... Treasurer Pam Rikard.......................................................Chapter Development Assistant Hilda Donahue......................................................................Membership Manager
Board of Trustees Mark Judge (Trustee Chairman).....................................................................Illinois Scott Yates....................................................................................................................Illinois Bill Huszar...................................................................................................................Indiana John Jelinek..............................................................................................................Indiana Les Landau.............................................................................................................Missouri Michael Clark.......................................................................................... South Carolina Mark Streekstra............................................................................................... Wisconsin
Directors Emeritus David Hale Harold Knight
Magazine Staff Roger L. White....................................................................................................Publisher Michael Clark.................................Director of Advertising and Publications Office: 803.637.5767....................................................... Direct: 803.215.7809 WATERFOWL MAGAZINE is the official publication for members of Waterfowl U.S.A. Annual membership in Waterfowl U.S.A. is $25.00 which includes a one year subscription to WATERFOWL MAGAZINE. For information on how to join Waterfowl U.S.A. or to advertise in WATERFOWL MAGAZINE, please contact our national office listed below. Unless expressly identified to the contrary, all articles, statements and views printed herein are attributed solely to the author and WATERFOWL MAGAZINE expresses no opinion herein and assumes no responsibility thereof. Third class postage to members paid at Edgefield, SC 29824 and additional mailing offices.
National Headquarters P.O. Box 50 • The Waterfowl Building • Edgefield, SC 29824 (803) 637-5767
In addressing our membership, I have always wanted to be up front, straightforward, and to the point. This message is no different. However, this message is not about our pets, our children, or our passion for waterfowling. It’s about how we, as members of a growing, proud organization, can step up and assist in our ongoing pledge to preserving America’s wetlands. I have been asking myself how can our members help with rising expenses that are needed to help promote our organization without taking money that is needed to grow chapters and work on wetland restoration. How can I ask our membership to give while watching the struggles of our current economy? Then the revelation came to me while at the grocery store trying to put another checkmark on the honey-do list. After paying for some bread, milk and fruit, the cashier handed me a dime with my paper change. People started yelling at me as I stood frozen, just staring at this dime; this thin piece of metal representing one-tenth of a dollar. The math started running through my head. A dime a day adds up to $3 a month. That turns into $36 a year. If just 5,000 of our loyal members donated an additional dime a day, that would bring $180,000 into the organization. Money that would definitely help grow chapters, establish new chapters, and keep administrative costs maintained. A dime a day. I realized that I usually put a dime a day into a jar sitting on my desk. Many members probably throw a dime a day onto their dressers when they undress for the evening. There is a good chance that some of us actually lose a dime a day when pulling change out of our pockets. Such a thin piece of metal, yet a piece a metal that can make a serious difference to the organization you have grown to care about over 25 years. I understand the struggles of the economy. I feel the pinch everyday like most Americans. However, like most Americans, I am always wanting to help the country. Restoring our wetlands and teaching our youth about the history and significance of waterfowling is important. Unfortunately, to continue these goals takes money. But a dime a day is a way to feel good about yourself. A dime a day is a way to contribute without taking money away from personal expenses. A dime a day WILL make a difference. Dimes for ducks. I like the sound of that. Yours In Conservation, Michael L. Clark Director of Advertising and Publications Vol. 24, Issue 3
Waterfowl U.S.A. Endowment Fund The Waterfowl USA Endowment Fund has been established to ensure the growth and progress of Waterfowl USA’s efforts to restore, enhance, and preserve the wetland habitat and waterfowl resources within the United States. At the January 2002 meeting of the Waterfowl USA Board of Directors, by unanimous decision, the Waterfowl USA Endowment Fund was established to provide the necessary funding to sustain the organization in perpetuity. The Board realizes that it is our responsibility to ensure that the necessary financial resources are always available to provide for Waterfowl USA to continue its mission. For more information on the Endowment Fund and its benefits, please visit our website, www. wusafund.org.
Established Personalized Endowments Anonymous Endowment....................................................................Fully Funded Matthew K. Chilcutt Endowment....................................................Fully Funded John Hastings Endowment................................................................Fully Funded Robert C. Hastings Endowment.....................................................Fully Funded John Jelinek Endowment....................................................................Fully Funded Northwest Indiana Chapter Endowment...................................Fully Funded Don Roberts Endowment...................................................................Fully Funded Roger L. White Endowment..............................................................Fully Funded Southern Wisconsin Endowment............................................................Pledged
Prestigious Legacy Society Anonymous Chilcutt Direct Marketing Matthew K. Chilcutt John Hastings Robert C. Hastings
Roger L. White Don Roberts John Jelinek Rick Nelson Munster Dairy Queen
Donors Mississippi Valley Sportsmen Chapter.................................Titanium Donor LOCS......................................................................................................... Platinum Donor Howard Joe.................................................................................................... Gold Donor Larry Reynolds.............................................................................................. Gold Donor Rappahannock Area Chapter............................................................ Gold Donor Dan Ross.......................................................................................................... Gold Donor Larry Pelcher................................................................................................. Silver Donor Brian Ross...................................................................................................... Silver Donor Brian Keelty.................................................................................................... Silver Donor Kevin Gumz...............................................................................................Bronze Donor John McQuestion..................................................................................Bronze Donor Richard Kortenhoven..........................................................................Bronze Donor Tom Adamcyzk.......................................................................................Bronze Donor Steve Roper...............................................................................................Bronze Donor William Hastie.............................................................................................. Major Donor Daniel Hess................................................................................................... Major Donor Jerald Laird................................................................................................... Major Donor Robert Warne.............................................................................................. Major Donor
Since 1983, Waterfowl U.S.A. has worked diligently to accomplish our mission of “..wetland preservation, waterfowl conservation and youth education.” To ensure the growth and progress of Waterfowl U.S.A.’s efforts, the Waterfowl U.S.A. Endowment Fund has been established. By donating to this fund, you can be sure that you’ve played a vital role in advancing the cause of waterfowl conservation and supporting our mission. All donations to this Endowment Fund are placed in conservative investments. Ultimately, only a portion of the income will be used to fund our efforts each year. This ensures your donation remains in the fund to generate the income necessary for future years. This is the best way to preserve wetlands for the future.
Help us create a legacy. Give the gift that keeps on giving. The following is a list of some of the more popular donation options available. Many more ways to donate are available. Regardless of the level of support you are considering, our professional Fund Advisors will be happy to meet with you and discuss the options that would best benefit you and your particular situation. Please remember that your gift to the Waterfowl U.S.A. Endowment Fund is fully tax-deductible and will be used to ensure that Waterfowl U.S.A. will be able to continue our conservation efforts perpetually. Your contribution will help us continue to make a major impact on our environment, benefiting generations for many years to come. If You Would Like To:
Then You Should Consider
Make a quick and easy gift and receive an income tax deduction.
Writing a check now.
Avoid tax on capital gains and receive a charitable deduction.
Contributing appreciated stock or other securities held longer than one (1) year.
Give personal items and receive a charitable deduction based on the full fair market value.
Donating tangible personal property.
Avoid tax on capital gains on appreciated property and receive a charitable tax deduction based on the current full fair market value of the property. Defer a gift until after your lifetime and reduce or eliminate estate tax.
Enclosed is my donation to the Waterfowl U.S.A. Endowment Fund in the amount of: o $500 o $1,000 o $2,500 o $5,000 o $7,500 o Other:______ Name:
CREDIT CARD INFORMATION (If you would like us to bill your donation to your credit card.)
o MasterCard o AM/EX
National Headquarters P.O. Box 50 • The Waterfowl Building • Edgefield, SC 29824 (803) 637-5767
Making a bequest to the Waterfowl U.S.A. Endowment Fund in your will.
o VISA o Discover
Name as it appears on card:
o Please have your fund manager contact me.
Mail to: Waterfowl U.S.A. Endowment Fund, Box 50, Edgefield, SC 29824
Vol. 24, Issue 3
Without continued support, America’s waterfowl could easily become the newest endangered species. Don’t let our waterfowl be erased from the picture. Renew your membership today to Waterfowl U.S.A.
Get your buddy into the picture! Show your appreciation to a friend or family member. Sign up a friend or family member to Waterfowl U.S.A. today when you renew your membership and you both will receive a Waterfowl U.S.A./ M2D Camo cap, a Buck Gardner duck call, a one year subscription to Waterfowl Magazine, an official Waterfowl U.S.A. decal and your membership card. With your paid memberships, you have an easy way to get involved with wetland conservation and ensure that the sport you love will thrive for generations to come. Membership is for: q A friend or family member ($25)
q Yourself ($25)
Your Membership: Name: Address: City, State & ZIP: Phone: Your Gift Membership: Name: Address: City, State & ZIP: Phone: Payment Information: q Check Enclosed q VISA q MasterCard q AM/EX q Discover CC No#: Expiration Date: Signature:
Waterfowl U.S.A. is looking to show off the photographic talents of our membership. Submit your photos either by mail or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. If your images are chosen for the cover and/or the Point & Shoot section, we will award the photographer an additional one-year renewal to your membership. Please read the following below to qualify. 1) Submitted photos must be either from a member of Waterfowl U.S.A., or from a relative of a Waterfowl U.S.A. member. 2) All photos submitted will not be returned unless a self-addressed stamped envelope is included. 3) All photos submitted electronically must be at least 8”x10” and 300 dpi, or mathematical equivalent. Please contact the design department at Waterfowl U.S.A. with any questions about this requirement. 4) Winning members will be ineligible to be chosen again for a period of one calendar year from the date of winning photo publication. 5) Chosen photographers will be notified two issues prior to publication to finalize consent. 6) No financial funds will be exchanged for publication of photos. Membership renewal has no cash value and is nontransferable. 7) By having your submitted photos chosen, you are granting Waterfowl U.S.A. permission to use the photos in the magazine within the guidelines stated above. We are looking forward to seeing your talents. If you have any questions about our photo submission rules, please contact Michael Clark at the national office, 803637-5767. Thank you and good luck.
Detach and return this form with your payment to: Waterfowl U.S.A. • P.O. Box 50 • Edgefield, SC 29824 or call today at 803-637-5767. www.WaterfowlUSA.org
Vol.24, 24,Issue Issue33 Vol.
The day of the youth hunt was cold and windy. The rain was dripping off of the brim of my cap and I wondered if any of the novice hunters would make excuses not to go out hunting. However, when I saw the smiles on the faces of the returning young hunters, it warmed my heart. The sight caused me to remember the excitement I felt on my first hunt many years ago. Seeing their abundant enthusiasm, I was assured that the interest of future generations being able to hunt is still in good hands. I stood in the rain as boat load after boat load of young hunters returned with their mentors after a morning’s successful waterfowl hunt. I greeted them with, “How was the Hunt?” To which the replies of great, awesome, or wonderful were exclaimed. Most of the dads wisely let the boys do the talking as the conservation officers that were holed up in their trucks emerged to check bag limits, guns, and use of life vests. This was not your usual sunny day for the special Youth Waterfowl Hunt that has been my experience in the past, but this day was cold with intermittent rain and wind. The report was that there were a lot of birds flying, so a lot of gunpowder was burned. The boys and dads bragged about the many opportunities the young hunters had to pull the trigger. Not one complaint was heard about the lack of waterfowl on this special youth hunting day. Those who bagged one bird seemed just as happy as those who shot several. The bonding of adult to youth was very evident, because after being checked by the conservation officers these young adults didn’t immediately run for the cars and trucks to get out of the freezing rain. Instead, they pitched right in and began assisting with loading boats onto the trailers. As soon as the boats were out of the water, many of the youths excitedly retold hunting stories to anyone who would listen before climbing into the warmth of their vehicles. Dads didn’t seem to mind as they finished securing dogs, boats, and motors in a well rehearsed routine. I interrupted the above mentioned experience several times when I explained to the adults that I was an outdoor writer and photographer and asked for permission to take some pictures of the young hunters. As they all happily complied with my request, I shielded my lens from the rain drops and quickly focused in on the stars of the show. I rewarded each of the boys with a free copy of Waterfowl Magazine for them to read on the way home while they consumed left-over snacks, and maybe even catching up on a little shut-eye that had been sacrificed that particular morning. Most states now provide a special youth hunting day for boys and girls ages 12-15, some allowing those as young as 10 years of age to participate. A few states have removed www.WaterfowlUSA.org
the age limit completely with the stipulation that the youth need to have completed the hunter safety course to participate in the special day. All states also require that they are also accompanied by an adult hunter who has a current hunting license. The goal of most of the states is to have the adults focus their attention on these young hunters. The youth day gives adults more time to teach the kids how to be good, safe ethical hunters. The adults may assist with setting out decoys, calling and retrieving, but are not allowed to carry a shotgun into the hunting area Each adult that I spoke with on this occasion was very intent upon seeing that these young hunters have a quality experience. Not only were they teaching the youth how to mount the gun properly, but to figure the proper lead and taste some success while shooting at flying ducks and geese. The youth also observed how to handle a boat, the hunting dogs, and the seasoned hunters made sure that they learned to identify ducks; both on the wing and in the bag. One young man with a camouflaged face said he had the opportunity to shoot at a lot of ducks, but he missed most of them; however he held up one duck. He was as proud as any hunter on the marsh that he had shot a duck and he considered his hunt a “smashing success.” A couple of other young men said
they saw a lot of ducks and had a great time shooting a lot of shells. They also bagged a few ducks of which they were very pleased despite the rain and cold wind. One dad had taken out four boys in his boat and on their returned reported that the hunting was fantastic. These boys had bagged six ducks between them. All of the adults were seasoned hunters, had dressed the boys in full camouflage and they looked every part to be the star of the show. The shotguns being used were of many makes and models. Some looked old, some newer; but many looked like they just came out of the box. Even though the weather was not ideal for a youth hunt, I didn’t hear one boy complain that he had a bad experience. That is not to say they were not cold and wet, but the fun outweighed the bad weather. Yes, I know that it is supposed to be ideal duck hunting weather when it is raining and the wind is blowing. However, for a child’s first time out hunting, you don’t want them to have a negative experience because they suffered physically. According to survey reported taken by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Services, there are only about 12.5 million hunters that pursue the sport of hunting, but only 18 percent of them are migratory bird hunters. The logic behind a youth waterfowl hunt is to introduce future hunters to the sport that we all love with all of
the odds stacked in their favor. The timing is usually a week or so before the general season when there are plenty of birds around that have not been educated. Conservation officers use this day to reinforce what has been taught in hunter safety classes as they check bag limits, licenses, boat registrations, life vests, and shotguns that are properly plugged. I didn’t see any of the officers flaunting their authority, but I did see patience and kindness as they asked the boys questions about the hunting experience that had taken place that morning. Hunting surveys indicates that the number of hunters is declining both in the United States and Canada compared to what we had just a decade ago. Is it because hunting is not as appealing as it was in the good old days or is it that adults are so pressured with other things that they just don’t take the time to teach the children about the joys of hunting? Is it the sad reality that young people would rather be home playing video games or hanging out at the local mall than enjoying the thrill of hunting? It is hard to compare the options in the mind of a teenager, but I suspect if a boy or girl has the opportunity to hunt once or twice with an adult that can teach them about all aspects of hunting, video games can and will wait until they get home. It is debatable, but in the minds of those young people I talked to at the youth
Vol. 24, 24, Issue Issue 3 3 Vol.
hunt, it is a bigger adrenaline rush to outsmart some of nature’s finest game animals than to be sitting on the couch pushing buttons. There are several things that will contribute to a very successful hunt for any of the girls or boys. If these guidelines are followed, you will create a lifetime hunting partner. First of all, take them to a good gunsmith or outdoor store and have a shotgun fitted that they can handle physically. Nothing can discourage a young hunter more quickly than trying to shoot with their dad’s shotgun that is too long, too heavy and too punishing. Second, take them to the gun range and help to become familiar with the shotgun they will be using during the Youth Hunt. While at the range let them observe other shooters “busting” some clay pigeons, then let them shoot a boxful of shells, using the stations that are the easiest for them to experience success. The third thing I would do is to make sure they are dressed warmly in clothes that fit them and if the weather is stormy make sure they have some good rain gear. Nothing will discourage a young hunter quicker than being wet, cold, and miserable. Finally take plenty of snacks of their own choosing and let them eat often. For most teenagers that translates to eating almost constantly. If they shoot a bird or two that will be a bonus, but let them help set the
decoys and do some calling. They may not do it just like you would, but remember how and where you learned to be the hunter that you have become. When their interest begins to lag and they seem to want to go back to the car, be considerate and don’t prolong the hunt just because you want to stay another couple of hours. Do everything you can to make this first hunt end on a positive note. Get them involved in gathering up the decoys and other things that will make them feel a part of the hunting party they have heard you talk about. Encourage them to treat the harvested birds with the respect they deserve and ask them to help prepare the birds for table fare or the freezer. Enthusiasm is contagious and so if you exhibit a love for all aspects of the hunt and let them know you are having a good time, then they will likely enjoy the experience even more. I have enjoyed the opportunity to use my equipment for several youth hunts in the past years. Some of the dads don’t have all the good stuff that they need for more than a hunter or two and so I have been asked to provide my boat and decoys. I have taken many children out and have found this to be one of the best hunts of the season. The young people have a lot of fun and it is a great learning experience for all of us. We should try hard to
emphasize safety as our number one goal with gentle reminders, but not nagging. We should help to alert them to birds coming to the decoys because inexperienced hunters will miss a lot of opportunities that come their way. Most of the hunters don’t shoot very many ducks or geese their first time out, but after gaining a little experience, they start to get the shooting part figured out and that is when they harvest a few birds. Not all of the youth that participate in their state’s youth hunt will become lifelong hunters, but they will understand what hunting means to those who do. They know what all the anticipation is about before opening day and they know the smell of gun powder. They will learn the thrill they receive when calling, and having ducks and geese turn and cup their wings as they approach the decoys. Every time they hear the call of wild ducks and geese as they pass overhead, their hearts will beat just a little faster and they will remember with fondness the time they spent in the duck blind with their parent and friends on their very first hunt. This outing will also jog your memory of your very first hunt and you will enjoy it just as much as the young person you found time to introduce to an actual hunting experience.
The Gander Mountain Crew
There are many high-quality and varied duck loads to choose from these days. When I started duck hunting, steel was the only viable non-toxic option. Bismuth was brand new, and merely a rumor you read about in magazines. Today, that’s all changed. Although steel and Bismuth are still around, a host of other non-toxics are now available. I won’t even try to number them, as new and improved nontoxics are introduced each season. Current loads include Environ-Metal’s Hevi-Shot, Classic Doubles, and Dead Coyote, Winchester’s Xtended Range Hi-Density, Federal’s Heavyweight and High Density, Remington’s Wingmaster HD, Bismuth, and Kent’s Tungsten-Matrix. Steel itself has experienced a transformation of sorts. There are high velocity loads that improve performance and inexpensive loads that won’t drain your wallet. There’s Federal’s innovative Black Cloud, which incorporates uniquely shaped pellets in with regular steel pellets, and a steel hybrid from Environ-Metal called Hevi-Steel, which blends tungsten and nickel with steel. I set out to try some of these various loads on ducks. While I didn’t have the opportunity to use every type, my test loads were representative of the diverse options out there. Here’s how the season went. Winchester Xpert Steel Opening day of duck season dawned bright and warm, but I wasn’t in the marsh at first light this year. Instead, I skipped opening morning for the first time in over a decade and attended a local parade with my wife. No matter, the ducks would still be there later in the day. My dad had gone out that morning, so he called and told me where to expect to find them. That afternoon, per his instructions, found me sitting in the reeds beside a pothole. The October sun was warmly shining on my back, and soon both I and the dog were laying in the grass sound asleep. I woke just in time. Soon a flock of bluewings buzzed the pond, just as Dad had predicted. I rose and folded one with my first shot, then dropped another with my second. Both ducks were dead in the air, courtesy of some speedy 1,550 feet per second Winchester Xpert steel #4’s shot from a Hunter’s Specialties light modified Undertaker choke tube. Having cleanly bagged two birds with as many shots, I quit while my season was still perfect and grabbed an early supper. Winchester’s Xpert loads are among the cheapest steel offerings available. I recently bought a box on sale at Wal-Mart for only $5.00. The manufacturing process is not as involved as with regular steel, which keeps cost down. While the pellets may be harder than and not as uniform as Drylok, I’ve had good luck using Xpert loads. Federal Speed-Shok Another “cheap” steel load is available from Federal. The Speed-Shok steel lineup is generally less expensive than Federal’s Premium Ultra-Shok. I have a box of Speed-Shok I purchased for only $6.99. Only five rounds are missing, and of those five rounds, at least two have bagged birds – a rooster pheasant shot on a Waterfowl Production Area last season, and a duck shot this past season. The pond we frequently hunt was flooded this year. As a result, shots were further than usual. Mid-way through the season, both my dad and I switched to using improved modified Carlson’s chokes in our guns. When a lone mallard came in, I nailed it using Speed-Shok #3’s out of that IM tube - no follow-up shots required. Bismuth One day this past season, I decided to pull out my 16 gauge Wingmaster and try it on ducks. On hand, I had some of Bismuth Cartridge Company’s 16 gauge one-ounce nontoxic loads in #4, #6, and #7 1/2 sized shot. The #7 1/2’s intrigued me, since usually a shot size this small would be unheard of for ducks. However, since Bismuth’s properties are similar to lead, I reasoned the smaller shot
Vol. 24, Issue 3
should do the job. Bismuth is among the softest non-toxics, making it a great choice for use in classic, fixed-choke 16 gauge doubles, pumps, or semi-autos. Environ-Metal Hevi-Steel In mid-October, with a ringneck duck already in the bag, I then jumped a mixed flock of teal and mallards. My 12 gauge 870 Express belched out only three shots through the Kick’s High Flyer modified choke, as federal limitations mandate, yet four ducks fell. The culprit – Environ-Metal’s Hevi-Steel.
This steel hybrid bridges the gap between steel and other non-toxics, both in hardness and cost. Hevi-Steel is harder than steel, but not as hard as Hevi-Shot. It’s also more expensive per 25 round box than steel, but not as expensive as 10 round packs of other non-toxics. Of those 25 rounds, only six are currently missing from my box. One bagged the ringneck, one round finished a cripple, and there was one miss. The remaining three rounds bagged four ducks on the flush – two of which must have been hit with one shot. A final duck, which completed my six-bird limit, was continued on page 36
dividu gun is in r P h c a E y. g to Technolo rs • Invec by Baron atic Ejecto Blueing • G m to u A engraved • g • Deep e Trigger ber • Selectiv ep Cut Checkerin ion num e ited Edit D • im p L ri G Pistol
This highly sought after, nostalgic, Limited Edition shotgun is Custom Crafted by L.C. Smith and engraved by Baron Technology. Each gun is individ ually numbered a the following features: 12 Gauge • Side-by-Side • 3” Magnum • Single Trigger • Select Choke System • Select Walnut Stock and Forearm • Deep Cut Checkering • Fluted C and Side Plates * Each gun is engraved and inlaid with 24K GOLD with individual L the Waterfowl U.S.A. 25th Anniversary Logo and our original “American Bucks For A
Each of the Limited Edition Collectors shotguns is priced at only $2,995. Or, you can save $500 when you buy your matched set for only $5,490. And, when you purchase your “Matched Set” you are guaranteed matching Limited Edition numbers. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own the only Limited Edition shotguns that commemorate the 25th anniversary of Waterfowl U.S.A. A $500 per gun deposit is required to reserve your Limited Edition Commemorative Collectors’ shotgun. We offer 2 easy payment plans for you to choose from, allowing you up to 2 years to pay the balance. After we receive your deposit we will contact you to discuss which payment plan is best for you. To order your Limited Edition Commemorative double-barrel, simply complete the order form and mail to: Waterfowl U.S.A., P.O. Box 50, Edgefield, SC 29824. Or, call Waterfowl U.S.A. today at 803-637-5767. We accept checks, money orders, and most major credit cards. Don’t forget, once this Limited Edition is sold out, there will be no more produced. They will be gone forever. Don’t miss this opportunity to own a rare piece of waterfowl conservation history while supporting our conservation efforts within the U.S.A.
Vol. 24, Issue 3
ing and y Brown b d e ft ra Magnum stom C auge • 3” Knob” un is Cu G tg o 2 1 sh s: n g feature “Round ed Editio e followin orearm • Special ant Limit ividual F This eleg nd comes with th d with ind n a D k L c O to a G S bered rate Seal. alnut h 24K al Corpo ually num System • Select W ed and inlaid wit in g ri o r d ou rav ke Plus Cho • Each gun is eng niversary Logo an r n e A g g th ri 5 T 2 Gold U.S.A. aterfowl rs, the W
and comes with tive Automatic Ejectors • 28” Barrels • Interchangeable Comb • Beavertail Forearm • Elegant Case-colored Receiver Limited Edition numbers, American Ducks” Corporate Seal.
Vol. 24, Issue 3
We had just finished setting up when a flock of nearly thirty spoonies came whizzing by in front of the blind. They were flying with a 25 mph wind at their backs, so taking a shot would’ve been nothing more than a waste of ammo. Tommy hit em’ a lick with a hen spoonie call and one drake peeled away from the pack. He banked against the wind and dropped into the blocks just beyond the stand of reeds we concealed ourselves in. Tommy rose from his location and launched a swarm of #2 shot towards him. “Oof ” I muttered, as the body of the drake stiffened from signs of early rigor mortis before he crashed into the rolling waves. “Man, you wudn’t takin’ no prisoners on that one huh?” I asked, as Tommy reloaded his Mossberg 835. “On the board” he replied. Before too long we spotted a good bunch of snow geese fumbling about. They were a half-mile away so there was no need in switching shells just yet. Flights of ducks were on their horse all morning, but since there was a strong West wind, it managed to keep the brunt of them just out of gunning range. Around 9:30am Tommy sailed a drake mallard into the bulrush behind us. I was on the outside of the blind so I got the pleasure of retrieving it. Tommy decided to round up the spoonie from earlier that morning. Apparently, without saying, Tom and I both had decided to get rid of some “unwanted waste” while we were out of the blind. We were ducked down in the brush from different locations with sign language, of course, being our only means of communication while we watched numerous flights of gadwalls fly directly over our decoy spread. www.WaterfowlUSA.org
I hurried back, but Tommy wasn’t so lucky. The moment I reached the safety of the blind I heard a bark….”Uh oh!” Yep, you guessed it! Snows! Great, they were going to have to approach from behind me due to the wind, and not only was Tommy not in the blind but he was right in their fly lane as well. This wasn’t good! Flock after flock of snows began to approach our small spread of full-body snow goose decoys, which we had set out mainly to compliment our duck decoys and to serve as much needed confidence. Tommy lay down in the bulrush 70 yards behind the blind while the first flock arrived. It was a small flock of five. I stayed crouched down behind a tumbleweed and a sparse stand of reeds as I watched each set of pink feet drop below a set of back-peddling wings. Tommy watched as I took aim at the flock, only able to knock one “pearly white” down. As he cratered among the decoys I looked up to see the next flock making their approach. The sky was full of geese at this point, each flock hovering over Tommy’s head at no more than 15 yards off the ground. Amidst the confusion, while focusing on a larger flock, I heard a distinct bark (really close). I looked up to see three juvenile snows right above my head at 5-10 yards. There was no stopping the Mossberg as all three geese laid victim to the 3½ inch magnums that were chambered in it. As I admired the last goose of my limit fall to the muddy ground, Tommy launched a Hail Mary at the back flock and managed to put one to the ground.
Needless to say, Tommy was a little on the unhappy side of the fence considering the carnage he had just witnessed. We piled up the birds, 5 snows and two ducks in total, on some thick reeds near the blind. After the excitement of the snowstorm we huddled back into our blind and continued on our quest for 12 more ducks. But much to our surprise, what had been constant flights of ducks before the tumbling of geese had turned into more like a viewing of “Gone With The Wind” afterwards. We decided to move. We left the goose decoys, rounded up a few mallard decoys and took off to a hole just South of us about a half-mile. We had to walk a good spell but once we got there and saw nearly 400 mallards flush from the hole we were planning to hunt, we new it was gold! We threw our few decoys out and settled in the brush in hopes that they would return. It wasn’t long before the first bird, a drake mallard, made his attempt. He came over the top, banked, and dropped in like a soldier from an Airborne Division! As he hovered for a place among the bulrush to set down, Tommy lifted gently from the blind with gun in hand. Whoom! “Well I guess we got one extra decoy”. Tommy noted with only a chuckle. Needless to say, the rest of our hunt was just as such for Tommy. I wasn’t so fortunate as I shot through nearly a box before crippling off the rest of my limit, which is normally the case when I share a blind with Tommy Lyle (aka Tom Knapp)! He doesn’t miss too often so it causes me to think I shoot worse than I really do. We finished up our limits with two spoonies, a gadwall, and eleven mallards. Pick-up at this point was simple considering we only had a handful of decoys. We loaded up and began our trek back to our
Vol. 24, Issue 3
original set-up. The wind picked up along with some light snow flurries as we began our journey. As we drew closer to where our snow goose decoys were still set-up we could hear faint barks and honks. I looked to Tommy and said “No Way!” We had left the goose decoys out but hadn’t dreamed that more snows would decoy to them! Just then I saw one snow lift and land again, much like they do when they are extremely excited. “Ok boys, this is where the rubber meets the road.” We were going to have to make a sneak on em’. I already had my limit of snow geese so Tommy and our cameraman Justin (“Schniper”) got to bear the honors. They left their jackets, calls, and bags with me along with the video camera. Their sneak was going to be timely, wet, and miserable but we had confidence it would pay off in the end. The wind was in their favor, the brush was fairly high, and the light snow falling dampened the brush, making the sounds less apparent as they slithered through it. As they crawled and crouched their way toward the flock, I snuck little by little along a separate path in order to capture the event on video. Once I was set up in a good location I waited as they drew closer and closer to the feeding flock. Once they had exhausted the sneak as much as possible they opted to take a shot. As they raised their barrels, the flock became erect as a sea of white heads popped up above the faint line of bulrush from which they were feeding. I could see Tommy and Justin’s shoulders rock back as the sound of 100 flushing snow geese filled the air. When the smoke cleared and the confusion settled, seven pearly white snow geese laid among the mud flat. When I arrived to meet them in the kill zone we realized that four out of the seven geese were greater snow geese, which is very surprising to see in the Pacific Flyway. They are a predominant visitor of the Atlantic Flyway and extremely rare west of the Mississippi River. So, that in it’s self was quite a treat.
Knowing that the storm was getting thicker and we still had quite a lengthy walk back to the truck and quite the load to carry on our backs, we decided to call it a day before another strange event happened. We arrived at the rig with plenty of time to reflect, take photos, and let our neck muscles rest from the long, strenuous pack. The snowflakes thickened along with our smiles as we reminisced during our drive back to the “Lodge”. What started as a promising day turned bad, turned good, then turned even better is consistent with hunting’s pleasures and downfalls. You never know what the day will bring and most of all you should always be prepared for those unexpected turn of events, just like this day. The thing about duck hunting, more than any other hunting, is that it can change at the drop of a dime. Any time you are hunting a migratory animal, keep in mind that they can move and shift their populations and habits rapidly. The spectacular day you had yesterday may be completely different today, even under the exact conditions. There are no rules for the hunted; only the hunters! We make our decisions according to the regulations placed before us and hope that the game we wish to harvest cooperates. Because ducks are so unpredictable, anything can happen. Because anything can happen, we continue to hunt. Because we continue to hunt, we are awarded the greatest unpredictability and excitement that any hunter could wish for!
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER Sometimes the best opportunity to take good photography comes in unexpected times. Dana Arthur was at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, SC having a fall picnic with her children when our feathered visitors surprised them. An Aiken resident, Dana’s family has been involved in waterfowling for several generations. Waterfowl U.S.A. is looking to see the talents of our membership. If your images are chosen to be featured on the cover and/or our “Point & Shoot” page, you will be awarded a free one-year extension to your Waterfowl U.S.A. membership. Turn to page 11 details on how to enter your photographs.
Vol. 24, Issue 3
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Vol. 24, Issue 3 Oct./Nov. 2008
The air was cold and crisp as we made our way to the pit located in the middle of flooded corn. In the dark we could hear the sounds of wings and splashing out in the distance, enhancing the excitement of the morning. I was hunting with Jeff Foiles and the Straitmeat gang at their new duck club right in the middle of the Illinois Heartland. .Jeff and his crew have built one of the most phenomenal duck hunting club that exists today. They have built 30 foot pits and planted the area just for the ducks and geese that migrate here each year. They also have added pumps so they are able to control the water levels regardless of climate conditions. The Fallin’ Skies StraitMeat Duck Club is without any doubt the best operation in all of Illinois. The true number of ducks that return to this area is mind boggling. As we reached the pit Jeff said, ”well here we are and the let the fun begin.” The sun broke over the distant horizon as he opened the pit door and passed our gear, preparing for our morning hunt. The FA Brand decoys were already out along with several Mojo decoys that were set up, being controlled from the pit. Sean Hammock turned the lights on and fired up the stove, starting up the coffee as we set up in our slots. The heater warned the pit and took the chill off the 15 degree morning as ducks sailed high over head. Jeff turned the mallard machine on to prevent icing. As he did, the ripples set the whole decoy spread alive as the first flight of ducks set down right in the middle of the decoys five minutes before shooting time. Jeff laughed and said that they didn’t know how lucky they were to be early. We watched them and then flared them out of the decoys as we loaded our shotguns with supreme loads as shooting time fast approached. In the distance, we could see faint flights of ducks as they left the Del Air Refuge that is located right over the far levee. Soon a couple of www.WaterfowlUSA.org
flights headed in our direction and Jeff cut lose on his call. The mallards responded, turning into the wind setting up in a classic manner turning. The mallards rocked as they spilled air and dropped in on the outer edge of the decoys, some 20 yards in front. Jeff called the shot, shotgun discharges rang out and ducks rained down in the decoys with load splashes from one side of the spread to the other. Eight birds lay floating on the surface as the rest headed for the safety of high flight. “Great shooting that group. They never knew we were even here,” Jeff said as he turned the lab loose to retrieve the birds. As the lab returned with last greenhead, the tally was six drakes; a fine way to start our morning hunt. The action got hot quickly as three set their wings off to our left even before we could get the dog back in the blind box. They were right in front when Drew Ward took the shot, dropping two drakes. Flight after flight came to the calling like on a string. They turned and sailed right into range quickly. We had to take a quick check to see who had limited out and who hadn’t. We needed three more to fill our limit for the morning and it didn’t take long. Jeff spotted a small group off in the distance and he cut loose on his call. The poor ducks turned and swung over the right side of the decoys presenting their cupped wings and orange feet as a target for the others that had not limited out. The shots range out and three drakes tumbled out of the sky ending our morning. Six limits in less than an hour and a half; not a bad morning. Unfortunately, we never even had a chance to cook breakfast as we had planned on doing. As we packed up our gear and looked out over the rig, we saw ducks in every direction. So we got out of there as soon as we could so the ducks wouldn’t be afraidto return there in the morning. Back at the lodge we cleaned and tagged the birds befoe taking off for breakfast at a small diner just up the road 27
from the Strait Meat Duck Club. After breakfast, we headed for Jeff’s new shop because he needed to get an order shipped out to Cabela’s that afternoon. As we drove into Pittsfield, Jeff and I had a chance to talk about the morning hunt and about the quality calls his company has produced for the past 10 years. Jeff started with the Strait Meat Honker and the Strait Meat Mallard calls but soon developed a product line that has spread all over the country. Now he makes so many different styles and models that it would take half a day to talk about them all. Inside his 10,000 square foot store, he has a modern retail area upstairs so anyone can find the products that they need for hunting; downstairs he produces his line of world famous calls. As Jeff and the others tuned calls, I had the chance to look around and do a little photo work of his calls and learn more about what it takes to produce championship calls. Jeff and his crew showed me the complete process of putting the calls in proper form, from shaving reeds to sanding the tone boards to get just the right notes. The StraitMeat crew tunes each call by hand, definitely a time
consuming process. Every call that leaves Foiles Migrators has been tested and tuned to insure quality so the customer will always be satisfied. After dinner at the Red Dome, a local restaurant, Jeff dropped me off at the hotel and told me he’d see me at 4 in the morning. Jeff wanted to run north of the area to see if a few geese will be in the area. At 4am, he pulled up and in the dark we headed off pulling a trailer full of the new FA Brand goose decoys behind. We reached the farm and set up the decoys but 10 degree temperatures played havoc with our plains. As soon as we broke the ice it would refreeze. We had our one and only early morning chance at a small flock, killing one goose, due to some poor shooting on my part. Without the talents of Jeff Foiles’ calling, we wouldn’t have even had that opprotunity. After that morning, we all met at the club and headed into the pit for a midday duck hunt as snow flakes drifted down in the cold air. Reaching the pit, Paul Sawyer turned the heater on and we settled in. Jeff started cooking breakfast and making coffee during the midday lull, as we talked about calling and duck hunting. I will tell you that the food was as good as it gets; hot sausage and eggs with toast and hash browns that still makes my mouth water just thanking about it. Your experience with Jeff is first class all the way. The food, calling, pits, company, dogs, and your treatment at the duck club is outstanding. If you have children it is an ideal spot to bring them. The guides make every effort to help them along and are great with family shooting, allowing the young hunters to enjoy it as much as seasoned old shooter. As we finished our midday brunch we could hear shooting off in the distance. We stuck our heads out of our pits and into the crisp Illinois midday air. Flights of ducks were high above us. Jeff and the crew pulled out the calls and soon we were in action I have not seen in years. “Mallards off to the left . . . setting up . . . get ready,” Jeff said as we keep our heads down until the shot was called. The shot was called and as we came up to greet them. There were at least 50 with outstretched wings some 25 yards from the pit. When the shooting stopped, mallards laid everywhere in the decoys. As Jeff’s dog retrieved the last of the birds, a small flock of pintails darted in on us. We took two of them, adding to our bag a nice bonus to the hunt. All day we saw ducks and we were able to limit out before Vol. Vol. 24, 24, Issue Issue 33
3 o’clock, allowing us to clean up and head for dinner at the Red Dome in Pittsfield. Cold air and snow greeted us on my last day of hunting with Jeff and the StraitMeat crew. It ended up being one of those days that you dream about. As we got into the pit, I was told by Jeff that when the snow flies the ducks just get stupid and fly right to the call like they were on a string. The mallards did exactly as Jeff said all morning long. We were hunting the leading edge of a northern cold front that had created a snow storm. The front was pushing new ducks in along with stirring up the ducks that had been there. It was ideal conditions for a great hunt during early December in Illinois. All morning long, pintails, widgeons, teal, gadwalls, and mallards approached like I have not seen in years. It was a true waterfowlers dream. The shooting was fast and close, allowing us the fill six limits in less than 90 minutes, taking only drakes. The shooting was so good in the pit that Jeff called Cole, his son, who was goose hunting in a near by field with a group of hunters. Jeff had Cole put them in the pit as we pulled out and the group of five shot their limit in about
two hours. We watched from a levee not far away allowing me time to take photos drink some coffee with the crew. My time hunting with Jeff and the StraitMeat gang was enjoyable and full of lasting memories. I had a chance to see how experts in the waterfowling industry do it, from calling to decoying. Jeff and the crew were gentleman and hunted by the book, making this hunt a memorable pleasure. If you ever get the chance to hunt with Jeff and his crew, do it! It will be a hunt that will last long after the last shot is fired. My thanks to all of the crew and to Jeff for making my stay a memorable experience that was full of action packed hunting and lots of laughter. If you would like to see the club in action right in the comfort of your own home, call and order a copy of “Fallin’ Skies 5,” Jeff’s new DVD which has the StraitMeat Duck Club featured along with 17 other hunts for your enjoyment. Call 1-866-83-GEESE or go on the web at www.foilesstraitmeat.com to book a hunt or order a DVD or any of Jeff’s fine products. Hope to see you there for I know I’ll be back for another hunt of a lifetime.
Northwest Indiana Chapter makes dream come true for youth
WAUPUN, WI - It is from the help of the Waupun Community and surrounding areas that Waterfowl U.S.A. is able one young man’s dream come true. The supoort from the farmers in the Waupun area is also greatly apprecaited. It is the farmers who allow the organization places to hunt during October that allowed the Northwest Indiana Chapter to come together with their newest partner, “Hunt Of A Lifetime.” The Northwest Indiana Chapter has been travelling to the Horicon region of Wisconsin for 15 years to enjoy the hunting, as well as the hospitality of the Waupun residents. So when a Indiana boy who has been dianosed with a life threathening illness expressed an interest to go goose hunting, the chapter decided to take it upon themselves to give the boy a week to remember. Tyler Smith, a Nashville, IN native, has been battling leukemia for nearly four years. The 16-year-old was introduced to the Northwest Indiana chapter by Hunt Of A Lifetime, an organization dedicated to helping children with life-threatening diseases fulfill their hunting dreams. “I always wanted to go goose hunting but never had the opportunity,” said Smith. “This was my chance. I would do it again in a heartbeat.” When asked about the outing, Smith noted that he had a lot of fun and “...that the people were awesome!” The Northwest Indiana chapter would like to thank the following doners for making a “Hunt Of A Lifetime” come true • Javed Kadri - Americ Inn, Waupun, WI • Jim Osborne - Bass Pro Shop, Portage, IN • Mark Baca - Gander Valley Calls, Greeley, CO • “Sparky” Sparkes - M2D Camo, Spokane, WA • Randy Smith - STTS, Inc. - Hobart, IN
Photos: Top Left: Tyler Smith trying on his new M2D Camo jacket. Middle right: Sherry Smith, Tyler’s mother, is keeping warm with her own M2D Camo jacket. Bottom left: Tyler (left) with Don Roberts (middle) and John Jelinek. Roberts and Jelinek is giving Tyler is own shotgun, another generous donation to the “Hunt Of A Lifetime” program
Waterfowl U.S.A. officially listed on Ebay charities EDGEFIELD, SC - Auction sellers on Ebay.com can now designate a portion of their sales to assist in the ongoing commitment towards wetland conservation. MissionFish, Ebay’s official chartible monitor, has officially accepted Waterfowl U.S.A. as a charity able to receive donations through the auctons of its clients. Now when you list an item on Ebay, you can choose to
donate a portion of the sale (from 10 to 100 percent) to Waterfowl U.S.A. All you have to do is choose to donate, and Ebay will handle the transfer of funds to Waterfowl U.S.A. So, go through your garage, sell your items for extra cash and help wetland conservaion without taking money out of your pocket. Vol. 24, Issue 3
Poacher with over 300 birds convicted SAN FRANCISCO, CA - California game wardens say they’ve bagged the biggest bird poacher they’ve seen in modern times - and they warn that with hard economic times pressing down everywhere, there will be more to come. Peter Ignatius Ciraulo of Gilroy was convicted Nov. 14 in Santa Clara County Superior Court of waterfowl poaching, but this wasn’t a matter of a few birds shot on the sly in nearby fields, said state Game Warden Patrick Foy. “This was more than 300 birds, of just about every kind you can think of,” said Foy, spokesman for the state Department of Fish and Game. “It was crazy. Disgusting. Back in the early 1900s we had people who killed birds illegally and brought them back to town, but even the old timers in our force haven’t seen anything of this magnitude.” Ciraulo, 42, pleaded no contest to possessing more than the allowable number of waterfowl, failure to show game upon demand to a warden and failure to declare possession of a swan, which is a protected bird in California. Wardens had gotten suspicious of the Gilroy man during the waterfowl hunting season last winter, and when they finally went to his house they found it jammed with dead birds, Foy said. They found 335 waterfowl of almost every species that migrates into California, and most were stowed intact, feathers and all, in freezers. Among the birds were 253 ducks and 58 geese exceeding the legal possession limits of 14 ducks and
eight geese - a protected species, sandhill crane, and seven live but wounded snow geese on hand, Foy said. He also had several goose breasts hidden in his jacket. “Mr. Ciraulo had hunted throughout the Central Valley,” Foy said. “He said he was going to eat some of them, but when we asked him why he had so many, he never really never offered up a very valid explanation.” Ciraulo, who was sentenced to two years probation, 100 hours of community service and fined $7,105, declined to discuss the case when reached at his home Monday. “There’s really nothing to say,” he said, and then joked that he was headed out on a whale hunt. Foy said that wardens throughout the state report they are seeing an alarming rise in poachings of many kinds of animals, and they blame it on harder economic times. “We don’t have statistics yet to show all this, but we will absolutely see more poachers in our numbers,” Foy said. Compounding the problem is a shortage of game wardens, he added. The state already has a skimpy number of wardens compared to other states, according to the state Fish and Game Wardens Association - about 200 for the entire state, contrasted with 700 in Florida and 500 in Texas. And about a quarter of the workforce is expected to retire in the next couple of years. “We have fewer wardens per capita in California than we had in 1950, and that will equate to more poachers, for sure,” said Foy.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Special thanks goes to the San Francisco (CA) Chronicle and to Kevin Fagan, Chronicle Staff Writer, for permissions to reproduce this article for our membership.
QUAKER BOY WOOD DUCK CALL
One of the better wood duck calls ever made comes from Quaker Boy Game Calls. Ever since I found one in a sporting goods store in S outh Carolina about 10 years ago. It has never left my lanyard and you can still buy one with the same quality. Simple to use and effective, Quaker Boy has built these calls with a wooden mouth piece and a rubber end, allowing you to cut the air flow so you can change the tone as well as the notes. It is all wood duck from start to finish. This is a call that you have to add to your lanyard. You can find Quaker Boy Calls all over the country at Cabelas, Bass Pro, and other leading sporting goods stories in your area. www.quakerboy.com
FA APPROACH LAY OUT BLIND COVERS
SeaArk Boats, of Monticello Arkansas, recently introduced a new model to their line of allwelded boats. The “Stealth” specially designed for bass fishing, is an addition to SeaArk’s line-up of heavy gauge aluminum boats from 14 to 24 feet in length. The “Stealth” is available in either 17 or 18 foot in length. The Stealth 172 has a 77” beam and a 56” bottom width. The Stealth 186 has an 83” beam and a 60” bottom width. Available colors combinations are either red and charcoal or white and charcoal, the “Stealth” is standard with a deluxe side console. The new models feature a 15 degree hull and were designed for bass fishing in water bodies such as rivers, lakes, and bays. Other design elements of SeaArk’s “Stealth” include both a bow and stern aerated livewell, bow trolling motor battery compartment, and a lockable rod box. Additional standard features on the “Stealth” include two large rear deck storage compartments, deluxe bench seats with storage, two fold-down fishing seats, courtesy and navigation lights, windshield, four (4) cleats, fuel tank, and marine grade carpet. The 17 foot Stealth is rated for up to a 100 hp engine, and the 18 foot model is rated up to a 140 hp engine. Both the Stealth 172 and Stealth 186, are available through selected SeaArk Dealers. SeaArk Boats offers flat-bottoms, Veehulls, jet boats and tunnel hulls for a variety of uses including hunting and fishing. 32 32
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HOT HANDS VALUE PACKS FROM HEATMAX Hot hands has been in my blind bag for years. Now offer a convenient value pack that contains Hothands warmers, perfect for hand warmers as well as fitting into their fleece and knit headwear . Hot Hands warmers will last for up to 10 hours giving you safe, comfortable warmth throughout your hunt. Also in the value pack you will find 10 twopacks of Toasti Toes that provide six hours of comfort for your feet. They can also be used for pocket warmers as well. For more information or to order, check HeatMax out on the web at www.heatmax.com or call 1-800-432-8629.
SHORELANDR’ DUCK BOAT TRAILER
For over 30 years, Shoreland’r has produced a full line of trailers and they just keep getting better with age. They have introduced a trailer that hunters and fishermen will depend on. This new trailer is designed for small duck boats as well as fishing boats. This trailer speaks totaly of quality from start to finish. I have used Shoreland’r trailers for over 25 years and, for the money, they are simply the final word in quality trailers for the outdoorsman They can custom fit you with a trailer for your boat and needs. So see your Shoreland’r dealer in your area or call the factory for more details and a full color catalog. If you don’t have a dealer in your area, Shoreland’r will be able to put you in contact with one that can help you determine which product is right for your needs. Also, don’t forget to check on additional options like spare tire holders, jack stands, new lighting packages, LED lights, and so much more. Call or look on the web. ShoreLand’r Trailers, 1-800-859-3028 www.shorelandr.com.
I have been using Ure-A-Duck decoys for years and have found that they are some of the finest decoys available. Ure-A-Duck offers a full line of duck and geese decoys along with some unusual confidence and attractants decoys that have been field tested and proven. They have introduced a new line of wood duck decoys that are tough as well as fully feathered detailed. These new wood decoys might possibly be the last set of decoys you will ever need. These decoys put motion on the water where you need it. After three years of testing they now offer the Ure-A-Duck wobblers and strutting wood duck decoys. I have used them in swamps, rivers, lakes, small pot holes and beaver ponds. They have worked every time with out fail, producing the action capable of bringing the wood ducks in. These fine decoys are hand crafted with high feather details that holds paint, reducing the shine. These decoys are great under all weather conditions regardless of what part of the country you are hunting. These decoys will give you ripples on the water, with one strutter flapping its wings to simulate a wood duck landing. Hunting with them, I have found no other combination works as well for me Check these out along with the other products Ure-A-Duck offers. You will find quality decoys that work. These decoys are made by hunters for hunters. If you would like to add action to your decoy spread this year call them for the full story. 1-252-2584991. www.ureaduck.com
OTTER DECOY SHIELD
The Decoy Shuttle by Otter Outdoors is one of the finest products to come along. it can be used as a decoy bag as well as a way to transport your decoys in the field regardless is it is a dry field or a wet marsh. The Decoy Shuttle floats and was designed to be. pulled behind you in most ground conditions, holding up to three dozen decoys. It is a sled that has a rugged 500 denier Cordura decoy bag permanently attached so your decoys can not fall out on the way. You will be able to find this fine product at Cabela’s as well as other sporting goods stories in your area but if you can’t call Otter Outdoors and they will be glade to help you.
Do you have a product or service you believe in? Do you want to see your product reviewed by one of the best in the business. Contact Waterfowl Magazine at email@example.com to find out how you can see your item in “From The Decoy Bag.”
Vol. 24, Issue Issue 3 3 Vol 24.
SOUTHERN GAME CALLS
Greg Hood has produced some of the finest calls for years. In fact, his calls have won so many calling contests you can be found on lanyards all over the country; including mine for the last 10 years. From deer to sandhill crane to waterfowl, you will find the call that is right for your skill of calling. Southern Game Calls has double reed as well as single reed calls and are offered in many different configurations. You need to check out Southern Game Calls before you buy your next call and see the fine line that they offer. You will find them in all the leading sporting goods as well as Cabalas. Check them out and find the call that will put more feathers in your bag this year by calling 1-662-6271967 or look on the web at www. southerngamecalls.com.
Doel-Fin is a must for your boat if you carry heavy loads to and from the duck blind. It will improve handling and save you cash at the fuel pump. The Doel-Fin is the first and original hydrofoil with over 30 years of happy owners. The hydrofoil concept creates lift at high speeds and reduces fuel consumption, helping with steering in rough water. Doel-Fin saves fuel, reduces outof-the-hole time, and promotes better planning speeds at lower RPMs. I have used one for years and my duck hunting partner in Georgia has put one on his duck rig. The over all handling hole alone has added power to each of our boats. So try one this year and see the difference. It is a product for the active hunter as well as the fisherman. DoelFin are sold at Cabelaâ€™s, Bass Pro, West Marine and other leading sporting goods dealers as well as marine stories everywhere. Davis Instruments, 3465 Diablo Ave., Hayward, CA. 94545. email firstname.lastname@example.org or try the web at www.davisnet.com.
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bagged using a #7 steel swatter load mistakenly loaded in the heat of battle. Regardless, Hevi-Steel proved that it can get the job done.
Federal Black Cloud Steel Another duck load that gets the job done is Federal’s Black Cloud. I reserved testing this advanced steel load until later in the season when the larger ducks arrive. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate, and the anticipated flights of mallards and gadwalls never showed up. Then, around Thanksgiving when the weather turned ducky, a bad flu put me out of commission all week. As a result, I only bagged two mallards with Black Cloud. Upon examination of those two ducks, results were impressive. The wound channel created by the cutting edge of the Flitestopper pellet was massive. With all that damage, I was surprised the ducks weren’t dead immediately. Using #4’s, instead of #2’s, may have improved pattern density. Noted callmaker Phil Robertson, a.k.a. the Duck Commander, was so impressed with Black Cloud that he asked Federal if he could endorse it. Look for the Duck Commander’s image on select boxes of Black Cloud this year loaded with #3’s, a great shot size for ducks. Federal’s innovative Flitecontrol wad delivers the mixture of Flitestopper and regular steel pellets to the target. As you can see in the accompanying comparison chart, performance is comparable to regular steel loads. However, during testing the wad traveled as far as 40 yards, almost hitting my 30 inch paper targets. Had I extended the test yardage further, to say 50 or 55 yards, I bet Black Cloud’s performance would have greatly pulled ahead of regular steel because of the Flitecontrol wad. Despite using a fairly open Hunter’s Specialties’ light modified choke, the average pellet count was 89 hits. When I tried a tighter modified tube, the pellet count dropped to only 70 hits inside the 30 inch circle. It would seem less constriction is more with Black Cloud, again probably due to the Flitecontrol wad staying with the shot longer than standard wads. So there you have it. Whether it’s inexpensive steel, a premium non-toxic, or a hybrid or advanced steel load, there’s something out there for everybody. For the money, the advanced or hybrid steel loads may be the best deal. Owners of classic shotguns with fixed tight chokes they’d like to use duck hunting, may find the softer non-toxics more appealing. For those on a budget – and who ain’t these days – inexpensive steel also gets the job done. 36
Vol. 24,Issue Issue33 Vol 24,
Louisiana Lures and Legends by Brian Cheramie
For 200 years along the bayous and bays of Southeast Louisiana, history has been made in the form of shaped wooden blocks that were created by the inhabitants of this waterfowling wonderland. Some of the rugged inhabitants hunted for both food and for the market while weathering storms, floods, the Depression, and other social ills. In Southeast Louisiana where duck hunting was and still is a passion, wooden duck decoys were used and made as tools of the trade. Today, sadly, most have been lost to the fires and the storms that frequented the area and, over time, much of the rich waterfowling history has been lost. In this work, Brian Cheramie has salvaged the history of the region by collecting the decoys and the history of the decoy makers. He created one of the most fabulous books that not only will enlighten the reader as to the history of the decoy and maker, but will also shed light on the social interactions of these carvers. Louisiana Lures and Legends is broken up into chapters that are devoted to the carvers of the different bayou regions, starting with Mar McCool Whipple, who commercially made decoys for over 50 years between 1884-1961 and who was the head guide at the famous Avoca Club on Lake Long. Each carver’s decoys have been photographed In most cases, actual photographs of the interesting carvers and their life stories are included. The book is accented with photographs that are from the period and that were collected by Dave Hall of ‘Poachers to Preachers’ fame when he was with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This is one book that all lovers of waterfowling and its history will have to own, for not only does it give excellent examples of the fine folk art that is cherished today, but it also includes the historical aspects of waterfowling in the state. Truly, it is one of the finest books on the market today and should be a part of your waterfowling library for it is destined to be a classic. Louisiana Lures and Legends can be found in fine bookstores around the country or you my call or write to the Ram Corporation at P.O. Box 608, Golden Meadow, Louisiana 70357, tel. 1-800-256-2238, for further information.
The fun part about duck hunting has to be going out with friends, watching Old Dog retrieve and shooting moving targets. The work begins when you get home, cleaning up muddy equipment and the harvested waterfowl. The last part has always been an area that causes me to look for a better way. Now I know there are several alternative methods used to remove feathers, but they are all rather messy. An idea came to me one day as I was reading a magazine. It showed an advertisement of a vacuum cleaner so powerful it would hold up a twelve pound bowling ball. If I bought my wife one of those for her birthday, then when hunting season rolled around, I could sneak it out to the shed and fire it up. The hurricane force just ought to turn any wildfowl into a naked bird in a hurry. All the feathers would be in the bag and my shed wouldn’t resemble a Bear Lake Blizzard every time I opened the door to get my lawn mower out during the following summer. It came in the UPS truck a few weeks later and I hid it under the bed until the birthday cake was ready to cut. I think the little women was a little suspicious as to why I would spend so much money on a new vacuum cleaner with more attachments than a food processor. We plugged it in and the cat came sliding across the polished floor toward the suction hose, scratching and clawing all the way. I got it shut off just after its tail entered the electric tornado. The yellow cat resembled a hairless tailed opossum for a couple of months, but I knew it would be just the ticket for this fall’s ducks. The first day I came home from hunting that fall, my wife had gone shopping, so it was easy to sneak the cyclone vacuum out to the shed. It wasn’t long until I had five ducks that looked like those bare naked chickens in the super market. I got by with my great method for a couple of weeks until one day my wife was cleaning the carpet. I knew I should have emptied the vacuum bag the last time I used it, because it burst and I guess you know what happened. We were still finding feathers in the microwave, cereal bowls, and in the clothes closets for a couple of months. Every time I turned on the TV, feathers would dance across the screen and the furnace spewed out feathers from the heat vents, causing the skinny tailed cat to chase after them all hours of the night. The poor cat twitched in his sleep for the rest of the winter. My wife keeps the vacuum in the padlocked utility closet and wears the key on a string around her neck. I have been relegated back to plucking my ducks and geese by hand. So much for a brilliant idea that got blown away by a big wind.
the last shot...
“Parting Humor” by Wendell Shephard
Duck Plucker Deluxe
New website password: WUSAteal Vol. 24, Issue 3
INTRODUCING THE Ridiculously GOOD “STRAIT TIMBER” CALL FROM FOILES MIGRATORS, INC. CALL 866-83-GEESE
NEW REMINGTON ® WINGMASTER HD ™. IT’S DROP DEAD BETTER.™ When the birds are in, nothing else matters. And nothing brings the flight to a grinding halt like Wingmaster HD. At 12.0 g/cc, with the roundest, most consistent heavy-density pellets we’ve ever produced, its on-bird pellet count and downrange energy are second to none. ©2008 REMINGTON ARMS COMPANY, INC.
Vol. 24, Fall Issue 20073