Being a “Duckaholic” just gets in you blood and Duckoholic Rehab is not an option.Â Â Our 2008 waterfowl season was a success, with a few twists.Â Once again the boys and I finished another waterfowl season with decent numbers. We had our moments of glory and some days, well you just wonder why you bothered getting out of bed. Hunting quackers in three states is challenging and exciting.
We hunted both the Mississippi Flyway in bazinga Arkansas and the Central Flyway in Western Oklahoma this last season. We have now detrermined that waterfowl in different flyway’s actions are different. We used one tactic to hunt waterfowl in the Central Flyway, while using another in the Mississippi Flyway. Waterfowl in the Western Arkansas seem to be in more of a resting mode searching for rivers, lakes and ponds to spend a night or two, regaining their strength before heading south to the lush rice fields of Louisiana and the Arkansas Delta. That’s what makes it tough hunting waterfowl in Western Arkansas. Waterfowl come in, stay a day or two and then take off for greener pastures are gone. Alto of running and gunning to hunt waterfowl in Western Arkansas. Granted it might be tough to hunt waterfowl in in Western Arkansas, but it is also rewarding. The hunter is able to make use of all of their knowledge of waterfowl hunting.
The waterfowl have a prime resting and feeding are at Foss Lake in Western Oklahoma known as Foss Lake Wildlife Refuge. Waterfowl rest on the refuge and fly to surrounding crops to feed. Waterfowl will hang out a week or more in this area, giving hunters more shooting opportunities. The hunter is almost guaranteed daily action at their favorite honey hole in this area. There are so many agricultural crops in western Oklahoma it transforms to a huge filling station for the ducks and geese. Remember, waterfowl have to take in a certain amount of carbohydrates each day to maintain their migration ability. The Central Flyway gives waterfowl ample opportunity to take in and store those needed nutrients with all of the corn, wheat, maze and peanut fields available for grazing.
We also got into hammering those honkers this year. We shot a little over 800 ducks and 245 geese. Not bad for three rednecks from the Arkansas River Valley… what can I say? Hammer time with those new Mossberg autos from! Â D’Baz bagged a Canvasback, Redhead, Pintail and a Bufflehead, all in one day. That’s probably going to keep some taxidermist very busy.
On average, we met our per-day bag limits. A big part of our success came from the way Capgun and Ducky set up and called the ducks into our decoy spreads. Another key advantage is our working knowledge of the areas we hunt and the way we build blinds around that area. Ducky is always surveying the land, watching the wind, and looking for waterfowl habitats. Capgun’s superior command of a duck call offers us pass by shots others don’t get. That boy can sweet talk those green heads right into our decoys. We use three different types of decoy patterns. We would use the old reliable “J” decoy layout pattern, the “U” pattern and the family pattern. The decoy patterns we used would depend on the situations we were facing on a particular hunt. We have since learn a new pattern from the Duck Commander himself. He has taught us the “Empty Hole” pattern and went into great detail to descibe how it works, we’ll give a report on it after this season.
Mother Nature had her way with us a couple of times this season. One January morning while hunting one of our many honey holes in Oklahoma, Old Man Winter came a knocking. Well, shall we say he came a pounding with a monster winter storm! Needless to say before we were able to get back across the lake to the cabin our clothing, gear, boat and motor were covered with a thick sheet of ice. We were miserable. High fuel prices kept us in the river valley more than normal. That didn’t mean less ducks, we just had to go out and find them, and that we did. We’ve got 4 new leases 40 miles from home base, sweet!
Jim “Duckie” Newcomb, president of ShellShocked Outdoors, [http://www.shellshockedoutdoors.com], he is an outdoorsman with 45 years of personal experience in hunting, fishing and the great outdoors. He is an accomplished and respected waterfowl hunter along with guiding upland bird hunting adventures. He has trained thousands of gun dogs throughout his career. He is the host of an outdoor radio show and a respected outdoors writer and editor. His company does a lot of product testing for manufacturers of outdoor products.