Waterfowl Musings

ThunderNocked

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Aug 3, 2020
Messages
647
Location
North Pole, Alaska
I'm in a quandary. I love Waterfowl Hunting. I was a late starter - I grew up in a hunting family but didn't start hunting myself until I moved to Juneau, Alaska (wife's Hometown). I tried to pickup big game but stuck in Juneau with no boat big game is limited, HIGHLY pressured, and not a real pursuit. Shortly after I made the unfortunate comment to a friend that shotguns sucked (sorry forgive me) as my dad hated them. He owned an old break action single shot that had no pad and he said was the worst gun to shoot of all time. So my friend made me go and shoot clay pigeons with him using a hand thrower. I loved it - I went out and bought a Remington 870, one of only a couple of guns I'm sad I sold, and a bunch of clays. I asked what else we could do and he suggested waterfowl hunting. I became obsessed - and it was glorious. Juneau Waterfowl season started Mid September through December 31st. I would go out EVERY DAY before work and as I learned I picked up decoys and calling. I spent every day riding home from work practicing calling and listening to calling tips, how tos, etc. in the end I became the most dedicated Waterfowler I knew of in Juneau. I loved the horrible rainy days when everyone else stayed home and when I could have 2 hours of outgoing low tides on the wetlands alone or with my one friend - especially in those first three weeks while the Green Wings and Widgeons were still coming south from Northern Alaska.

Fast forward and in 2016 I moved to Fairbanks Alaska - big game is plentiful and feeds a family of 7 much better then birds do . However the birds leave early as everything freezes pretty solid pretty quick when you have 8 months of winter. So the Waterfowl and Moose seasons overlap. I always try to take a couple of days to go out and hit the birds but it just isn't the same and I haven't been able to figure out how to try to focus on getting a moose to fill my freezer vs doing something I love in decoying waterfowl. I got my kids, all 5 of them, Duck Whistles and a Hen call just to have and use sometimes when we are out. I try to take them all out annually at least once.
I've gotten bad at wing shooting, really need to try to hit the trap club this summer a few times to try to get back into the swing as last year I missed all my shots on the one opportunity I had with the kids. Oh well..... just talking to some folks about how much I love watching birds decoy and it got me reminiscing and thinking.... so thought I'd put this hear.

Plan after bear baiting, and in between football/Sheep/Moose and Caribou to go to the club and get some practice in and whack a couple ducks this season.... maybe finally get a nice Widgeon to mount or a Harlequin if I can make it to the coast.
 

ThunderNocked

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Messages
647
Location
North Pole, Alaska
besides shooting trap, teaching my kids to use their duck calls and trying to keep from getting to rusty myself .... what else can I do in the off season to get back into the swing of it?

Also I hope that didn't come across as a brag before - I know Alaska Waterfowl Hunting has nothing on the swarms of birds you all see in the lower 48! I've been dreaming about taking a trip down and doing some waterfowling where the tides are smaller and the weather better then -40 mid winter.

Thanks
 

AlaskaHunter

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Joined
Jan 20, 2017
Messages
1,442
Location
interior Alaska
Waterfowl opens September 1st here in AK. HAHA
The daily bag limit is 10 and the possession limit is 30.
Like most hunts in Alaska, better hunting is an camping expedition to get away from competition.
Since our season opens Sept 1. we are shooting "brown ducks" and calling is more effective the later in early October.
Bug_DuckHunt 014.jpg
 

ThunderNocked

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Messages
647
Location
North Pole, Alaska
The daily bag limit is 10 and the possession limit is 30.
Like most hunts in Alaska, better hunting is an camping expedition to get away from competition.
Since our season opens Sept 1. we are shooting "brown ducks" and calling is more effective the later in early October.
View attachment 223418
Camping out for waterfowl would be a blast. I should look into that for sure.
 

OntarioHunter

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Joined
Sep 11, 2020
Messages
4,270
Try skeet. It's much better practice for waterfowl, especially the crossing shots. Trap is more for flushing pheasants. Try to shoot low gun. Even in the field it's best to keep the gun down till the last second and then shoot quickly all in one smooth motion. Trap is typically shot high gun which is not what one usually encounters in the field. Pattern your gun and make sure it fits you. Again, mount and fire quickly at the target like you would shoot in the field. Aiming the gun carefully is useless ... unless getting ready for turkey hunting. Adjust the stock as needed.
 

ThunderNocked

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Messages
647
Location
North Pole, Alaska
Try skeet. It's much better practice for waterfowl, especially the crossing shots. Trap is more for flushing pheasants. Try to shoot low gun. Even in the field it's best to keep the gun down till the last second and then shoot quickly all in one smooth motion. Trap is typically shot high gun which is not what one usually encounters in the field. Pattern your gun and make sure it fits you. Again, mount and fire quickly at the target like you would shoot in the field. Aiming the gun carefully is useless ... unless getting ready for turkey hunting. Adjust the stock as needed.
I'll double check but not sure what our range does here - last I saw it was only a Trap location but maybe I just didn't read far enough.
Oh, my gun fits me and I love it. I've shot quite a few birds with it previously and I've shot trap 'unofficially' so when I have I shot wobbles and I shot from a low gun position. I had a couple guys come and talk to me about shouldering ahead of time and explained I wasn't there for scores or league but just for some practice swinging and not stopping the shotgun and they were happy to let me do my thing.
Love my Maxus - I feel bad for her since we moved to Fairbanks.
 

glass eye

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Joined
Sep 3, 2012
Messages
2,043
Location
El Centro, CA
I'll be on Adak and am planning to bring my shotgun and a simple basic decoy setup to try to get some Harlequins!
Harlequins are abundant there and hang out close to shore in the rocks. Sometimes you can find them standing on shore.
Your biggest problem will be the very aggressive eagles ready to steal your birds.
I'll message you with a tip.
 

AlaskaHunter

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 20, 2017
Messages
1,442
Location
interior Alaska
I'll double check but not sure what our range does here - last I saw it was only a Trap location but maybe I just didn't read far enough.
Oh, my gun fits me and I love it. I've shot quite a few birds with it previously and I've shot trap 'unofficially' so when I have I shot wobbles and I shot from a low gun position. I had a couple guys come and talk to me about shouldering ahead of time and explained I wasn't there for scores or league but just for some practice swinging and not stopping the shotgun and they were happy to let me do my thing.
Love my Maxus - I feel bad for her since we moved to Fairbanks.
Contact 37-SKEET (377-5338)

The Eielson Skeet &Trap range welcomes new and experienced shooters. The range is located near Iceman Falls Lodge on Quarry Road. The range has two skeet ranges, one trap/wobble trap range and 5-Stand. The 5-Stand is a hybrid of skeet and sporting clay shooting, developed for hunters to improve their skills for game pursuit or just for fun!
link

If find if I mount the shotgun so that when the stock hits my shoulder, I am in front of the bird, the apparent speed of the target is much slower and I simply have to match the gun speed to the target speed. For crossing shots on ducks, I hit substantially more compared to starting behind the target and swinging thru because the apparent speed of the target is slower by starting in front.
Gill Ash explains this concept in this video:
 

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