Blog

The 15 Things You Need To Pack For Your First Duck Hunt March 03 2015

If you love waterfowl hunting as much as we do, it's easy to understand how the excitement of an upcoming hunt can consume most of your brain power and make you a little less focussed when it comes to the particulars of packing. We get it, and we've compiled a comprehensive (and perhaps exhaustive) list of necessities to save you the trouble of having to second and triple guess the contents of your pack post-departure. Print out this checklist - hell, laminate the thing - and keep it with your gear so you can always do a quick roll call before you head out.

1) Your Arms and Ammo. Specifically, your firearm(s). Unless you are planning to coax a goose from the sky with telepathy and then wrestle it with your bare hands, you are going to need to remember to pack your firearm of choice - as well as the necessary licences for wielding your weapon. This leads us to our next point...

2) Your Licence and Registration. You need to bring all your hunting licenses and tags with you on your hunt. This includes your Migratory Game Bird Permit, which is required for hunting waterfowl in Canada.

3) Weather Appropriate Clothing. Waterfowl hunting season in Canada spans from September to early December, and as anyone who's true north strong and free can tell you, the weather can vary A LOT in that time. We're talking going from flip-flops to snow shoes in a matter of weeks - even days. When you're packing for your hunting trip, make sure you tune in to the weather channel, and then pack a few precautionary layers anyway (especially socks). You're hunting waterfowl, after all, so you may get a little damp if your strike zone is in a marsh.

TIP: Unlike other types of hunting that require you to sport hunter's orange, you can feel free to wear camo while hunting waterfowl. This said, just make sure it is brown based camo, not the typical army green. You're not hunting in the jungle, after all. It's also a good idea to pack face cover. Nothing will scare ducks and geese away like your face beaming up at them from below.

4) Your Hunting Camp. Even if you're just out on a day hunt, you'll usually have a place you will go to refuel and ‘release’, so bringing along some sort of hunting camp is vital. We've written a comprehensive article on building a hunting camp <blog link> where you can get in-depth information on what exactly to bring, but the key elements include a shelter, a place to relieve yourself and a place to cook, eat and rest. You don't have to bring along your fully loaded RV (though you could do this), but there's no rule that says you can't be comfortable, so pack what you need to create a home away from home.

5) Refrigeration. The idea of waterfowl hunting is to bag a few birds, so you'll need to keep them fresh - especially if you're on an extended trip. This means you could need anything from ice packed coolers (for shorter trips; 1-2 days) or full on, generator driven refrigerators.

6) Cleaning Implements/Dressing Kit. Your knife is necessary for breasting and you'll also need shears and surgical gloves (if you don't want to get your hands dirty) if you are going to bring home the whole bird. Of course, you can just bring an entire dressing kit which will serve well no matter how you decide to divide and conquer your bird.

7) Maps/Compass. If you're journeying into new territory for this year’s hunt, be sure to pack some maps of the area and a compass so you can get a solid lay of the land.

8) Landowners Permission. If you're hunting on private land, make sure you have and carry permission from the landowners on your person.

9) First Aid Kit. Cuts and scrapes happen at the best of times, even to the most cautious hunters, so be sure to carry a full loaded first aid kit on day trips, and then double or triple the contents for extended trips.  Consider packing Tylenol – and even blood clotters if you are really venturing off the beaten path.

10) Communication. Even if you want to go off the grid, be sure to bring some form of phone or long range transmitter in case of emergency. If you are adamantly against bringing any technology, at least be sure to leave the details of your trip with family and/or friends. These details should include not only where you're going, but also when you expect to be back.

11) Flashlight and Batteries. It's easy to lose track of time or underestimate how long it will take you to get back to your camp, so it's good form to not only pack a flashlight, but also bring it with you while you’re out on the hunt.

12) Hunt Friendly Food. What, exactly, is up to you, but we strongly suggest simple staples that keep well and cook quickly, like beans, pasta and canned food. DON'T forget to bring enough clean water!

13) Toiletries. You don't want the wildlife to see or smell you, so bring your toiletries.

14) Your Meds. MAKE SURE to pack your prescription meds!

15) Waterfowl Calls. Your calls may seem like one of the most obvious necessities, but that doesn't mean it can't be easily forgotten. 

*Note, while this list is specifically for waterfowl, it can be used to help you prepare and pack for almost any hunting trip.


The Complete Guide to Waterfowl Hunting in Canada November 24 2014

Canada is one of the biggest and most beautiful places in the world, so it's fitting that Canadian waterfowling is some of the most bountiful on the planet.

If you've experienced Canada - or even if you've just heard a lot about it – that fact that we’re home to a rich tapestry of geography and wildlife will come as no surprise. In addition to dense boreal and Acadian forests, and vast expanses of tundra and towering mountain ranges, Canada boasts about 31,700 large lakes – a number that trumps any other country. In fact, Canada (the second largest country in the world) contains most of the world’s fresh water, making it a popular spot for various species of migratory waterfowl. We’re talking fresh air, wide open spaces, plenty of water and big, open skies. It’s no wonder waterfowl love to hang out here.

Of course, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by choice. That’s where this guide comes in. We’ve designed it to streamline the process and help you create the ultimate Canadian waterfowling experience.

The Where.

OK, obviously we’re going to be talking about waterfowl hunting in Canada, but – as we’ve already mentioned – Canada’s a big place. So where to go? While waterfowl abound in the Great White North, there are definitely some areas that have a more plentiful supply of these plucky birds.  You can also find a host of quality outfitters and hunting lodges in these areas.

Southern Ontario

Waterfowl hunting in Canada doesn't get much better than this! In a relatively small space (a strip of land that runs along the core of the Great Lakes) you'll find a veritable smorgasbord of waterfowl including redheads, lesser scaup, ring-necked ducks, mallards, black ducks, canvasbacks, and Brant and Canada geese. October and November are your best hunting months in this primo location.

Check out our guide to Ontario hunting regulations to learn more. <Link to blog.>

Peace River Country, Alberta

This transition point between boreal forests and Arctic makes for a favourite feeding ground for waterfowl due to its long standing as one of North America's major grain-producing regions. Every September through October, a variety of geese (Canada, white-fronts, lesser snows, Ross’) and ducks (pintails, mallards, other dabbling ducks) grace these flat lands to gorge on wheat, peas, lentils and barley. Much like in the other provinces in Canada's Prairies, visiting hunters can get the green-light to hunt on private property by simply obtaining permission from the local landowners.

Find out more about hunting in Alberta.

Southern Saskatchewan

No contest here: Southern Saskatchewan is not only one of the best places for waterfowl hunting in Canada, but it is also one of the best places on the continent. This is in large part due to the fact that the province is the most significant breeding ground for pintails, mallards as well as other dabbling ducks. It also serves as a staging area for waterfowl like Arctic geese, who are reared in the more distant northern regions of the north.

Your best time to hunt is from late September through October. You can snag an array of species in this waterfowl wonderland, including mallards, pintails, subspecies of Canada geese, as well as light and white-fronted geese. You can hunt publically in certain designated areas which are conserved by Ducks Unlimited and other partners in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. Again, like in Alberta, you can also make arrangement to freelance if you have the permission of private landowners

Learn more about waterfowl hunting in Saskatchewan.

Manitoba

Manitoba's Prairie Pothole Region is located smack-dab in the centre of the Great Plains of North America - formally the world's most expansive spread of grassland. When the glaciers receded 10,000 years ago, they left millions of shallow depressions behind them. These depressions - known as prairie potholes - have created that wetlands that are not only home to flora and fauna, but they are also a popular breeding ground for various (and substantial) waterfowl populations. Focus on the interlake regions for the best hunting of a variety of ducks and geese. Your prime time is early September and, depending on weather, it can span right into December.

Find out more about hunting in Manitoba.

Prince Edward Island

Canada also has some incredible water fowl hunting out east. Prince Edward Island is a particularly solid spot, especially along the shores of beautiful Malpeque Bay. You can also enjoy some good hunting a little further inland (around 25kms). Here you can bag Canada geese and an assortment of ducks, including blacks, pintails, mallard, and teal from the first Monday in October to the second Saturday in December.

To learn more about hunting in Prince Edward Island, visit their Environment, Energy and Forestry department website.

 

Accommodations Tip: Call before you commit! We are all about the convenience afforded by the internet, but sometimes it pays to reach out and touch someone – or at least give them a call. We’ve been to some great hunting lodges and outfitters in our time. And we’ve been to some less than stellar examples of this noble pursuit. In our experience, we’ve found we never have a bad experience with an outfitter we have a friendly chat with before our trip. Before you book, it bodes well to give your destination a ring. Get a feel for who you might be staying with. Are they friendly? Knowledgeable? Ask questions to see if the information on the web is actually up-to-date. These are important things to ascertain before you front the cash.

Keep in mind word of mouth is by far one of the greatest endorsements of merit, so ask other hunters for their recommendations.

The What.

The Best Hunting Gear for Waterfowl Hunting in Canada

The exact laws for Canadian waterfowl hunting vary from province to province, and as such, it’s important do your due diligence and familiarize yourself with your destination’s governing regulations. (Hint: you can find them by following the links we provided in the previous section.) Knowing these stipulations is what will ultimately be your best guide on when you can go (i.e. open seasons) and what you are allowed to bring on the hunt. For example, in Ontario, you need to take and pass a federally firearm safety course to hunt with a gun or bow, whereas in Alberta, you require a special Bow Hunting Permit (in addition to the federally mandated firearms course) if you want to embrace your inner archer.

We know: it can seem like a lot of background work, and to a certain extent, it is. On the other hand, when you look at it in the light of personal safety and environment sustainability, spending some time educating yourself is a small price to pay in order to spend a LOT of time doing what you love.

Packing TIP: Bring a couple different calls. Different calls will work better in different weather conditions. Acrylic calls, for instance, are louder and sharper, so they are ideal for windy days and/or when you are trying to attract birds from a distance. (Check out our article on How to Use a Duck Call to find out more about different calls and calling techniques.)

The Best Clothes for Waterfowl Hunting in Canada

Much like all clothes, finding the perfect clothes for waterfowl hunting (and waterfowl hunting in Canada, specifically), comes down to a matter of taste and function. Yes, of course, there are many brands that are better quality than others, but as we said there are many of these brands (Drake, for instance, is a top-notch brand, as are Filson and Red Head). What you want to make sure is that you are investing in your hunt. You’ll get what you pay for, so don’t head out to the dollar store, pick up a pair of magic mittens and expect your digits to stay warm and dry when you’re crouched for hours in a marsh.

When waterfowl hunting in Canada, what you really need to account for is weather variety – and there’s a lot of it. In the prime waterfowl hunting seasons, you can encounter everything from balmy, sunny days to chilly, rainy drizzles and just about anything in between. This unpredictability means you need your hunting duds to:

  • keep you warm (so don’t forget gloves in addition to warm hats, coats, boots and socks)
  • keep you dry (and have the ability to dry, fast – oilskin is great)
  • keep you comfortable
  • allow you to move freely and easily
  • allow you to take on/off layers as weather dictates

Unlike big game hunting, waterfowl hunting in Canada doesn’t necessitate that you wear hunter orange, so you can camo-up to blend in, or just wear darker hues in general. Just remember: this isn’t fashion week in Milan - your mission is to blend in.

It doesn’t get any better...

Canadian waterfowling is by far some of the best in the world. While living in Canada is only one of the reasons we love doing what we do, it’s the main reason we love where we do it. Just think about it: big skies, a bevy of birds, breathtaking surroundings and our best buds – it doesn’t get any better than this!

Feel free to drop us a line if you have any questions about how our products can help maximize your Canadian waterfowling experience. We’ve got the goods to help you bag your game.


Duck Hunt the Game November 24 2014

From the first plucky notes, the theme song of Duck Hunt brings back nostalgic Nintendo memories for every old school gamer. The Duck Hunt game was the very first game to utilize a light gun, which, during its intro in the 1980's, was a pretty big deal. Players could actually point and shoot at the fleeting waterfowl on the screen, and, as the levels progressed, more and more targets flew out the grass and across the sky. The game itself was intensely popular, not in part due to the fact that Duck Hunt was one of the games in a Nintendo Entertainment System package that included the now famous Super Mario Brothers. Duck Hunt was also be tucked in with other gaming packages that included World Class Track Meet and Gyromite. In other words, many gamers in the 80's had a copy of Duck Hunt whether they wanted it or not. An arcade version of the game was released at about the same time.

The Objective

Predictably, the point of the game was to shoot down as many of ducks as possible. You had to hit a bare minimum to move to the next level, and there were slightly fewer than 100 in total. A trusty pooch pal would hold up your kill and pant happily when you bag a duck, and snicker at you when you miss. (This cheeky behaviour was probably why players of the arcade version enjoyed making it to the bonus level they could shoot the dog. You wouldn’t score any points for if you got a hit, but it was worth it nevertheless.)

Where to Play

Even if you don't have an old Nintendo system kicking around and/or don't feel like hunting one down on eBAY, you can play duck hunt online now. Granted, you won't be able to embrace the whole experience, since you'll be using your mouse instead of a gun, but you can get a taste of the experience. (Of course, we're all for the classic, albeit ghetto, gun.)

Duck Hunt the Game: A Learning Tool for Hunters?

While playing the game may have inspired some people to start duck hunting, it is by no means a comprehensive learning tool. Sure, it will increase your hand eye coordination, which is important, but so will most video games. The only real way to learn how to duck hunt is to actually get out there and do it. There's simply no substitute for experience. Still, the game is undeniably fun and for many of us, irresistibly nostalgic.

If you want some tips on how to start duck hunting for real, read our step-by-step guide.


The Beginner's Guide to Duck Hunting November 24 2014

So you’re interested in duck hunting, but you have no idea where to start. This is a common problem.Now that the majority of us don't have to hunt to live, it’s not really a skill that's widely possessed. Still, there is something about hunting that brings us back to our roots, back to the earth, any it's an itch that many people want to scratch - even if it's not a necessity. This article sets out to get you familiarized with the basics on how to start duck hunting so you can get out there and enjoy one of the world’s favourite outdoor past times.

How to Begin Duck Hunting: Your 6 Step Guide

Step 1. Go for the Kill. The first, most critical thing you have to ascertain is whether or not you can actually handle killing another living creature. As we already mentioned, the days where most of us have to kill to eat are long gone, so while a good many people still eat meat, not many actually have to kill for it. If you can't handle the kill factor, then duck hunting (or any hunting) isn’t for you.

Step 2. Find a Friend - if you can. Unlike many other kinds of hunting, duck hunting is usually a social event. Of course, this isn't to say it involves spending hours in a marsh, slamming back beers and cavorting loudly with 20 of your best buds. In fact, other than spending hours in a marsh, you probably won't be doing any of those things - at least while you are actually on the hunt. The point is you may be able to hook up with some experienced hunters to help get you started. Granted, like most social circles, some hunters stick with a strict clique, so if you don't already know people who hunt and/or if you cannot gracefully ingratiate yourself into an existing group of hunters, you may have to start your own little hunting posse, or go solo for the time being. If you have a mentor the process of learning how to duck hunt will be considerably easier, but it is far from impossible even if you have to go it alone. Just keep reading...

Step 3. Get the Gear. Before you can even head out, you should make sure you do your background work. Part of this involves educating yourself about how to start duck hunting - which you are doing here - and part of it will also involve learning what you need to hunt. We're talking appropriate clothing, guns and other gear.

You will also need to get the necessary licences and permits to hunt in your area. We're not going to lie, this can be costly, both in terms of time and money. Duck hunting is a highly regulated sport with a slew of restrictions set out to conserve duck populations, protect the rights of landowners and protect overzealous hunters from themselves.

As far as duck hunting equipment goes, here's your basic checklist. You'll need:

Waders. Preferably chest high waders, since unlike hip waders, chest waders will also keep you dry when you sit down, even if you’re not up to water that’s chest deep - which you rarely should be.

Decoys. A dozen is a good number to start with and the ecumenical mallard decoys are a solid pick no matter where you hunt.

Guns and Shells. A hunter's gun is like his baby; it's beautiful to him, so far be it from us to suggest otherwise. However, if you're totally lost and don't know what gun to choose, opt for a 12 gauge chamber with 3 inch magnums. This is a solid standard. ALWAYS buy steel shells. Lead is not permitted anywhere.

Shooting Quick Tip: Skip the Skybust! Skybusting (when you shoot at ducks that are too far away) is a waste of ammunition and time. Not only does it wound birds rather than kill them, meaning you've effectively scared off the other ducks without getting any bird for your bang, but you've also spoiled the hunts for other hunters in the area. The ducks are now on the defence and will b-line it as far away as possible. When shooting, you need to stay patient. Allow the ducks to circle the decoys a few times and come in closer. 20 to 30 yards is your prime shooting range.


Camo. Duck hunters are exempt from the highly stringent restrictions that govern the garb of most other hunters who are confined to a world of some pretty heinous (but admittedly, totally necessary) safety orange. You'll want to make sure both your clothing and your blinds match your surroundings. You don't want to build a green cane blind in a brown field, for example. Ducks aren't total dummies. They'll pick up irregularities. Likewise, when we're talking about camo, we're not necessarily talking about outfitting in army-inspired green duds. Camouflage, while often thought of as synonymous with army green, really just means anything that will help you blend in with your surroundings. When it comes to duck hunting, this usually means brown. Also, don't forget a facemask. Your bright and beaming face is an ominous sign for these wily waterfowl.

Duck Calls. Make sure you have your call handy and know how to use it. (We've got you covered. Read up on duck call technique here.)

Optional Gear: A dog and a boat. A dog can help you retrieve your ducks and a boat will increase your potential hunting area by allowing you to take to the water. While undeniably useful, neither of these is absolutely necessary.

Step 4. Find a Spot. There are countless places to duck hunt, you just need to know where to look. A quick Internet search will yield a plethora of results. It's up to you to do your due diligence and make sure you’re hunting where you’re allowed to hunt and, if you are hunting at a lodge or outfitters, that they are reputable. We give some pretty good advice on where to hunt waterfowl in our Complete Guide to Waterfowl Hunting in Canada.

It's important to bear in mind that you don't have to - and won't want to - stick to a spot. Being mobile and being patient will be two of your greatest assets. Don't shy away from seeking out new hunting grounds. If you stay in the same area day after day, you'll be pumping a dry well. After they've lost a few comrades, the ducks won't be coming back to that same area again for a while.

Step 5. Duck Differentiation. You absolutely must know your duck species to duck hunt legally practically anywhere. This is because not all ducks are fair game at the same time, and depending on conservation, they may not be available to hunt at all during some seasons – even if they were last year. It's imperative that you refresh yourself on duck hunting regulations for your intended hunting region every single season to see what ducks are on and off the table. Most of all, it is important that you know what the different species of ducks look like so you aren't bagging the wrong waterfowl.

Step 6. The Nitty Gritty. Once you've got your ducks in a row, you actually have to do something with them. The most common method of preparation is called breasting and involves cutting up the middle of the belly. You then remove the breast meat on each side of the bird and freeze it until you are ready to eat. Alternatively, you can pluck and gut the entire bird and cook it whole. The first time you do this will probably be a little messy, but fear not – practice makes perfect!

How To Hunt Ontario Waterfowl November 24 2014

Not only is Ontario home to most of Canada’s human population, it's also home to a host of waterfowl,making waterfowl hunting in Ontario an incredibly popular past time. In fact, the birds alight here for the same reason as the people. Ontario is a province of diversity, both in terms of its inhabitants and its environment. From the vast, unspoiled wilderness of the north to the pristine waterways of the south, there is something for every person, beast and bird.

Where to Find Ontario Waterfowl

Southern Ontario is definitely your top pick for prime Ontario waterfowl hunting. This region spans from Windsor to the Ottawa valley and encompasses the 30,000 island region as well as the rivers, falls and shorelines of Algonquin and the historic waters of the central east. You can also find some pretty solid hunting in Northwestern Ontario since our downy water-loving friends flock to this area to gorge on the region's abundance of wild rice. Puddle and diver ducks in particular love the northern lands because they’re located on a major migration route.

Types of Ontario Waterfowl

Ontario waterfowl abound! Here you’ll find an impressive variety of species, including mallards, teals, woodducks, bluebills, buffleheads, goldeyes, redheads, lesser scaup, ring-necked ducks, black ducks, canvasbacks, and Brant and Canada geese.

What to Pack

Whether you're packing your garb or your gear, you're going to want to pack for the weather. In fact, this is going to be your biggest variable in Ontario waterfowl season. The season starts in September and runs through to December. (The exact dates will depend on what sort of waterfowl you're pursuing. Make sure you're aware of your season's start and end dates to avoid bagging a hefty fine. You can get this information here.)

The weather between September and December in Ontario can vary from warm, balmy Indian summers to nose hair freezing rain to blinding snow squalls - and all in a matter of days. We kid you not. You're definitely going to want to be listening to the weatherman, but also preparing for just about anything. Bring warm, water resistant gear. Wear layers. Your goal is to stay comfortable so you can stay focussed.

Psst! You can get our recommendations on what sort of clothes to bring in our Complete Guide to Waterfowl Hunting in Canada.

Ontario Waterfowl Hunting Regulations

Come one, come all! Heed the call of the wild - just make sure you've done the paperwork. If you're going to be waterfowl hunting in Ontario, you should know your Ontario hunting regulations inside and out. Not only does this conserve the wildlife, but it will also preserve your bank account. (The fines for not adhering to the laws are steep!) One of the most important things to know about Ontario waterfowl hunting is that in addition to your Outdoors Card and licence tag, you will also need a Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit. You can get this at a post office or grab it online.

You will also need to have completed Hunter Education Course and Firearm Safety Course.

For a more comprehensive rundown of the laws of the land, you can check out our article on Ontario hunting regulations.

How to Use a Duck Call November 18 2014

If you're serious about duck hunting, then you probably know that the call of the wild can come from a woodwind - a duck call, to be precise. This reed-based instrument is designed to summon waterfowl to your hunting grounds and is one of the most important pieces of duck hunting gear. Of course, like any instrument, you're going to need practice if you want to be pitch perfect. With this pursuit in mind, we've compiled a step-by-step guide to duck calls to get you started - just remember there's no substitute for firsthand experience. The only way to really test your technique is to get out there and try it out.

How to Use a Duck Call: Your Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Educate Yourself. If you want to know how to use a duck call, it's first important to educate yourself about how duck calls work. As mention, duck calls are reed instruments and they come in single reed or double reed varieties. Single reed duck calls have more scope, both in regards to their actual volume and their ability to facilitate sound control. They do, however, provide a challenge to master when it comes to technique, which makes them less effective in the hands of beginners, but a favourite for experienced hunters. Double reed duck calls, on the other hand, are ideal for beginners since they make it easier to control and vary the sound. The only downside is that these reeds are quieter and require more breath to use effectively. This said, sound accuracy is far more imperative to successful duck hunting than volume. Choose the reed type you think will work best for you before you move on.

Step 2: Call Composition. Duck calls are generally made out of wood, acrylic or a polycarbonate/mixed materials. In the hands of an expert duck hunter, any of these types of duck calls are invariably effective; however, if you ‘re new to the wonderful world of duck hunting, it is helpful to know the subtle differences.

:: Wood duck calls make gentle, soft sounds. Some hunters hold that this sound is more realistic. In general, wooden calls don't cost a lot, but the cost can add up if you don't take care of them since these calls tend to require more care. The softer sound and accuracy afforded by wooden calls makes them ideal if you’re hunting in a blind or with duck decoys the ducks are approaching.

:: Acrylic duck calls are known for emitting sharp, loud sounds, making them particularly handy when you're hunting in windy areas, open-water or are trying to attract ducks from a distance. (As you can see, call composition isn't only important in terms of reliability and sound quality, but also in terms of location.) Certain types of duck calls will work better in certain areas and circumstances than others.

While these duck calls cost more than wooden calls, they are easier to care for (especially when it comes to cleaning) and are also incredibly resilient.

:: Polycarbonate or mixed material duck calls, like the Delrin we carry - are your middle of the road option. They emit a sound between the softness of wood and the sharpness of acrylic. They win out over wood for durability and are as durable as acrylic in a variety of weather conditions.

Step 3: Get a Grip On It. There are a few different ways to hold your duck call, but the most common handle involves holding the call by the sound chamber and then wrapping ring finger and pinky around the hole. If you prefer the double handed approach, you can hold the call like a cigar and then use the palm of your other hand to control the sound.

Step 4: Blow, Don't Whistle. To get enough air to properly power your duck call, you need to blow from your diaphragm. You need to force up a considerable amount of air, so the technique resembles more of a cough and less of a whistle.

Step 5: Keep it Short, Sweet and Staccato. Presumably you've heard a duck or two in your time, and you've probably noticed that duck calls aren't usually long and drawn out. They are short and staccato. You are going to want to practice drawing the air up from your diaphragm and making a chuffing sound. You only need to open your lips a little to do this.

Step 6: Perfect Placement. Place your duck call between your teeth and try making the short chuffing sound again. If you're doing it right, you should clearly hear the distinctive 'quack' of a duck. To make SURE you're getting the 'ck' of the quack, you're really going to want to ensure you're cutting off the sound with your diaphragm. Remember: think short notes to hit the sweet spot. It's a rookie mistake to run your notes together. Be sure to cut them clean. Use the same air pressure for multiple notes using the same breath. Simply move your tongue up to the roof of your mouth and then down to break up the notes.

Step 7: Learn the Language. You're in duck country, my friend, so you've got to learn the language. Aside from the standard quack, some of the most common kinds of duck calls include:

The language of love. Bag a few mallards with the slightly longer, extended 'quianCK' sound of the lonely and longing hen.

The warm welcome. If you see ducks in the distance, beckon them with the 'kanc kanc kanc' sound. Chow time! To summon ducks for supper, try the feeding call, which you should vary in sound through the course of call, 'tikki tukka tikka'. Think of the progression of sound as a wave.

But back to basics...

Just keep in mind that the ‘quack’ is not only the most common call, but also the call that most other sounds will be based off of, so master this first. To accurately mimic the quack, think about using the word 'hut'. Again, remember to blow up from your diaphragm.

The REAL Deal

You'll notice that ducks aren't needlessly talkative, so if your duck decoys are working, there's no need to strike up a conversation. This will arouse suspicion. When thinking about how to use a duck call, what's most important to remember is that you're aiming for authenticity. This is why it's important to get out there, observe and practice. Over time you'll start to develop finesse for the distinctive sound of this waterfowl and be able to organically mimic the sounds yourself.

Goose Hunting Tips, Tricks and Advice from the Pro's October 10 2014

We're often asked for goose hunting tips and since we're in the business of making waterfowl hunting dreams come true, we thought we'd share our most sage advice with you here.

From the best calls to general words of waterfowl wisdom, we've got you covered.

Goose Hunting Tip #1. Pay attention to the wind. You won't want to face all your decoys into the wind since the geese will think the others are about to take off. Instead, position them in different directions to the wind at various angles.

Goose Hunting Tip #2. Scouting is key. If you want to know where the geese or going, you want to know where they've been. Scout out the areas geese hang out and you'll stand a much better chance of being able to lure them back to this 'safe zone' again.

Goose Hunting Tip #3. Practice your calling. Think of the goose call as the siren song to your Odysseus. You're going to need know the best goose calls and how to make them before you head out. Don't fly blind. Clucks, the long call, feeding chuckles and gravels are some of the most important goose calls to master. By using varying tempos and pitches, an expert caller will be able to sound like multiple birds, and as far as geese are concerned, the more the merrier (and the safer!).

You'll also want to have a couple types of goose calls with you. A short-reed acrylic call is ideal for calling on windy days since it will produce a louder, sharper sound. A delrin short-reed call will emit a more realistic noise since it produces deeper and softer sounds. Carry them both so you can be prepared for goose hunting season in any weather.

Goose Hunting Tip #4. Decoy placement. Successful decoy placement is like successful real estate: location, location, location! Again, you are going to want to factor in the wind. On blustery days, geese will tend to land short and out of the wind, so it's a good idea to set up in lower areas in fields, on the sides of hills or behind tree lines.

Also, set up your feeder decoys in places you want your geese to land and your active decoys in places you want them to avoid. (Geese are much more likely to choose the spot where there's food!) Likewise, don't forget sleeper and rest decoys, which really lull geese into a false sense of security.

Perhaps the most important thing you can learn about decoy set up will come from your scouting. You want to discover how the geese scatter and group in any given area and why. This will let you know the most effective way to arrange your decoys. Don't just arbitrarily arrange them in a U or J pattern because it's worked in the past. If it is a formation the geese aren't familiar with, it will set off alarm bells. 

And finally...

Goose Hunting Tip #5. Respect for land owners. You know what you're hunting, but you should also be aware of where you're hunting. Be respectful of private property and don't trespass. It gives all hunters a bad name.


Hunting Supplies: The Top 5 Supplies Needed for a Successful Hunt September 23 2014

You've called up your pals, booked the time off work and for all intents and purposes, you're ready for your hunting trip. Or are you? You’re geared up, but do you actually have the proper hunting gear? Your enthusiasm won't take down a duck or keep your feet dry, after all. This is why making sure you have the right hunting supplies is crucial to making sure you have a great experience.

So what hunting supplies do you need?

There are a lot of products on the market, some you need, some you can probably do without, and some are really just glorified trinkets – they look neat, but ultimately, they’re useless. When thinking about what hunting gear to bring, it's first important to consider what you'll be hunting. Keep this in mind as you read on.

The Top 5 Hunting Supplies Needed for a Successful Hunt

Your Weapon of Choice. As we've already mentioned, you have to consider what you're hunting when you're packing your hunting gear. You wouldn't want to pack a pistol on a deer hunt, or use a moose shotgun on a duck. Not only would think decimate the bird, but it is also illegal. Know your animal, know the laws, and bring the proper weaponry.

Dress the Part. Your hunting supplies should also include appropriate clothing, so dress like a hunter. If you’re hunting airborne waterfowl, head-to-toe camo is cool. If you’re hunting larger, grounded game, however, camo can be dangerous. Sure, camouflage may hide you from the animals, but it also hides you from other hunters who could easily mistake you for an animal. Dress in the standard bright orange duds to keep yourself safe. Also, regardless of what you’re hunting, dress for the weather and make sure you have good, waterproof footwear.

Decoys. Successful hunting - especially waterfowl hunting - depends on decoys. Bring your faux friends on all your trips!

Calls. A good quality goose or duck call should be a staple of your hunting supplies if you’re a waterfowl enthusiast.

Entertainment. Not that a good hunt isn't entertaining enough, but even hunting has its downtimes – and, no offense to our friends, but they're not always as entertaining as they think. Pack a deck of cards, a good book or a few beers to enjoy after the hunt.

We’re waterfowl hunting specialists, so all of the hunting supplies that made our list are essential to hunting ducks and geese. As we’ve already mentioned, your hunting gear will largely depend on what you’re hunting. This said, you won’t go wrong with these basics. Happy hunting!