Few people begin hunting planning to hunt public land. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to spend $500-$600 on gear and hours scouting all summer when you have to worry about someone being in your spot on November 10th. Instead, most hunters have access to private land and become tied to the land they know well. As a result, Iowa’s public access land is often underutilized. Here are some tips for taking advantage of these areas. Continue reading “Capitalize on Public Land this Fall”
The hunting industry has become increasingly focused on fitness. While I think it is great to see hunters training more, not all exercises are productive. Focus on strength, endurance and flexibility in order to be properly prepared for the season and to avoid injury. Continue reading “What to Focus on When Training for Hunting”
Finding time to properly train your hunting dog around guns can be tough. If you live in a city you can’t shoot a shotgun off in your backyard every morning without getting a few complaints. As a result, gun training is easy to rush and neglect. That’s what happened to me. Here are the mistakes to avoid and how to correct them if they have already occurred.
I have now been training Nali for six months. I have had a lot of successes and also some setbacks. Here are a few of the lessons I have learned along the way.
Currently I am in the process of training Nali, my first hunting dog. In this blog I will describe what I believe to be the best resources for learning to train a hunting dog. Continue reading “Best Resources for Training Your Bird Dog”
By Harrison Hoegh
Getting started duck hunting can seem like an major task. Duck hunting has a huge marketing campaign behind it to paint your face and load up on expensive gear. I haven’t invested a great deal of money in duck hunting, and I still enjoy calling in and shooting ducks each season. If you want to give duck hunting a go, but don’t know what to buy, and what to let sit on the shelf, here is a list of what I have found to be worthwhile.
What you’ll need
Waders 90 bucks: Herter’s® Men’s 3mm Hunting Waders If you have plans of standing in flooded timber in the northern part of the country buying nice waders might be worth your money. But for most of us who only need them for picking up decoys or are hunting in warmer climates a ninety dollar pair of chest waders is fine.
Call 25 bucks: Primos Wench I used a 30 dollar call for the first few years I duck hunted. I was still able to pull ducks away from the high dollar ten mojo spreads. I will say that if you have the money a nice call makes sounding like a duck a lot easier. But it’s not a necessity if you keep your calling limited and have motion in your decoys you can expect ducks.
12 Decoys 40 buck: RedHead Big Spread mallard decoys buying expensive goose decoys may be worth your money, but duck decoys quality does not improve much as the price increases. Plus stirring up the water with a jerk cord is more important for realism than buying one hundred and sixty dollar decoys. If you are hunting smaller water or you are near hunters who use big spreads with ten mojo decoys, a spread of twelve decoys may be what ducks feel more comfortable approaching.
What you Don’t Need From the Hunting Store
Mojo decoys: The effectiveness of the mojo decoy is debated each year. Some hunters swear by them and others say they only work in the early season. What I do know is that you can call in ducks without them. People were hunting ducks effectively long before the remote-controlled decoy came along.
Anchors: Grabbing some fishing sinkers and string from walmart can serve just as well anchors
Duck dog: If you have a friend who is gung-ho to go duck hunting he will not mind wading out to pick up a duck. Try to hunt shallow water, but most days you can use a pole or stick to reach out to ducks that have fallen too far out.
Duck camo: Duck camo is one of the most expensive parts of duck hunting. Most locations I duck hunt don’t have a uniform bank. This enables me to find cover and a backdrop that I will blend in with rather than hunting reeds each time.
Anything that looks like you could make it: If you see gear in the duck hunting section and think you could make it, you’re probably right. Also if it looks like something that is sold at a hardware store and painted camouflage and had a sticker placed on it, it’s a good idea to check the local hardware store before buying it. You can always paint your gear camouflage later.
Next week I will dig into more complex hunting approaches for ducks for now I am still focusing on deer hunting as I get ready for duck, goose, and coyote prime time. Thanks for reading, and good luck this week. If you have any thoughts such as things you have made for duck hunting comment below.
By Harrison Hoegh
You don’t have to be an absolute guru to have fun and success while duck hunting. Duck hunting can be something you do once deer hunting is over, or to get away during thanksgiving weekend. The best way to learn is to go with other duck hunters. If you don’t know anyone who duck hunts learning to hunt on your own can be much more frustrating but also gratifying when you succeed. Here are a few basic things I think will ease the transition into becoming a duck hunter.
Talking with other hunters and DNR officers as well as following the duck migration online can clue you in as to when will be a good time to hunt ducks. Many of the public land options around Iowa have offices that you can call and get an idea for what’s in the area that week. Also scouting for the 9am landing zone of fields and ponds near the public land you are hunting can pay off. If the water you are hunting is crowded with public land hunters chances are many of them didn’t scout the neighboring fields to find where the ducks go after skirting their spreads. Take a morning to follow the ducks and ask the farmer for permission to hunt his pond for a day. Many hunters don’t ask because they believe land that close to public land has to get a lot of requests. But just last week Stuart received permission to deer hunt land bordering public land near Grinnell.
Watching youtube videos and practicing outside listening to ducks will get you good enough to bring a few ducks to your spread. Try not to do too much, mastering a basic quack is enough to get a few birds within range. The great thing about duck hunting is that motion is more important than calling. Attaching some paracord to your decoys and getting motion on the water will get ducks interested. The hardest part of calling is knowing when to call and when to shut up. The hunter with a great sound is worthless if he calls constantly and the hunter who can barely call can be pretty effective if he only calls when he has to. As you get better at calling you will recognize when ducks are committing and when you don’t need to call. This enables you to call less and makes you a better duck hunter.
Approach duck hunting like walking into a new location to hunt deer. Only the deer are coming from above and their moving forty miles per hour. Just find a good spot to hide from above and hold still. If there is no place to hide you can bring a layout blind for the bank, or back off the shore a bit downwind of your landing zone. What is nice about hiding behind anything along the bank is that most likely you won’t have to buy new camo. One of my favorite set-ups is to sit under a pine tree along the bank of a pond I hunt. Throw out a dozen decoys and move them around according to how each group of ducks tries to land.
Next week I’ll write about some more advanced approaches to hunting ducks. Let me know if you have read any other blogs on duck hunting, or have some ideas you would like to share on the subject. Good luck this week.
By Harrison Hoegh