Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 5

mallards. The first flock I encountered held roughly two dozen birds. But despite our camo and attempted stealth, the ducks saw me and grew suspicious. With slow and constricted paddle strokes, I tried to drift within range, but the flock lifted off and careened downstream. That happened several times before we started to get shots. Farther along we began flushing wood ducks up close, always from jumbles of downed timber or from rhododendron tangles that overhung the flow. We reasoned that the big flocks we’d initially flushed had broken up before alighting into cover as pairs and singles farther downstream. Although the birds may have felt secure in the heavier cover, that same concealment allowed us to drift up close before the ducks panicked and flushed again. Gliding toward a tangle of driftwood, this kind of hunting holds the thrill of walking up behind a pointing dog, yet the excitement is heightened by your own stillness and silent approach. Peering into the shadows, your only movements are your darting eyes and your pounding heart. Then, often enough, from amid those shadows, wings pound the surface, the hen’s squealing cry pierces the air and you fumble to recover your wits. There may be no more stunning sight in Pennsylvania’s outdoors than a flock of wood ducks erupting amid blazing fall foliage, bathed in autumn sun, each drake a flame of iridescent purple, green, white and red. Against such an arresting spectacle, misses are readily accepted. And we missed many. Still, we downed a one-man limit of wood ducks — two hens and a splendid mature drake, and were happy to know the rest would continue the trip southward. Although we used kayaks on this float, two hunters can do just as well by teaming up in a canoe. The craft should be stable, long enough for hunting — at least
SEPTEMBER  2012 

a 15-footer — and sport a subdued color. Draping with camouflage netting helps reassure the birds when you first drift into view. But be sure the netting fits fairly snug. You don’t want the trailing net to snag a root or branch. In some ways a canoe allows even greater stealth. Steering a canoe generally requires less motion than wielding a twin-bladed kayak paddle. A disadvantage of canoe hunting is that it doesn’t afford you an upstream gun should the birds turn and wing in that direction, which happens often. A different set of safety rules are in order when tandem hunting by canoe. Each hunter can take along his own shotgun, but the stern paddler’s gun must never be loaded. There is just no safe way to carry a loaded gun in the stern, let alone pick it up and shoot as ducks are flushing ahead. In canoe hunting, only the bow paddler is permitted to load and shoot. As on our kayak hunt, a tandem pair can pull over and switch positions after shots or kills. Whether hunting by kayak or canoe, always wear a PFD (personal flotation device). Even in shallow water a PFD can save your life by keeping your head above the surface if you are pinned or incapacitated in a capsize. A wide assortment of camo-pattern PFDs are now available, designed for hunting. (When waterfowling from any boat less than 16 feet in length, including canoes and kayaks, from Nov. 1 – April 30, the wearing of a PFD is required.) Float-hunting offers an unpredictable range of shot chances. Opportunities can be up close on the flush, but you also need the reach to shoot higher birds winging overhead. The best advice is to equip for both
5



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012

Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012
History of the Whitetail
Table of Contents
Going to the Ducks
A Tribute to Jon DeBerti
You Can’t Call It Back
Cover Story
Last Shot for Pap?
75 Years of Success in Pennsylvania
NASP Students are Hungry for More
Bears and Turkeys
A Natural Connection
The Other Migratory Game Birds
Field Notes
Conservation News
Off the Wire
Another View
The Naturalist’s Eye
Straight from the Bowstring
Fun Game
Lock, Stock & Barrel
Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - History of the Whitetail
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - Table of Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - Going to the Ducks
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - A Tribute to Jon DeBerti
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - You Can’t Call It Back
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - Cover Story
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - Last Shot for Pap?
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 16
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 75 Years of Success in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - NASP Students are Hungry for More
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - Bears and Turkeys
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - A Natural Connection
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - The Other Migratory Game Birds
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - Field Notes
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 32
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - Conservation News
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 36
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 40
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 41
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 42
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 43
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 44
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 45
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 46
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - Off the Wire
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - Another View
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 49
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 50
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - The Naturalist’s Eye
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 52
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 54
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - Straight from the Bowstring
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 56
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 58
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - Fun Game
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - Lock, Stock & Barrel
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 61
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - BB1
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - BB2
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2012 - Cover4
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