American Hunter - December 2013 - 34

knowhow

Get in Tune with Waterfowl
By Frank Miniter, Field Editor

W

e hear the geese first.
They are almost in range
when they drop through
fog coming off the Chesapeake. They circle, but
the second time around they pull away
and, wings flapping, fade into the mist.
They've seen hunters' decoys in fields
before. Wayne Radcliffe, a pro-staffer for
Avery Outdoors, calls aggressively but
they won't turn.
Not a minute later he's working another
group. They drop through the fog and circle
just out of range. They seem committed, but
like the others, they shift and begin to lift.
This time Wayne gives the most pleading
little call I've ever heard. The geese turn for
another look and drop those last  yards.
"Take 'em," says Wayne, and we drop
four of six.
"That was marvelous," I say.
"Yeah, good shooting," replies Wayne
as he looks up into thinning fog.
"No, I mean the way you shifted your
tone."
"Oh," he says, "that's waterfowl hunting.
You have to get in tune with what they
want. That takes time and simplicity."
"Simplicity?"
He nods, but doesn't answer my question. Not yet. More geese are coming.

Scout, Scout, Scout

After the hunt Wayne explains, "Waterfowl hunting seems simple to me now. I
don't mean there isn't a lot to it. It's just

that when you do something long enough and geese in popular public areas he says,
it seems simple.
"You know, there are always a few guys
"First of all," says Wayne, "you can't blowing the ducks out by over-calling.
replace scouting. Scouting doesn't mean These can actually help you, because
just driving around and looking up. You they'll move the ducks out of their spots."
have to go out before sunrise just like when
Wayne says he doesn't call to ducks
you're going hunting. Take a binocular and until they're within about  yards-
go into the marsh or wherever you plan to depending on the wind and how quiet
hunt. Listen and watch. The ducks or geese things are. He says a lot of hunters just
will give themselves away. If they're not learn the hail call and the feeding chuckle.
there, you might need a new spot. When "These calls are just a small part of the
you find them, watch. See how spooky they ducks' lingo," says Wayne. He says "soft
are. See what they're feeding on. Pay atten- calls" are often more productive. He
stresses the importance of knowing how
tion to how big their groups are."
Next, Wayne thinks hunters should to use the "greeting call." This call lets the
map out the feeding areas and keep a jour- ducks in the air know the ducks on the
nal of what they see. They should note the water (your decoys) are a sociable group.
date (time of the season) and the weather
If the ducks notice his decoys and he's
conditions. He says this information helps greeted them but they seem hesitant, he
you get in tune with how waterfowl will might use the "pleading hen" call. He'll also
use a "contented garble," soft quacks and
behave in the future.
"Don't forget to pattern other hunters short chuckles that mimic a bunch of ducks
while you're at it," says Wayne. "Find their talking to each other. But he says, "Don't get
parking spots and access routes. Look for carried away-if the ducks are working well,
sloughs or ponds that are off the main be quiet. The same goes for geese."
marsh; search for over-looked places that
hold ducks the other guys will miss."
Match the Decoys
Scouting should tell you what types of
Calling in a Crowded Marsh
ducks are using a particular area. "When
When I ask Wayne about calling ducks you see a guy with all mallards in an area

■ Build Your Skills

FIND NEW PLACES TO HUNT

Ducks and geese move depending on weather conditions, food sources and hunting pressure. These variables are ever-changing. This is just one reason waterfowl
hunters need to know the areas in their region and to actively scout. Ducks Unlimited has a good interactive map that'll show you some National Wildlife Refuges
in your region. Of the 561 NWRs in the U.S., 329 are open to hunting. (ducks.org/
migrationmap). Another good resource can be found at fws.gov/refuges/hunting/.
  ❘

 ❘ .


http://www.ducks.org/migrationmap http://www.ducks.org/migrationmap http://www.fws.gov/refuges/hunting/ http://www.americanhunter.org

American Hunter - December 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Hunter - December 2013

Contents
American Hunter - December 2013 - Cover1
American Hunter - December 2013 - Cover2
American Hunter - December 2013 - 1
American Hunter - December 2013 - Contents
American Hunter - December 2013 - 3
American Hunter - December 2013 - 4
American Hunter - December 2013 - 5
American Hunter - December 2013 - 6
American Hunter - December 2013 - 7
American Hunter - December 2013 - 8
American Hunter - December 2013 - 9
American Hunter - December 2013 - 10
American Hunter - December 2013 - 11
American Hunter - December 2013 - 12
American Hunter - December 2013 - 13
American Hunter - December 2013 - 14
American Hunter - December 2013 - 15
American Hunter - December 2013 - 16
American Hunter - December 2013 - 17
American Hunter - December 2013 - 18
American Hunter - December 2013 - 19
American Hunter - December 2013 - 20
American Hunter - December 2013 - 21
American Hunter - December 2013 - 22
American Hunter - December 2013 - 23
American Hunter - December 2013 - 24
American Hunter - December 2013 - 25
American Hunter - December 2013 - 26
American Hunter - December 2013 - 27
American Hunter - December 2013 - 28
American Hunter - December 2013 - 29
American Hunter - December 2013 - 30
American Hunter - December 2013 - 31
American Hunter - December 2013 - 32
American Hunter - December 2013 - 33
American Hunter - December 2013 - 34
American Hunter - December 2013 - 35
American Hunter - December 2013 - 36
American Hunter - December 2013 - 37
American Hunter - December 2013 - 38
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American Hunter - December 2013 - 40
American Hunter - December 2013 - 41
American Hunter - December 2013 - 42
American Hunter - December 2013 - 43
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American Hunter - December 2013 - 45
American Hunter - December 2013 - 46
American Hunter - December 2013 - 47
American Hunter - December 2013 - 48
American Hunter - December 2013 - 49
American Hunter - December 2013 - 50
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American Hunter - December 2013 - 53
American Hunter - December 2013 - 54
American Hunter - December 2013 - 55
American Hunter - December 2013 - 56
American Hunter - December 2013 - 57
American Hunter - December 2013 - 58
American Hunter - December 2013 - 59
American Hunter - December 2013 - 60
American Hunter - December 2013 - 61
American Hunter - December 2013 - 62
American Hunter - December 2013 - 63
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American Hunter - December 2013 - 65
American Hunter - December 2013 - 66
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American Hunter - December 2013 - 68
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American Hunter - December 2013 - Cover3
American Hunter - December 2013 - Cover4
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