CA Guns & Hunting: Waterfowl Opening

CA Guns & Hunting: Things to consider before opening day of waterfowl season!

BY BILL KARR/Cal. Guns & Hunting EditorPublished: Oct 19, 2017

The opener of duck season is a huge day for everyone who has been bitten by the “duck bug”, and once bitten, the only cure is the pursuit of web-footed marsh-dwellers the rest of your natural born days. There is no cure. And nobody wants one, except maybe the non-hunting spouse who rolls over and pulls the pillow over their head when the waterfowler sneaks out of bed at O-Dark-Thirty.

cgh_karr_puttingoutPUTTING OUT DECOYS before sunrise is a ritual loved by most waterfowlers. It’s followed by a few minutes of listening to the sounds of the marsh and whistling wings of ducks flying overhead. WON PHOTO BY BILL KARR

But it’s not an easy life for the duck and goose hunter! After all, there’s tons to do to get ready for season: checking your waders, shells, calls, shell bag, and going over dozens or maybe even hundreds of decoys. Making sure your camo clothing is in good shape, and that your camo color and patterns match where you’re hunting. Examples are early season (green), late season (brown), timber, cornfield, snow and the list goes on. Actually, the most useful one for some of us duck hunters is just plain ol’ “mud.”

If any of you are like me, you’re also being intimidated by boxes of loose shotgun shells where you’ve thrown them after hunts so you could dry your parka off. Complicate that with lead and non- lead shells, 2¾-inch, 3-inch and 3½-inch shells, and then by duck and goose loads. I know, you wish I hadn’t reminded you, but it’s gotta be done! The only option is using new boxes of shells, and I’m beginning toget low on them, but still have probably 2 cases of loose shells waiting to sort out.

If you’re a freelance hunter it’s a little bit easier. You’ve got to get your drawing preferences in to the DFW at your favorite refuges and hope for a good draw. If you don’t get a blind, you’ll probably be loading up your cart with the usual assortment of duck and goose decoys, calls, tule stool and maybe even a portable blind or blind material. Now you’re about set, and all you have to do is wait for them to draw your number, or sign up at the wait line the night before for a number.

For those of you who lease a blind, you’re lucky this year, because with the late spring and late planting of the rice crop it looked like things were going to be late on the harvest, but the hot days of summer pretty much brought things back in line, and there shouldn’t be a delay in getting harvested and flooded up. Then it’s a matter of blind cleanu: Mostly killing black widows, removing stray frogs and mice and brushing up.

THE REMINGTON Versa Max Waterfowl Pro shotgun is a heavy duty shotgun made just for waterfowlers, with all kinds of innovations specifically for duck hunters. But it still shoots low-base 8s, without doing anything. The shotgun matches up well with the 4x4 Nissan Titan XD Platinum Reserve, which will get you almost anywhere you want to hunt ducks! WON PHOTO BY BILL KARR

One big suggestion to those of you with a leased seasonal blind: Take a critical look at it from a distance. And not just early in the season, but also in mid-season and late season. Too many times have I seen blinds that stick out like sore thumbs due to too much cover, wrong color of cover, or the cover is far too high for the surrounding area. Adjust your blind cover to the surrounding levee color and height, even if it means having to stay farther down in the blind. You’ll kill a lot more ducks!

I’m looking forward to the season with a new Remington Versa Max Waterfowl Pro semi-automatic shotgun that I received just in time to try out for dove season. The Versa Max Waterfowl Pro is a waterfowl gun that shoots low base shells, high base shells, 3-inch shells and 3½-inch shells without doing any changes at all to the gun. It’s truly an “automatic” that can shoot low base to 3½-inch mag shells without doing anything at all. And, you’ll be surprised at all the things this shotgun has specifically for waterfowlers.

I’m also looking forward to throwing out a few of the new Mojo “Flock A Flickers” in my decoys spread. These little floating spinning wings come in a pack of six, and they mimic the flash given off by real ducks. They are pre-programmed with random off/on timers, and operate up to 30 hours on 3 AA batteries.

Have a great waterfowl season, and shoot straight!

MY NEW HUNTING rig consists of the Titan XD Platinum Reserve crew cab 4x4 pickup, and a 26-foot Keystone trailer with slide-out on the longer trips, making it a little more comfortable for my fiancé and me! WON PHOTO BY BILL KARR

MOJO HAS COME out with a new item called a “Flock A Flickers,” a 6-pack of small, floating spinning wings that adds randomly timed, pre-programmed spinning movement to your decoy spread. WON PHOTO BY BILL KARR

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