Moving into the U.S., Whistling Ducks Create More Hunting Opportunities

Sounding like squeaky wheels needing grease, about 50 squealing long-necked birds circled overhead before settling into the water just outside our decoys.

These birds looked like no other North American waterfowl. In flight, the gangly birds stretched out their elongated necks and dangled long legs behind them, looking more like an ibis than a duck. Their wings beat strong, but slow, more like geese than the frenzied flapping of other ducks. They also stand upright like geese and easily walk on land.

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The Old Duck Hunter

Rather than hunt alone, the Old Duck Hunter said he needed “a good pair of eyes” to share his blind on this cold December day.

Almost as if by feel, he maneuvered the ancient, battered aluminum boat through dark winding channels. His mind’s eye remembered these familiar twists, snags and channels after 70 years of running this backwater. These eyes dodged trees that weren’t even growing when he hunted this swamp as a child. Ahead, something lifted from the water with whistling squeals.

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Fast Wingshooting Action From Louisiana’s Gallinules

Story | Photos by John N. Felsher

“Shoot,” I yelled as birds exploded in all directions from thick reeds just a few feet from us. “There’s another one. Fire! Here comes a straggler. Get him.”

In seconds, my son Steven pumped out three rounds from his Remington Model 870 20 gauge, scoring a double. More birds flushed from the dense cover while others raced into the canes to escape on foot as Steven tried to reload as fast as he could. Hastily dropping one shell into the chamber, Steven nailed another bird struggling to get airborne.

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