An Unforgettable Dove Hunt… I Wish They’d Let Me Forget

Finally, I was old enough to shoot my break-open .410 shotgun without it knocking me to the ground, but my dad had recently gotten severely hurt in a horse riding accident and was unable to take me on my first dove hunt.

I was heartbroken; not only was my hero stuck in bed with his arm, leg, and ribs broken, but we also couldn’t do all the things we had planned to do, like going on my first dove hunt. 

Thankfully, my grandpa was willing to walk through his pasture with a five-year-old boy on a hot September afternoon.

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Duck Decoying Strategies to Bag More Birds

With increasing pressure on waterfowl, waterfowlers need to dig deeper into their bag of tricks to bring more birds closer.

Across North America, most waterfowlers probably use mallard decoys. Mallards flying over a pond expect to see big orange feet glowing like beacons in the water. Most decoys don’t come with feet, so glue two strips of orange ribbon to the decoys to simulate legs in the water. Tip each ribbon with a small sinker to hold it down.

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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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Great Athletes

My two favorite activities, football and bird hunting are just a month away from their 2015 season. Like most hunters during this part of the year, I begin to plan and daydream for what is coming for both activities. Timing key dates for both has always been a struggle for me as I plan and try to do it all.

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In Pursuit of North Dakota’s Upland Smorgasbord

Morning dawned bright, clear, and crisp in western North Dakota as I fumbled through a storage box in the bed of my beaten, old two-wheel-drive Ford Ranger pick-up. It’s not much to look at, but it carries a lot for little gas money, getting me to places I love to visit. Out amongst frosted sunflowers a rooster crowed, not the barnyard variety. My pulse quickened. Somewhere further, another chimed in as if to remind the first he was still there too. Their banter reminded me of why I love this place so much. Yep, I was home, even if I don’t actually reside here.

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Small Gauges Scaled Right for Doves

Shooting doves is an economy of scale.
A mourning dove weighs about 4 ounces. A Eurasian collared dove weighs about 5.3 ounces, and a white-winged dove weighs about 5.4 ounces. Hurling 1½ ounce of lead out one end, coupled with the recoil of a 12-gauge shotgun on the other end, is way out of scale for the task.

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