In my experience, the best way to learn about hunting ducks and geese is to hunt with other duck and goose hunters. Nothing, and I mean nothing, helps you learn about decoy placement, blinds, calling, reading birds, patterning bird movements, finding the X, establishing a kill hole, and using gear like actual hunting with others sharing your same interests.
But now, in this time of information sharing, a second avenue not really available to guys like me when I was starting out is available. Social media.
Now you can talk and interact and learn from other die-hard Waterfowlers across the country, really the world, just by logging on to your computer.
It is kind of amazing to me but today I can connect with more Waterfowlers in one night then I could over several years when I was a younger hunter. Instead of waiting for Field and Stream to run an article on field goose hunting, I can now post a question on line on one of the dozens of chat rooms and get the opportunity to benefit from other hunters experiences, judgments, and prejudices.
As an example, when I bought my first expensive duck call, within a couple of weeks it began sticking. I was pissed. I wrote the manufacture and a few weeks passed before I got a “snail mail” response that suggested I put a little chap stick on the reed. Bingo problem solved.
Last week as I was reviewing a waterfowl talk chat board someone posted “I just bought a new call and am disappointed it is sticking. Can someone suggest a new call that won’t stick”? I was able to send my opinion that a new call was not necessary but a little rain x on the reed would probably make the call sound like new. The author of the thread thanked me for the tip.
I still believe the best teacher is actual experience. But you can learn about our sport and improve your skills by making a habit of checking out the multiple sites and hearing what others are doing.
The best way I know to improve your calling is to set in a blind with a really good caller and listen and ask questions and get feedback on your efforts. The second best way I know is to go to You-tube and listen to some really good callers, mimic them, record yourself and analysis how you are doing. There are very few of us who couldn’t improve our calling.
There is a bunch of retailers trying to separate you from your money. Some of the stuff is incredible, cool, and essential. Some of it is junk. I look through catalogues and I see an electronic wind detector …. really? Ask on a chat board about the practicality of such a devise and you might hear a tip about saving your money for gas and using a thread on your barrel or maybe a miniature talcum powder bottle?
Want to better understand how to set up for Wood ducks as opposed to Mallards, post a question and a dozen people who have developed strategies through trial and error or the teaching of others will be happy to share.
Winston Churchill once said, “I am always ready to learn…. I just don’t always like being taught”. Learn to like learning about your sport of waterfowling and you will continually become better at your craft. Today, learning about something is easier and faster than ever before. Take advantage and you will see yourself becoming a “waterfowl expert”….. whatever that is.
Because it really is what you learn AFTER you know everything that is the most important!
Until I see you in the field, Be Safe, Be Good and BE LUCKY!