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Duck Calling Techniques

 
By Brad Wilson - Guest Contributor

So we have talked about what to look for in a duck call, now it's time to figure out how to make this thing work!  Follow along for the very basic techniques that you need in order to be a better caller and in turn increase your chances of bringing the ducks into shooting range.

The very first thing I like to tell people that are wanting to learn how to blow a call is you need to understand how to hold your hands.  I put the middle of the call where the barrel and insert meet right in the "Y" of my pointer finger and thumb and then wrap those 2 fingers around the call.  I can then use my other 3 fingers and my other hand and fingers to control the back pressure that is needed when calling.  Back pressure can actually change the depth of the sound.

The next thing to understand is that you NEVER, EVER, EVER use the air in your cheeks to blow the call.  The air should come from deep down in your diaphragm.  If your cheeks are poking out like a blow fish when you are blowing a call then you are doing it WRONG!  Learn how to control the volume of air coming from your diaphragm and you can control how loud or soft the tone you produce is.  This is critical when you are trying to get birds to finish.

The last thing you need to know is sometimes it is better to just PUT THE CALLS DOWN!  Sometimes calling can actually deter ducks from committing.  This normally happens later in the season especially in heavily hunted areas.

4 calls you absolutely must know are the hail call, the feed call, a basic quack, and a whistle.  The whistle is something every duck hunter should carry in his bag.  I personally believe that a whistle can be more effective than a duck call in quite a few situations.  Some people say "tick" others say "cat".  I personally like "tank" when I am calling.
  1. Hail Call -  The hail call is something that should be used VERY sparingly.  The only time I will use a hail call is to initially get the attention of some birds that are passing in the distance.  My rule of thumb is if the birds look like they don't want anything to do with you then a hail call could work.  Do not use the hail call if the birds are within 1-200 yards or coming straight at you.  The call should be loud and long and then taper off in length and volume.  Example: taaaaaaaaaaaank, taaaaaaaank, taaaank, taaank, taank, tank, tank, tank.  I will do this once or twice and if the birds don't turn then I am wasting my time and chalk it up to the birds being on a mission that doesn't involve being shot by my Beretta A400 Xtreme.
  2. Feed Call - I use this quite a bit.  When birds are working I will use a combination of feed calls and quacks.  I use "taka, taka, taka" when I am running a feed call. I will increase and decrease the volume of air I put out as well as the back pressure I control with my hands. Example: takatakatakatakatakaTAKATAKATAKATAKATAKAtakatakataka.
  3. Basic Quack - These are just basic "tank..........tank....tank tank....tank" and used when birds seem to be committed.  If the birds are very committed I will do an occasional quack that is very faint just to keep them confident in the spread.  Again, using the basic quack in conjunction with the feed call can be hypnotic and deadly to unsuspecting birds.
  4. Whistle - A whistle can really seal the deal when you have birds working.  Mallards, pintail, teal, widgeon, and wood ducks can all be replicated with a simple duck whistle.  A good caller can even get a gadwall sound with a whistle.  Gadwall are very nasally though and this should be one of the advanced calls you should master after you have all the basics down.  When it comes to different whistle styles for different species your best bet is to search the web for sound clips of the different species.
These are the basics that I use in the blind along with some advanced calling that we will go over in the future.  If you can get these basics down then your chances of getting ducks to finish will multiply 10 fold on your next trip out to the blind.  If you have any questions feel free to comment or contact me at one of the links below.

Brad Wilson is an avid outdoorsman targeting waterfowl and saltwater fish and is a guest contributor for the Beretta Blog.  He can be reached on Twitter or YouTube.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not represent those of Beretta.

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitter or YouTube

 

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Here Birdie, Birdie!!!

 
By Brad Wilson - Guest Contributor

One of the most misused and abused items in a duck hunter's blind bag is the duck call (or kazoo depending on who's blowing it).  We have all heard it plenty of times, off in the distance that dreaded sound of "Barney" tooting his horn and the only thing on this planet it sounds good to is himself.  What "Barney doesn't understand is that many times less is more.



When to call is at the utmost priority when it comes to duck hunting.  Second in line is how to call closely followed by what to call with.  I am fortunate enough to have a good friend that is also a very well known call maker.  Here are some things to look for when you are trying to pick a call that is right for you.


  1. Know the basics of calling.  If you don't know how to properly blow a call then there is absolutely no sense of spending the money on a quality call.
  2. If at all possible, meet the call maker.  If you can't meet them personally then read some testimonies on the internet.  most call makers have a website or have been talked about on forums.
  3. Customer service!  Service after the sale should always be a phone call away.
  4. Find a call maker that is fairly local if at all possible.  This will help when you run into problems with your custom call.  If you ahve never owned a custom call, trust me when I say you will eventually need some help.
  5. Look for craftsmanship and attention to detail.  If a maker's "name" is Chang, Ching, or Chong then you are buying mass produced calls from China.  Don't settle for cheap imitations!

Pair this outstanding craftsmanship and customer service with a little bit of know how, and you too can improve your outcome in the duck blind.  Stay tuned for a future entry outlining some of the basics of duck calling.


Brad Wilson is an avid outdoorsman targeting waterfowl and saltwater fish and is a guest contributor for the Beretta Blog.  He can be reached on Twitter or YouTube.

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitterYouTube.

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not represent those of Beretta.

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitter or YouTube

 

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Dove Season Opener

 


Dove Season Opener
By Keith Hollar – Guest Contributor

This year I got the opportunity to go on a dove hunt.  It was me first hunting trip. Part of the reason I started to get into clay shooting was so I could at least hit something when I went on this hunting trip.

So after meeting early in the morning on the day before dove season opened and loading up the trucks my dad, me and six other guys set out on the about four hour drive to Parker, Arizona.  We arrived at the vacation house that belongs to the brother of the guy who sets up the trip every year, Neil, to turn on the air conditioner and unload the vehicles.  We wisely decided to wait until the early evening to go out scouting since the afternoon temperatures were in the low 100’s.  We drove out on Indian land and scouted a couple areas south of Poston, Arizona that evening and made a decision on where to go the next morning.

At the early hour of 4:30 a.m., with the temperatures already in the high 80’s, we got on the road for the almost 45 minute drive to the spot we chose to start the opening day on.  We all spread out into different areas of the field to try our luck.  As things got light there weren’t that many birds flying around and not a lot of shotguns going off either.  By the end of our time out hunting that day I only got one bird and I think we only had 17-18 birds between the 8 of us.  From what the guys who had done this before were telling me, this was definitely not normal and it was probably the monsoon rains that had come a couple weeks before and drove the birds off.


On day two we decided to go to about the same area but to a location that we were getting some success.  We got there early and set up.  I selected a bush that would come to find out was not the wisest choice.  While I did bring down another two birds, the mosquitoes ate me alive.  I had at least a hundred, and probably more, bites even though I was wearing long sleeves, pants and bug spray.  It was over a week before they finally stopped itching.  As he traditionally does Neil made us dinner this second night.  Normally he does it on opening day but because of the low amount of birds we got he had to wait until the second day.  The recipe he chose was a wild rice, mushroom, celery, white wine and dove casserole.  It was pretty good.



The third and final day we decided to try a completely different location.  This was met with about the same results, not a whole lot.  I hardly saw any birds and only shot at a couple and missed.    Over the three days I only shot a little over a box of shells.

Overall I had a pretty good time, although I was glad to get home after being out of town for most of August.  I do think it is something I’d like to do again, although the 100 degree weather was a little tiring.  Maybe next year I’ll try my hand at quail.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitter or YouTube

 

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

A Man's True Best Friend

 
By Brad Wilson - Guest Contributor

As I sit here trying to figure out what I plan to let flow from my fingers on to the keyboard, I look up on the wall at the beautiful pintail that came from a stellar trip to the Laguna Madre.  Then I start to think about the fat greenhead that is resting on a piece of driftwood on my buddy John's wall in his living room.  That particular bird was taken off of a marsh pond in the back lakes of Trinity Bay.  As I think about hunts that I have been on and cold boat rides, beating the crowd to the public spots and hot September mornings waiting for that huge wad of teal to grace our presence, I know there is something that I am suppose to be typing but I just can't pinpoint what it is.  I then get a nudge from Aeva, my yellow lab.  Whether she is wanting to go outside or if she is really trying to tell me "daddy, tell 'em about ME" is beyond me, but it is the nudge that I needed.


See, Aeva has been with me longer than my wife, longer than my kids, and longer than most of my guns that are in the gun safe.  She is a hell of a water dog and has served me better than any dog I have ever had, and it is a pleasure to call her family.  She has probably made in the upwards of 1,000 retrieves from the Lower Laguna Madre to the upper reaches of the Lower Trinity River.  She is not just my dog, she is one of my best friends.

That pintail that rests on my wall was taken on a hunt with a fine group of guys that I had the pleasure of sharing a blind with.  It was getting close to dark and I had told my group that we would be heading in after the next volley.  I knew that the pintails in this particular area were using this flyway to head into the fresh water ponds after a long day of sitting in the salt marsh.  About 10 minutes before legal shooting time was up I caught something out of the corner of my eye.  This particular single bird was about 150 yards up and locked up on the decoys.  I let my guys know that we had a hot one committed and to get ready.  At about 60 yards for some unknown reason the fat sprig decided this was not the place for him and decided to backpedal and get the hell out of dodge.  That's when I dent a prayer shot up and connected.  The bird folded up and started falling.  When it hit the water all you heard was a thud followed by a huge splash.  At that point the bird righted himself and started to swim.  I went to heel Aeva up, but she was already by my side so I sent her on one of many missions that we have shared together.  She gets within 5 feet of the bird when he starts diving on her.  At that point all the training and time that we have spent fetching dummies in the pond was thrown out the window.  You see, Aeva has a natural instinct that any hunter would pray for.  With her tail in the air like she was on point, Aeva started swimming in circles waiting for the bird to surface.  HE popped up about 3 feet from her snout and immediately went back down.  This seemed like it was going to be a lost bird.  He popped up again about 4 feet from her and went back down, but this time Aeva did something that can never be taught in any training program.  Aeva dove in the 4 feet deep water with determination on her side.  She was down for a good 10 seconds when she rose from the depths of the bay with one of the nicest pintail drakes I have ever seen in my life!  She came back to my side, tail wagging, and released the bird in my hand when I gave her the command and then went back to her spot in the blind and sat waiting.

That day brought a tear to my eye as I knew that what I had, my best friend, my companion, my family was one of the best retrievers to have ever walked the face of this earth.  To say I was proud is a huge understatement.  Words can not describe the feeling I had.

As she lays at my feet right now, I look down at the 9 year old yellow lab and start to wonder how many more years she can do this.  How many more retrieves does she have in her?  When is it time to call it quits?  That is an question that only she will be able to answer, but I know that she will be a hard charger until that day comes.

I dedicate this entry to my dog, Aeva.  SHe has taught me many things in life, and she has been there for me no matter what.  She stands by my side and thinks I hung the moon and for those very reasons I owe this entry to her.

Brad Wilson is an avid outdoorsman targeting waterfowl and saltwater fish and is a guest contributor for the Beretta Blog.  He can be reached on Twitter or YouTube.

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitterYouTube.

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not represent those of Beretta.

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitter or YouTube

 

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Top 10 Reasons I Hunt

 
By Brad Wilson - Guest Contributor

As a new hunting season approaches there are a ton of things that run through my head in preparation for what is to come in the next few months.  Is the boat ready to go?  Are the decoys rigged up?  Did I make all the repairs on equipment that needed to be made?  Last week I was out in the garage answering all these questions.  I pulled out my old blind stool and sat down in it and started thinking about things.  One question that kept coming back to me was WHY?  Why do I go to the extents that I do to chase fowl?  Why do I spend the amount of hard earned money on this sport?  Why do I wake up at 3:00 AM to run a boat for 30 minutes in 30 degree weather, trounce through marsh mud that rivals some of the deepest quicksand around, and then spend 45 minutes setting out decoys just to shoot some waterfowl?

Here is my top 10 reasons I do what I do to chase waterfowl.

10.  The smell of gunpowder at sun up as a group of greenwing teal buzz the decoys.

  9.  I have a chance to be out on the water. Growing up on the Gulf Coast, I have saltwater running through my veins!

  8.  Seeing a bird crumple in mid air after I pull the trigger on my Beretta A400 Xtreme!

  7.  Watching my yellow lab, Aeva, charge hard after that bird that just crumpled.

  6.  Enjoying a hot cup of coffee and a blind breakfast during that first lull.

  5.  Because duck breast, jalapeno, and cream cheese all wrapped in bacon and grilled tastes Mmmmmm Mmmmm GOOD!!!

  4.  Knowing that I am in GOD's country and I am doing what he intended for me to do.

  3.  I am able to share that blind with some of my closest friends.

  2.  I can spend time with my kids that I cherish so much.

And the number one reason I do what I do to chase waterfowl:

Passion!  I have a passion for the outdoors and everything that it stands for.  I have passion for sharing those times with my kids and friends.  I have a passion for what God has graced me with.

I take this time to be thankful for those ten things and many others that I am afforded in this great nation and have been so graciously given by the Man upstairs.

So what is on your top 10 list?


Brad Wilson is an avid outdoorsman targeting waterfowl and saltwater fish and is a guest contributor for the Beretta Blog.  He can be reached on Twitter or YouTube.

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitterYouTube.

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not represent those of Beretta.

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitter or YouTube

 

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

How About a Duck Recipe?

 
By Brad Wilson - Guest Contributor

One of the most asked questions that I get from people that don't really care to eat ducks or geese is "how do you cook it?"  My answer is short, sweet, and boy does it taste good!  GUMBO!!!  After the jump (that means click on the link that says "MORE"), I will share a recipe that was shared with me and I have perfected.  This stuff will make ya slap yo momma!!!



What you need:
2 lbs. cubed duck meat
1 lb. raw peeled shrimp
1/2 lb. raw cubed fish
1 lb. smoked andouille sausage
1 lb. okra
2 lbs. bacon scraps
1 cup of flour
1 can tomatoes with onions & peppers
1 can tomatoes with chilis and lime
1 can roasted tomatoes
2 onions chopped
2 bell peppers chopped
6 stalks celery sliced
3 cloves of garlic chopped
3 bay leaves
3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp Franks hot sauce
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp cayenne pepper
salt
pepper
Tony Chachere Cajun Spice

Fry the bacon scraps until it is nice and crispy then remove. Keep about half to throw in the gumbo.

In half the bacon oil add the flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper. Cook your roux on medium heat until the flour is browned to your taste. Mine normally takes about 15 minutes. IT IS IMPERATIVE TO CONSTANTLY STIR YOUR ROUX!!!  If not it will burn and ruin your gumbo.

With the leftover bacon grease, sear the fish, shrimp, sausage, and duck meat and set to the side.

Put the roux in big pot and add the shrimp, fish, sausage, onoins, bell peppers, garlic, 1/2 the bacon. Turn up the heat to high and cook and stir for 2-3 minutes.
Put the duck in a pot of water and bring it to a boil. Once it begins to boil, put the shrimp peels in the pot. Cook for 1-2 minutes.

Strain out the shrimp peels and discard of them.

Place the duck and it's water, okra, the 3 cans tomatoes, celery, bay leaves, Worcestershire, Franks, thyme, cayenne pepper, Tony Chahceres to taste in the big pot. Add water to the concoction to make it like a thin soup.

Turn heat down and simmer about 2 hours or until the desired consistancy is reached.
Serve it over white or dirty rice.

I have made this for a number of people and I have yet to find someone that didn't like it.  Be sure to let us know how your next meal turns out when you decide to cook this favorite of mine.

Brad Wilson is an avid outdoorsman targeting waterfowl and saltwater fish and is a guest contributor for the Beretta Blog.  He can be reached on Twitter or YouTube.

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitterYouTube.

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not represent those of Beretta.

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitter or YouTube

 

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

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