At-the-Wire Waterfowl

Flooded timber hunts provide late-date chances at mallards on the move from roosting to feeding areas. Yamaha’s Steve Nessl holds the results of a recent January flooded timber hunt. Steve Hickoff photo

Don’t forget to have fun. This is gravy time, after long months of hardcore waterfowling. Enjoy it. Here Yamaha’s Van Holmes and JoLee Liepman share a laugh in an Arkansas pit blind. Steve Hickoff photo

By Steve Hickoff

 

In southern parts of the country, lingering waterfowl seasons run through the next few weeks, then drop like a decoy anchor weight in a flooded timber hole. Even up north, coastal sea duck opportunities continue then close at January’s end. Ways to make your late duck and goose hunts great follow here:

 

Use your Yamaha ATV or Side-by-Side to lug decoys to and from pit blinds and flooded timber. This time of the year, breeding-paired birds want to be with others. Give them a reason to drop into your hot spot.

 

You love to call ducks and geese; so do I. There’s a real pleasure in turning overhead birds that were moving the other way. Now, it’s different. Your best call might be no call at all. Put your ego to the side. Sure, take those calls along; wear that lanyard around your neck. But vocalize sparingly. Use subtle calls. Once you turn that mallard pair, or that single high-flying specklebelly, shut it down and let ‘em come in close.

 

It’s okay to have fun these waning days of the season. Really. Some of us started way back in September and have had five solid months of waterfowling. Enjoy these waning days. Take a new hunter along, or someone else who might just want to enjoy the pleasure of a pit blind sunrise. Don’t forget your camera.

 

Innovate with your tactical approaches here at the wire. Flash hunts that involve jumpshooting loafing ducks rival upland bird hunts. This flush and shoot approach will keep you warm as you walk, and offer a fresh angle outside of blind sitting. Hunt a different waterfowl species than you might typically. Mix it up.

 

For the most success, isolate single ducks and geese when they appear on the horizon. Often this is your best chance at interesting a bird with your late-season vocalizations. Again though, watch the reaction, then go silent as it approaches and cups to your decoy spread. Savor these final days of the season.

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