You’ve had a good long waterfowl season. Part of you doesn’t want it to end—though sleeping in might do you good right now. Don’t forget to finish strong. Clean, store and even order more gear if need be to get ready for next season. Yamaha Outdoors photo
By Steve Hickoff
It’s the last call for waterfowl.
So-called “regular” seasons for ducks and geese have closed or will soon around the country. Sea-duck opportunities on saltwater tides near exposed rocky ledges where these birds feed still last along the coast, for now. In some southern locations, you’ll finish in a matter of weeks.
Sure enough, we’ll cover tips for spring snow goose hunting here, as well as other tactics to make your time outdoors better while enjoying your Yamaha ATV or Side-by-Side.
After months of chasing ducks and geese, here are some tips for finishing as strong as you started.
Back in September—as the early goose seasons and maybe those for teal where you live began—it was all systems go. Now your decoys are muddy and well-used. Some might be missing heads. Your decoy cord and line might need replaced. Sure you want to wait until summer, but why not do that now?
It may be January but it’s time to get ready for September.
• Clean those decoys if mild weather and an outdoor garden hose provides. It’s a mild 40 Maine degrees as I write this ahead of deadline, so you could even do that here today. Dry your fakes off. Store them neatly, with decoy cords, lines and anchor weights.
• Replace those heads with an online order from several of the many good outfitters, or take a trip to your local sporting goods store—assuming they still have their waterfowling gear on the shelves. Spring turkey season is coming soon.
• Like you maybe, I’ve been rigging decoy lines as need be in the heat of the moment while hunting ducks. As “creative” as the rigs now appear (quick knots; some loose fits), I’ll restore them soon to how they functioned when I started this past season.
• Take a hard look at what worked and didn’t this fall and winter. Could you use better decoy bags? Maybe you’ve been winging it with hen mallard fakes while hunting tidal marsh blacks. Why not go the distance and carve some black duck decoys this winter?
• Wash all of your apparel and hang it where you can find clothes in late summer and early fall. The same goes for washing down waders (I did that today) and placing them neatly on boot racks to hang.
There’s a satisfaction to hunting hard and finishing right. It’ll clear the deck for the next season to come.