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Ask the Wild Guy

by George Visger, "The Wild Guy"

Hey Wild Guy —Three times in the last month I have had the same scenario happen. I am sitting in my blind when I notice a flock of ducks locked up coming into my decoys. As soon as I started calling, the birds flared, and headed over to the next blind where they proceeded to make one to two passes and land! The first time this happened was with a half dozen mallards, the second time involved nearly two dozen widgeon, and last week it was with four pintails.

I may not be the greatest caller in the world, but I have been hunting waterfowl for fourteen years, and like to think I know how to blow a call. What’s going on? Ready to pull my hair out.

Wild Guy — Before you start removing your own pelt, I am going to make a couple of assumptions here.

First, when you state you first noticed the birds locked up coming into your decoys before they landed in the next blind, I am going to assume this occurred later in the morning or during the afternoon. These are periods when most hunters have headed back to the truck after the morning flight, but when many birds are headed to loafing ponds to rest up, preen and process their feed they procured during the morning flight. Birds will readily come into vacant spreads when everyone has gone home to watch football games. Ducks are not very vocal during this time of the day, especially if the weather is clear, so I rely mainly on low sprig, widgeon and teal whistles, with an occasional feeding chuckle and come back call thrown in for good measure. The key is keep it low, as the birds are not very vocal during these conditions.

Second, you mentioned you know how to blow a call. If you are using a mallard call, which 90% of water fowlers use, but very few know how to use properly, you are making the most common mistake duck hunters can make. Never blow, a mallard call. Learn to forcibly grunt each note. I try to make sure I can feel air blowing out my nostrils onto my hand holding the call when I grunt. This cannot be done unless you grunt, using your diaphragm muscles. Simple technique, but it makes all the difference in the world. Give it a shot next blue bird day when everyone else has packed it in, you will be surprised how many limits you can salvage. These are some of my favorite days to hunt, as I usually have the properties to myself and can let the birds work in to my liking.

Ask the Wild Guy

George Visger aka “The Wild Guy” is an original Wilderness Unlimited member and now also serves as Principal Wildlife and Habitat Coordinator for the Wilderness Unlimited Foundation. The “Ask The Wild Guy” column is based on George’s outdoors experiences, presented in a light manner intending on illustrating the use of strategies to help members with their outdoor success. He has been a Wildlife Biologist for 20 years including several years owning his own environmental consulting firms, Visger & Associates and The Ranchers Group, where he specializes in wildlife management plans, habitat management plans, grazing plans, threatened and endangered species, habitat restoration, water quality and quantity improvements and storm water management.

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