The night temperature is starting to stay in the 50’s and that means fall is in the air. I hope you read my previous blog on 5 things to check off before the Waterfowl opener. Here is part 2 of that checklist to make sure you don’t have any unexpected drama on opening weekend.
Decoys- Yep, drag out all of those decoys from the attic or shop where they have laid dormant for 9 months. Take them all out of the bag and lay them all out on the ground. I will use a light brush and gentle soap (nothing harsh that can strip paint) to wash off the mud and grime from my blocks. Ducks rub oil on their bodies to keep them afloat, (and yes they shine) so you want your dekes looking as real as possible. Believe me, you won’t see a muddy drake mallard swimming around out there. Inspect each decoy for leaks and check the line and weight to see what might have dry rotted or is about to break.
- Permission- If you had permission to hunt private land last season, it is a good idea to get in contact with the land owner and make sure he hasn’t sold it or is still ok with you hunting his property. ALWAYS keep a great working relationship with landowners and respect their wishes. I have a farmer who does not allow us to drive any ATV on his property, which means we carry all of our decoys and gear to hunt, and it is a long walk in the mud. But, he could be leasing it for thousands of dollars, so always be respectful and courteous to the man who grants you written permission.
- Plan- If you are like me and love to take road trips to hunt ducks in other states, you had better plan these trips early. Go online and get the required license, stamps and permits you will need to hunt the area of your choice. Go ahead and make hotel reservations and plan a budget for the trip. It is also a good idea to know the lay of the land, so go to google earth and get familiar with the area you will be hunting and have a Plan B and C in case of unexpected weather.
- Gear Check- There is nothing more frustrating than putting on your waders and find out they have a seep in the knee or worse, the crotch!! Get your waders down and get in a pool or local pond and see if there are any leaks you need to address. Also, check your clothes for a good fit, because some of us may have put on a few pounds in the offseason!! Look for rips tears and missing items such as gloves, facemask and raingear.
- Holes/Lanes- It is always a good idea to go to your hunting spots and see if there are trees down on the lane or path to get you there. See if your duck hole has grown up with buckbrush or willows that need trimming to keep the hole open for ducks to light into. Carry your pole saw if you can to trim higher tree limbs that can obscure your shooting lanes, but be careful not to trim out too much and not be able to hide.
Go through these steps to make the most of your time on the duck water and you won’t be sorry. Remember that old saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
Every hour you spend working on your equipment during season, is an hour you are not hunting.
I went ahead and put a pic up of what will be in my next blog.
Early Duck Season- Keepin It Real.
Well, this wraps up my Preseason Duck Checklist for 2016-17.