The Duck Hunting Shake Down
By Toby Trigger
Ducks will be flying south soon but for now the skies are looking a little empty. Warm October days don’t exactly create the best waterfowl producing days afield but we shouldn’t write them off either.
So what are they good for? Well, you know those first few waterfowl trips you take and you forget your headlamp or the goose decoy stands? Or maybe the long range choke is in the other bag and your gauntlets aren’t where you always left them – and what happened to that layout blind strap anyway?
Warm October days when there aren’t many birds flying and regrets for mistakes or things forgotten don’t sting of regret quite so bad are the days to bring your kids and your dog out for a trial run or two. You can work through your gear and not feel anxious. Fumbling through our truck bed in the dark when it’s 10 degrees and all your hunting buddy’s are waiting on you isn’t the time to realize the remote for your mojo duck is at home.
But it’s also not the time to show your kids how the process works and let them help. I brought my young son to a waterfowl refuge midday and we walked to a blind. We had time to stop and talk to another hunter and put decoys out together. There wasn’t much action so I was able to focus on teaching. Now when we show up in the dark he will understand what we are doing and how the process works. It also lets him play with all the calls on my lanyard making it easier to say no when the birds are really flying.
Shake down time, trial run or pre-game strategy. What ever you call it, do it. It will make a big difference when temperatures drop and the weather turns uhh, f-o-w-l.