Water fowl enthusiasts honor opening weekend of duck season like football fans and the Super Bowl. It’s the day that gets the three and a half month season started. To make sure you get the most out of opening weekend we’ve provided a list of things to avoid.
Focus on the Positive Things During the First Hour
Someone’s going to shoot ten minutes before legal shooting light. And someone else will shoot at a flock of mallards that are clearly 100 yards away. Shooting too early and sky blasting makes your blood boil – but that’s their decision – be thankful that you’ve got the opportunity to be hunting and don’t let it ruin your day.
Don’t Get Angry At Your Dog You’re Rusty Too
If your dog gets excited and wants to retrieve birds before you give the command or searches for five minutes after you shoot and doesn’t come back with feathers in his mouth – remember that he’s rusty and yelling at him won’t encourage him to hunt. Besides, you might be rusty too… He won’t give you too much grief if (when) you miss.
Hunt the Evening
Getting up at O-dark 30 and hitting the pond so that your decoys are out, blinds are brushed in and you’re pouring a cup of coffee before the sun comes up is part of the opening day ritual. But don’t forget to hunt the evening, that time when ducks are returning from crop fields to spend the night on the roost. This is opening day magic.
Look, those ducks sitting at 150 yards aren’t moving and the likelihood that you’re going to get them to move over your head for a clean shot are just about zero. Relax, enjoy the day and let another hunter who thinks his new shotgun can reach that far flush them past you.
So it’s opening day and you’ve got seven … teen different calls around your neck – three for every species plus a rabbit squealer just incase you see a coyote while you’re laying on the river bank. A few (that means like three) quacks should do the trick if the bird is going to respond. And I don’t want to listen to incessant quacking if you’re the ducker two blinds down from me. Please.
Shooting Too Much
Ok, I’m not sure how to put this politely so I won’t. If you’ve shot a box of shells by 9:00 am and still haven’t hit anything – STOP! And for hunting’s sake don’t pull the trigger that third time if you’ve already missed the first two. Go home and spend your money on practice. Lead loads are cheaper and you’ll have just as much fun missing clay pigeons as you will missing ducks. For those of you who practiced before season, Thank you.
Decoys. Decoys. Decoys.
You need about 6 decoys. Putting out 100 decoys out with representatives form 7 different species on opening day is annoying. Although I’ll try to remember to focus on the positive things during the first hour…
Just turn it off and hunt. Remember when we were kids and we actually had to talk to each other as we sat there looking at the sky? Yeah, do that.