As the days begin to grow shorter and migrating waterfowl head south, it’s time to put the finishing touches on our preparation for chasing ducks and geese. The list of chores and work for the waterfowler seems to never end, but the tasks that seem to haunt us the most are the last minute jobs that sneak up on us in the final days before the opener. Here’s a quick list of the pre season prep for waterfowlers that tends to find us scrambling before opening day:
Brushing Blinds and Pits
Brushing blinds and pits before the opener is a labor of love for waterfowl hunters, but it’s also a chore that tends to get put off far too late. It’s hard to take a break from deer hunting to go and round up brush for your duck blind, but it must be done. Be sure to consider what brush or grass you’re cutting now and how it will look when it dries up. Will the brush you collect blend well in the setting around your blind or cause you to stick out? I’ve seen guys use cane in the midst of dark timber and flare every duck that flew by. There’s a place for oak brush and there’s a place for cane or grass. Know the difference. Get it rounded up and in place before rising or falling water becomes an issue.
Is your blind brushed well enough to go undetected this season.
Our decoys take a lot of abuse throughout the season. We chunk them in and out of the truck, boat and drag them through the mud. A simple wash job will go a long way prior to opening day to make our decoys look good as new…or fairly close. A lot of guys miss this step, thinking that dirty decoys aren’t that big a deal. However, step back and look at the difference in new decoys and mud-covered mallard dekes and you’ll realize how bad your presentation can suffer. Get them clean and watch the difference it makes in your spread this season.
Clean decoys will make a world of difference when it comes to fooling the eyes of wary waterfowl.
Once the decoys are washed and shining like new money, it’s time for the rigging chores. This can be one of the more laborious chores in the mix. It’s typically more frustrating than fun, but it must be done. You’ll obviously want to consider when and where you’ll be using your decoys to know how much decoy line you’ll need, how much weight to add for anchors, and whether your decoys will be anchored alone or in a gang-rig system.
Consider how much decoy line you need for your spread to save yourself from headaches during the hunting season.
Tune Your Calls
If you haven’t already, it’s time to break out the calls and knock the rust off. This is one chore that’ll likely get you in trouble with your spouse, non-hunting neighbor, or anyone else that can’t appreciate the sound of you wailing on your duck call before season. If you don’t know how to tune the reeds on your call like you want it, get the call into the hands of someone that does. It’s almost time to make mallard music. Be sure your call is ready.
Get your calls tuned! Ducks season is almost here!
Don’t Forget the Dog
A lot of guys fail to plan for their retriever in the weeks leading up to the opener. The result of doing such can be frustrating. Have you secured his place in the blind or pit? Is the dog hide brushed and ready to go? Are your dog’s nails clipped and shots up to date? Now is also a good time to let him get some feathers in his mouth so he doesn’t freak out too terribly bad when the excitement of opening day arrives and birds are dead on the water. Keep a bird in the freezer for routine practice sessions with real feathers. It will make a difference.
Boat / ATV Maintenance
Whether you’re boating in or making the commute by land on an ATV/UTV, be sure your equipment is in top shape well before the opener. This is another item that we tend to neglect or put off and hope for the best. Don’t be that guy! There are some serious battles that rage at the boat ramp on opening day when boat motors won’t crank. It can be entertaining to watch, provided you’re not the one struggling with your boat. But it’s also sad because it’s an avoidable issue that can often be a deal breaker when it comes to shooting ducks on opening day. Fresh gas, oil, life jackets, registration, and everything else you need to be safe and legal on your next duck hunt – make sure you have them in the boat or ATV ahead of time.
If it can go wrong with your boat, it probably will during duck season. Be sure to go through all the preventative maintenance needs to keep it running smooth this year.
Clean Your Gun
No warrior goes into battle without first cleaning his gun. Make sure you do the same. Break it down and clean it up. Inside and out – rid that gun of any rust, mud, and crud that will cause it to sabotage your hunt. A little oil and preventative maintenance on the front end will save you from headaches and heartbreaks later on. Take the time to make sure your gun is safe, clean and ready to go on game day.
Is your gun clean and ready for battle this duck season?
Nothing allows you to hunt with confidence like knowing that your gear is in proper working order and ready for action. Get these 7 pre season prep for waterfowlers chores knocked out ahead of time, and you’ll be able to rest easy as you wait on the arrival of opening day of waterfowl season.