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On this Veterans Day we would like to thank our friends and family members who have served this great country and Happy Veterans day to those who are currently serving.

As helpful as tips and techniques can be when it comes to duck hunting, sometimes you need something more inspirational than informational. After all, as a duck hunter, you’re going to spend a lot of time out in the cold, and the weather won’t always be sunny. Hunting ducks involves early mornings that start long before the crack of dawn, and some days you come back with no ducks at all to show for your trouble. On those days, it helps to remember a few successful hunting stories so that you can remember the good days and your own successful hunts.

Along those lines, a small group of goose and duck hunters in Maryland have formed one of the most inspiring organizations we can think of – Hunters Helping Heroes. This group is dedicated to helping servicemen and women who’ve given years of their lives to defending our freedom by taking them on group hunts to show gratitude and give them a fun and rewarding experience.

A Veterans’ Duck Hunt

Hunters Helping Heroes recently put together a three-day hunting trip for two veterans, Jamie and Dan. With some guidance, in the morning, the vets took a boat trip to their first blind, where they got two mallards, though the rest of the first day was a wash. The second day, though, at a different site – a private farm – Jamie and Dan had a much better day, bagging two buffleheads, three green wing teal, and one ruddy duck. Then, on the third day, they went goose hunting and got a total of nine geese between them.

While Jamie and Dan have both served time in the military together fighting for our freedom, neither one of them had much experience at all with duck hunting. Just a bit of guidance and the right location gave them the opportunity to have an incredibly successful trip.

Inspiring Stories and New Adventures All Over the US

Duck hunting is an interesting sport that requires patience and a lot of skill, but it’s also a great way to build camaraderie and to really relax, especially for people whose jobs are as demanding and stressful as those who’ve served in any branch of the US military.

To us, the best part about the work that this group does is that they give vets a chance to do some serious duck hunting anywhere in the US. They have members working in New Jersey, South Dakota, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and all across the country. And, like they did with Jamie and Dan, they work to take veterans on multi-day trips with different blinds to pack the most fun into every trip.

So next time you’re feeling a little rundown lying in your blind, think about the wide community of duck hunters in your area and around the country who are going on some great adventures together and doing good things for our servicemen and women. And while you’re thinking about it, check out your Duckr feed to see what other duck hunters near you are doing to pass the time, improve their hunts, and do more for their communities.

More Details are available at http://huntershelpingheroes.org/

If you’re new to duck hunting, you might not know about one of the more popular pieces of duck hunting gear out there – the Mojo Duck. While there are a number of brands of this kind of decoy – and we’re not pushing any one brand over another – most duck hunters have adopted the term “mojo” to refer to just about any motion decoy.

So what is a mojo? Basically, it’s a decoy that doesn’t float in the water like the others. Instead, it’s staked on a pole so that it’ll sit in the air above the water. At the same time, its battery-operated wings will spin, flap, or flutter to look like a duck that’s just coming in for a landing in your spread. The idea is that ducks flying over, attracted by your call, will see more than just a “dead”, motionless spread with no movement. They’ll see a duck landing in the spread, and they’ll be more likely to see it as a safe place to come in for a landing.

Do Mojos Work?

If you stand around looking at a spread with a mojo hovering above it, you might be tempted to say, “That doesn’t look real,” and completely dismiss the idea of adding a mojo to your spread. However, a lot of duck hunters have found that mojos really do improve the chances of ducks landing in their spreads.

Think of it like this – a duck won’t have the same perspective you do. It’s not standing off to the side, watching some alien duck hovering over the water. As it flies over, it’ll catch motion in its periphery as it hears duck calls and sees a group of ducks in an inviting formation in the water. It won’t “think” a lot about landing – it’ll just come in to land. By the time it sees anything amiss, if it ever does, you’re ready to take the shot.

Where Should You Place Your Mojo?

So where do you put a mojo to get ducks to fly in for a landing? Basically, while the motion of the mojo will attract ducks, those ducks won’t want to land right on top of another duck that’s coming in for a landing. Place your mojo a bit off to the side, near your other decoys but not directly in line with them, and at a place where you’ll have the duck in your sights.

Essentially, the duck coming in for a landing will slow and may even stop as it approaches the mojo, so you want it to be in a place where you’re most likely to make the shot. So, if you have a J-hook spread, place your mojo near the cluster of ducks at the end of your shooting range, but not all the way to them. Or, if you have a V-funnel, place it toward the narrow end of the “V”.

Experiment with placement around these areas and see what a mojo can do for you on your next duck hunt.

While duck hunting season may only be open a few months out of the year, seasoned duck hunters and duck hunting enthusiasts know that there’s a lot that you can do throughout the year to get ready for duck season. In fact, if you want to be a better duck hunter this year, there are a few things that you could be doing right now to have much better hunting days and an all-around better season.

Practice Your Calls

Keep your calls handy throughout the off-season. Spend some time watching videos and listening to recordings of the ducks that you’re most likely to see in your area, and practice mimicking them. You don’t want to get out there on the first day of duck hunting season just to find that you’re completely rusty at calling and that you’re not fooling any of the ducks flying over you.

In addition to practicing on your own, go to your local hunting and fishing store or check online to see if there are any calling seminars or workshops happening near you throughout the year. You never know what you might learn.

Spend Some Time at the Range

The more you practice shooting, the more comfortable you’ll be with your shotgun. If you think that getting to your blind on the first day of duck hunting season and having a bad call is bad, try getting there and being completely cold and rusty with your shotgun.

Plus, if you practice regularly, you’ll know if your gun has any issues before you pack it up with your duck hunting gear for your first hunt of the season. This will give you plenty of time to find a gunsmith and have your shotgun repaired or upgraded to work the way you want it to. And you’ll find, after a few months of regular shooting, that you’re much faster on the trigger, and you’ll miss much fewer birds coming into your spread.

Spend Time Training Your Retriever

Practicing your calls and your shooting skills will help you keep your duck hunting game on point, but you’re not the only one who needs to practice. Your retriever needs to spend time in the water, and it needs to stay in shape and focused throughout the year. Otherwise, all that training you did to get your dog in shape last season will go completely out the window and you’ll be back at square one with a dog that isn’t ready to hunt.

Do these three things – starting right now – and practice them throughout the off-season, and your duck hunting will improve immensely. The guys you shot with last year won’t believe how much better you’ve gotten, even if you’re still using a bunch of cheap duck hunting gear and you haven’t made any upgrades to your blind. Of course, upgrading your duck gear can help, too, but practicing your hunting skills will help a lot more. Have fun, and good luck!

Whether you’re just getting into duck hunting or you’re planning on doing some hunting in a new area, you can learn a lot and have a much better hunting trip if you have some assistance from a guide or duck hunting outfitter. Once you’ve gone on a few guided duck hunts in a given area, you can say goodbye to your outfitter and get any incidental help you need from a duck hunting app like Duckr. But, to get started, you might want to consider one of the best guided duck hunting trips in the US.

Chesapeake Bay Maryland Duck Hunting

If you live in Maryland or you’re planning a trip to the Chesapeake Bay, Black Duck Outfitters’ Maryland Duck Hunting services offer is an affordable and really enjoyable service. Here, you can get experience with duck hunting in open waters, and you’ll see how traditional spreads and longer lines can attract sea ducks and divers. The guides who work for this service have over 10 years of experience, and you can get a discount if you bring a large group. Rates are $200-275 per hunter.

Duck Hunting in Venice, Louisiana

Venice, Louisiana offers the opportunity to hunt pintails, canvasbacks, gaddies, teals, and more. Peak season is January, and hunters can get help from guides and outfitters to set up the right blinds and spreads for any of these. Plus, if you hit your limit early in the day, you can always do some fishing for sea trout or redfish, and you’re close enough to the coast to head off shore to try for some tuna, too. The cost for all that ranges from $200-300 per hunter per day.

Get Green Timber Mallards in Arkansas

For just a bit more – about $350 per day for a guided trip – you can go to Arkansas to hunt green timber mallards. This experience is like no other, as the ducks will actually be flying in through the live green trees. You’ll see something truly special and unique when you opt for this kind of hunt, but you’ll want the expertise of a duck hunting guide or outfitter who can help you create the best blinds and decoy spreads. With such a different style of hunting ducks, you’ll be glad you have their expertise.

Guide or Outfitter?

Whether you’re heading to one of these destinations or anywhere else for your duck hunt, you’ll want to make sure that you have everything you need to have the most successful trip possible. The terms guide and outfitter are often used interchangeably, but they’re actually not the same thing. A guided hunt is almost always a bit more DIY than a hunt with an outfitter, who’ll generally have the duck gear and other equipment you’ll need.

Before you commit, find out what services and duck hunting gear your guide or outfitter provides so that you don’t show up unprepared. Then you can get the gear you need and have a great trip and a successful duck hunt.

There are so many options when it comes to shotguns for duck hunting. Sometimes you end up buying the wrong type of gun for your purpose. It is because of this confusion that I am writing this article. Read it carefully because I have researched hundreds of guns and found the most efficient guns out there for waterfowl, specifically ducks.

Benelli Super Black Eagle II

Wow! This shotgun is considered the elite of semi-automatic guns with its 3 ½ inch barrel. It can load nearly all standard 2 ¾-inch 12-gauge loads as well as 3 and 3 ½-inch magnums. The beautiful chrome-lined barrels have been tested over and over to perfect its pressure. Its Inertia-Driven system is the finest and has become the top-choice for all present day duck hunters. It is made with the innovative recoil system that transformed firearms machinery. It is definitely worth its high price.

Franchi Intensity

The Intensity is also power-driven by parent company Benelli’s upheld Inertia Driven system. It is a champion choice because of its light-weight design. Great for hiking to spots. It unfailingly cycles a much broader selection of loads than it was ever intended to. It’s a 3 ½-inch 12-gauge super magnum driving force that is guaranteed to charm many waterfowlers.

Beretta A400 Xtreme and A300

A shotgun like the A400 is blessing in the marsh. It is a reliable shooter of each and every type of 12-gauge shells, has the ability for firing multiple shots in less than a minute, and is so comfortable because of its soft-coil that your shoulder is left untouched even after a grueling hunting session. Enhancing that with the best protection from corrosion makes this one only for big-time hunters. On a lesser, but also reliable scale, is the A300. We lose the AquaTech coating and the one-piece assembly, but we also decrease in price about a thousand times.

Benelli M2

Its lightweight slim design makes the M2 a perfect choice for women and children. Don’t be fooled, though, it is built with the equivalent performance-driven power as the Performance Shop’s Super Black Eagle II Waterfowl Edition 12-gauge making it the most competitive gun with a flawless execution. Its mighty-dependable Inertia Driven operating system has been worked to warrant that the bolt runs super smoothly. It’s the ultimate choice for the smaller hands.

Browning Maxus and A5

What can be said about an already ultra-reliable and efficient gun for duck hunting? The Browning Maxus is considered the most reliable gun out there. It’s a 3 ½-inch gas-operated semi-automatic that fires a perfect shot every time. This piece is built using the Invector-plus choke system and a longer forcing cone and back-barrel which diminishes shot deformation. The A5 semi-automatic shotgun tends to look like older versions but has been modernized to be perform as a trustworthy and fast-cycling multipurpose shotgun perfect for duck hunting. What duck hunter could resist the Inflex II Technology recoil pad which allows for demanding sessions and effective results? None.

We always would recommend you try each one of these guns if possible it’s the only way to know what will work best for you and make you the most comfortable when shooting.  Comment below to share your with other Duck Hunters.

Once they’re properly trained, Labrador retrievers are amazing duck hunting dogs. In fact, with a little bit of consistency and a controlled environment in training, these dogs are so smart and such a good fit for hunting ducks that they practically train themselves. If you’ve been having trouble with training your retriever, you might be making one or more of these extremely common mistakes.

Raising the Dog in a Pen Outside

In years gone by, hunting dogs were raised outside in pens, and they grew up to be perfectly socialized and to have the kinds of relationships with people that they needed to get the right communication cues and to be good duck hunt companions. Today, that’s not really the case.

Why? Well, in the old days, your kids would’ve been spending just as much time outside as in (and usually more time out). They would’ve been in the pen with the pup from an early age, and they would’ve played a huge part in socializing your dog to be a good companion when you go hunting ducks.

Today, most kids spend most of their time inside watching TV and playing video games. So, if you want a well socialized hunting dog, you should probably keep it inside with you, your family, and your kids to forge that bond.

Repeating Commands to Get a Better Reaction

In your mind, you repeat commands to strengthen your dog’s association with the command. You repeat, “Sit!” thinking that your dog will learn the command faster and get it ingrained in his brain. However, saying, “Sit! Sit! Sit!” can actually be confusing to your dog. He thinks that your repeated command is the command, and he won’t know what a single “Sit!” means. It takes some patience, but try not to repeat commands to get a better reaction.

Yelling or Pleading When the Dog Doesn’t Respond

If your dog doesn’t follow your command, you might be tempted to yell the command, to plead with the dog, or to otherwise change your tone. Don’t do it. The dog didn’t disobey you because he didn’t hear you – he heard you just fine. Consistent tone will help a great deal more with training than yelling or getting frustrated and pleading.

Too Many Retrieves

This is another one that sounds counterintuitive, especially to duck hunters who want to make sure that their retrievers really know how to retrieve. However, overtraining your dog’s retrieval skills with multiple, uncontrolled retrieves is a good way to wear the dog out and push him to his physical limits. Trust that your dog was born with retrieval instincts (that’s why they’re called retrievers), and work on other parts of his training more than his retrieving.

So, are you making any of these four mistakes with your Labrador retriever? If you want a great duck hunting dog, remember that human contact and consistency in training are important. And you don’t have to spend hours training him on retrieves. Avoid these mistakes, and you’ll have a great duck hunt dog in no time. Good luck!

Those of us who have lived within families of generational duck hunters know that there is always something to learn when going duck hunting. But others who have never stepped into a marsh need to read this. It will make your hunt a much more pleasant experience. And it is already a fantastic sport!
When you are on a hunt, you know it’s going to be foul and dirty, but in a good way. Leave your shoes behind. When you’re out there crawling, act like a duck hunter because if you have shoes on you are going to make things messier. Those who hunt ducks come from all different professions. But when you are all together the only thing that matters is what’s flying high.As funny as it may seem, duck hunting is a sport made up of people who are terrible at judging distance. When you are told that you are not far, prepare yourself mentally to go very far. Or it could be right up ahead, but be weary, it might not. Do not get frustrated; you have already been warned.The music you hear when hunting has been refined and practiced for generations. Before you make that duck call, be certain (if you are around old-timers) that you can and you know how. If not, chaos may follow. It’s better to listen than to talk. Reach out to those who know better and accept it. You, too, will be an old-timer with years of practice who will know the art of luring ducks to the decoys.The host shoots first. It is set in stone. If the host gives the okay, then you let it loose. The thrill of any hunt is shooting, but it’s like having a conversation. Listen first, learn, and finally act. And don’t ever criticize a hosts shooting. Enemies can’t be acquired faster!

The memories made on the marsh are just that; stories that will be told over and over. Do not try and tell a better story. It’s just not done. The feeling when out there with other hunters is that of a respectful family. Respect and family.Do not bring your dog if it is not invited. Again, it’s just not done. You can ask if you can bring it, but remember the host has his own dog which, even if a mutt, is the best dog to do the job. Yours just might get in the way and ruin your purpose. Cards must always be put on the table before the hunt.

Lastly, a duck hunt might not go as expected. Actually not going as expected is expected. So many things could go wrong: unpleasant weather, lots of falling in cold muddy water, shots intended for ducks that never reached them as well as countless of other scenarios. Duck hunting is made up of all of these and many more. A great sport it is!

And, always remember, that getting dirty is part of the fun. Whether it’s a wet dog shaking itself near you or just a muddy and cold scenario, it’s a piece of the duck hunting puzzle.

It is a typical day when I have dog owners tell me “He already knows all that” in reference to the obedience I am demonstrating to them with my dog sitting, laying down, heeling or coming when call.

The next statement is usually something akin to “But I need him to stop chasing the neighbor’s cat” To which I then respond “Tell him to Sit or come back to you when he starts to chase.”

And therein lies the problem. The dog really doesn’t know “all that”, at least not when there are other interests competing for his attention.

Understanding how to create strong reliability is the key to having a really well trained dog. So it is important that you move into the proofing phase of training as soon at Fido understands the basic mechanics of a behavior.

Proofing the training means to expose the behavior to variables that include the concepts of Duration, Distraction and Distance. By working through these variables a dog learns to perform regardless of distractions. As you practice that Sit is sit and Come is come “no matter what”, you build a relationship with your dog that becomes pretty bomb-proof.
It is a bit of work, so let me break it down and clarify each step.

Duration: is a measure of how long your dog will continue to hold true to a command.
For instance, if you ask your dog to Sit, how long will he remain in that position? Does he sit for a brief second, until you turn your attention away from him, or until you give him an indication he is finished?

My preference is to teach a dog to remain in position until you indicate with a permission cue (Ok, Free, Take a break) that he is finished with the task. The simple addition of permission cues for release defines the exercise and adds clarity to the dogs understanding. Now the dog understands there is a definitive ending to an exercise, and you will determine it rather than him having the burden of making that decision and perhaps making a wrong choice. This is how you create the concept of ‘Stay” in the dog’s mind.

Duration is the first concept I focus on with the vast majority of dogs I train (there are always exceptions to a rule, but for most dogs, duration is the place to start in building reliability). I believe duration helps the information sink in, and there is no logical reason I can come up with that a dog can’t learn to hold simple stationary positions (with limited distraction present) right from the start. By the end of a week, I typically have dogs holding 15 – 30 minute Down or Place commands.

Distraction: is a measure of the dog holding true to a command while there are other things competing for his attention.
For instance, will the dog remain sitting when someone walks up to chat with you? Will he remaining sitting when another dog walks by or when someone rings your doorbell?

Issues with reliability around distractions are the most common. It is easy to get a dog to sit or lie down when there is nothing else interesting going on. It is another thing to have them follow through when other excitement is in the area.

The key with adding distraction proofing to your dog’s repertoire is about starting slow and building on success. We can’t expect a reactive dog to remaining sitting when another dog charges the fence if he can’t even sit when we bounce a ball in front of him. Start with small distractions and build up in intensity as the dog gets the hang of it.

Distance: is a measure of how far away things are (you or the distractions) from your dog, and he will hold true to a command.

This is by far the most challenging piece of the puzzle for most people and often times the overlooked key in building to higher levels of success.

When you add distractions to a dog’s proofing work, keep them at a tolerable distance in the beginning. Tolerable means finding a distance where it challenges your dog, but is not so over-stimulating that it makes it impossible for you to get things back on track.

The biggest key to success in the proofing process is learning to layer these 3 pieces appropriately. If you keep the distraction low when you start building your distance from the dog, it is easier for the dog to learn the proper response. If you want to work on higher levels of distraction, stay nearby in the beginning, so you can quickly intervene and fix mistakes if needed. If you want to work a long duration exercise, don’t immediately add the second variable of going out of sight from the dog. Add variables in a way that allows you and the dog to succeed.

It is important to remember that practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. If you are repeatedly setting the dog up to fail, failure is what you end up teaching.

Train smart.