Wax-Plucking Ducks?

Duck Hunting for puddlers like Mallards, Sprig (Pintails), Black ducks, Widgeons, Woodducks, Teal, and other ducks.

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Wax-Plucking Ducks?

Postby waterfowler82 » Sun Dec 04, 2005 9:08 pm

I made my first (nearly futile) attempt at dipping my feathered birds in boiling water w/ parafin wax to aid the plucking effort and I think I must've done something wrong. I tried to use about a gallon of water (it was the biggest pot that I had) with about a cup of parafin "pearls". I dipped the birds in for about 10-15 seconds each and then put them in the freezer for about 5 minutes to let them cool and the wax harden. In some spots, it worked great, in others it was just like plucking wet feathers...kind of a pain for the marginal results. I even tried to rub the feathers against the grain to allow more water/wax to penetrate the outer feathers (both in the pot and before submersion) but it didn't really help. I did a total of 3 birds this way before I determined it was more effort than it was worth.

Do any of you guys use this method, and if so, can you explain how it's done to produce good results?

Thanks a lot, gents!
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Postby SLIM » Sun Dec 04, 2005 11:27 pm

I do not use the wax to aid in plucking the ducks. However, I do know of a fairly quick way of getting the breast out, if that's what you are going for.

Take the dead duck and lie it on its back on a flat surface. Turn him upside down, so that his feet are pointing up and his head and beak are pointing downward (back at you). Take your thumbs and firmly push down and away from you. Really focus on getting your thumbs under the feathers, skin and exposing the breast. Push/pull the skin back til you have a good look at the breast. Then proceed to cut it out.

Maybe that'll help.
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Postby Citori12 » Mon Dec 05, 2005 8:31 am

More parifin.....the parts that worked well was because the parifin stuck to them the places where it didn't is because there was no parfin...use more parifin next time and there will be better results.
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Postby hankrt » Mon Dec 05, 2005 9:56 am

I have done the wax method a few times on Thanksgiving or Christmas Geese. I use all wax with no water and make sure you massage the wax down to the skin and it works pretty well. Very time consuming, and expensive, but it does the trick. As far as my wild ducks, I just breast them out, the effort for those small legs is hardly worth the adventure.
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Postby waterfowler82 » Mon Dec 05, 2005 1:48 pm

I really like having a fully plucked bird to throw in the oven, that is why I pluck them. I know that there isn't squat for meat on the legs, and it's a hell of a lot of work to the same amount of meat that I'd get breasting them out, but I just feel better about it, like it's less wasteful (even though really not...). I've considered plucking the breast and then cutting it out with the skin on to retain moisture. Perhaps I'll give that a shot next time.
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Postby hankrt » Mon Dec 05, 2005 1:58 pm

If your going to go to that extreme, then I would just harvest the entire breast, bone and all. I doubt if it will help hold in moisture, as wild ducks are very lean as is, give it a shot and let us know what your favorite recipe is, I'm always up for something new.
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Postby hankrt » Mon Dec 05, 2005 2:03 pm

Hey waterfowler82, I see your from Alamogordo, do you have decent duck hunting there?? Last time I was there all I remember was desert and white sand, and I'm not sure ducks like either, just curious, the only hunting I did while I was there was Jack rabbit, lots of them around.
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Postby waterfowler82 » Mon Dec 05, 2005 5:47 pm

Most of the hunting is 2+ hour's drive, though there is a spot that is a little closer that I frequent. There have only been 2 other hunters out there this entire season that haven't been in my party, so I'm tight-lipped about it. For the most part, there isn't squat around here, but if you are willing to drive and scout you can get into some ducks. Were you in the AF? Their the ones that brought me down here and, in 92 more days, I'll be on my way home to CO for good.
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Postby hankrt » Mon Dec 05, 2005 11:17 pm

Well, actually, my best friend was in the AF there, and lived off base in the middle of the desert. I had just graduated from High School and was touring the states and one of my stops was to spend the summer with him in the desert. Nothing personal, but I thought it was a hell hole and that was why I was wondering about ducks and pot holes, I don't remember seeing anything but sand and tumbleweeds. Anyway, glad your heading back to CO, much nicer place there, great hunting and fishing too!!!
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WAX

Postby Sagebrush » Sat Dec 17, 2005 12:31 pm

Use LOTS of wax; any left over will harden & you can reuse it !

Cut the wings off..... Spot pluck your birds.....Put newspaper in the cavity if already cleaned.......Hold bird by its bill..... Push bird under wax and remove (c/o wood stick?) ......Place on its back on newspaper to cool.

JUST REMEMBER......Boiling water will cook a bird....Dunk & REMOVE !

I hand pick 1-7 birds. If 10 or more...... wax is the way to go.
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Postby hankrt » Sat Dec 17, 2005 1:20 pm

Your better to not clean the insides out of the bird before you wax it, but stuffing the paper inside would probably work if you already did it. Pre-plucking the larger feathers will ensure good penetration of the wax all the way down to the skin.
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Postby Smackaduck » Sat Dec 17, 2005 2:42 pm

:withstupid: I pull out all primary feathers and cut off wings, and do not remove insides. You will be left with a bird covered only in down and a few primary feathers. This makes it much easier.
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Postby BigBirds » Thu Jan 12, 2006 5:51 pm

I just pluck mine all the way but when I am feeling lazy I pluck the breat and fillet it out leaving the skin on it.
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don't gut

Postby Sagebrush » Thu Jan 12, 2006 8:46 pm

I said place newspaper inside the cavity. The reason for this is at our club, we hunt 3 days before going back home. ALL the ducks are gutted at the "turn around" at the cleaning table. Then tagged & put into a cooler until going home.

I don't think a duck with its insides all shot up would would be of any use 3 days down the road with out being cleaned. That is what my father told me and he is only a Doctor.

Sure it would be nice to have the duck whole, but that was not possible in our case most of the time. Only a few times did we ever go hunting for just one day. When you drive fron S.F. all the way to Willows you really don't want to make the trip back the same day. Since we had a duck club, we did not have to.

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Postby duckjumper » Mon Jan 16, 2006 5:47 pm

Sagebrush is right. Chop da wings, pluck primary feathers, leave ungutted (unless it's been awhile since you shot it) hold by bill and dunk. Water should NOT be boiling, just hot. Use lots of wax. You should be able to put your had in the water/wax combo and not die :toofunny:

I toss waxed ducks into a pot of COLD water afterwards. They float and the wax hardens really well.

And you should want to thorw the whole plucked duck into the oven. Not only does it look better but you do eat the wings and prolly do a little gnawing on the bones. And then you have a carcas to make duck broth with! Besides, a whole duck will stay tender way better than a breasted one...

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Postby duckdogs » Tue Jan 17, 2006 9:32 pm

Wax plucking is OK but if you really want to pluck ducks in a hurry, pick up a motor mounted duck plucker with rubber fingers - Them ducks will be as naked as the day they were born. You can get one that goes in a drill for about $50. These are no gimmick, they really get the job done. I had one set up in the shop with a refrigerator box to catch the feathers and we could really go to town. It is so easy, you won't mind giving away fully plucked ducks to friends and family. Ummm ummm We also used it outside on nice days but it really blows the feathers around so if you have neighbors close by - better trap the feathers somehow. Anyway if you do want to use wax, use plenty of it and let it get good and hard. If it isn't good and cold in the garage or wherever you're doing it, set them in the fridge for a little while to harden the wax. Also, you can use a little alcohol fire to singe the little feathers off. Dang, now I'm hungry for a mess o' ducks.
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