Picking out drakes for the youth hunt!

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Picking out drakes for the youth hunt!

Postby waveslider » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:38 am

I'm taking some kids out (4) for the youth hunt coming up.

I was wondering if anyone has tips for picking out drakes at this time of year when they are all still molting and everything looks pretty brown.

I am a better than average duck identifier but man its tough this time of year even when you are looking through binoculars much less on the wing.

Is there a trick or anything someone can share to key off of when hunting this early? It seems like the Mallard drakes get their white-fronts in before other key feathers so that's one thing I can look for.

It's already tough enough to wrangle the kids with "shoot....don't shoot" and we certainly don't want to go over on hens.

Anyone know any secrets to picking them out?
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Re: Picking out drakes for the youth hunt!

Postby mtbaughs » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:50 pm

Just be careful up until you hit your hen limit( call out who gets the next shot while the others know to not fire) and after that only shoot when your 100% sure. Other than that, try and get the birds close to the deeks and skip out on any high fliers.
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Re: Picking out drakes for the youth hunt!

Postby band killer » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:46 pm

I read that if you are shooting into a group of ducks to shoot the bigger ones and they will commonly be the drakes... Never tested it out
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Re: Picking out drakes for the youth hunt!

Postby phutch30 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:50 pm

shooting the biggest bird in a group will get you into trouble more often than not this time of year. In a family group, the adult hen is almost always the largest bird in the flock at this time of year.

I usually just let one kid shoot at a time at anything legal that comes always trying to point out a drake. Once the hens or special species limits are filled. It can be tough. So then its only full plumed drakes for limited species i.e drake mallards or I only allow like widgeon, gaddies ect that dont have any sex based limits.
....its like taking x-lax when you have a bad cough. It wont clear up your lungs, but it sure stops you from coughing
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Re: Picking out drakes for the youth hunt!

Postby waveslider » Tue Oct 02, 2012 10:59 am

All went well. No issues or even close to overage. All drake mallards and a few teal - plus a bonus ringneck which was kind of wierd seeing as I was wading in my fishing sandal water shoes....
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Re: Picking out drakes for the youth hunt!

Postby TROB » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:41 pm

Last year, we had 4 guys hunting one pothole. The first group was about 10 mallards right at shoot time. We lit them up and we had 8 down.....before getting them we said to each other "what are the chances all 8 are hens?"

Well, all 8 were hens, and we pretty much targeted gadwall and teal the rest of the day. :lol3:
Idaho...
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Re: Picking out drakes for the youth hunt!

Postby FlyFishingFreak » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:05 pm

Wave, Glad to hear you guys had fun.

My 11yo cousin wasnt able to drop anything but had a few opportunities. His first shot almost put him on his butt. He had never shot anything bigger than target loads out of his 20g (I didnt know that) so the 2 shot really woke him up. By the end he was embracing the kick and shot better.
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