Preparations for the upcoming season

A place to discuss Maine hunting. Topics include Maine's reknowned sea duck hunting.

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Preparations for the upcoming season

Postby Dogman » Mon Jun 27, 2005 5:49 pm

Okay,its been real slow on the Maine forum and thats easy to figure with the warm weather and all.But duck season is only 3 months away,thats not alot when you consider how many things we need to do to get up to speed before opening day.
So far,for myself ,I have been to the skeet range a few times but not as many as I would like.Got way behind on boat maintenace,mostly because of the long rainy spring.Started making my own dekes and like how they are coming out.The dog seems as willing as ever in training and he's the least of my concerns.
There is still time to get caught up so maybe this year I won't have the last minute crash preparations to deal with.
Anyone else getting prepped for ducks yet?
My lab is still the best hunting partner there is.
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Postby Lundman » Wed Jun 29, 2005 4:31 am

I'm a new member to the site ... and it is great. Yes its getting to be that time of year to start thinking about the upcoming season. The boats are rigged and decoys are ready and so is the chessie, first time for me to be ready and waiting. Summer is so long and duck season is so short... but don't fear opening day is just around the corner.
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Postby Dogman » Wed Jun 29, 2005 10:54 am

Welcome aboard Lundman :welcome: ,hope you enjoy DHC.Lots of good info and great bunch of guys here. :thumbsup:
My lab is still the best hunting partner there is.
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Postby RedDog » Wed Jun 29, 2005 3:03 pm

I'm in a summer league, so I'm shooting skeet, trap, or sporting clays at least every other week. But most of my time has been going into mastering this bad boy... my first sculling float! This year I'll be keeping the tradition alive, while making the ducks dead...
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Last edited by RedDog on Thu Jul 14, 2005 9:57 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Dogman » Wed Jun 29, 2005 6:25 pm

Nice boat RedDog :thumbsup: ,
Did you buy it or build it?
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Postby RedDog » Wed Jun 29, 2005 6:36 pm

Thanks. I bought it this winter from a gentleman down your way, who had built it a few years ago. He did a beautiful job - cedar strip with plywood deck - hand made sculling oars. He was retiring and moving away from the bog, and it needed a good home. :mrgreen:
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Postby Lundman » Thu Jun 30, 2005 4:53 am

Great looking boat Red Dog. :yes: Should work out great for you.
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Postby Mike M. » Thu Jun 30, 2005 6:11 pm

Congrats on the scull boat. That is a nice looking float! That is one great tradition and glad to see you keeping it alive. That is something I would like to learn someday.

This has been the busiest offseason ever for me between finishing up school, work, etc. I just want to have everything ready by the time the season gets here. I have been working on painting decoys and burlapping them. Still have nearly a dozen blacks to finish and paint some eider heads.
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A little green...

Postby birdboy » Fri Jul 08, 2005 9:39 am

Hello dogman and fellow fowlers,

Last year was my first year duck hunting. I am a first-generation hunter, and every hunt is always a new learning experience. A friend turned me on to your site and thought I might give it a go...

In reply to this post, What are some things I should be doing to prepare? Last year I was caught in a mad rush, and had everything wrong for sure. I am a fairly frugal hunter, with limited funding for fads and gimmics. I own a canoe, a shotgun, steel shot, some camo and a license. Any suggestions on decoys, calls, WMA's , or a particular "begginner" bird species I should be studying up on? I am from central Maine, but reside in southern Maine.

I have reliable transportaion, and will hunt for food!

Thank you in advance to anybody who wants to "PASS IT ON"!!!
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Postby Mike M. » Fri Jul 08, 2005 5:45 pm

Haydel DR 85 good call for $15.00 I like the Haydel Redleg call that runs about $30.00

Decoys are a matter of preference and really depend on what you are going to be using them for and how u will be using them (carrying them on back, in a canoe, etc...) I have always liked herters decoys but for walkins they might not be the best, plastics would be better for walking long distances. Just some thoughts. Good luck this season.
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Postby Dogman » Fri Jul 08, 2005 6:19 pm

Welcome aboard Birdboy :welcome: .Always good to see new names come into this forum.
It sounds like you have the basics for duck hunting.A boat,a shotgun and shells,camo license and most importantly,desire.
Thats a good start.
You really don't need a lot of gear to hunt ducks but most of us collect gear simply because we can.To start with I would recommend you camo your canoe,either with a paint job or at least some camo material to cover it,once your set up.Mike M has good advice on calls,I would only add that you need to practice your call alot,tape record you calling practice and listen to it to critique yourself.Calling can bring in birds but don't feel you have to call all the time,if birds are coming in just let them come, don't call except for maybe feeding chuckle. There are a number of decent calls for under 20 bucks.
A half dozen decoys will work on birds,plastic dekes like Flambeaus will do Okay.If you are carrying them on a hike in to small water then water keels will work fine.
Bird ID is critical for duck hunting,especially for black duck.We have lots of them but you can only take one so be careful.
As for areas I recommend you break out a Delorme atlas and study the maps for low lying swamps,streams,rivers,ponds and lakes.Make note of areas that look promising and check them out.Scouting is 75% of duck hunting.Coastal areas can be decent,especially when inland freezes up.Rachel Carson Refuge allows duck hunting,but you need to purchase a permit from the Refuge office.
My lab is still the best hunting partner there is.
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Postby birdboy » Mon Jul 11, 2005 5:47 am

Thanks guys. I appreciate the feedback and I'l take your advise. Still have time to work on my calling and get those ID's down. The Sebago lakes region should be promising, as well as the coast this year! Hopefully squeeze in some early mornings before school and work. If I see anything on my scouting trips, I'll let you boys know.
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Postby Lundman » Mon Jul 11, 2005 6:38 pm

Welcome to the wonderful world of duck hunting. I agree with all the guys I.D. is very important. Plastic decoys will work fine. If you are going to be hunting fresh water in the early season a good bird to target is the Ring Neck. Usually plenty of them in fresh water and decoy very well as the same with Teal. This two species of birds will decoy to about any thing.
" Keep your head down and your eyes to the sky "
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Postby birdboy » Tue Jul 12, 2005 5:17 am

Thank you for the species suggestions Lundman. I figure knowing particular habits and habitat of a few particular species will help me focus my skills and learn what to look for. All in time...

If I happen to get stuck on something, I know where to come. Hope everyone is shooting straight on the range, and good luck!
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Welcome to Forum!

Postby duckmann » Thu Jul 14, 2005 7:21 am

Bird Boy,

I wanted to share with you an important point concerning your gear. As a beginner you may find it a little challenging to set-up from a canoe. Effective camo and shooting from an unstable platform can always be a challenge. You may want to look at using small islands on lakes and even the ocean (BE CAREFUL) to set-up as they will provide you with a stable shooting platform and a chance to use the natural camo of the area. Look for locations that are in natural funnels that will move the ducks naturally by your blind. Preseason scouting will help you find these prime locations.

Also, consider joining Ducks Unlimited, you get a free call and a subscription to their magazine and web site which is loaded with advice.

RD, very cool boat!

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Postby BigDTrader » Thu Jul 14, 2005 4:56 pm

I'm brand new to the bulletin board. This will be my second season in a row hunting ducks and geese since I used to hunt on Maryland's eastern shore back in the 1980's when I was in the Navy. My son got me back into it. We had a blast last year. So far my preparations consist of picking up shotgun shells on sale when I can find them. I'm really a grouse hunter so all this stuff about steel, bismuth, tungsten, hevi-shot, high speed this and that is kind of new. I do have a 12 gauge 870 but picked up a 16 gauge 870 this year. Almost nothing out there on the shelf for 16 gauge steel. Lots of geese and ducks here in Central Maine last year. I built a camp last year on some land I own and spent too many days watching geese and ducks fly overhead. We did get out though and got a few of each and this year the camp is finished. Also bought a clay target thrower and have been practicing some. Need to do some work on the canoe before the fall too. Last year we did what someone on here mentioned, we pulled it up on land and throw some camo over it and some grass and sat in it. Worked real well. Been practicing my calling too. Good thing my son is good at it cuz I'm not. How many days until the season starts? Geez, I've gotta go buy my stamps.
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Postby Dogman » Thu Jul 14, 2005 5:49 pm

Welcome aboard BigDTrader, :welcome: .
Sounds like your camp should be a good place to stage your duck hunts :thumbsup:
Back to the subject of canoe hunting,I agree with Duckmann about canoes and stability.I use mine to get where I want to go then set up on shore,usually an island or pennisula.The canoe gets covered up.I don't shoot from one in the open water.I will shoot from a canoe if I am beached or in very shallow water,less than a foot deep.Even then I have gone 8 seasons now without shooting from the canoe.
My lab is still the best hunting partner there is.
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Postby RedDog » Thu Jul 14, 2005 10:28 pm

BigDTrader :welcome:

As an ocassional 16 gauge shooter, I can attest to the lack of available factory steel loads. Remington makes a shell in the "Nitro Steel High-Velocity Magnum" variety only. Federal has one in the "Premium Ultra-Shock High Velocity Steel" variety only (...why are these brand names getting so long???) Nothing from Winchester, that I know of. You'll probably have to get your local gun shop to order you a case - or just go the mail order route.

You can also get 16 ga. Bismuth - heavier/deadlier/softer/more expensive than steel.

In the 12, nothing's better than Hevi-Shot.
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Postby BigDTrader » Fri Jul 15, 2005 3:17 pm

:getdown: Dogman and Reddog, Thanks for the info. I used that Hevishot in my 12 gauge last year. Really put the geese down quick. Supposedly Remington also makes an Express Steel 16 gauge round. So far I've only seen them in the Outdoor Super Store online. Not much reloading data out there for 16 gauge steel either. Not sure if I even want to bother with that. I gave my son geese and duck decoys for a present last Christmas. Kind of like giving myself a present. Sneaky huh? So many ducks and geese, so little vacation time.
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