12-29 nz action

A state with an abundant amount of waterfowl. Share with others your New Jersey duck hunting experiences.

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12-29 nz action

Postby njducks » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:16 am

Great morning in the NZ. Lots of birds moving 2 man limit on blacks, sorry no pics.(ended up slipping on ice and spraining my ankle) great flight at first light, but I couldn't tell if blacks or mallards. The river I was on is loaded with black ducks. Any advice would be great on how to tell them apart at first light. It was very difficult to tell with the overcast sky's. Ended up passing on quite a few shots because i couldn't make a clear identification. Also had about 6 birds committing to my spread at the same time a bald eagle was cruising down the river needless to say they flared. One interesting note, I usually see tons and tons of geese at this spot, but only saw a few hundred this am. hope everyone else is having some luck!
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Re: 12-29 nz action

Postby PAwingshooter » Sat Dec 29, 2012 5:51 pm

I am by no means a duck identifying expert, But the spot I hunt in north jersey also has a lot of blacks so I've had some practice. The one thing I look for is the contrast between the bottom of the chest and the bottom of the wings. The black ducks have a really dark chest and really light almost white underneath their wings. Mallards don't have such a large contrast, they are lighter in the chest and it's a little closer to the color underneath the wings. Again I'm no expert, but that's what I look for. Btw bald eagles took over my north zone spot, we probably hunt in nearby areas.
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Re: 12-29 nz action

Postby njducks » Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:59 pm

Thanks, I've been hunting this spot off and on for years. It was the first eagle I had seen there, but I'm not surprised. I know they are all over north jersey.
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Re: 12-29 nz action

Postby njducks » Wed Jan 02, 2013 7:31 pm

Image

2 more blacks from Monday morning, not as many birds around as Saturday, but still a ton of black ducks...2 man lmt
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Re: 12-29 nz action

Postby PAwingshooter » Sun Jan 06, 2013 5:32 pm

Thought of this post yesterday after I shot a black (or a hybrid...but the bottom of the blacks look the same) and a mallard, good comparison. Now, it's still pretty tough if it's low light, or they are flying at an angle where you can't see the bottom clearly. I had to wait for the mallard to turn away from the sun yesterday before I could get a clear look at it and take the shot. But if the birds are circling and you have a clear look at the bottom, here's the difference. The drake mallards also have the two tones on the chest, but not really with the hens.
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Re: 12-29 nz action

Postby pvn6616 » Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:11 pm

Saturday morning we had plenty of action in that first hour when the light is low and a pair dropped in low, I shot the bird on the right which was my bird, Chick didn't shoot cause he had already gotten his blackie, the bird on the left lit, which blacks never do when shot at and it should have told me it was a mallard, by that response, but with the available light I thought they were black ducks. Of course Jack retrieves it and it was a hen mallard!!!

The point of this story is that in low light conditions you just cannot tell, I knew that by the size and shape it was a legal puddle duck, and because of the area and my experience I had an idea that it was a 99% of being a black duck so I shot once and passed on the second shot, my partner passed altogether. It takes years and years to develop the skills to identify the birds and even so, in low light conditions which a lot of our shooting occurs, identification is all but impossible. Duck shooting happens so fast that you must make a quick decision which has final consequences to your actions so you must be certain of your target. It is a skill which you develop through years of training and field experience. Enjoy the learning curve and be cautious if you cannot ID your target under the low light conditions.

ENJOY THE HUNT!
“The perils of duck hunting are great- especially for the duck” Walter Cronkite
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