If I can tell that it is a hen of any species, I try and let it live. It kind of ticks me off that I let the hen live and it flies over to the city boyz in the next spread and they kill it with a 10 shot barrage.
I don't know about the city boy comment because I have seen more hen killing, poaching and other illegal activity by the so called locals than anyone from the city. I live in the country and have yet to see a BMW pull up to my place with a spot light looking to kill a deer at night and out of season. Most of the people who come down from the city are very careful about everything.
Hen killers are not geographically located in cities, they are just careless or greedy hunters.
If you shoot a hen in our group (of both city and country residents), you just signed up for a day of ridicule and harassment. It rarely happens, and in most cases it is because the fool missed the intended duck and caught the innocent bystander that was flying directly behind. I have been that fool before.
I try to leave the hens alone. For every Mallard hen I shoot-I put up another Mallard hen nest :thumbsup: Them early season ducks are real hard to tell apart-the Drakes have V feathers on their chest just like a hen does. Later on in late Oct then no sweat to tell the drakes for sure.
We try not to take hens, but it is legal to take two per person, so if we hit a couple I don't cry. I know, I know, I'll get some crap for saying that...but its just like taking a doe during deer season. I don't know how often I hear "gotta get the big buck, gotta get the trophy" A successful hunter shouldn't be based on how many "greenheads" he shoots or how big the "rack" is on his deer. I agree, we do need to shoot more drakes than hens since currently there are a lot more drakes than hens, but if all we ever do is shoot drakes than eventually they'll be more hens than drakes and that's not good either. For a healthy population its necessary to keep it as close to a 1 to 1 ratio as possible and besides, I'm in it for the, as the Nuge would say, "pure protein", not necessarily the trophy...
The mortality rate of hens is much, much higher than drakes because the hen has all the responsibility for sitting on the nest and rearing the ducklings. That is the reason there are more drakes than hens. The hens pay with their lives to get the brood hatched.
With ducks, just like pheasants, one male bird will mate with as many females as possible. But only the females can bring a clutch of eggs to life. As you have no doubt seen in ND with pheasants, the roosters can be decimated, but as long as there are good numbers of hens and a few lucky roosters, the hatch numbers will be good.
For every hen than makes it to the breeding grounds, you will see multiples of that number flying south later that year. The reality of the situation is the drake population is not as important because one drake can play the part of many. Kind of like Wilt Chamberlain during his prime.
I always try to let the hens go. The only time hens get taken are by accident in early morning when you can't tell what they are. I think I need to try that deal about whoever shoots a hen has to buy breakfast. My buddy would be buyin every mornin'. :toofunny:
I believe we should "try" to leave hens, a lot of folks don't care or don't see the point. We all need to be responsible sportsmen & do what we can to preserve our great sport. There is a reason that you can legally take fewer hens than drake mallards in most places.
We try for all drakes here, but the widgeons are either all female or just too young to have color and you can't tell them apart. So with mallards, yes I can say that I truly avoid shooting hens, teal, widgeons and others, its almost impossible down here. Anyone who says they don't shoot them is flat out lying!
I was reading through this topic and I know it is old, but I just wanted to comment on it.
I think you're missing the point of not shooting hens. It's not to neccesarily to brag that I limited out on green heads, but a matter of conservation. All the hens are going to get bred to reproduce, no matter how many drakes there are. This goes the same as deer like you mentioned. Bucks in rut are constantly running through the woods in search of a doe that's in season; the result is all the does getting bred no matter the number of bucks. Another example is pheasants. You don't shoot hen pheasants. If you leave hens, the duck population is sure to grow.
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