Duck hunting in ND Essay
Duck hunting in ND
BOOM! Then, dead silence. The water ripples as the smell of gun powder fills the air. The victim is seen helpless by the hunter. Now if this is what sounds like a thrill to you, duck hunting is the way to go. If someone were to ask me what my favorite hobby is, I would have to say duck hunting in North Dakota. Some may not consider it a hobby because I only duck hunt four days a year, but I still do. I also duck hunt behind our house on Trident Lake another three to ten days a year. Duck hunting is very different from other types of hunting.
Usually hunters have to be still and quiet when deer and turkey hunting. When duck hunting, a necessity is to keep the eyes down. It doesn’t matter if talking or moving is involved, as long as the duck can’t see the hunter’s eyes. The process of preparing to go duck hunting is quite tedious. A hunter must pack thoroughly, not just the average cooking utensils but also: duck calls, blinds, seats, clothes, food, a trailer, decoys, guns, and much more. I usually prepare for North Dakota a week early, because I feel so excited, which gives me more time to become prepared.
Usually I go with my dad and my sister, but the year I am going on the “man” trip with my dad and uncle. It will be more fun in my eyes, because I am with more experienced hunters, and that makes the trip easier. People might be wondering why I need all these decoys and duck calls. They are quick to learn once I tell them. When hunting for ducks around Polk County, Wisconsin, there are two main type of ducks, Mallards and Wood ducks. Occasionally there will be a Buffle Head or two, but not very often. In Verona, North Dakota, there are many ducks my dad and I shoot.
These ducks are that my dad and I shoot are: Pintails, Shovelers, Mallards, Northern Mallards, Widgeon, Red Heads, Blue Bills, Buffle Head, Gadwall, Ring Necks, Coots, Canvasbacks, Diver Ducks, Green Wing Teal, Blue Wing Teal, and Hooded Mergansers. If people think sixteen is much, just remember that there is a female to every male. It’s very interesting to hunt ducks in North Dakota. It’s not like anyone can just travel out of state and hunt ducks. To hunt in North Dakota, it requires and out-of-state license and knowledge of the daily bag limit for each type of duck.
Some ducks are what hunters call, “banded” which means the Federal Fish and Game Wildlife Service puts a metal ring around the duck’s foot. After that duck is shot, the Federal Fish and Game Wildlife Service can tell the hunter where the duck was banded. Then a free picture frame with the certificate of authentication will be sent to the hunter’s home. It’s an amazing experience for someone like me who has been hunting for three years to shoot a banded duck. My dad has been hunting for 15 years and has only shot one.
Now with a general understanding of what it’s like to be a duck hunter, I will go into some more in-depth daily routines. When traveling to go hunting, my dad and I usually wake up at about 5:30 in the morning. Once we are dressed for the, 0-45 degree Fahrenheit temperature, we can pack up and leave. Generally scouting for a hunting spot is done by good hunters a day in advance. This process can take anywhere from one to six hours. To find the perfect pothole, also known as freshwater marshes found in the Upper Midwest and especially North Dakota, just look for where the ducks are landing and set up in that spot the next morning.
Once we travel to the pothole, we find a place in the cattails reeds or on land to put our guns, ammunition bag, buckets to sit on and miscellaneous items. Decoys are then set out strategically according to the wind and what type of ducks we are hunting for. Now all the preparation is put into action, as the hunting begins. Imagine sitting in the middle of the pothole at 6:45 in the morning, with ducks flying unknowingly to the water surrounded by two armed hunters. Imagine seeing the sunrise above the wind breakers, made of trees, a beautiful orange and red glow.
Imagine hearing coyotes howling all around the water, as the hunter patiently waits for the shooting hour to arrive. Then the clock hits 7:15, just as the sky is visible enough to see. Ducks are flying all around, with their wings cupped and ready to land into the wind at your direction. The first shot burst out, as an echo is heard in the distance, leaving a glowing red out of the end of the 12 gauge’s barrel. Smoke fills the air, and it’s time to wake up and have some fun! When ducks are flying in the sky, they fly in a “V” shape and land into the wind.
The cattail reeds around are five to eight feet tall and are broken down to be used as a gun rest and as a shooting lane. Ducks are flying in as the hunter stars the female Mallard comeback call, to bring the drakes and hen Mallards in. The ducks lands in the pothole with wings cupped and the perfect time to pull a gun up as a hunter is right before the ducks bring their feet out to land. Once this is achieved by the hunter the ducks are defenseless, not knowing whether to fly up or just land in the water. It’s almost as if the ducks are levitating in air. As a hunter, this is the prime time to shoot at the ducks.
Once the duck is hit, preferably in the head or torso, it hits the water causing a rippling effect. Diver Ducks try to dive under once hit, and drown the-selves in the weeds. Most other ducks do the circle of death, where a duck flaps it’s wings around in a circle on the water, just before dying. Understand this, there is something that is different about killing ducks than other animals. When a duck is flying 30 mph in the air, they are pretty hard to hit. But when a deer is standing still, it feels too easy to shoot. As a hunter, I take some self-pride in killing a duck, almost as if I achieved something by hitting it.
Therefore, anyone else reading this that duck hunts should to. A lesson learning incident took place while duck hunting one time. I was looking to the left for ducks in the air and before I knew, there was a duck heading straight for my face. As I turned right I saw the duck five feet from my face, the feeling can’t even be put into words! Many may not believe me, but when that duck flew by my head, it literally sounded like a jet taking off. I’m not sure if it has to do with the wing structure on the duck, or air current resulting in the extremely loud sound. This just goes to show, that every hunter has to stay alert.
Duck hunting is full of surprises, for the good and bad. When taking a shot at just one duck or a flock, it is critical to make sure that the ducks is in range. Most hunters typically say no more than 30 yards away. Range for shooting a duck all has to do with how a hunter has his BB pattern laid out. The spread on a shotgun is set wide for smaller distances and more BB spread, and tight for farther shot and less BB spread. Another reason why a hunter should take caution when shoot is because, ammunition is very expensive. A box of Black Cloud 12 Gauge 3in 1 1/4oz shells, which are great to hunt with, cost $20. 49 for a box of 25 shells.
Another way to say it is, shooting a dollar out of the barrel every shot. For me and I imagine other hunter, when it’s all in fun for the love of the sport, cost doesn’t really seem to matter. The land hunted on in North Dakota is usually owned by farmers. We have to ask permission to hunt on private land. Usually the farmers are reasonable and for letting us hunt we give them a jar of maple syrup. I would suggest to anyone hunting on private land, to ask permission and give something to the owner in return. Since most fields are bean and corn fields, the farmers don’t have much maple syrup because of very few maple trees.
They are very thankful, and love when we give them the maple syrup. Ducks aren’t necessarily a favorite of ours to eat, so as another act of thanks, we cut up the duck’s breast and give it to the farmer. Usually the Gadwalls and the Northern Mallards will have the biggest breast meat. While the Teal have much smaller breast meat. If someone wanted to write a 20 page paper on the basics of duck hunting, I think it would be very achievable. As the reader can tell, there is much more beneath the surface than just shooting a duck and calling it good. Knowledge about the sports and its regulations need to be known to succeed.
I would highly recommend duck hunting to anyone, it is by far my favorite animal to hunt. If there is a region close to you that is swampy and vegetated, chances are it will be a good place for a duck to eat and become a target. In conclusion, I hope anyone who reads this can take in the consideration I have for the love of duck hunting and make it their love too. I want everyone to take what they learned and tell it to other people, so they too can have an amazing hobby of duck hunting. Just remember, if having a good time and shooting ducks sound like fun, this is the sport for you!
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 19 May 2017
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