THE COLOR OF DUCKS
The last so many years has seen the advent of a quest by waterfowl hunters for gaudy brightly colored ducks. These are seen as "Trophy" waterfowl to be mounted for display. In the not so distant past, various attributes of ducks like overall form, flying speed, intelligence, and eating qualities were of much more importance than color to many knowledgeable sportsman.
Historically ducks that were not brightly colored but held the above positive qualities were at the top of the heap of American waterfowling. What happened?
It seems that the lowest duck on the wildfowl totem pole are now at the top. What the old waterman duck guides called trash ducks are now considered the cream of the crop, many of these are Alaska sea ducks.
Is this related to the general decline of our culture and society? Could it be that over the top or just more simple to explain reasons?
In the recent past ducks that were generally muted in color were king and I don't mean King Eiders or Harlequins. No, the king of ducks for many decades was the royal and regal Canvasback. Cans are not flashy ducks but overall have somber and muted colors. They are the fastest sporting duck, the hardest to hit and bring down and the very best tasting and the most beautiful in form, with the Pintail coming in second.
I was thinking it may be the populations of waterfowl that contribute to this lust for the colored sea ducks. Cans are at a historic low, while there are lots of sea ducks as in the past no one wanted to hunt them. Some of use still won't hunt them no matter how numerous. The seaducks look more like Puffins or Parrots and have none of the fine qualities of the sporting ducks, intelligence lacking the most along with eating qualities and to many traditional wildfowl hunters they are just downright ugly. You won't see the highly colored ducks in any classic wood decoy collections anytime soon.
I have a new call that has been fully tested this season . It is called the ALASKA ICE double reed call. This call will work under any and all conditions and blows totally wet. Has a deep resonant sound. but can be blown high too. This call is great for not only loud hail calls, but also soft feeding calls. Come back calls blow easy and high-ball attraction calls are made simple. This is one call that can do it all. Same simple design as our ALASKA GUIDE series of calls.
These calls are individual build, not mass produced clone calls pretending to be individualized. If anyone knows about individualism it's Alaskan duck hunters.
Hand tuned and ready to go for only $75.
BURY ME IN MY WADERS
by DON WEBSTER
This a a waterfowlin' book that looks at the writers 60 years as a duck and Goose hunter. The tradition, the history, the pageantry all covered in a humerous manner.
Available on Amazon.
I have been to the world champion waterfowl calling contest in Easton, Maryland, not far from where I was raised and have witnessed the great calling and callers there. A lot of the calling is competition calling, which if you have even heard this type of calling may seem strange. Different forms of Competition calling has found it's way into the duck blind over the years. Some of it can be useful.
I have been calling ducks and geese for many years. Years ago I used Faulk and Olt wood calls and they still work today. In fact, a little known "sleeper" call that is used by advanced callers for soft wood call duck call sounds is the Olt DR-115. This is a highly specialized call if you can get one. It is a large call, all wood and some very soft wood tone regular calls and very low feeding calls can be produced with it.
Most of the highly colored, bright barrel band calls of today are created to lure duck hunters to buy them, more than the calls are designed to really call ducks. It is the same with fishing lures and the endless colors, all designed to catch the fisherman's attention to buy them, more than catch fish as only a small number of lure colors are needed to catch the big ones.
Then come the duck call crazy names like "Fowl Killer", "Hip Hop Booty" and other nutty names. If one of these calls was named "Blowin' in the Wind" it would be more appropriate. Most of these calls are mass produced plastic and many sound exactly alike, although the folks that make these calls try to tell us in a million ways why their call is better than the next guys.
A good caller can use a junk call to call ducks and a poor caller may have a 300 dollar call and still do no good. It does not hurt to understand something about music to call birds. Notes and rhythm play their part. A call built from the ground up to not conform to what others use can help.
After sitting in many blinds and studying ducks year round, I have come to the conclusion that it is quite impossible for a man made call to truly mimic the real flesh and blood sound of a duck. All any call can do is approximate the real call of a duck. How can a solid man made tube really sound like the flexible and fluid nature of a ducks calling apparatus? It can't!
I have spend a lot of time hunting with some of the very best wildfowlers. These are Alaskan Natives, both Indian and Eskimo. Some of these fine hunters can mimic ducks and geese with mouth calls. With mouth calls you get calls that are being produced by flesh and blood and can be very real sounding. A long time ago, I started to experiment with a call that could sound more like wild real ducks. I call this call the "Alaska Guide Call of the Wild"
This is a simple call that has a wood calling chamber for a soft proper sound and a plastic barrel for weather and durability. It is small and easy to carry. It has no bright colors or bright metal barrel bands to scare ducks off your decoy rig. A lot of hand tooling goes into this call and it is hand painted in a perfect marsh camo pattern. Ducks never will see it as they circle up high, eyeing your set up for any irregularities. This call is unique and like no other. Duck call collectors nationwide like this call as it is a Folk Art handmade call, not available on the common commercial call market.
I sell this call for $75 which includes shipping.