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While we all love the thrill of the hunt and the opportunity to get out in nature away from our daily lives, one of the very best things about duck hunting is bringing back a delicious dinner for your family – or at least for yourself and your hunting buddies. Of course, if you want to enjoy a meal made from your duck hunting spoils, you’re going to need to pluck the ducks that you shoot. For a lot of hunters, this is actually the only part of hunting ducks that they could really do without because it just takes so long and it’s such a pain.
Now, if you’re an avid duck hunter, you’ve probably been looking for ways to make plucking a duck easier. You’ve seen all kinds of duck hunting gear out there, and even some gadgets that claim to make plucking easier and faster. Most of these things don’t really work as advertised, and plucking continues to be the bane of most duck hunters’ existence. But it really doesn’t have to be.
High-Speed Plucking in Action
The amazing video above of Idaho duck hunter and chef Peter Schott plucking a duck in less than two minutes. When you watch him do it, you know that Peter is definitely an expert, and you might think that you could never do it that quickly. The fact is, though, that plucking a duck really doesn’t have to be a long, difficult process. In fact, even someone who’s new to duck hunting can do it very quickly. The key is to have the right tools and the right technique.
The Right Technique
First, when you watch Peter pluck his duck, you’ll notice that he holds it firmly by the feet with his off hand so that the breast is exposed. Then, using his fingertips, he works in a downward motion, going against the grain of the feathers.
You’ll notice that he keeps his plucking hand relaxed and that he focuses on quick motions instead of meticulously plucking out every feather. He also wets the tips of his fingers to help them grab the feathers as he goes. Before long, the breast is completely bare.
When the breast is done, he moves his off-hand grip to the wing and cleans the body under the wing the same way that he did the breast. He does this on both sides of the body. He uses the same grip to get the back feathers. You’ll notice here that he plucks with the grain of the feathers here.
A Couple of Cuts With a Sharp Knife and You’re Done!
Once the back is done, all that’s left is to use a sharp knife to cut off the legs, the tail, one wing, the neck, and then the other wing. Cut the duck open, pull out the organs, rinse, and you’re done!
Watching Peter’s technique is really inspiring and informative, and it’s great to know that you don’t need a lot of fancy duck hunting gear – just a good knife, a bowl of water, and a cutting board. So what do you think? Can you pluck a duck in under two minutes?
When you plan a hiking or camping trip with your family, you try to plan to go when the weather is sunny and mild, right? You know that the elements don’t always cooperate, so you have contingencies in place for rain and other poor weather conditions, but if it gets too bad, you’re not going to hesitate to throw in the towel and head home. When it comes to successful duck hunting, though, one of those terrible days that most people wouldn’t ever want to go hiking or camping is the perfect weather to come home with your full daily limit of ducks in just a few hours.
So what is the best weather for duck hunting? Should an imminent storm keep you inside, and is cold weather always a good sign? Let’s explore how weather affects ducks and how their weather-dependent behavior can affect your duck hunt.
Get to Your Blind When the Barometer Drops!
Duck hunters love it when they can get out when a low-pressure system is moving through before a storm. Basically, the storm is driving the ducks ahead of it to find sheltered areas where they can take cover. Set your duck blind up to look like a good feeding area with some shelter where other ducks are landing, and you’ll be in good shape for a great hunting day.
Freezing Cold Weather Makes for Great Morning and Afternoon Hunting
When the weather is cold (20 degrees Fahrenheit and lower), ducks tend to feed in the early morning just before dawn and in the afternoon when the weather is a bit warmer. If you can find a blind where the water isn’t frozen over, you can create a really inviting decoy spread and get more ducks landing in your shooting range. If you’re hunting in cold weather, your best bet is almost always to find a river channel that’s still flowing where you can set up your blind and your spread.
If the Weather Is Nice You Might Want to Stay Home
Unfortunately, the days that would provide the most comfortable duck hunting are also the days that you’ll probably go home without a single duck. When the weather is nice, ducks either continue to fly high with no need to stop and feed or take cover, or they get really lazy and don’t go searching for new places to land and feed.
Not only that, but if the weather is nice and calm, then the water is going to be very still, and you’ll have a harder time convincing ducks to land in your spread. If they don’t see enough of the right kind of movement, they’ll keep moving, knowing that something isn’t right about the “ducks” floating at that feeding spot.
So, when it comes to the best weather for duck hunting, colder weather is better and incoming storms are a good sign. You might not want to go out on a duck hunt in the middle of a hurricane, but if a storm’s approaching in the next few days and the weather is cool and windy, get your duck gear and head to your blind!
Really exited to find out that Duckr has cracked the top 50 highest grossing Sports Apps in the Apple App Store. Thanks everyone. https://appsto.re/us/No4web.i
When they first get into duck hunting, a lot of new hunters make the mistake of thinking that ducks aren’t very smart. After all, they have tiny brains and they’re just not the most evolved species in the world, right? Well, veteran duck hunters know that ducks are actually a lot smarter and wilier than you might think. Something as simple as having too little movement in your decoy spread or going with cheap duck hunting gear that stands out too much from your surroundings can tip ducks off and keep them from flying into your shooting range.
All that said, some ducks really are just more challenging to hunt than others. So which ducks should you be going after as a beginner and which ones are going to give you more of a challenge to overcome as you get more experience with duck hunting?
Buffleheads (AKA Buffies)
When you ask duck hunters about the most difficult or frustrating ducks to shoot, you’ll get mixed reviews about buffleheads. They’re not the brightest ducks, and some hunters have a really easy time with them because they’re easier to lure in than some other species.
The problem with buffleheads, though, is that they’re small, fast, and really agile. Missing an “easy” shot on one of these birds is really common, and really frustrating.
Greenwings and Bluewings
While they’re a bit larger than buffies, bluewings and greenwings can both present some serious frustrations to duck hunters. They’re really fast and very agile, and they’re known for buzzing right over your blind from behind and then turning and twisting in different directions, giving you basically no shot at all.
Then there are ringbills, which are possibly the most frustrating ducks to hunt out there. They’re smaller, like buffies, and they’re fast and twisty like bluewings and greenwings. If you spend enough time duck hunting, you’ll see these birds dive in and out of your spreads so fast you almost question whether they were ever there in the first place or if they might actually be rocket-powered.
Getting Better at Hunting Any Kind of Duck
Whatever kind of ducks you’re hunting, you can get better at making the shot by practicing shooting clays at an outdoor range during the off-season. This will improve your trigger speed and will help you see your sights faster so that you can make every shot count. You can also practice leading the duck the right way. For example, if a duck is flying toward you or across your shooting range, aim just in front of its beak. If it’s landing, aim just below and in front of its legs. Don’t lead the duck too much or you’ll miss and spook it, but don’t aim directly at it, as you’ll need to account for the duck’s movement between when you see your sights, when you press the trigger, and when the shot hits it.
Keep these things in mind for your next duck hunt and see which ducks are more or less challenging for you. Always use Duckr to add to your journal of each duck hunting outing.
Jonathan Speigner @aktiveradio
When we were kids, it wasn’t that uncommon for children to go hunting with their dads. Hunting trips were character-building exercises, and they taught us a lot about being quiet and patient, as well as being self-reliant and resourceful. And we got to spend quality time outdoors with our dads and/or moms.
While society has changed a great deal over the past couple of decades, one thing hasn’t – it’s still a great idea to take your kids hunting. In fact, youth hunting is actually very important for your kids. Here are just a few of the best arguments for why youth duck hunting is not only a good idea but an important one that will help your kids develop essential life skills.
Bonding Time Away from Technology
First of all, how often do you hear parents complaining about how much time their kids spend staring at a screen? Whether it’s the TV, a smartphone, a tablet, or a laptop, it seems like our kids are glued to technology 24 hours a day, but the same parents who complain about all that over-saturation of technology will then hand their kids a tablet to keep them busy at a restaurant or during a car ride.
If you take your kids hunting with you and teach them how to duck hunt, they’ll see how much more there is to the world than their smartphones. And you’ll get to spend time bonding with them without worrying that they’re just tuning you out while they look at a screen.
Attention to Safety and Respect for Firearms
While we’re sure that you have a gun safe and that your guns are always locked up when you’re not out on a hunt, kids have a funny way of getting into places where they aren’t allowed to go. If you take your kids hunting and teach them how to safely and effectively use a shotgun, they’ll learn to respect guns as tools with very real consequences, rather than thinking of them as toys that they’re not allowed to play with.
Teaching the Importance of Conservation
If a child’s only exposure to nature is in the backyard or on TV, they’re not going to get a really good appreciation of the importance of conservation. If you show them what nature has to offer first-hand, they’re going to grow up understanding that protecting wildlife and natural areas is essential.
A Lesson on Patience and Work
Finally, if you want to show your kids how much patience can pay off and what it means to work for something and see the results of your work, then take them duck hunting. You’ll have a great time showing them a hobby that you love, and they’ll get to know the joy of eating food that they brought to the table themselves.
These are just a few of the many reasons that youth duck hunting is so important. Start your kids young and show them how to be more self-reliant and more patient, and give them the tools they’ll need to thrive as young adults, all in an enjoyable hunting trip.
Atlanta, GA – SS Systems launched Duckr, an app devoted entirely to waterfowl hunting, on the Apple® iTunes App Store® on September 29, 2016 after nearly a year of development.
Duckr started as an idea between friends who share a passion for waterfowl hunting and gundog activities. The goal was to develop a mobile application for waterfowl hunters to have the ultimate hunt, every hunt. To date, there are a myriad of applications required to track wind, weather, hunting spots, photo sharing, driving directions, species identification - the list goes on and on. With the release of Duckr to the Apple App Store, Duckr is finally a single application to do everything needed to make each hunt a memorable experience. With a list of features not available in a single app devoted to waterfowl hunting, there is nothing else like Duckr for the serious waterfowl hunter.
Duckr is the Ultimate Waterfowl Hunting App. Using Duckr, any waterfowl hunter, from a first timer to a seasoned professional, can get all of the useful information needed to hunt and track waterfowl, in one convenient, easy to use app - all backed up to the cloud and able to be shared on multiple devices.
Duckr has everything the serious waterfowl hunter needs to ensure a successful hunt. From full 10 day weather forecasts, which include wind, precipitation - whether snow or rain, cloud coverage, temperature, and even sun positioning relative to your hunt location, Duckr has all of the environmental information one needs, right at your fingertips. Duckr even includes important information from local tide stations for those hunters who hunt in coastal areas. With Duckr, even Mother Nature doesn’t stand a chance of ruining your hunt.
One of the main issues even the seasoned waterfowl hunter faces, is simply finding that great spot you found the day before. Over the years, hunters have used all sorts of devices to try and find a place they wanted to hunt. From posts in the ground to using GPS devices, every hunter ended up creating a network of devices that eventually broke, got left at home, or just wore out, ultimately losing all of that valuable information. Duckr has the ability to precisely track all of your favorite hunting spots and blinds using GPS - all stored in the cloud. Duckr will leave breadcrumbs when scouting new spots or finding your way to, or from, that hard-to-find blind your buddies told you about. Duckr can even share these spots, securely and confidentially, with their hunting buddies or hunt club.
“We are thrilled to have Duckr available for waterfowl hunters ahead of the 2016 hunting season," said Jonathan Speigner, COO. "With personalized hunting journals, migration reports, real-time wind and weather, and all of my favorite hunting spots in one location, there is nothing else like Duckr."
From scouting a new spot, or hunting that same honeyhole for the umpteenth time, Duckr can easily track notes from the number of ducks on the water, to the number of ducks harvested - even including the species. As Duckr gets more and more of this information populated, useful reports are available to see which spots are working better than others. There is also the ability for a user to enter public flyway reports that all hunters can benefit from. Duckr can even help you identify waterfowl by providing pictures, calls, and habitat details about all of the popular waterfowl in your region.
Duckr will even help out with a hunt in a new location. In partnership with the Guide Review website Hunt.Today (www.hunt.today), Duckr has hunting guide reviews from all over the country, built right into the app. In addition to these reviews, every Duckr user has access to local hunting seasonal dates and rules, right in the app.
“Although around 14 million duck hunters require access to hunting dates and regulations each year, Duckr is the first app to create a mobile application with easy access to all of this data” said Mark Stubblefield, President. “The way Duckr provides hunt-specific information based on hunt type and local unit rules is a first of its kind.”
Duckr even takes hunter safety into account by keeping track of hunters while out on a hunt. If an emergency arises, there is an “SOS” button the hunter can use to notify a pre-selected emergency contact via email and SMS text message, as well as notifying any Duckr user in the immediate vicinity. Hunter safety is a top priority of the Duckr app.
Duckr user Grant recently commented that the app was “hands down the best hunting app” he has ever tried.
Now through November 30th, all Duckr subscription plans include a free one month trial period. Duckr is available today on the iTunes App Store.
SS Systems, LLC, founded in 2016, is a software development company comprised of both technologists and waterfowl hunters based in Atlanta, GA.
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As helpful as tips and techniques can be when it comes to duck hunting, sometimes you need something more inspirational than informational. After all, as a duck hunter, you’re going to spend a lot of time out in the cold, and the weather won’t always be sunny. Hunting ducks involves early mornings that start long before the crack of dawn, and some days you come back with no ducks at all to show for your trouble. On those days, it helps to remember a few successful hunting stories so that you can remember the good days and your own successful hunts.
Along those lines, a small group of goose and duck hunters in Maryland have formed one of the most inspiring organizations we can think of – Hunters Helping Heroes. This group is dedicated to helping servicemen and women who’ve given years of their lives to defending our freedom by taking them on group hunts to show gratitude and give them a fun and rewarding experience.
A Veterans’ Duck Hunt
Hunters Helping Heroes recently put together a three-day hunting trip for two veterans, Jamie and Dan. With some guidance, in the morning, the vets took a boat trip to their first blind, where they got two mallards, though the rest of the first day was a wash. The second day, though, at a different site – a private farm – Jamie and Dan had a much better day, bagging two buffleheads, three green wing teal, and one ruddy duck. Then, on the third day, they went goose hunting and got a total of nine geese between them.
While Jamie and Dan have both served time in the military together fighting for our freedom, neither one of them had much experience at all with duck hunting. Just a bit of guidance and the right location gave them the opportunity to have an incredibly successful trip.
Inspiring Stories and New Adventures All Over the US
Duck hunting is an interesting sport that requires patience and a lot of skill, but it’s also a great way to build camaraderie and to really relax, especially for people whose jobs are as demanding and stressful as those who’ve served in any branch of the US military.
To us, the best part about the work that this group does is that they give vets a chance to do some serious duck hunting anywhere in the US. They have members working in New Jersey, South Dakota, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and all across the country. And, like they did with Jamie and Dan, they work to take veterans on multi-day trips with different blinds to pack the most fun into every trip.
So next time you’re feeling a little rundown lying in your blind, think about the wide community of duck hunters in your area and around the country who are going on some great adventures together and doing good things for our servicemen and women. And while you’re thinking about it, check out your Duckr feed to see what other duck hunters near you are doing to pass the time, improve their hunts, and do more for their communities.
First off thank you for helping us launch Duckr the Ultimate Duck Hunting App.
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