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While duck hunting season may only be open a few months out of the year, seasoned duck hunters and duck hunting enthusiasts know that there’s a lot that you can do throughout the year to get ready for duck season. In fact, if you want to be a better duck hunter this year, there are a few things that you could be doing right now to have much better hunting days and an all-around better season.

Practice Your Calls

Keep your calls handy throughout the off-season. Spend some time watching videos and listening to recordings of the ducks that you’re most likely to see in your area, and practice mimicking them. You don’t want to get out there on the first day of duck hunting season just to find that you’re completely rusty at calling and that you’re not fooling any of the ducks flying over you.

In addition to practicing on your own, go to your local hunting and fishing store or check online to see if there are any calling seminars or workshops happening near you throughout the year. You never know what you might learn.

Spend Some Time at the Range

The more you practice shooting, the more comfortable you’ll be with your shotgun. If you think that getting to your blind on the first day of duck hunting season and having a bad call is bad, try getting there and being completely cold and rusty with your shotgun.

Plus, if you practice regularly, you’ll know if your gun has any issues before you pack it up with your duck hunting gear for your first hunt of the season. This will give you plenty of time to find a gunsmith and have your shotgun repaired or upgraded to work the way you want it to. And you’ll find, after a few months of regular shooting, that you’re much faster on the trigger, and you’ll miss much fewer birds coming into your spread.

Spend Time Training Your Retriever

Practicing your calls and your shooting skills will help you keep your duck hunting game on point, but you’re not the only one who needs to practice. Your retriever needs to spend time in the water, and it needs to stay in shape and focused throughout the year. Otherwise, all that training you did to get your dog in shape last season will go completely out the window and you’ll be back at square one with a dog that isn’t ready to hunt.

Do these three things – starting right now – and practice them throughout the off-season, and your duck hunting will improve immensely. The guys you shot with last year won’t believe how much better you’ve gotten, even if you’re still using a bunch of cheap duck hunting gear and you haven’t made any upgrades to your blind. Of course, upgrading your duck gear can help, too, but practicing your hunting skills will help a lot more. Have fun, and good luck!


23/Sep/2017

Whether you’re just getting into duck hunting or you’re planning on doing some hunting in a new area, you can learn a lot and have a much better hunting trip if you have some assistance from a guide or duck hunting outfitter. Once you’ve gone on a few guided duck hunts in a given area, you can say goodbye to your outfitter and get any incidental help you need from a duck hunting app like Duckr. But, to get started, you might want to consider one of the best guided duck hunting trips in the US.

Chesapeake Bay Maryland Duck Hunting

If you live in Maryland or you’re planning a trip to the Chesapeake Bay, Black Duck Outfitters’ Maryland Duck Hunting services offer is an affordable and really enjoyable service. Here, you can get experience with duck hunting in open waters, and you’ll see how traditional spreads and longer lines can attract sea ducks and divers. The guides who work for this service have over 10 years of experience, and you can get a discount if you bring a large group. Rates are $200-275 per hunter.

Duck Hunting in Venice, Louisiana

Venice, Louisiana offers the opportunity to hunt pintails, canvasbacks, gaddies, teals, and more. Peak season is January, and hunters can get help from guides and outfitters to set up the right blinds and spreads for any of these. Plus, if you hit your limit early in the day, you can always do some fishing for sea trout or redfish, and you’re close enough to the coast to head off shore to try for some tuna, too. The cost for all that ranges from $200-300 per hunter per day.

Get Green Timber Mallards in Arkansas

For just a bit more – about $350 per day for a guided trip – you can go to Arkansas to hunt green timber mallards. This experience is like no other, as the ducks will actually be flying in through the live green trees. You’ll see something truly special and unique when you opt for this kind of hunt, but you’ll want the expertise of a duck hunting guide or outfitter who can help you create the best blinds and decoy spreads. With such a different style of hunting ducks, you’ll be glad you have their expertise.

Guide or Outfitter?

Whether you’re heading to one of these destinations or anywhere else for your duck hunt, you’ll want to make sure that you have everything you need to have the most successful trip possible. The terms guide and outfitter are often used interchangeably, but they’re actually not the same thing. A guided hunt is almost always a bit more DIY than a hunt with an outfitter, who’ll generally have the duck gear and other equipment you’ll need.

Before you commit, find out what services and duck hunting gear your guide or outfitter provides so that you don’t show up unprepared. Then you can get the gear you need and have a great trip and a successful duck hunt.



There are so many options when it comes to shotguns for duck hunting. Sometimes you end up buying the wrong type of gun for your purpose. It is because of this confusion that I am writing this article. Read it carefully because I have researched hundreds of guns and found the most efficient guns out there for waterfowl, specifically ducks.

Benelli Super Black Eagle II

Wow! This shotgun is considered the elite of semi-automatic guns with its 3 ½ inch barrel. It can load nearly all standard 2 ¾-inch 12-gauge loads as well as 3 and 3 ½-inch magnums. The beautiful chrome-lined barrels have been tested over and over to perfect its pressure. Its Inertia-Driven system is the finest and has become the top-choice for all present day duck hunters. It is made with the innovative recoil system that transformed firearms machinery. It is definitely worth its high price.

Franchi Intensity

The Intensity is also power-driven by parent company Benelli’s upheld Inertia Driven system. It is a champion choice because of its light-weight design. Great for hiking to spots. It unfailingly cycles a much broader selection of loads than it was ever intended to. It’s a 3 ½-inch 12-gauge super magnum driving force that is guaranteed to charm many waterfowlers.

Beretta A400 Xtreme and A300

A shotgun like the A400 is blessing in the marsh. It is a reliable shooter of each and every type of 12-gauge shells, has the ability for firing multiple shots in less than a minute, and is so comfortable because of its soft-coil that your shoulder is left untouched even after a grueling hunting session. Enhancing that with the best protection from corrosion makes this one only for big-time hunters. On a lesser, but also reliable scale, is the A300. We lose the AquaTech coating and the one-piece assembly, but we also decrease in price about a thousand times.

Benelli M2 Performance Shop Waterfowl

Its lightweight slim design makes the M2 Performance Shop Waterfowl a perfect choice for women and children. Don’t be fooled, though, it is built with the equivalent performance-driven power as the Performance Shop’s Super Black Eagle II Waterfowl Edition 12-gauge making it the most competitive gun with a flawless execution. Its mighty-dependable Inertia Driven operating system has been worked to warrant that the bolt runs super smoothly. It’s the ultimate choice for the smaller hands.

Browning Maxus and A5

What can be said about an already ultra-reliable and efficient gun for duck hunting? The Browning Maxus is considered the most reliable gun out there. It’s a 3 ½-inch gas-operated semi-automatic that fires a perfect shot every time. This piece is built using the Invector-plus choke system and a longer forcing cone and back-barrel which diminishes shot deformation. The A5 semi-automatic shotgun tends to look like older versions but has been modernized to be perform as a trustworthy and fast-cycling multipurpose shotgun perfect for duck hunting. What duck hunter could resist the Inflex II Technology recoil pad which allows for demanding sessions and effective results? None.

We always would recommend you try each one of these guns if possible it’s the only way to know what will work best for you and make you the most comfortable when shooting.  Comment below to share your with other Duck Hunters.



Once they’re properly trained, Labrador retrievers are amazing duck hunting dogs. In fact, with a little bit of consistency and a controlled environment in training, these dogs are so smart and such a good fit for hunting ducks that they practically train themselves. If you’ve been having trouble with training your retriever, you might be making one or more of these extremely common mistakes.

Raising the Dog in a Pen Outside

In years gone by, hunting dogs were raised outside in pens, and they grew up to be perfectly socialized and to have the kinds of relationships with people that they needed to get the right communication cues and to be good duck hunt companions. Today, that’s not really the case.

Why? Well, in the old days, your kids would’ve been spending just as much time outside as in (and usually more time out). They would’ve been in the pen with the pup from an early age, and they would’ve played a huge part in socializing your dog to be a good companion when you go hunting ducks.

Today, most kids spend most of their time inside watching TV and playing video games. So, if you want a well socialized hunting dog, you should probably keep it inside with you, your family, and your kids to forge that bond.

Repeating Commands to Get a Better Reaction

In your mind, you repeat commands to strengthen your dog’s association with the command. You repeat, “Sit!” thinking that your dog will learn the command faster and get it ingrained in his brain. However, saying, “Sit! Sit! Sit!” can actually be confusing to your dog. He thinks that your repeated command is the command, and he won’t know what a single “Sit!” means. It takes some patience, but try not to repeat commands to get a better reaction.

Yelling or Pleading When the Dog Doesn’t Respond

If your dog doesn’t follow your command, you might be tempted to yell the command, to plead with the dog, or to otherwise change your tone. Don’t do it. The dog didn’t disobey you because he didn’t hear you – he heard you just fine. Consistent tone will help a great deal more with training than yelling or getting frustrated and pleading.

Too Many Retrieves

This is another one that sounds counterintuitive, especially to duck hunters who want to make sure that their retrievers really know how to retrieve. However, overtraining your dog’s retrieval skills with multiple, uncontrolled retrieves is a good way to wear the dog out and push him to his physical limits. Trust that your dog was born with retrieval instincts (that’s why they’re called retrievers), and work on other parts of his training more than his retrieving.

So, are you making any of these four mistakes with your Labrador retriever? If you want a great duck hunting dog, remember that human contact and consistency in training are important. And you don’t have to spend hours training him on retrieves. Avoid these mistakes, and you’ll have a great duck hunt dog in no time. Good luck!



Those of us who have lived within families of generational duck hunters know that there is always something to learn when going duck hunting. But others who have never stepped into a marsh need to read this. It will make your hunt a much more pleasant experience. And it is already a fantastic sport!
When you are on a hunt, you know it’s going to be foul and dirty, but in a good way. Leave your shoes behind. When you’re out there crawling, act like a duck hunter because if you have shoes on you are going to make things messier. Those who hunt ducks come from all different professions. But when you are all together the only thing that matters is what’s flying high.As funny as it may seem, duck hunting is a sport made up of people who are terrible at judging distance. When you are told that you are not far, prepare yourself mentally to go very far. Or it could be right up ahead, but be weary, it might not. Do not get frustrated; you have already been warned.

The music you hear when hunting has been refined and practiced for generations. Before you make that duck call, be certain (if you are around old-timers) that you can and you know how. If not, chaos may follow. It’s better to listen than to talk. Reach out to those who know better and accept it. You, too, will be an old-timer with years of practice who will know the art of luring ducks to the decoys.

The host shoots first. It is set in stone. If the host gives the okay, then you let it loose. The thrill of any hunt is shooting, but it’s like having a conversation. Listen first, learn, and finally act. And don’t ever criticize a hosts shooting. Enemies can’t be acquired faster!

The memories made on the marsh are just that; stories that will be told over and over. Do not try and tell a better story. It’s just not done. The feeling when out there with other hunters is that of a respectful family. Respect and family.

Do not bring your dog if it is not invited. Again, it’s just not done. You can ask if you can bring it, but remember the host has his own dog which, even if a mutt, is the best dog to do the job. Yours just might get in the way and ruin your purpose. Cards must always be put on the table before the hunt.

Lastly, a duck hunt might not go as expected. Actually not going as expected is expected. So many things could go wrong: unpleasant weather, lots of falling in cold muddy water, shots intended for ducks that never reached them as well as countless of other scenarios. Duck hunting is made up of all of these and many more. A great sport it is!

And, always remember, that getting dirty is part of the fun. Whether it’s a wet dog shaking itself near you or just a muddy and cold scenario, it’s a piece of the duck hunting puzzle.



It is a typical day when I have dog owners tell me “He already knows all that” in reference to the obedience I am demonstrating to them with my dog sitting, laying down, heeling or coming when call.

The next statement is usually something akin to “But I need him to stop chasing the neighbor’s cat” To which I then respond “Tell him to Sit or come back to you when he starts to chase.”

And therein lies the problem. The dog really doesn’t know “all that”, at least not when there are other interests competing for his attention.

Understanding how to create strong reliability is the key to having a really well trained dog. So it is important that you move into the proofing phase of training as soon at Fido understands the basic mechanics of a behavior.

Proofing the training means to expose the behavior to variables that include the concepts of Duration, Distraction and Distance. By working through these variables a dog learns to perform regardless of distractions. As you practice that Sit is sit and Come is come “no matter what”, you build a relationship with your dog that becomes pretty bomb-proof.
It is a bit of work, so let me break it down and clarify each step.

Duration: is a measure of how long your dog will continue to hold true to a command.
For instance, if you ask your dog to Sit, how long will he remain in that position? Does he sit for a brief second, until you turn your attention away from him, or until you give him an indication he is finished?

My preference is to teach a dog to remain in position until you indicate with a permission cue (Ok, Free, Take a break) that he is finished with the task. The simple addition of permission cues for release defines the exercise and adds clarity to the dogs understanding. Now the dog understands there is a definitive ending to an exercise, and you will determine it rather than him having the burden of making that decision and perhaps making a wrong choice. This is how you create the concept of ‘Stay” in the dog’s mind.

Duration is the first concept I focus on with the vast majority of dogs I train (there are always exceptions to a rule, but for most dogs, duration is the place to start in building reliability). I believe duration helps the information sink in, and there is no logical reason I can come up with that a dog can’t learn to hold simple stationary positions (with limited distraction present) right from the start. By the end of a week, I typically have dogs holding 15 – 30 minute Down or Place commands.

Distraction: is a measure of the dog holding true to a command while there are other things competing for his attention.
For instance, will the dog remain sitting when someone walks up to chat with you? Will he remaining sitting when another dog walks by or when someone rings your doorbell?

Issues with reliability around distractions are the most common. It is easy to get a dog to sit or lie down when there is nothing else interesting going on. It is another thing to have them follow through when other excitement is in the area.

The key with adding distraction proofing to your dog’s repertoire is about starting slow and building on success. We can’t expect a reactive dog to remaining sitting when another dog charges the fence if he can’t even sit when we bounce a ball in front of him. Start with small distractions and build up in intensity as the dog gets the hang of it.

Distance: is a measure of how far away things are (you or the distractions) from your dog, and he will hold true to a command.

This is by far the most challenging piece of the puzzle for most people and often times the overlooked key in building to higher levels of success.

When you add distractions to a dog’s proofing work, keep them at a tolerable distance in the beginning. Tolerable means finding a distance where it challenges your dog, but is not so over-stimulating that it makes it impossible for you to get things back on track.

The biggest key to success in the proofing process is learning to layer these 3 pieces appropriately. If you keep the distraction low when you start building your distance from the dog, it is easier for the dog to learn the proper response. If you want to work on higher levels of distraction, stay nearby in the beginning, so you can quickly intervene and fix mistakes if needed. If you want to work a long duration exercise, don’t immediately add the second variable of going out of sight from the dog. Add variables in a way that allows you and the dog to succeed.

It is important to remember that practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. If you are repeatedly setting the dog up to fail, failure is what you end up teaching.

Train smart.



Best Hunting Towns in CO

This year we’re forgetting all the socio-economic data and focusing on what matters most: hunting and fishing. In the next few pages, you’ll find the 35 towns in the U.S. where we would live right now, based solely on the outdoor opportunities there. Some boast bass and deer, others elk and trout or ducks and redfish. Regardless, each of these towns is an outdoors mecca in its own right, and from sea to shining sea, they offer the best hunting and fishing in America.

#1 – Appleton, WI
More than 170 years ago, trappers and fur traders chased the promise of lucrative beaver pelts up the Fox River and settled the town of Appleton. Today, enormous whitetail deer draw outdoorsmen and -women to the Fox River Valley. The Boone and Crockett Club recently anointed Wisconsin the number-one trophy whitetail state in the country, with Cheesehead hunters logging 383 B&C entries in the last five years. In the last three seasons, three different bucks killed within 50 miles of downtown Appleton have either broken or threatened Badger State records. But there’s a lot more to do in Appleton than sit in a treestand.
Nearby Lake Winnebago and the Fox River, which runs through town, are premier walleye fisheries. Green Bay, 30 minutes to the north, offers some of the best smallmouth bass and muskie fishing in the country. Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area sits 70 miles to the south and is the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the country. Hundreds of thousands of geese migrate through the region each fall. Sixty miles to the north, the 661,000-acre Nicolet National Forest, home to deer, bears, and grouse, is one of the last true wild places in the northwoods.

#2 – Salmon, ID
This town’s name should be your first clue as to why it attracts sportsmen the way a spawning run draws bears. Located right on the Salmon River—and bordering millions of acres of public hunting ground, including the largest wilderness area in the Lower 48 (the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness)—Salmon has, well, everything.
The Salmon and its tributaries offer world-class fishing for trout, steelhead, and other species year-round. On the crags and benches above the Salmon and other nearby rivers, wingshooters chase chukar and huns, while at higher elevations blue and spruce grouse predominate.
The big-game scene has changed in Salmon with the resurgence of wolves. But trophy elk, mule deer, and whitetails are still accessible, and the hunting for bears and mountain lions is second to none.

#3 – Venice, LA

If you like your saltwater rimmed by white sand beaches, palm trees, and tiki bars, this is not the place for you. However, if you live to hunt and fish, and yearn to do it 24/7/365, then this tiny community at the mouth of the Mississippi River beckons.
Despite its infamy as the epicenter of both Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Venice remains arguably the greatest place in North America to fish and hunt waterfowl.
In 2011, Bassmaster Classic competitors ran down the Mississippi from New Orleans to Venice—more than two hours by boat—to fill their livewells with largemouths. However, it’s world-class redfish and speckled trout fishing that draw the recreational fishermen. You will catch fish here every day that you hit the water, and you can’t say that about very many other places in the country.
If you get bored in the marshes, big-game fishing opportunities—from marlin to tuna, sailfish to swords—are plentiful around the offshore gas and oil rigs.
September marks the beginning of teal season in this waterfowler’s paradise, with more than 14 percent of the country’s wetlands located in this region of southern Louisiana.

#4 – Rapid City, SD

This gateway to the ruggedly beautiful Black Hills region of western South Dakota offers its 67,000 residents a wide variety of hunting and fishing opportunities. Mountain lakes and coldwater streams to the west of town are home to brook, brown, and rainbow trout. In the surrounding prairie, a constellation of reservoirs and stock dams hold largemouths, pike, and panfish.
Hunting opportunities are available nearly year-round. Whitetails, mule deer, elk, and Merriam’s turkeys prowl the mountains. A short drive will put you into pheasants, sharptails, and prairie chickens. Pronghorns, coyotes, and prairie dogs are plentiful in the grasslands.

#5 – Centerville, IA

They got the name right. Centerville is in the middle of a sportsman’s paradise. Epic whitetails get the headlines (the 307-inch Lovstuen Buck was killed just north of here), but south-central Iowa has plenty of four-season opportunity: abundant turkeys and waterfowl, plus great crappies, walleyes, and channel cats on Rathbun Lake north of town.
But it’s the human dimension of this place—the classic Midwestern courthouse square, the easy friendliness of its residents—that makes this a great town to call home. Plus, Centerville has some bona fide hunting pedigree: It’s the original home of groundbreaking Knight muzzleloading rifles.
#6 – Grand Junction, CO
Magnificent mesas and endless elk—Grand Junction’s breathtaking scenery makes the perfect backdrop for chasing public-land bulls. Numerous alpine trout lakes keep local anglers busy.
#7 – Georgetown, SC
Several rivers converge at the Intercoastal Waterway in this city in the Carolina Lowcountry. Famed lakes Moultrie and Marion are a short drive to the west.
The Francis Marion National Forest provides more than a quarter million acres of public-land hunting for deer, turkeys, quail, and small game.
#8 – Bend, OR
Drive less than an hour from Bend and you can be fishing a stream in a desert canyon, a high alpine lake, or a spring creek.
#9 – Bismarck, ND
If you’ve got your eye on walleyes, set your sights on Bismarck, on the banks of the Missouri River. Grouse, pheasants, ducks, and geese abound in fall and winter.
#10 – Saratoga, WY
With the North Platte River running through downtown Saratoga, your next trout is never more than a cast away. Elk, deer, and pronghorns roam the mountains and prairies around town.
#11 – Traverse City, MI
Glacial inland lakes hold perch and smallies, and Traverse Bay offers big-water angling opportunities. But the area’s four blue-ribbon trout streams get top billing. The Boardman, which winds through downtown, is the birthplace of the Parachute Adams fly.
#12 – Lake Placid, NY
Fish for brown trout on the famed West Branch of the Ausable River, and catch lake and rainbow trout on Lake Placid. Whitetail deer and black bears roam the quarter-million acres of state lands surrounding this quaint Adirondack mountain town.
#13 – Cody, WY
Cody is heaven on earth for big-game backcountry mountain hunters. Mild weather means more opportunities to chase bighorns, elk, mule deer, and pronghorns.
#14 – Islamorada, FL
Watch the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean, where offshore fishing for everything from grouper and snapper to dolphin and swords abounds. Cast to tarpon, permit, and bonefish on the flats as the sun sets over the waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the west of town.
#15 – Ely, MN
Just miles from  the million-acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Ely is a pike and walleye fisherman’s paradise in the summer, and a whitetail mecca come fall.
#16 – Thompson Falls, MT
This secluded town west of the Rockies is surrounded by massive swaths of national forest. The two most accessible, the Kootenai and Lolo, hold elk, whitetails, ruffed grouse, and turkeys.
#17 – Show Low, AZ
You’ll find pronghorns to the north of town, and elk, deer, and lions to the south and east. The nearby White Mountains are the only place in the world to fish for Apache trout.
#18 – Russell, KS
Pheasants, quail, doves, turkeys, waterfowl, and deer provide hunters in the heart of the Smoky Hills a dizzying array of opportunities.
#19 – Toccoa, GA
Tucked into the southeastern corner of the Chattahoochee National Forest, Toccoa is 15 minutes from the Lake Russell Wildlife Management Area, home to deer, turkeys, bears, squirrels, rabbits, and wild hogs. Lake Russell  is stocked with trout, and nearby Lake Hartwell has hybrid stripers, brown trout, and crappies.
#20 – Craig, CO
Craig offers access to a million acres of public land just 7 miles from town, and boasts two of the largest elk herds in North America.
#21 – Cadiz, KY
In less than 30 minutes, you’ll be into bass, crappies, and catfish on  Kentucky Lake or Lake Barkley. Deer and duck hunting are vital threads in the local sporting fabric.
#22 – Logan, UT
Located in the Cache Valley, Logan is surrounded by marshland for waterfowl hunting and myriad blue-ribbon trout streams.
#23 – Homer, AK
Halibut, ling cod, salmon, and rockfish are plentiful in Kachemak Bay, while local rivers host spawning salmon runs, plus Dolly Vardens, grayling, and monster rainbows.
#24 – Wellsboro, PA
Nearby Pine Creek, which runs through Pine Creek Gorge—aka the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon—is a prime flyfishing destination. Surrounding that oasis is state land set aside for whitetails, black bears, rabbits, squirrels, and pheasants.
#25 – Rogers, AR
In the heart of the Ozark Mountains, Rogers is a short drive from 31,700-acre Beaver Lake and its epic striped and largemouth bass fisheries.
#26 – Montauk, NY
The Atlantic Ocean and the Long Island Sound meet at this home of world-class saltwater fishing. Hook up with bluefish and stripers faster than you can count them during the spring and fall blitzes.
#27 – Goldendale, WA
Salmon, steelhead, bass, walleyes, perch, crappies, and catfish live in nearby waters. Duck, goose, and deer hunting starts at the edge of town.
#28 – Los Alamos, NM
Stay close to home for walleyes, catfish, bass, and trout, in waters like Abiqui Lake, Rio Chama, and Rio Grande. The nearby Valles Caldera National Preserve runs a lottery program for monster elk.
#29 – Sebago, ME
Sebago hugs the northwestern shore of Maine’s deepest lake (and the town’s namesake). Locals troll for landlocked salmon around rocky points and shoals.
#30 – Arnold, NE
With only 500 residents, tiny Arnold is home to more whitetails and mule deer than people. That game-rich environment has fostered a hunter-friendly culture in this north-central Nebraska town.
#31 – Mammoth Lakes, CA
Surrounded by dozens of fishable lakes and streams, this central California fishing hotbed is ringed by the stunning Sierra Nevada mountains.
#32 – Woodward, OK
Kansas’ big-buck cup runneth over the border into Woodward, in northwestern Oklahoma, where a number of 150- to 200-class bucks are tagged every fall.
#33 – Beckley, WV
The New River is a prime destination for smallmouths, walleyes, and muskies, and many of its tributaries teem with wild trout.
#34 – Harrisburg, IL
Though the nearby Shawnee National Forest is best known for its whitetail hunting, the area is also home to turkeys, waterfowl, upland birds, and small game.
#35 – Uvalde, TX
This beating heart of south-Texas deer country is also home to some of the best dove hunting in the nation. Lake Amistad sits on the Mexican border 70 miles to the west of town and offers excellent bass and catfish opportunities.

Worst Town – Camden, NJ

Little-known fact: The upper Delaware River’s fabled American shad run is caused in large part by the fish trying to get the hell away from downriver Camden as quickly as possible.
Who could blame them? Camden, a perennial favorite on any “Most Dangerous Cities” list, laid off half of its police force in January. Take a cue from the shad and stay far away from Camden.

Do you have any suggestions for other fishing and hunting towns not mentioned on this list? We’d love to hear from you, so enter your favorite town in the comments section below



Goals. We all need them. Short term, long term–and those that fall somewhere in between–keep us focused and give us something to, excuse the pun, shoot for. 
Our hunting season, as in life, can often times benefit from setting goals. It could be a minimum number of days in the field during the season, a minimum point or B&C score for a buck or making a perfect shot on an animal with a new weapon. 
While hunting with Kona I started thinking about how many different birds we could encounter on the property we were hunting. While we were primarily there for pheasants, quail, chukar and huns were real possibilities. As I was shooting steel shot, ducks made the possible-target list as well. And–in fact–we did encounter pheasants, huns, mallards and teal. 
That got me thinking of some things I’d like to accomplish this season. Here are some of my preliminary thoughts: 
Mixed-up mixed bag: During our hunt, we could have had four different species of birds from both the waterfowl and upland bird worlds. I’d like to end a day afield with at least five different species from the two different worlds: a combination of pheasants, quail, chukar, huns, mallards, teal or any other species of waterfowl moving through the area would make a very cool mixed bag. Heck, throw in a crow or coyote for good measure.  

Banded Bird: I don’t have a band from the leg of a duck or goose–and I want one. Goal number two: get some waterfowl bling. 
Crown Jewels: The king eider and harlequin are two species of sea ducks that collectors drool over. Beautiful birds, they can only be hunted in particular areas of North America. In January I’ll be hunting with Ramsey Russell of GetDucks.com on Alasaka’s St. Paul Island in the middle of the Bering Sea for the two birds. Here’s hoping I can wield Benelli’s new Super Vinci with enough skill to drop at least one drake of each bird. 
Turn the big dog loose: While my training habits have been lax at worst and inconsistent at best this year, I’d like to have a day in the duck blind where Kona proves good genetics and even haphazard dedication to training can combine for great dog work. I’d like to see him perform, in the field, under real-life circumstances, what we train for during the offseason: a triple and blind in combination. A hunt in December with Final Approach, on my home waters, might just work out to be the time that he gets to shine.  

South Dakota: Kona and I have made the trek to pheasant heaven the last two seasons, but it doesn’t appear that we’ll make it back this year. While the season is open, however, it’s always a possibility so it stays on the list. 
There are a few of my goals for the rest of the season. What are some of yours?