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"The Whisperer" Less is Often More

Outdoors With Dick comments 5/14/2014 9:00:35 PM Share This

In the natural outdoor world, Mother Nature seldom overdoes anything.  Sure, there are weather occurrences that seem to humans "over the top" but there's usually a positive, long term result.  Not so much with mankind.  We often figure something out and then just run it into the ground.       

I recently bought a moderately priced, hedge wood goose call that is designed to operate and sound best at mid to low level air pressure. Wooden calls have a warmer tone than acrylics. Rick Perry, at Winglock Calls, produces numerous game calls.  The one featured here is a "close in call", named appropriately, "The Whisperer".  By designing a narrow air flow chamber that takes less pressure to run, the hunter can "finish" approaching geese with a softer, mellow, more calm and reassuring natural goose volume.              

Often, new hunters who are still learning the art of calling, disservice themselves by overdoing their calling.  Less is often more.  Until one learns to read the flying and calling behaviour of incoming geese, it's easy to discourage flights from landing by blowing calls too loud and too much.  That's why the "Whisperer" is such a fine instrument.  It can crack a loud hailing call when pushed but sounds wonderfully "goosey" when run softly.             

Once the geese have turned towards your spread, they've indicated they want to land in your decoys.  If you continue to give them more of what they already like, without giving them a reason to disbelieve, they will come in for a close shot.  That is the ethical and humane method of killing geese.  It's also the most satisfying.        

The message here is:  balance.  Use the best possible tools you can afford, and use them with appropriate moderation.        

Enjoy the off season and practice your calling.  See you in the field next fall.    

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End of Season

End of Season
Outdoors With Dick comments 4/8/2014 9:13:29 AM Share This

Separation anxiety, abandonment issues, melancholy and a sudden full stop.  It's OVER until next year!  No more watching the weather network like a hawk, no more night before preps, no more hunter's eternal optimism and mornings of the Greatest Show on Earth.  But Damn it was fine.  The best season of my life.  The best because I took the time to appreciate every moment,  thankful for the opportunity to synchronize my internal clock with the heartbeat of Nature, separate and away from the drone of the daily grind.  Bittersweet.  Beautiful.

Now it's time to refurbish all that gear;  touch-up painting and re-flocking of the duck and goose decoys, organizing and storage of all things waterfowl, repairing anything broken or damaged, summerizing blinds, boats and the hope of another dawn of whistling wings.  We put out wood duck nesting boxes in our marshes, volunteer with our local habitat enhancement efforts and put our money where our mouths are with the organizations dedicated to preserving wetlands.

Granted, we are but specs of dust in the cosmos but connected eternally  with every other living thing on this planet.  Embracing the world of some of the most beautiful creatures in the universe is a unique opportunity to build a child's character, compassion and soul.  Start planning now to take a kid out for a sunrise service come fall. It's a win-win for everybody.

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Smart or Dead?

Smart or Dead?
Outdoors With Dick comments 3/31/2014 9:53:51 AM Share This

Waterfowl are gregarious birds that want to eat as much as possible while expending the least amount of energy doing so.  Consequently, seeing fellow birds "chowing down" is a strong incentive to join in on the feast.  However, the older (and you don't get old being stupid) birds are always in the lead of any flock.

Will your calling, decoy appearance, numbers and placement, field orientation,  wind allowance and concealment look and feel right to a wise old gander?  They've run the gauntlet many times before they take the lead and they are sometimes incredibly perceptive.  Sometimes not... When you've done everything right, they come gliding in on top of you and seem as easy to shot as kites, even thought they're flying 45 m/h.  You wait until the first of the main flock starts to touch the ground, set up from your blind and shoot the lowest bird, letting the natural rise of your shotgun take you to your next two shots at birds at higher altitudes.  Geese will often come straight in, in a perfect world, where ducks will circle more often but also come to goose decoys readily.

Any day afield as a partner in the "Dance" is a pleasant and rewarding experience.  Taking home multiple feasts of succulent ducks and geese is a  bonus.  There is nothing as healthy and delicious as wild game prepared properly.Be it roasted, sausage, jerky or main ingredient of your favourite slow cooker meal, weaving yourself into the tapestry of the food chain, while dancing ever so closely to the essence from which you come is love and happiness unplugged. 

Get out to a theatre near you...

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The Right Stuff

The Right Stuff
Outdoors With Dick comments 3/24/2014 3:26:59 PM Share This

Perception is Reality... sometimes .  I think my 15 Higdon Alpha full body goose decoys, reflecting the different poses of live birds, look very real lining the landing hole in my spread.  The  2 1/2 doz. Realgeese silhouette decoys (flat sheets of plastic with 3D photo images of geese) equally diverse in their various poses and enhanced with flocked heads and tails, are mixed amongst my loosely assembled flock in an arrow head or fat "U" footprint of full-body's and various shell decoys.  Hopefully, this offers a convincing illusion of a comfortable, feeding flock of Canada geese.  And food is everything to wild animals.

Concealed in a camouflaged "layout blind", finished with the vegetation on which it lays, I'm laying amongst the decoys on the right side of my spread, because as a "righty" I can swing my shotgun more easily from right to left and want to shoot at a 45* angle to my reclined position, facing their approach.  Having set my decoys facing into the wind, with consideration to the birds expected path and sun positioning, I have created a pocket or landing zone at their rear approximately 30 yards wide, within the vaguely shaped "V" or "U" of the assembled flock.
Using a square or double wing shaped black, short handled flag, I wave it to flocks at long distances to mimic landing geese.  They can see much further than they can hear my Tim Grounds short reed goose calls and turn towards me.  Depending on wind velocity, I start calling 200-400 yards out.  As they approach, I first listen to them, to hear how and what they are " saying".  I try to "run" my Super Mag or G Overhauler in response to the volume, mood and cadence that reflects what they and a feeding flock would exchange upon approach.  That can be loud and aggressive, to murmurs or nothing. Noting they're excellent vision, I remain as motionless as possible, calling more and more softly as they near me,  watching them through the screen on the blind doors.  Will they " finish"?

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The Dance

The Dance
Outdoors With Dick comments 3/17/2014 6:47:24 PM Share This

In the pre-dawn darkness of moving the "garage gang", ie. decoys, blinds, gear and coffee to the "stage", ie. a farmers field with proximity to water, a quiet excitement takes hold.  How will the wind, sky, temperature and birds react together this morning and what will the "dance" look like?  Have you combined your knowledge with the current conditions correctly to be on the X ( where the birds want to be)?  The chase is on and as any animal, you feel more alive than at any other time.

 Turbo charging this feeling is the multi-dimensional spectacle nature performs every morning.  Morning skies, songbirds awakening, the color spectrum unleashed and the promise of rejuvenation.  The countless generations of breeding turns your dog into a tuning fork of anticipation.  And then on the horizon appear the birds, playing their roles in the greatest show on earth.  They are lead by their best and brightest.  Will you be his match and take from nature that which you adore and support? When all the elements come together properly, as with a lover, you become one.

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Waterfowl Season 2013/2014

Waterfowl Season 2013/2014
Outdoors With Dick comments 3/11/2014 8:04:48 PM Share This

#1  Waterfowl Season 2013-2014
Taking advantage of the opportunities that exist to enjoy the great out-of-doors, includes waterfowl hunting.  Duck and geese populations are at record levels throughout North America in recent years, while the number of hunters is declining due to a number of factors.  Without a mentor, ie. Dad, Grandfather, Uncle, to introduce young boys and girls to this passion driven sport and environmental consciousness, successive generations are not being introduced to the panorama of nature, at it most beautiful and prolific. It's the third dimension  missing from the "device life" existence. The combination of flora, fauna and weather equally contribute to the interactive tapestry showing in a marsh or field near you.  The majesty of nature reveals herself with every dawn.  Light shows, songbird choirs and endless palettes of flowers and grasses remind us of the regenerative properties of the natural experience.  The sights, sounds and smells of our primordial histories and senses connect our human experience to the universe like nothing else can.  In successive posts, I'll elaborate on "concerts" I attended this year.

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