A cabin journal. Every cabin has one, some old, some new. It is the place where we write and reminisce on past stories, adventures, and experiences. Our cabin journal reminds us of the times afield, stories between friends, lessons learned, and informative advice for the next time. Read pages from our journal for expert tips and tactics from Team Lucky Duck. Stay caught up on the latest articles that make Lucky Duck’s Cabin Journal a resource for everything waterfowl, predator, dog, turkey, and game bird.
What Do You Do with Your Waterfowl
Many hunters take to the field every Fall, Winter, and Spring to chase waterfowl. Whether it is an early October Teal hunt in Wyoming or a spring Snow goose hunt in South Dakota, every waterfowl hunt has the same question at the end of each hunt or season. What do I do with the meat?
Waterfowl in many circles has been given a bad reputation for not tasting good. Often, I hear hunters going back and forth on if they should hunt waterfowl or not, because once they harvest it, they have to eat it. The answer is ABSOLUTELY YES! Ducks, geese, and other waterfowl are great eating. The first thing I would try is making jerky. There are many recipes on the internet to make it yourself. I would suggest buying a kit specific to waterfowl jerky from Hi Mountain Seasonings and let them take the guess work out for you.
Jerky is just one of many ways to cook your waterfowl after the harvest, but the options are endless. You can roast, bake, grill your birds or even make sausages, bacon, snacking sticks, etc. Don’t let the stigma of bad tasting meat get in the way of your passion for waterfowl hunting. Good Luck and be safe!
Author: Brian Tucker
Like many other activities, waterfowl photography has its own challenges. Following, I will go over what I have found that helps me.
Waterfowl Photography is just like hunting except with a camera and lens! I use the same tactics that I use when I hunt: scout, scout, and scout is the key. Learning when the ducks or geese are active, and document everything you witness (wind, sun, temperatures, and date) this will help you from year to year. I have found that most birds will use the same area from year to year and usually about the same time. This is just the icing on the cake, a lot more goes into it after finding the birds.
Lighting: you will want the wind and sun to your back, but we all know that would be a perfect world. This is where a good blind that you can conceal yourself comes into play. I use the five-foot section of the Lucky Duck 2x4 blind, fully grassed. I position it to my advantage and use an app called “the photographer’s ephemeris” it helps me determine where the sun will come up and gives me the exact angle of lighting, lighting is the most crucial part, it will make or break your photo.
Camera Gear: any DSLR camera will take pictures. You will want to figure out what style of shooting you are wanting to achieve. A DSLR with the longest telephoto lens will work great at a loafing spot. A loafing spot is where the birds are comfortable and swim around. If you are wanting to capture birds in flight you will want a good tripod paired with a gimbal head. Not necessarily needed but definitely helps. Waterfowl Photography can be difficult and frustrating at times, so I hope that you find these tips useful and perhaps you give them a try on your next outing.
Author: Aron Boyce
What's Your Bore?
Do you have a favorite rifle, specifically one you coyote hunt with? Is it a semi-auto AR platform, a traditional bolt action or maybe a custom built, tricked out, suppressed, tactical variation? Whatever you are shooting, what are your reasons behind it as a coyote rifle?
Things are really trending towards custom AR platforms right now, and I fully support Americans taking full advantage of their 2nd Amendment rights (as long as all laws and regulations are properly followed). As a 3rd generation veteran (my Grandfather was in WWII, and Dad served during Vietnam, and I served post the Gulf War), I fully support the freedoms those that have fought to preserve. That is what, in my opinion, is so great about watching YouTube videos of people building their own custom rifles and voicing their passions in doing so. Something that’s a signature of themselves. With that said, the .223 Rem round is becoming one of the most popular platforms with everyone I watch and follow that are big coyote hunters. It’s flat, it’s fast and can easily achieve sub-MOA and for a predator platform, gives you plenty of opportunities to keep sending rounds down-range on target. The recoil won’t ware-you-out. They are just a ton-of-fun to shoot, and still affordable to purchase good ammo in bulk. However, is the .223 Rem enough bullet on tough coyotes? How about the tried and true, with just a little more giddy-up, like the .22-250 or .243? There is even a big up-rising in the 6.5 Creedmoor owners thinking it is king of the hill. Or something even a little smaller like the .204 Ruger. Whatever your caliber, whatever you action preference, why do you hunt with the rifle you do?
If you are selling your furs, small bore rifles like the .204 and .223 make perfect sense, causing minimal pelt damage. But, with marginal shots, what are your recovery percentages? Have you lost a coyote because it was able to absorb the round and keep going? Or maybe even having to put multiple rounds in it. That begins to defeat the purpose of a small-bore rifle to preserve the pelt. What if you are a rancher or livestock farmer, maybe you just want that coyote dead and something with extra punch is your preference (.22-250, .243 , 6.5 Creedmoor). I’ve even known some shoot bigger .270 and even 30-06. A pelt delivered to the local tannery from a .270 or 30-06 wound won’t be appreciated much, but I cannot image those are the guys looking to sell any pelts.
For me personally, I coyote hunt with a bolt action .243. I love the caliber and I’ve not destroyed many pelts. Bullet weights can be found as light a 55gr and as heavy at 115gr but the 85-100gr bullets being the most common. The .243 in an AR10 platform are starting to become readily available and I just may have a custom build in my near future. Whatever your caliber, whatever your target, I’m positive every hunter out there feels the same way about their rifle as I do mine. Use what you like, and are effective with, and keep after them.
Author: Shawn McKinney
Predator Scent Control
Predator hunting is becoming more than a pastime for most hunters these days. In fact, some people are making it nearly their primary target throughout the hunting season. That takes some serious dedication, and with that dedication those hunters are serious about scent control. A predator’s greatest asset is their nose, and in order to be successful, you must beat their nose. So, let's focus on scent control techniques.
No matter if you are running a trap line, or using Lucky Duck e-callers, in order to be successful, you must be completely mindful of your human scent. This is a topic deer-hunters have been addressing for years, but the concept carries right over into predator hunting. There are tons of clothing manufactures out there that claim to be able to filter your human scent, such as the carbon and charcoal lined textiles. I’m not here to knock against any specific brand, and theoretically the concept does work. However, there is not a household dryer system available that can get hot enough to re-activate the filter system. Real focus started turning a few years ago on “what” causes odor and how to address it. This is where textiles began making a turn, using materials where odor causing bacteria could not grow/spread, such as Silver Thread. Bacteria is what causes odor and staying clean and preventing the spread of bacteria is how odor is controlled. Bacteria cannot grow on silver, and silver thread technology started to become the new normal in hunting clothing technology. These textiles can be found in a lot of different brands and their next-to-skin base layers to combat odor causing bacteria at its source. There are also a lot of washing products on the market that helps keep these textiles clean and odor free as well. There are also on-skin products that help keep bacteria down. Rather that be full body soaps, shampoos and even foams and lotions applied to the skin before hitting the field. These keep bacteria from building up, while you heat up and sweat, while you are in the field. All continued effort to be scent free during those predator hunts.
However, no matter what techniques you do, and no matter how cautious you are about your scent control, mother-nature is hard to beat! Even with all the latest technologies on the market to help you combat human odor, beating their nose is tough to do. You still must learn how to hunt the wind and know how to approach your hunting setup. All it takes is the slightest sniff of human content and your hunt can be over faster than it ever began. However, with some dedicated scent control techniques, keeping your skin and clothes clean of bacteria, you can increase your odds of being more successful than ever before.
Author: Shawn McKinney
Phase Two - Stages of Decoys in the Spring Season
As the early season transitions into mid- season in the spring turkey woods, your decoy tactics need to also change to ensure success. This mid-season period will run easily two to three weeks. In most of the country except the south, mid- season will begin around the 20th of April.
This is the time to employ all decoy applications. Breeding set ups are especially effective, full strut and jake with hen. Multiple hens with a jake or full strut decoy. The full strut decoy I use, is the Lucky HD Collapsible Field Strutter. The 3/4 strutting pose is just right for fooling a dominate long beard.
A couple tips on decoy placement. Try to set your decoys to the left or right of your location. To draw focus away from you the hunter. Place jake decoys generally with their head towards you and hen decoys with their tail towards you the hunter. This can help greatly in how the gobbler will approach your decoy set up.
Author: Dave Constantine
Phase One - Stages of Decoys in the Spring Season
Decoy dynamics and applications change throughout the spring hunting season. Many dynamics and changes occur throughout the course of the wild turkey’s spring breeding season. A “savvy” turkey hunter should be aware of these changes to ensure success. Especially when using decoys.
Many hunters simply put out a single hen decoy, or jake and hens without knowledge of spring turkey dynamics. Therefore terms/sayings such as “decoy shy”, “decoys spook turkeys” and “I just have bad luck with decoys” rapidly rise to the surface each spring.
Let’s take a closer look. In the early season, most seasons across the country open towards the end of the winter breakup or shortly after. I would classify early season as the first week to ten days into the season. Proper decoy use during this period is very important to success. During this first period use only a single jake decoy. NO HEN! Here is the reason. As the winter flock breaks up and early flock dispersal occurs, the hens (all pecking orders) in each flock having spent the last several months together. They identify with all the other hens and individuals in their group. A hen decoy at this time will deter all turkeys at this early stage of the spring season. A hen decoy is a STRANGER and will be avoided during this period. The solution would be a single jake decoy.
Author: Dave Constantine
September Dove Hunting Prep
After a long hot summer, it always seems like September 1st can never come soon enough here in Kansas. Although, for me, my dove season preparation starts in early spring. Starting in March, I will work the ground and get the soil prepped and ready to plant between April 1st and May 1st. Depending on the variety of sunflower seed, it can take up to 100-110 days to mature. Once planted and rain comes, watching them grow is a feeling that one needs to experience. It is very rewarding to see all your hard work start to come to life.
Now let’s take a step back; if you are not fortunate enough to have the ground or access to plant a food plot there are many other options! Start by putting miles on your vehicle down the ol’ back country roads. If you are in a dryer area like western Kansas, focus on watering holes. Scout those areas, if there is an abundance of water, try and find fresh cut Milo for silage, cut wheat fields, or try and find their flight line.
Come middle of August, or about a week before season, I will mow paths in the sunflower field to allow places to hide and it also makes it easier for the dove to get the seeds. Now comes the morning of September 1st. The morning we’ve all been waiting for. It’s the start of a new hunting season!
Dove hunting is one season that really doesn’t require much. I use one Lucky Limbs 2.0 paired with clip on doves. The Lucky Clip-on Doves are nice because they can be used as feeder decoys as well with the provided stakes. Another product I use is the new Lucky Dove HD. This is going to be a game changer this year with the extreme battery life and lifelike design. Later in the season, I’ll start to use Lucky Field Flashers, as by this time they have seen everything. The field flashers allow you to get the flash closer to the ground for those shy late season birds.
Author: Aron Boyce
At Home Training
It’s starting to wear on you, as it is all of us. Stuck at home. Limited things to do and places to go. But since there is nothing we can do about this right now, let’s take these lemons and make lemonade. With the extra time at home, let's focus more time with our dog.
This time of year is great for training because the hunting season is still somewhat fresh in our minds. What did your dog need work on? Where was there an issue that came up? Let’s focus on that to get a jumpstart on fixing it.
Limited on space? That shouldn’t be a problem! If we really dig into each problem you saw in the field, it is very likely it can all be traced back to obedience. I know, obedience is so dang boring; but there is a reason we call it the foundation of our gun dog training. Take this time at home to be disciplined and strive for perfection on that obedience training. When things do get back to normal and you can get on with the more fun areas of training, later this year, you will be thankful you took this time.
Author: Josh Miller