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Thread: Why we hunt alaska waterfowl

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    Default Why we hunt alaska waterfowl

    IMG_0558_edited-1.jpgWe hunt waterfowl here in the last Frontier because we are the first hunters to see the primordial return of Wildfowl that have not yet seen civilization and are pure, untouched and WILD above all else. These birds have fed all summer on organic natural feed and have not yet went into farm fields full of pesticide, and other farm related poison as is common in the lower 48 states and Canada. Many of the new crop of birds have never even seen a human and we will be their first. Our birds are still in eclipse plumage and not highly colored as they will be later in the season. But we still value and love them greatly as they express the wild freedom that is available to us as Alaskans. These Wildfowl come off the vast tundra and the millions of lakes and wetlands of far North and far West even into Russia. They bring with them a fantastic sense of freedom and wildness. These freedoms do not exist elsewhere to the same degree as we enjoy them, but only if we are attuned to them. We do not live where Wildfowl gather in great concentrated numbers of the lower states and are easy prey to hunters. Our birds are a hard fought pleasure and we revel in the fight to learn all we can and experience all that is possible so that we are up to the task of obtaining these treasures for waterfowlin' and trout fishing are truly the sport of Kings. So, greet the new arrivals with awe and know that you are not just a viewer of the great migration miracle. You are a participant in this great and mysterious cycle of life. You are an Alaskan. You can be as tough as these wild birds. You are not that different than the Salmon struggling up stream to spawn, then die or the great Canvasback duck speeding along at 70 miles and hour to avoid your gun, We are simply just on a longer time table. Risk the tides, beat the weather, laugh at the cold. Live the dream. We are at the top of the world and the top of the heap of this fantastic. beautiful and wonderful sport and existence.

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    Member The Kid's Avatar
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    I shoot Alaskan waterfowl for the same reason I used to shoot Oklahoma waterfowl. It's fun to be out hunting instead of sitting on my ass at home. And I love to watch the explosion of feathers when they collide with 2 1/4oz of bismuth out of my 10bore.

    As an aside, Alaskan waterfowl are dumb as a box of hammers compared to the birds that have run the gauntlet to the southern states and made it past the barrels of all the Canadian and northern US gunners, want proof, even I who professes to be a terrible caller,possibly the worst, have only failed to shoot a limit up here on two outings in 7 years. Granted I only get to hunt weekends, but that's still a decent average I think.

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    Very true.. More than half the hunters up here would be challenged to hunt the lower half of the flyway.. Not saying that they would not be successful.. Just a whole different ball game.. Decoys, calling, reading birds etc. it is still a hoot to hunt them.. But so easy up here.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Kid View Post
    I shoot Alaskan waterfowl for the same reason I used to shoot Oklahoma waterfowl. It's fun to be out hunting instead of sitting on my ass at home. And I love to watch the explosion of feathers when they collide with 2 1/4oz of bismuth out of my 10bore.

    As an aside, Alaskan waterfowl are dumb as a box of hammers compared to the birds that have run the gauntlet to the southern states and made it past the barrels of all the Canadian and northern US gunners, want proof, even I who professes to be a terrible caller,possibly the worst, have only failed to shoot a limit up here on two outings in 7 years. Granted I only get to hunt weekends, but that's still a decent average I think.
    President of Alaska Waterfowl Assoc.
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    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alask...78020265619952
    AlaskaWaterfowlAssociation@gmail.com
    Gen.1:26
    And God said, let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

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    I watched 2 of those videos...the decoys are pretty cool I will give you that and I intend to look into them further. That call is.....unique...
    And the goose you refer to is a Cackler, as in cackle the sound, not Crackler as in Honky.

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    I am not going to try and speak for everybody on this subject, just speaking for myself. I hunt ducks in Alaska because that is where I choose to live. I hunted ducks my first time when 17 and have hunted ever since then, it has become a passon for me. I'm not a great hunter, not a good caller, lots I don't know about it. Have never killed hunderds of ducks in a season like some here have, but I go out as often as I can, usually a couple times a week, and I really love it. I love Alaska, moved here 14 years ago, and don't see myself ever moving out. Would rather live in Alaska with less then outstanding duck hunting then anyplace else. As such, I make due with what is here, I have a set up I can handle alone (which is most of the time) or take another with me if I desire. While I may not have the best duck hunting, I can do well enough to enjoy and get my yearly duck fix. Yea, if I had more money a trip in the winter to some of the premium duck hunting areas would be great, but for now, I get to enjoy my hunting for roughly 1 1/2 to 2 months each fall and then think about it the rest of the year. Bud
    Wasilla

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    This is simply wrong and I will be posting a story soon from what many consider the greatest American outdoor writer Russel Annabel who lived here in the valley years ago and wrote about the flats. You get limits if this is true in spite of your poor calling and etc. because there is a consistency of birds here. The older birds are the same birds as the 48. They are wary here even before the season starts. Here is a quote from Annabel, who had more accumulated experience than almost anyone today. "The mallards up here normally are VERY wary birds. They don't come in to any small water without first looking it over very carefully. If there is any little thing they do not like. they depart forthwith and don't return." If you can't call I would wager that you have not shot many older Mallards in AK.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Kid View Post
    I shoot Alaskan waterfowl for the same reason I used to shoot Oklahoma waterfowl. It's fun to be out hunting instead of sitting on my ass at home. And I love to watch the explosion of feathers when they collide with 2 1/4oz of bismuth out of my 10bore.

    As an aside, Alaskan waterfowl are dumb as a box of hammers compared to the birds that have run the gauntlet to the southern states and made it past the barrels of all the Canadian and northern US gunners, want proof, even I who professes to be a terrible caller,possibly the worst, have only failed to shoot a limit up here on two outings in 7 years. Granted I only get to hunt weekends, but that's still a decent average I think.

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    Good reasons for hunt bud, But you are cutting the Hayflats real short as I don't think you realize that it is a "premier" place for waterfowl hunting. Again, Annabelle, " If I were a non-resident gunner yearning to bust some primers in a (Populous) duck region, I would go up the Matanuska Hay Flats. It does not cost as much as a hunt in any of the other places mentioned (he talks about other duck places in AK) and you will find birds enough to satisfy anybody. P.S. I can go to the flats any day of the week and have a limit within 1 to 3 hours)
    Quote Originally Posted by akblackdawg View Post
    I am not going to try and speak for everybody on this subject, just speaking for myself. I hunt ducks in Alaska because that is where I choose to live. I hunted ducks my first time when 17 and have hunted ever since then, it has become a passon for me. I'm not a great hunter, not a good caller, lots I don't know about it. Have never killed hunderds of ducks in a season like some here have, but I go out as often as I can, usually a couple times a week, and I really love it. I love Alaska, moved here 14 years ago, and don't see myself ever moving out. Would rather live in Alaska with less then outstanding duck hunting then anyplace else. As such, I make due with what is here, I have a set up I can handle alone (which is most of the time) or take another with me if I desire. While I may not have the best duck hunting, I can do well enough to enjoy and get my yearly duck fix. Yea, if I had more money a trip in the winter to some of the premium duck hunting areas would be great, but for now, I get to enjoy my hunting for roughly 1 1/2 to 2 months each fall and then think about it the rest of the year. Bud

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    ASM.. Brother.. I know you are big in promoting the waterfowling heritage.. I applaud you for it.. I am as well and only know of a few that treasure the heritage more than me. I think what The Kid was saying is there is really no challange in working the birds here.. Pretty easy to head out to the flats with a dozen or more decoys and have the opportunity to harvest a generous limit of eight birds.. Who cares how long it takes.. That doesn't matter.. I would prefer to spend all morning taking it all in out there to gather mine. I am sure you can appreciate that..as you allude too..There is so much more involved in the waterfowling sport then just getting a limit... Some of my best hunts were far short of limits.. Whether the company I shared or the events that unfolded on the few we did get..

    I know how you feel hunting behind hand carved decoys you made, the deep satisfaction one must feel when birds of feather lock up and commit to them.. The feeling of satisfaction of duplicating something that has fooled the wariness of eyes... Got that... But the birds up here are not as you described with this guys quote... Just simply not true man.. I am a serious waterfowler.. I eat, sleep and live it... Can't do much as I would like to these days.. But what limits me is weather, not opportunity.

    "Good times in the marsh are not often measured by our success.. But by the company and experiences we share them with" that quote is by me..

    If you are really big into waterfowling history and heritage.. Then you will know Jack Miner... And to leave you with this legend of waterfowl conservation.. "A man that is not willing to change his mind.. Has nothing to change"
    President of Alaska Waterfowl Assoc.
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    AlaskaWaterfowlAssociation@gmail.com
    Gen.1:26
    And God said, let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska Swamp Man View Post
    Good reasons for hunt bud, But you are cutting the Hayflats real short as I don't think you realize that it is a "premier" place for waterfowl hunting. Again, Annabelle, " If I were a non-resident gunner yearning to bust some primers in a (Populous) duck region, I would go up the Matanuska Hay Flats. It does not cost as much as a hunt in any of the other places mentioned (he talks about other duck places in AK) and you will find birds enough to satisfy anybody. P.S. I can go to the flats any day of the week and have a limit within 1 to 3 hours)


    When were these written? I'm sure there was a time when it was an amazing place to hunt. Times change. It's good, but it's not great.

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    I don't get this guy. By far the only "guide" I have heard try and solicite his amazing honey hole phf to an entire forum. Be careful I may just book a hunt with you find your spot then start my own guide business
    I will never be a "Prostaffer" its not that I am not good enough
    but its because I refuse to pimp products for free.

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    Well, bud, what do you want, endless flights and never miss? Only in heaven. I think the Flats is perfect, enough birds if you are skilled to make it interesting. Sure, anyone can too upper Manitoba, Alberta or Stuggart, but it takes little skill and even then it is not all the time there that the shooting is good. It was written during WWII I think. I don't see any big changes. I'm sure it is not even as good as 20 years ago from what I have heard, but it is still better than going to a state refuge in another state and waiting in line and still not get birds. I have hunted some of the best country in Alaska, and overall the flats is not bad at all.
    Quote Originally Posted by DucksAndDogs View Post
    When were these written? I'm sure there was a time when it was an amazing place to hunt. Times change. It's good, but it's not great.

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    Marcus, I have seen this same quote and find it not totally true. All writers take poetic license as they are entertainers. Annabelle might have blown some things out of proportion, like 600 hunters on opening day, but the basic truth of the flats is for real as I have witnessed most of what he writes about there. He was known for embellishing the story, especially his bear stories, but that is what the audience of Field and Stream and Outdoor Life expected when he wrote. He helped to make some people desire to come to Alaska for Alaska, not just end up here or for the money.

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    Member kwackkillncrew's Avatar
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    See you in the swamps ;-)
    I will never be a "Prostaffer" its not that I am not good enough
    but its because I refuse to pimp products for free.

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    Wink Good books . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska Swamp Man View Post
    Marcus, I have seen this same quote and find it not totally true. All writers take poetic license as they are entertainers. Annabelle might have blown some things out of proportion, like 600 hunters on opening day, but the basic truth of the flats is for real as I have witnessed most of what he writes about there. He was known for embellishing the story, especially his bear stories, but that is what the audience of Field and Stream and Outdoor Life expected when he wrote. He helped to make some people desire to come to Alaska for Alaska, not just end up here or for the money.

    Swamp Man,


    I have little use and less regard for such "embellishment." I'm currently reading Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), which is Lawrence's first-hand account of the Arab revolt during the WW I, their alliance with the British, and subsequent betrayal. No embellishment needed or desired. Churchill called Seven Pillars of Wisdom one of the best books ever written in the English language.


    As for outdoor-type writers, my taste runs more to authors such as Ted Kerasote, Norman Maclean, and Peter Freuchen. When in high school, my English Lit teacher gave us advice I never forgot: "Life is too short to read good books. Read only the best."


    "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. But when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways."


    To each his own . . .

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    Yes, I know it is not fine writing, but then again is it or could it somehow be considered such. I've read Hemmingway and do not see a huge difference. The writing style is the charm of it. I think it is a waterfowl classic and captures the sport like few other stories have. Everything is there like why we hunt, call, shoot and more. I have a book on the Chesapeake bay that is a classic and finer writing, but more boring too. Like you say, to each.... Funny you mention L of Arabia as I watched the movie recently...Quite a moving movie. Things have not changed much over there in centuries, still uncivilized as before.

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    The hunter crouches in his blind
    'neath camouflage of every kind
    and conjures up a quacking noise
    to lend allure to his decoys.
    This grown-up man
    with luck and pluck
    is hoping to outwit a duck.

    Graham Nash

    I don't know if that poem is high culture or not but I like it. The Anchorage Times (the 'evening paper') published it in honor of duck season. We used to have a good paper.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    I hunt not because of tradition as my dad never hunted ducks that I know of. He taught me to hunt upland birds and deer growing up in MN.
    I do not hunt waterfowl because of some urge to shoot wild animals.
    I do not hunt for the mounts on the wall and I have none on mine.
    I hunt ducks because my family enjoys eating healthy wild game. I do not and would not hunt for the trophies or the glory.
    I do find it fun to do so but if I could not eat them I wouldn't go.
    That's just me though.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

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    Quote Originally Posted by extrema View Post
    The hunter crouches in his blind
    'neath camouflage of every kind
    and conjures up a quacking noise
    to lend allure to his decoys.
    This grown-up man
    with luck and pluck
    is hoping to outwit a duck.

    Graham Nash

    I don't know if that poem is high culture or not but I like it. The Anchorage Times (the 'evening paper') published it in honor of duck season. We used to have a good paper.
    Have to agree with this as the ADN has become a Lib Progressive (ie. communist) rag.

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    That's interesting, I wish there was a way to duck hunt where I did not have to eat them, but then living a subsistence lifestyle we ate so much salmon and ducks and everything else, like Beaver muskrat, Porkys, bears and etc. it got old and for Salmon still is.
    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    I hunt not because of tradition as my dad never hunted ducks that I know of. He taught me to hunt upland birds and deer growing up in MN.
    I do not hunt waterfowl because of some urge to shoot wild animals.
    I do not hunt for the mounts on the wall and I have none on mine.
    I hunt ducks because my family enjoys eating healthy wild game. I do not and would not hunt for the trophies or the glory.
    I do find it fun to do so but if I could not eat them I wouldn't go.
    That's just me though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    I do find it fun to do so but if I could not eat them I wouldn't go.
    I feel the same way. I haven't taken the time to hunt ducks in years, as my time is limited during the season (I'm a teacher) and I far prefer big game hunting. That said, there are few things in hunting that are as purely fun as taking a duck in flight. I can't say that I understand hunting sea ducks, though. No judgment on those who do, but if they taste half as bad as I've been led to believe, I personally have no interest. A pintail, mallard, or widgeon, though - that's some fine eating and led to many a great meals as I worked my way through college.

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