re: Checklist for ducks -- from the Retriever Journal
for Ducks by Steve Smith
More than with any other bird, ducks and geese are easily crippled with a faulty shot, and recovering a lightly hit duck gets to be a real exercise for both you and your dog. The law is quite clear on what we need to do with a cripple: Make every reasonable attempt to recover the bird, and if we cannot, count it toward the limit. It is unsporting, unethical, and illegal to shoot two limits to collect one. Limits are there to dictate the birds killed, not the number we take home and eat.
There are several ways to reduce loss by crippling, of course:
- Use a well-trained retriever, what Nash Buckingham called “the best long-range duck load.”
- Be “head-conscious,” constantly reminding ourselves that the target on any duck or goose is the head.
- Take shots only at birds within range. If we hope they’re in range, they aren’t; if we think they’re in range, they aren’t; when we know they’re in range, they are.
- Don’t try to make doubles every time; if the first bird you shoot out of a flock still looks lively as it’s falling, follow it down and dispatch it quickly and forget the other birds – easy to say, hard to do.
- Use enough gun, choke, and load. If the shooting is going to be especially challenging, consider investing in some of the non-steel non-toxic alternatives: Remington’s Hevi-Shot, Bismuth, Kent’s Tungsten Matrix, for example.
- Finally, remember that every study ever done has shown that the third shot taken at a duck is the real crippler. By the time we’ve fired two times, the birds are flaring, gaining altitude, and turning their vitals away from us. Save that final shot for a cripple on the water.
Please do us a tremendous favor and forward this e-mail on to your
retriever dog friends!
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Thanks for the advice Karen! Geez the last time I saw you must have been the last time you, me, and my dad did dog food at H&S.
You're welcome, Eric! It's has been a long time since the dog food pick-up days at H&S!!
If you (or your Dad) have a subscription to the Retriever Journal, they have quite a bit of information on their website (http://www.retrieverjournal.com).