Hello to all here,
Believe it or not, I have lived my entire life in Alaska and up until last year, I had never hunted waterfowl... always did my grouse and ptarmigan to sate the appetite for birdies. Anyhow, last year I decided I was going to try, mind you this was on Sept 2nd, so my level of preparation and research was pathetic to say the least. I got 2 ducks and 0 geese as a result... actually I should say I SHOT 2 ducks and 0 geese - total rounds fired = 3. My first duck was a pathetically small runt of a midget litter, 2 bites but tasted great. I just did a reactive snapshot as 3 went blazing past overhead and never even checked for size - simply a moment of brain logic being: Duck? Yes = Shoot!
My second duck, I shot quite perfectly over a small pond, it splashed down and I scurried out from my little bit of brush that I had stalked it from to get in my boat and go collect my prize, long story short - an Osprey beat me to it. Within 10 seconds of my duck hitting the water, the osprey had it and was hauling it off, needless to say it took all I had to keep myself from satisfying my curiosity about what osprey taste like... I worked soooo hard for that one duck! I have heard of Turducken, but what about Osduck - thinking I will try to refrain from finding out.
Anyhow, enough history, this year I am determined to plan much better. I have a small go-devil on a 16 foot boat so I can cruise pretty much ANYWHERE. I am well practiced with my shotgun and know my range limits... but need some advice on locations and general tactics, as well as a good website or book with pictures to help me identify the kind of duck/goose I manage to shoot. (I know emperor geese by heart now having made sure to memorize the description and pictures so as not to accidentally shoot one last year, but the rest are just geese to me). Lastly, once shot, what is the best method of cleaning the bird/plucking the feathers, I really want to leave the skin on to try for the extra flavor and grease.
I have both a duck call and a goose call now, wondering if I should invest in a dozen duck decoys or so. Any thoughts?
Also, I spent last year trying to pass-shoot/ jump my ducks, I learned that ducks are tough to stalk. Would it be worth it to turn my boat into a blind for duck season? I have always been an active hunter, preferring to find my game rather than have my game find me... suggestions and such would be very much appreciated!
Any and all help WELCOME... I live in the Fairbanks area so any ideas close to home are more than appreciated.