Waterfowl hunting: Wikis

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Waterfowl hunting (also called duck hunting, goose hunting, or wildfowling) is the practice of hunting ducks, geese, or other waterfowl for food and sport. (In the U.K. the word "hunting" is not used, but "shooting"; the word hunting is reserved for the pursuit of prey with hounds.) In many western countries, commercial waterfowl hunting is prohibited, and duck hunting is primarily an outdoor sporting activity.

Many types of ducks and geese share the same habitat, have overlapping or identical hunting seasons, and are hunted using the same methods. Thus it is not uncommon to take several different species of waterfowl in the same outing. There are several different types of duck hunting and goose hunting one can do. Waterfowl is often hunted in fields (corn, soybean, hay) where they go to feed twice during a day. Water hunting is the most common for waterfowl hunting. Anywhere from ponds, lakes, bays, or oceans, waterfowl can be hunted.

Contents

History

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Prehistoric Waterfowl Hunting

Wild waterfowl have been hunted for food, down, and feathers worldwide since prehistoric times. Ducks, geese, and swans appear in European cave paintings from the last Ice Age, and a mural in the Ancient Egyptian tomb of Khum-Hotpe (c. 1900 BC) shows a man in a hunting blind capturing swimming ducks in a trap. Muscovy ducks were depicted in the art of the Mochina culture of ancient Peru by 200 BC, and were likely hunted by many many people of the Americas before then.[1]

Native Americans used the bow and arrow to hunt ducks around the year 1000 as this is when triangular stone points were found. They would have to be at close range and have excellent skill to harvest ducks or geese Before this time they used cage type traps or swam under water and caught ducks.

The Rise of Modern Waterfowl Hunting

Waterfowl hunting with shotguns began in the 1600's with the matchlock shotgun. Shotguns were loaded with black powder and lead shot through the muzzle in the 1600's to the late 1800's. Damascus barrels shot only black powder charges. When smokeless powder was invented in the late 1800's, steel barrels were made. Damascus barrels which were made of a twisted steel could not take the high pressure of smokeless powder. Fred Kimble, a duck hunter from Illinois invented the shotgun choke in 1886. This is a constriction at the end of the barrel. This allowed for longer range shooting with the shotgun. Until 1886 shotguns had cylinder bore barrels which could only shoot up to 25 yards. So duck hunting was done at close range. Now market hunters could shoot at longer ranges up to forty five yards with a full choke barrel and harvest more waterfowl. Shotguns became bigger and more powerful so the range was extended to sixty yards.

Pump shotguns were invented in the late 1800's and the semi automatic shotgun in the very early 1900's. Once waterfowlers had access to these guns, made these men more proficient market hunters. These guns could fire five to seven shots, therefore hunters were having a bigger harvests.

Early European settlers in America, hunted waterfowl with great zeal, as the supply of waterfowl seemed unlimited in the coastal Atlantic regions. During the fall migrations, the skies were filled with waterfowl. Places such as Chesapeak Bay, Delaware Bay, Barnaget Bay were hunted extensively. . As more immigrants came to America in the late 1700's and 1800's, the need for more food became greater. Market hunting started to take form, to supply the local population living along the Atlantic coast with fresh ducks and geese. Men would go into wooden boats and go out into the bays hunting, sometimes with large shotguns. They would bring back a wooden barrel or two of ducks each day.

The rise of modern waterfowl hunting is tied to the history of the shotgun, which can kill more reliably at greater ranges than a weapon that shoots a single projectile.[2] In the 19th century, the seemingly limitless flocks of ducks and geese in the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways of North America were the basis for a thriving commercial waterfowl hunting industry. With the advent of punt guns- massive, boat-mounted shotguns that could fire a half-pound of lead shot at a time, hunters could kill dozens of birds with a single blast. This was the four and six gauge shotgun. This period of intense commercial waterfowl hunting is vividly depicted in James Michener's historical novel Chesapeake.

Although edible, swans are not hunted in many Western cultures because swans were historically a royal prerogative. Swans are hunted in the Arctic regions.

Conservation and the Duck Stamp Act

By the turn of the 20th century, commercial hunting and loss of habitat due to agriculture, lead to a decline in duck and goose populations in North America, along with many other species of wildlife. The Lacey Act of 1900, which outlawed transport of poached game across state lines, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which prohibited the possession of migratory birds without permission (such as a hunting license), marked the dawn of the modern conservation movement.

In 1934, at the urging of editorial cartoonist and conservationist J.N. "Ding" Darling, the US government passed the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act, better known as the Federal Duck Stamp Act. This program required hunters to purchase a special stamp, in additional to a regular hunting license, to hunt migratory waterfowl. Revenues from the program provided the majority of funding for conservation for many decades and funded the purchase of 4.5 million acres (18,000 km2) of National Wildlife Refuge land for waterfowl habitat since the program's inception. The Duck Stamp act has been described as "one of the most successful conservation programs ever devised."[3] Duck stamps have also become collectible items in their own right.[1]

Species of Waterfowl Hunted

In North American ducks hunted are the Canvasback, Redhead, Mallard, Wood Duck, Blue Wing Teal, Green Wing Teal, Bufflehead, Shoveler, Hooded Merganser, Widgeon, and Goldeneye.

Geese hunted are Canada Geese, Snow Geese and other varieties of geese.

Ocean ducks include Old Squaw and Scoters

Modern Hunting Techniques

The waterfowl hunting season is generally in the autumn and winter. Hunting seasons are set by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in the United States. In the autumn, the ducks and geese have finished raising their young and are migrating to warmer areas to feed. There are four large flyways in the United States that the waterfowl follow. The Atlantic, Mississippi, Mountain and Pacific Flyways.

There are five items used by almost all waterfowl hunters: a shotgun, ammunition, a hunting blind, decoys and a duck or goose call. The decoys are used to lure the birds within range, and the blind conceals the hunter. When a hunter or hunters sees the waterfowl, he or she begins calling with the duck or goose call. Once the birds are within range, the hunters, rise from the blind and quickly shoot the birds before they are frightened off and out of shooting range. Duck or goose calls are often used to attract birds; sometimes calls of other birds will also be simulated to convince the birds that there is no danger.

Hunters position themselves near rivers, lakes, ponds or in agriculture fields planted with corn, barley, wheat or millet. Hunters build blinds to conceal themselves from waterfowl, as waterfowl has sharp eyes and can see colors. That is why hunter use camaflage. Waterfowl hunters also often use dogs to retrieve dead or injured birds in the water. There are many retriever breeds, such as Labrador Retrievers and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, specifically bred for the task. Hunters prefer cloudy or rainy days. This is when the air pressure is low and therefore the ducks fly low and often. Hunters position themselves in blinds, use decoys, and call ducks or geese.

Shotguns

In the days of market hunting, four (4) gauge, six (6) gauge, eight (8) gauge and ten gauge shotguns were used in hunting. The four and six gauge were mounted to small boats. This was due to their weight and recoil. The eight gauge was hand held and weighed about fourteen pounds and shot about 2 and a half ounces of shot. One shot from these big shotguns could kill several to many ducks. Hunting with these guns was in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Due to the great loss of waterfowl from market hunting, hunting became regulated. The largest gun used today in the United States is the ten gauge shotgun, shooting a 3 and 1/2 inch shell that holds nearly 2 ounces of shot. These shotguns come in pump action, semi automatic, double barrel and single barrel. These shotguns kill ducks up to 60 yards. Due to the ten gauge's heavy weight, about 12 pounds and recoil, the preferred shotgun is the 12 gauge shotguns, pump or semi automatic shotgun. These guns can drop waterfowl up to 50 yards. Twenty gauge shotguns are less commonly used, and are preferred by women who do not like the weight of the twelve gauge. As the twelve gauge weighs seven and a half pounds, and has some recoil. Twenty eight and .410 gauge shotguns are not used due to the gun unable to ensure clean kills at long range, 40 to 50 yards. This is due to the fact that the shell do not have that much shot, only a half ounce to three fourths of an ounce

Although it is legal to use a bow or crossbow to take migratory waterfowl in many areas,[4] most hunters prefer taking migratory birds with a shotgun because of the great difficulty of striking a moving bird with an arrow. Taking migratory birds with a rifle is illegal because of U.S. federal law.

Shotgun Ammunition

For many years lead shot has been used in waterfowl hunting. Shells were made of paper in the late 1800's and the first half of the 1900's. In the early 1960's, manufactures began making shotshells of plastic. In the late 1960's, it was determined that lead shot poisoned waterfowl eating in shallow water areas where there was heavy hunting. In 1974, Steel shot shells was offered for sale to hunters at the Brigantine Waterfowl Refuge in southern New Jersey by Winchester at Five dollars a box. These shells are marked "Experimental" and are orange in color.

Waterfowl hunting with lead shot, along with the use of lead sinkers in angling, has been identified as a major cause of lead poisoning in waterfowl, which often feed off the bottom of lakes and wetlands where lead shot collects.[5][6] In the United States, UK, Canada, and many western European countries (France as of 2006), all shot used for waterfowl must now be non-toxic, and therefore may not contain any lead. Steel is the cheapest alternative to lead, but steel has a much shorter effective range than lead because of its lower density: Thirty to forty yards is considered the maximum effective range for duck hunting. Steel is the most prevalently used shot due to state regulations. Some hunters do not like its shooting properties, as steel is less dense than lead. Therefore its effective range is decreased due to decreasing velocity in the shot. Many companies have improved steel shot by increasing muzzle-velocity and making more consistent 'shot' or pellets. Shot now travels at 1400 to 1500 Feet per second velocity. Within recent years, several companies have created "heavier than lead" non-toxic shot out of tungsten, bismuth, or other elements with a density similar or greater to lead. These shells have a more consistent patterns and greater range than steel shot. The increase in performance comes at a higher cost.

Hunters use pellet sizes 5,4, or 2 for ducks and 2, BB, BBB or T shot for geese. Buckshot is not allowed by law.

Waterfowl Calls

In old times, a duck call was a very simple woodwind instrument. It had a barrel, a sounding board and a reed. Hunters would grunt into the call while saying "hut", "quit" or "ut". With the improvement of calls and calling techniques the best callers are able to use no voice. The most prevalent and hunted duck in the United States, the mallard, makes the well known "quack" sound many associate with ducks. Other species make many different sounds, ranging from high-pitched whistles to very low, grunt-like quacks. There are calls for almost all species of ducks. Pintails, teal, wood ducks, diving ducks and other ducks including the calls of both the male, or drake and the female, or hen.

In many species, the call of the drake (male) is different from that of the hen (female). Mallard drakes make a lower pitch, longer quack than the hen mallard, and is actually more of a buzzing sound than that of a quack. This call is often used while feeding and when a mallard drake is landing. It gives the other birds a heads up. The quack of a mallard drake requires voice and is replicated by humming into a special whistle-like call. This whistle is often called a 6-in-1 whistle, due to the fact that it can replicate six different duck species sounds.

In teal, the drakes make a call of short bursts of a high pitch whistle. The "teet! (pause) teet! (pause) teet!-teet!" or any other order of repetition. This call can be made by blowing short bursts of air into the "6-in-1" whistle.

The majority of duck sounds such as quacking people have heard and are familiar with comes from females, or hen, mallards. Hen mallards are extremely vocal and this is probably why the number one call for duck hunting in North America is a mallard hen call. Many calls from the mallard hen include feeding call (when the hen has found food), the hail call (when the hen sees other ducks high in the air), and the comeback call (when many ducks are spooked and the hen stays and is telling the other ducks to come back because it is safe).

Today, duck and goose calls are made of plastic and wood. They can range in price from ten dollars to almost two hundred dollars.

Blinds

Duck hunters in a hunting blind. Decoys are visible in the water to the right.

There are numerous types of structures that qualify as duck blinds. Blinds can be temporary or permanent. They are very effective at concealing hunters and making their movements unnoticed.

For hunting over water, the types of blinds are almost unlimited.

A blind may be constructed out of plywood. Many of these permanent blinds look like a small shack with an opening that faces the water and a portion of the sky.

Often creating a temporary, natural blind as a method of concealment is a hunter's best bet. This is done by using native grasses or marsh vegetation and natural material and simply hiding in a tree, a clump of grass or a shrub. More sophisticated natural blinds may have large logs or branches leaned together or lashed together using rope.

Temporary blinds are common in protected and public areas where a permanent fixture is forbidden. Temporary blinds can be very simple and usually require a three-dimensional enclosure to conceal hunters from circling flocks.

With the growing popularity of motorcraft, such as boats, in waterfowl hunting, many individuals have chosen to use boat blinds, also known as pop-up blinds. Boat blinds are used to conceal a hunter while hunting from a boat. Boat blinds can be handmade or are available from manufacturers.

There are two common types of blinds for land and field-based waterfowl hunting: pit blinds and layout blinds. The pit blind can be a solid structure that is placed into a hole in the ground or on the bank of a waterbody. Since pit blinds rest below the top of the surrounding soil, some structural strength is required to prevent the soil from collapsing into the blind. Commercially available blinds can be made from fiberglass, polyethylene or even lightweight metals. Homemade blinds can also be constructed of wood, but typically cannot withstand the moisture of an underground habitat. Concrete walls are also constructed to form pit blinds typically on land owned or controlled by hunt clubs since this creates a permanent structure. Pit blind amenities can vary greatly from a basic blind with sticks or other temporary camouflage to elaborate multi-level blinds with small quarters for sleeping or cooking. Most pit blinds will have some form of movable door or slide that can be opended quickly when waterfowl are approaching while still allowing the hunters a good view while closed. Camouflage netting or screens are common materials for the movable top. One common drawback to pit blinds is their propensity to accumulate water. Especially in marsh or wetland areas, the soil can hold a large amount of moisture. Pit blinds are sometimes fitted with sump pumps or even hand operated pumps to assist the hunters in draining any water that has invaded the blind.

Layout blinds allow a hunter to have a low profile in a field without digging a hole. They are made of an aluminum metal frame and a canvas cover. Most modern commercial layout blinds are fitted with spring-loaded flaps on top that retract when the hunter is ready to fire. The layout blind allows the hunter to lie prone in the blind with only the head or face exposed to allow good visibility. Newer blinds also have a screen that provides a one-way view outside the blind to conceal the hunter, but allow him/her to observe the waterfowl. When birds are in range the hunter can open the flaps and quickly sit up to a shooting position. Layout blinds some in many different colors and patterns from plain brown to new camouflage patterns that simulate forage found in typical hunting locations. A favorite trick of saavy hunters is to use loose forage found in the specific field being hunted to camouflage the layout blind. Most blinds are fitted with canvas loops designed to hold stalks, grass or other material.

Decoys

Decoys are one of the most important pieces of equipment for the waterfowler. Using a good spread of decoys and calling, an experienced waterfowl hunter can successfully bag ducks or geese if waterfowl are flying that day. The first waterfowl decoys were made from vegetation such as cattails by Native Americans. In the 1700's, duck decoys were carved from soft wood such as pine. Many decoys were not painted. Live birds were also used as decoys. They were placed in the water and had a rope and a weight at the end of the rope so the duck could not swim or fly away. This method of hunting became illegal in the 1930's. By end of the 20th Century, collectors started to search for high quality wooden duck decoys that were used by market hunters in the late 1800's or early 1900's. Decoys used in Chesapeak Bay, Delaware Bay, or Barnaget Bay are highly sought after. Most decoys were carved from various types of wood that would withstand the rigors of many seasons of hunting. Highly detailed paint and decoy carvings that even included the outlines of tail or wing feathers turned the duck decoy into a work of art. Today, many collectors search estate sales, auctions, trade shows, or other venues for vintage duck decoys.

Modern decoys are typically made from molded plastic, that began in the 1960's. Making decoys of plastic, decoys can be made many times faster than carving from wood. The plastic allows a high level of detail, a resilient product and reasonable cost. Most are still hand painted. Most modern decoys are fitted with a "water keel" which fills with water once the decoy is immersed in water or a "weighted keel" filled with lead. Both types of keel help the decoy stay upright in wind or high waves. Weighted keel decoys look more realistic by sitting lower in the water. This also allows for decoys to be thrown into the water and the decoy to float upright. The obvious drawback to weighted keels are the added weight when carrying decoys for long distances. Decoys are held in place by some type of sinker or weight and attached via line to the decoy. Various weight designs allow the line to be wrapped around the decoy when not in use and secured by folding or attaching the lead weight to the decoy.

Decoys are placed in the water about 30 to 35 yards from the hunters. Usually a gap is in the decoy spread to allow ducks to land in the gap.

Recently, decoys have been introduced that provide life-like movement that adds to the attraction for waterfowl. Shakers are decoys with a small electric motor and an offset weighted wheel. As the wheel turns it causes the decoy to "shake" in the water and create realistic wave rings throughout the decoy spread. Spinning wing decoys are also fitted with an electric motor and have wings made of various materials. As the wings spin a optical illusion is created simulating the wing beats for landing birds. These decoys can be quite effective when hunting waterfowl and have been banned in some states. Other types of movement decoys include swimming decoys and even kites formed like geese or ducks.

Clothing

Duck season takes place in the fall and winter where the weather can be harsh. Waterproof clothing is critical to duck hunting. Most duck hunters hunt over water, and they stand in water or in a boat. In order to stand in the water and stay dry the hunter must wear waders. Waders are waterproof pants (usually made of a neoprene like material) that have attached boots and are completely waterproof. Typical waders are chest high, but waist high and knee high waders are sometimes used in shallow water. Duck hunting is a cold sport and the hunter must be well insulated from the cold. Ducks also have great vision and can see color this is why hunters must wear clothing that is well camouflaged. Camouflage clothing is various shades of brown or green or brown and green combined. Therefore hunter wear camouflage similar to the area they are hunting so the ducks do not see the hunters. Face masks are also worn so the ducks do not see the hunters faces. Camouflage gloves are also worn.

Many clothing manufacturers, such as Drake Waterfowl, Mossy Oak Brand Camo, Cabela's, Mad Dog, Under Armor and Whitewater Outdoors, have incorporated use of modern apparel technologies to provide added comfort and protection from the diverse weather elements to which waterfowl hunters can be subjected.

Dogs

A duck hunter with three mallards. A Labrador Retriever and duck decoys are visible in the background.

Duck hunters quite often employ a dog to retrieve downed birds. Most often hunters use Labrador Retrievers, Chesapeak Bay Retrievers and Spaniels to retrieve waterfowl. The use of a dog provides a number of advantages. As duck hunting often takes place in cold wet locations, the use of a dog frees the hunter from potentially dangerous forays into cold water to retrieve the bird. Such efforts can be dangerous for the hunter, but are managed by a dog quite easily. It also allows for the recovery of wounded birds that might otherwise escape. A dog's acute sense of smell allows them to find the wounded birds in swamps or marshes where weeds can allow a duck to hide. The use of a dog ensures that a higher percentage of the birds shot end up on the table. A disadvantage of having dogs in the duck blind, is that some dogs are not well-trained to sit, still can potentially ruin a good hunt. Dogs will run into the water looking for birds when guns are fired.

Hunters train dogs prior to season not to be gun shy and hold until instructed to move.

Wildfowling in Europe and the UK

(In the following section, the word hunt is replaced by shoot (and hunting by shooting), the terms commonly used in the U.K..)

Wild ducks and geese are shot over foreshores and inland and coastal marshes in Europe. In Britain, the sport is known as wildfowling. Birds are shot with a shotgun, and less commonly, a large single barreled gun mounted on a small boat, known as a punt. Due the ban of use of lead shot for hunting wildfowl or over wetlands, many wildfowlers are switching to modern guns with stronger engineering to allow the use of non-toxic ammunition such as steel or tungsten based cartridges. The most popular calibre is 12-gauge.

Only certain 'quarry' species of wildfowl may legally be shot in the UK, and are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. These are Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, Pochard, Shoveler, Pintail, Gadwall, Goldeneye, Tufted Duck, Canada Goose, White-fronted Goose (England and Wales only), Greylag Goose and Pink-footed Goose. Other common quarry targets for the wildfowler include the Common Snipe.

An intimate knowledge of the quarry and its habitat is required by the successful wildfowler. Shooting will normally occur during the early morning and late afternoon 'flights', when the birds move to and from feeding and roosting sites. The wildfowler is not looking for a large bag of quarry and his many hours efforts are rewarded by even a single bird. It is recommended that wildfowlers always shoot with a dog, or someone with a dog, to retrieve shot birds on difficult estuarine terrain. When a bird is in hand, wild ducks and geese make fabulous eating, but not all are available to buy. You cannot sell wild geese, for example, and ducks other than Mallard are difficult to find; but try farmers markets. The favourites on the table are Mallard, Wigeon and Teal.

Wildfowling has come under threat in recent years through legislation. Destruction of habitat also has played a large part in the decline of shooting areas, and recently in the UK "right to roam" policies mean that wildfowlers' conservation areas are at risk. However, in most regions, good relationships exist between wildfowlers, conservationists, ramblers and other coastal area users.

In the UK wildfowling is largely self-regulated. Their representative body, WAGBI (Wildfowlers Association of Great Britain and Ireland), was founded in 1908 by Stanley Duncan in Hull. This Association changed its name in 1981 to become the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and now represents all forms of live quarry shooting at European, national and local levels. There are also many wildfowling clubs around the coast of Great Britain, often covering certain estuary areas where wildfowl are found in large numbers.

Anyone wishing to try wildfowling is recommended to contact a local club or try the wildfowling permit scheme run by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).

Regulations, Sportsmanship, and Safety

Before the 1900's, there was no regulations on waterfowl hunting. Large shotguns and rifles were used. Live decoys were used as well as shotguns holding many shells. Hunting was done throughout the year. Then in the 1930's, the United States established regulations due to the severe decline in waterfowl populations.

Waterfowl hunting is highly regulated in most western countries. Hunters are required to obtain a hunting license and face strict limits on the number of birds that can be taken in a day (bag limits). And the total number of birds a hunter can possess (possession limits).

In the United States, hunters must also purchase a federal duck stamp and often a state stamp. It is illegal to shoot ducks from a motor vehicle, a moving boat, or to shoot sitting or swimming ducks; this is also considered unsportsmanlike and possibly unsafe. Many practices that were once common in commercial duck hunting before the turn of the century, including laying baits such as corn, use of live ducks as "decoys," and use of guns larger than a 10-gauge, are now prohibited.[4] In most areas, shotguns that can hold more than two or three shells must be modified to reduce their magazine size. Legal hunting is limited to a set time period (or "season"), which generally extends from fall to early winter, while birds are migrating south.[7]

It is also considered good sportsmanship to make every possible attempt to retrieve dead or injured waterfowl the hunter has shot. Birds are shot within range to prevent cripples. Shooting before birds are within range is also considered poor sportsmanship,, as this often merely injures the birds and may drive them away before other hunters can fire.

Many provinces in Canada require hunters, including waterfowl hunters, to complete hunter safety courses before they can obtain a license. [2] Waterfowl hunters fire short-range shotgun rounds into the air over often deserted bodies of water, so accidental injuries are rarer than in other hunting activities such as big game or deer hunting.

Hunting Areas

Mississippi Flyway

Waterfowl flyways of North America

In the Midwest and central United States, wildfowl hunting generally occurs on lakes, marshes, swamps, or rivers where ducks and geese land during their migration. Cornfields and rice paddies are also common hunting grounds, since geese and ducks often feed on the grain that remains in the field after harvest. In some areas, farmers rent or lease hunting rights. Some farmers or hunters form hunt clubs, which can cover thousands of acres and have resort-like amenities, or be as simple as a shallow pit blind dug into a field. On the East and West coast of America and many parts of Europe, waterfowl hunters often focus on the seashore.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains millions of acres as National Wildlife Refuges open to public hunting. All States have public Hunting and fishing areas. States publish maps of these areas.

Atlantic Flyway

On Maryland's Eastern Shore you will find similar hunting practices that you see in the Midwest of the US. For hunting locations, you may may want to research the State of Maryland Department of Natural Resource's Wildlife Management areas. In Maryland, WMA's are the "less traveled" public hunting venues. Very rustic, very rural. For example, on Maryland's Eastern Shore there is the Deal Island Wildlife Mnagement Area[8]. It is 13000 acres with 9 miles of trail. The impoundment area (lake) is a prime area for geese, duck, swan, etc. The Riley Roberts Road public boat ramp area of the WMA is in Dames Quarter. This is actually considered the main entrance to the WMA. It has 2 ramps. The ramp on the left is used by small boater owners. It features the east side of the impoundment (lake) area of the Deal Island Wildlife Management Area. The ramp on the right is used by larger boat owners. It quickly feeds in to where the mouth of the Manokin River meets the Tangier Sound waters of the Little Deal Island side of the Chesapeake Bay.

( Riley Roberts Rd is approximately 12 miles in from the Princess Anne, Md area of Rte 13. From Deal Island Rd turn on Riley Roberts Road. Take it to the end. Riley Roberts Rd is approximately 3 miles long. Very rustic, very rural. A good halfway marker is the old Deal Island School property which is directly across from 10876 Riley Roberts Road ).

Delaware Bay in New Jersey has been long known for excellent duck hunting.

Barnaget Bay, Great Egg Harbor, Little Egg Harbor, and Absecon Bay in New Jersey has been a favorite for waterfowl hunting since colonial times.

Mountain Flyway

Pacific Flyway

Waterfowl Conservation

Due to extensive market hunting from the 1700's to the early 1900's, waterfowl populations dropped drastically. In the 1930's there was a severe draught, in which waterfowl populations declined severely. Waterfowl are indigenous to marsh and wetland areas, which are shrinking at alarming rates due to the draught and farmers draining wetland areas to plant crops. Wetland conservation and restoration is critical for the continuance of waterfowl hunting. Organizations such as Ducks Unlimited are making a concerted effort to maintain and expand waterfowl and marshland conservation to ensure safety and expansion of the sport. Ducks Unlimited buys land or converts land into waterfowl habitat. Ducks Unlimited started in 1937 in Sullivan County New York when a hunter went hunting along a river and could not find any wood ducks. This hunter and others formed Ducks Unlimited. Now Ducks Unlimited has thousands of members that donate millions of dollars for buying waterfowl habitat in the United States and Canada. Ducks Unlimited has many dinners and other fund raisers throughout the year in each state.

See also

References

  1. ^ Waterfowl Ecology and Management (1994) by Guy A. Baldassarre, Eric G. Bolen, D. Andrew Saunders, Pp. 3-6.
  2. ^ Waterfowl Ecology and Management (1994) by Guy A. Baldassarre, Eric G. Bolen, D. Andrew Saunders.
  3. ^ "Artistic License- The Duck Stamp Story." Smithsonian National Postal Museum.
  4. ^ a b State of California. "Selected 2006 Waterfowl Hunting Regulations."
  5. ^ Sanderson, Glen C. and Frank C. Bellrose. 1986. A Review of the Problem of Lead Poisoning in Waterfowl. Illinois Natural History Survey, Champaign, Illinois. Special Publication 4. 34pp. full report from scholar.google.com (cache)
  6. ^ A.M. Scheuhammer and S. L. Norris. 1996. "The ecotoxicology of lead shot and lead fishing weights" Ecotoxicology Vol. 5 Number 5 pp. 279-295
  7. ^ TPWD:2006 2006-2007 Texas Hunting Season Dates, Grouped by Animal
  8. ^ http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/eastern/dealisland.html

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