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Updated 2012

By John A. Vance, Environmental Eng. Tech., & Outdoor Writer, Member: Outdoor Writers of Canada, et al. 'Pro ' Outfitter/Guide ( emeritus) with 40 years - as a pro in the field!
This is copyrighted material. For permission to use any of this info, please ask by sending request via email - I think you'll be pleasantly surprized!

This is another diver duck, but is not regarded fully as a 'fish' duck, in that it may only occasionally eat fish/crustaceans. It primarily eats, like scaup (bluebills), vegetable forage such as coontail and water celery, with only the occasional opportune 'meat' diet. Even most puddle ducks will likewise eat crayfish periodically - but not particularly often. 

The redhead ducks are about the same size as the greater scaup (bluebill) and is slightly smaller than a canvasback and/or mallard. For many people it is difficult to distinguish between a female redhead and a female canvasback, and sometimes even a drake bluebill. The red on the drake redhead's head is a dark red/rust color, much the same as the rust/red, but a bit deeper than that of common red primer paint often seen on vehicles to be painted. 

A redhead, generally, has a 'puffier' looking head than a canvasback duck, and a broader beak/bill, with more of a blue/grey color on it9 the beak). As well, the very front of the redhead beak is rounded, much like a bluebill's, whereas the canvasback beak is a bit slimmer, and goes down to a distinctive hook/down on the top of the beak, at it's tip. The canvasback beak starts much higher up on the duck's head/forehead area. This is where a picture is worth a thousand words, please look at the graphics for a better explanation of what I'm saying here. 

The redhead is a great duck for eating, and decoys readily! Generall redheadsy aren't as wary as canvasbacks. Because of their similarities in habitat preference, you'll often find bluebills, canvasbacks and redheads all using the same staging areas. Redhead populations were in decline over the past several years, but due to good breeding seasons in the past couple of years, their numbers are rebounding, and in the Long Point (Lake Erie - Canada) bag limits have risen.  This is similar for much of the Canadian side of the border - I can't speak to the US side of the migration issue.

Redheads will usually decoy readily to either canvasback or bluebill decoys, and of course to redhead decoys. I don't know of anyone using primarily redhead decoys in their decoy spreads though, and most hunters will have a few redheads mixed in with their bluebill decoys - and often canvasback blocks too; because there more white on the canvasback decoys stand out better - and can be seen further than either the bluebill/redhead decoys as a consequence... and thus, preferred by many seasoned hunters with savvy.

2012 Update! New for 2012 are my audio Cds on a variety of topics including both open water fishing and ice fishing. Topics such as ( Open water) Walleye Fishing Inland Lakes: Walleye Fishing Rivers;

Walleye Fishing Precambrian Lakes: and a host of others....(Ice Fishing) Ice Fishing For Everyone ( set of 2 Cds):

Ice Fishing for Bluegill, Crappie & Perch: Ice Fishing for Walleye: Ice Fishing For Seniors...and a host of others...

Also new for 2012 – come to my neck-of-the-woods here on the North Shore of Georgian Bay for a variety of workshops while on your summer holidays – including ice fishing workshops! We have a clean & tidy campground here with access onto the Serpent River which flows into Georgian Bay ( approx a half mike away). So you can bring your own boat if you wish. They have RV hookup as well as tenting and cabins. There is also a small mom/pop Motel ( with Kitchenette Facilities of you wish) here for those not into camping.

Bring along your entire family – or fishin' buds and learn while on your holidays. My prices are reasonable, and I'll tailor a workshop to your schedule on most fishing and ice fishing subjects. Email me for pricing of my various workshops and details as well as any other questions you may have.

We also have superb ATV trails here, and a wonderful night sky-scape – campfire smoke – a true northern experience...John A. Vance

Author: John A. Vance
Copyright © 1998 John A. Vance. . . 

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