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Updated 2012

RINGNECK DUCK(S)
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 surprised!

This is yet another diver, and the last of this series. Ringneck ducks seem to be solitary, and don't as a rule mix well with other ducks, preferring to be aloof from other species. The drake (only), sure enough has a very faint ring around it's neck, but both the drake and 'duck' have definite band/rings around/near the tip of their beak/bill. Most hunters with savvy feel that the name 'ringbill' would be a more suitable name for this excellent bird.  Often times  people call the mallard the 'ringneck', but this is slang - although admittedly, the ring around a mallard's neck is far more pronounced and obvious than the actual ring around a ringneck duck. The ringneck duck is so drab on the overall, that the ring around it's neck is far more relative than anything else, so, no doubt, why it got this name.

I have shot ringnecks decoying into bluebill and canvasback decoy spreads, but generally, they don't decoy readily to these other species 'blocks'. In wickedly inclement weather they may however, and - rules of thumb are difficult to prove in the duck shooting sports - just as in fishing. 

Ringneck ducks prefer to nest way up north on remote small lakes and ponds, and will raft up together in flocks of several hundred before flying south. They seem to stay in these units once established. These ducks are not what most would regard as a 'pretty' duck, being of greys and whites, with the pale ring around their (drake's) neck.

Some people with ringneck savvy will set a decoy spread out off a point on a small lake or large pond. These 'best bet' places are necessarily nearly always in relatively open water for the best ringneck shooting; especially when these birds are on migration. They will, like any duck, seek calm waters of bays and inland marshes if the weather is particularly nasty. They seem to prefer the small lake and large marsh settings over big open water like canvasback and redheads or bluebills. I have shot them on big water though - but have had far better overall luck on the aforementioned small U usually relatively shallow) lakes and large ponds.

Over the years, I've had good harvests of ringneck ducks, but for the most part, these 'good' harvests have come from remote ponds/beaver ponds in the Central Ontario region of pre-Cambrian shield, such as the Muskoka and Haliburton areas, extending up to Sudbury and westward towards Sault Ste Marie. I've only shot the occasional ringneck duck in the southern Ontario area, even in one of North America's premier waterfowling places, that of Long Point Bay.
I have encountered larger robust flocks where I live now in northern Ontario, but haven't really worked on them to any great extent, simply because I haven't had time. The fall is an intense and busy time for me. A younger hardy fellow could do well in this area with ringnecks if they chose to do so. They are one of the latest migrators - and one must be ready for nasty weather to hunt ringnecks with any consistency.

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 – This summer on your holidays come to my neck-of-the-woods here on the North Shore of Georgian Bay for a variety of outdoor workshops – 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 and other outdoor or environmental oriented 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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