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Updated 2012

WOOD DUCK(S)

Are very colorful indeed! I regard them as one of our most handsome/pretty of all North American wild fowl. They are slightly smaller than mallards, being roughly three quarters of a mallard's size. They are larger than teal though, and are eagerly sought after by hunters of the Mississippi and Atlantic flyways. But hunters in any flyway may get a 'crack' at these fine feathered friends, as a few seem to 'stray' into both the Central & pacific flyways occasionally. 

These birds nest in trees (mostly hollow), so they aren't too populous out west where 'denning/nesting' sites aren't readily available. 

These birds are very mild flavored, and will go to grain fields to feed, but seem to overall, prefer the wild harvest of acorns, berries and the like found around wetlands/river sheds. 

These birds aren't necessarily a 'marsh' bird, and will propagate in river/stream/pond watersheds where hollow trees seem to be more prevalent. Many of the places( streams/ponds) that successfully rear a brood of woodies may be very small indeed.

Back in the late 40's and early 50's, because of loss of habitat - primarily the loss of hollow trees, the wood duck population crashed, sadly. 

The good news is that many conservation minded people and groups erected 'wood duck' nesting boxes by the thousands over this bird's range. This was all the woodie needed, and today this bird is not only able to be hunted, due to stable populations, but is quite populous as well. But we must keep up this good work of erecting nesting boxes for the wood duck - more and more hollow trees are disappearing each year. Raccoon are a major predator of wood duck nests- when they are most vulnerable. I urge anyone who is into wood duck propagation potential to consider coon population techniques. 

 These birds do decoy well, especially to decoys of their own species. They also make a creaking squawk as a greeting or alarm cry, so calling is possible. One not good at calling would be wiser not to call at all, until proficient at calling these fine fowl! 

Woodies are regarded as an early migrator, and seem to leave quite early in the season, especially if 'pressured' by hunters. They don't leave quite as early as in autumn as teal though. Woodies will migrate north from their family rearing sites in some flyways, then head back south again as autumn draw on.

Woodies can be humanely harvested with 20 Ga. shotguns, especially when loaded with size five or six bismuth, and offer fast/quick, and often fast difficult shooting opportunities. If using 12 Ga, use six shot or five's. Don't sky-bust - let-'em right in before shooting - these pristine flavored denizens deserve to be harvested humanely with good quick clean kills. Having said that - I urge everyone who is going to hunt waterfowl to be as good a shot as you can be. Start early in the fall by getting out to a gun range or sand pit and throw a multitude of clay pigeons to hone your shooting ability. By doing this, we'll be less likely to cripple birds.



2012 Update! New for 2012 are my audio Cds on a variety of outdoor & environmental topics including both open water fishing and ice fishing. Topics such as ( Open water) Walleye Fishing Inland Lakes: Walleye Fishing Rivers; Do email me for a lsit of them as I have a whole series on walleye fishing alone! I'm adding to them all the time!

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 – Outdoor/environmental workshops - come to my neck-of-the-woods here on the North Shore of Georgian Bay for a variety of workshops – even including summer 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 ( a great way for cost-sharing) and learn from a pro while on your holidays. My prices are reasonable, and I'll tailor a workshop to your schedule on most outdoor/environmental including 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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