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Free Tips...

click to enlargeTHE BAGGING OF A QUACK

Early Americans saw the sport of duck hunting quite differently from how we view it today. In the days of the Pilgrims, an estimated 1/2-billion ducks inhabited America. Duck hunting involved no sport. The meat provided vittles,and you bagged them any way you could. Here's some tactics for taking ducks.


The first settlers observed the way Indians hunted ducks. Realizing the bow and arrow couldn't accurately shoot at great distances or consistently down ducks on the wing, the Indians knew they had to lure waterfowl in close if they wanted to take them. The native red man practiced the tactics of the fox.

Since a fox can't out-fly or out-swim a duck, he has to lure the duck in close enough to ambush it. For this reason, foxes hunt in pairs when trying to take a duck dinner. One wily fox moves silently and quietly to an ambush point close to shore. The other fox races up and down the shoreline.

The ducks rafting out in the water will become interested in the racing fox. The ducks will swim toward the fox on the shore, squawking and quacking angrily. Some of the rafting ducks even will fly toward the fox and begin to squawk and fuss at him.

The ducks, continuing to squawk, will move closer and closer to the frantic fox running up and down the shoreline. Soon the birds will walk within striking distance of the second fox hidden in the grass on the bank. When the attack comes, the fox lying in wait may kill one to three ducks before they can fly off.

When the Indians observed this natural phenomenon, they modified the game of the fox and the duck by using a fox skin and a rope. Two braves would get on either side of an inlet and hide in the brush. Using the rope and the fox skin, they would drag the fox skin back and forth across the shoreline, much like the antics of the decoy fox. The ducks would see the fox skin going back and forth on the bank and move in to squawk at the fox. Then the waiting Indians would arrow the ducks.

The French and Spanish explorers observed the fox game of the Indians for taking waterfowl. Back in their countries, they began to train and breed red, shaggy dogs with white blazes on their faces and paws and fluffy tails like foxes. They called these dogs, which they trained to go back and forth along the shoreline retrieving a stick, tolling dogs.

Frenchmen often set up in three blinds and waited for the ducks to move in to the tolling dog. When the ducks came close to the bank, the hunters who threw the stick for the dog to retrieve would shoot the waterfowl on the water. When the second blind heard the blast from the first blind, they immediately would fire 1 to 1 1/2-feet above the water, catching the ducks that jumped in the air. Then the third blind of hunters, once they heard the report of the shotguns from the second blind, would fire 3 or 4 feet above the water and take any ducks that escaped the first two volleys. The tolling dog/three blind tactic became a deadly harvesting tool for large numbers of waterfowl in one morning's outing.

Come Back Throughout the Week for More Free Tips...

Day One - Tolling Ducks
Day Two - Market Gunning Ducks

Day Three - Take Early 20th Century Ducks
Day Four - Stalking Ducks

Day Five - Jump Shooting Essentials

For more tips from the pros
visit Night Hawk's Free Tips page.