Monday, February 18, 2013

A Typical Day At The Mallard Inn

There have been many descriptions of duck hunters over the years and most are not flattering. So I thought I would take a typical day from this past duck season and try and capture the true essence of a duck hunter. Hopefully, it will help explain the joy, challenge, and rewards that a duck hunter receives each time he goes on a hunt, and at the same time provide a little insight into why we do what we do.

January 4th, 2013 ....
I woke up and left my warm bed at 4 a.m. Rain mixed with ice was beginning to fall, the temperature read 22 degrees on my porch thermometer and the wind was from the South-East at around 20 mph. A typical duck hunting day, except we seldom get easterly winds. 

I started the coffee then returned to the bedroom to scrounge through my hunting clothes. My wife looked up from the bed and gave me the same heart-warming send off she usually does, .... “you must be crazy” she muttered. 

"Well, if I am, there are 7 more just like me waiting at the camp," I replied. 

She closed her eyes then rolled over, grateful for the extra room left in the bed.  

I stopped out on the highway at the 24-hour gas station to fill up my pickup and refill my coffee cup. All the while the clerk suspiciously looked over my camouflage attire and black grease paint on my face. I noticed him closely watching me as I stepped back in my pickup to drive through total darkness and icy rain to our duck camp while constantly watching the road and ditches for deer that apparently love to jump in front of my vehicle.

I finally reached my destination, The Mallard Inn Duck Camp. Which already held five other sleepy-eyed hunters, two smelly Labrador retrievers, and the ever present scent of lake mud, sweat, and burned biscuits hanging in the air like heavy pollution? 

I walked in, offered a, "Good Morning", greeting, which was answered with two grunts, a screw-you, and a resounding belch.

“Want breakfast?” Bob asked. I said “Yes,” and he threw a rock-hard biscuit that bounced off my hands ricocheted across the dining table and hit a drowsy hunter just below his worry lines.

“Good hands,” the biscuit thrower grumbled. “You should be a wide receiver for the Tigers."

I retrieved the biscuit, exchanged a few more endearing terms that I would never print in a family type blog. Sat down at the table to enjoy another cup of coffee along with the rock-hard biscuit. 

Bob got up, looked out the window and said, “Daylight will be coming soon, think it’s time to go to the blind”.

Our trek to our tethered duck boats began as we set out to provide duck-meat nourishment for our families that costs several thousand dollars a pound after you factor in all expenses. We all loaded up with our blind bags, shotguns, shells, extra 6-volt and 12-volt batteries, and the ever present thermos of coffee. Dawn was just breaking as we all started our walk down the 300 foot home-made dock that was bouncing on its barrels like a thrill ride at Six-Flags amusement park. This same walk seemed a lot easier 40 years ago.

We moved through the darkness along the icy dock which was pitching up and down in the 20 mph winds. Eager Labrador retrievers added to the dangers of negotiating the slippery surface by constantly bumping our legs while awaiting to load into a boat. 

Under these adverse conditions you can count on each hunter being especially vigilant, constantly watching his fellow hunter, not wanting to miss seeing someone slip, trip, fall, or slide into the cold lake. This type of face-first plunge would have drawn hysterical laughter from all of the hunters and duck blind conversation for all our remaining years. 

Now let me make a suggestion to young hunters that still have many years of hunting with their buddies;  never, and I repeat never, do something that may be classified as stupid on a duck hunt. You will never hear the end of it! 

This brings up the subject of duck blind conversations. This is a series of talks about memorable hunts, and embarrassing moments that happened to someone else on a hunt, or in our case, the conversation might turn to the morning that Will fell off the dock and sunk up so deep in the mud that it took 3 of us and a hoist to get him unstuck and back onto the walk, or the morning that Kim fell off the blind while trying to kick his lab for retrieving decoys. 

Anyway, back to the hunt at hand. We were all loaded into our boats and headed out to the blind. This morning Will and I are hunting with Bob. Now let me stop right here. .... Bob has this uncanny knack or talent of being able to negotiate in total darkness, through the thickest stump field without ever hitting a stump. Yet the return trip, in daylight, is quite dangerous as he seems to hit every stump. 

So here we go cutting through 3-ft high waves toward the blind. About half way there, I hear Bob say, "It's too rough to hunt the open water tank blind, let's go hunt the woods blind." 

We all agreed that under these windy conditions it might be more productive and protected to hunt our woods blind.

"We need to swing by the tank blind and pick up a "mojo" for the woods blind." Bob said.

Now a "mojo" is any brand of battery operated spinning-wing decoy, which we all have several that are mounted on top of metal pipes that are driven into the lake bottom. These motorized spinners are strategically placed among our stools of floating decoys so that their movement will attract ducks from all directions.

OK ... picture this, the boat is bouncing up and down like a rubber ball as Bob skillfully maneuvers the boat up next to a mojo mounted on top of one of these metal pipes. I reach out and grab the pipe just as the boat suddenly dips down between swells. The pole bends, I loose my grip, and the mojo catapults off the pole out into the dark abyss.

"That's $149 you owe me," Bob says.

"Ain't worth that much. That's the one that Will shot yesterday." I replied as we continued on to collect another spinner.

You see, during yesterday's hunt, a duck flew in over the decoys and Will put one of his infamous F.F.T's on it. The duck flew past one of the mojo's and Will put so many holes in that spinner that the wings began to whistle as they turned. 

Having finally made a successful retrieve, and with spinner at hand we head towards the woods blind. 

Thanks to Bob's skillful maneuvering through the stools of decoys to get our spinning-wing mojo, we now are dragging a dozen decoys behind us. They have gotten wrapped around the motor, caught on the boat, and tangled in the prop. We continue on, leaving a single-file trail of decoys in our wake.

Arriving at the woods blind, We place our spinner into position on a metal pole and climbed into the blind.

The woods blind was built using 55-gallon drums as floatation. It is set in a productive spot with carefully laid out stools of decoys. Earlier we in the season we had skillfully arranged our decoys to imitate ducks resting and feeding in a spot that was better than the other million spots all over the lake - or at least that’s what we were determined to make the ducks think.

In the Blind we sat on our homemade bench with shotguns loaded and duck calls in hand as we scanned the sky and waited for a flock of mallards to appear.

It was raining, the wind was blowing, the blind was bouncing, and ice was beginning to coat the brush and moss used as camouflage. Our collars were turned up while we sat and sat and sat.

After sitting three hours in this uncomfortable place, Bob suggested, “Well, I guess the ducks are not coming.” so we packed up our gear, loaded back into the boat and eased out to retrieve our recently mounted mojo. 

Once again Bob artfully maneuvered the boat up next to the mojo pole, I grabbed the mojo, yanked upward to dislodge it from the pole. It had formed a layer of ice which caused it to slip from my hands launching up into the air and back down to the bottom of the lake.

"That's now $258 you owe me," Bob said, as he hit a stump with the motor.

After several near-death collisions with hidden stumps we made our way back to the dock. Once the boat was tethered we began the heart-testing trek back up the long, now ice covered dock, each with 50 pounds of equipment strapped over our shoulders and a disappointed Labrador retriever that was apparently still trying to trip me.

Suddenly I stepped on a extremely slippery spot, slide into Bob causing him to loose his grip on a new 12-volt battery that plunged off the dock and to the bottom of the lake.

"You now owe me $366," he muttered.

Now a psychiatrist might offer a reason for full-grown men willingly spending a portion of their lives like this. Healers of our mind’s problems might find a scientific term for this behavior, they might even write a thesis for one of them nut-case journals.

A psychiatrist might even conclude: “One reason they put their bodies and minds through extreme torture and return year after year to continue this punishment is because they are crazy!"

I finally arrived home, cold, wet, and muddy. I walked into the house and my loving wife of over 30+ years looked at me and said, "you are crazy". 

She also told me that Bob had called and she was mailing him a check for the $366 that I owe him.

It was then that she looked straight into my wind burned eyes and said. "You need to find another hunting partner, we really can't afford for you to hunt with Bob anymore."

You Almost Have To Be A Brain Surgeon

( A thought to have been lost story from 2006)

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved a 60-day configuration for the 2005-06 duck season. Simply put it allows a 6-duck per day bag limit.  But, it is a long way from being that simple. First off we have different hunting zones in the state of Louisiana.  West Zone hunters get to go first with the first split of their season opening Nov. 12. The East Zone hunters follow the next Saturday, Nov. 19. Both splits will end Dec. 4, and then pick up their second splits Dec. 17. The West Zone will end January 22 and the East January 29.
OK, so to hunt ducks in Louisiana you first must determine which zone you are in.  I am a native, born and raised in Louisiana and I still don’t know exactly where the boundaries for each zone run. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission maintains an extensive website, but does not include the waterfowl zones on their website. I called both the Caddo and Bossier Sheriffs departments and was told, … “I’m not sure”. I called the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission and was told to pick up a waterfowl pamphlet at one of my local sporting goods stores.  After contacting the three local sporting goods store, I was told that they were all out of the pamphlets.  So once again …. I think I know which zone I am in and for the purpose of this article, let’s assume you all know which zone you are in.

Now lets examine the 6-duck per day bag limit . Upon closer examination the simple 6-duck per day limit now becomes a bit more complicated. The daily bag limit of 6 can consist of no more than 4 mallards of which no more than 2 can be hens, 2 wood ducks, 2 redheads, 2 scaup, 1 pintail, 3 mottled ducks, 1 black duck. Now the sport of identification really begins. For instance lets take the mottled duck and the black duck.

The identification of the mottled versus the black duck in Louisiana is a little understood or appreciated field problem for observers. One of the problems causing confusion is that all of the standard field guides illustrate the main race of mottled ducks, which are more commonly found in Florida and the eastern Gulf Coast. Birds from most of Louisiana and Texas are of the maculosa race commonly found in Mexico.

Louisiana mottled ducks  can be every bit as dark as black ducks, show purple speculum, and have gleaming white wing linings. Our mottleds can vary from pale to very dark birds. This is never mentioned in the field guides. Basically, to ID a true black duck in Louisiana takes a very careful study of the feather edges of the scapulars, flank, back, etc. Mottleds show buffy internal markings on these feathers with a buffy edge, while black ducks lack any internal markings on these feathers and have very crisp, fine, lighter edges. There are some slight differences in the throat and facial markings as well, but these are subtle and very hard to see even after the bird is harvested. 

Yet a duck hunter in Louisiana is supposed to be able to distinguish between the two species while the bird is traveling in excess of 30 mph in the low light of early morning. You really should be a certified wildlife biologist to hunt these ducks. To make matters even tougher, most game wardens do not know the difference and will automatically classify both species as a black mallard if you are checked in the field. So good luck proving that you have 3 mottled ducks instead of 3 black mallards. 

Oh, by the way, did I mention the canvasback ? The 6-duck per day bag limit also allows for 1 canvasback. Well, sort of. -----  You can harvest 1 canvasback a day, but only during the special canvasback season. Yes, now we have a season within a season. There is a 30-day canvasback season -- Dec. 17 through Jan. 15 in both zones -- with a one-per-day limit on that species.

In addition to the daily bag limit on ducks, you can kill 15 coots and 5 mergansers of which only 1 can be a hooded merganser. Why, you would want to kill either of these species is beyond me.

Lets recap what species can be harvested under the simple 6-duck per day bag limit:

1. 4 mallards ( only 2 can be hens)
2. 2 scaup ( includes both Greater Scaup and Lesser Scaup
3. 2 wood ducks
4. 2 redheads
5. 1 pintail
6. 3 mottled ducks
7. 1 black duck
8. 1 canvasback
9. 6 widgeons
10. 6 gadwalls or gray ducks ( another argument  for another day)
11. 6 goldeneyes
12. 6 buffleheads
13. 6 spoonbills
14. 6 ring necks
15. 6 butterballs
16. 6 teal (Both cinnamon and green wing even though the limit is only 4 during the early teal season.)

Plus other species that I can’t recall right now.  You must be able to extinguish between them all while in flight during such low light times as from 30 minutes before sunrise and at sunset. Which brings me to the simple timetable that the state of Louisiana has published for use to determine sunrise and sunset. This timetable can be found in the waterfowl pamphlet and on the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries website.

You have to have the New Orleans timetable then the separate timetable for other areas of the state. You check your area or the area closest to where you hunt and then the month and then the day. Once you have established all that you either add or subtract the difference in minutes that is given for your area from the New Orleans timetable. Next you have to add an hour if during daylight savings time such as the special teal season. If you need the legal shooting time for early morning then you have to also subtract 30 minutes from the sunrise time. It’s as simple as that.

I won’t even go into the goose season and daily bag limits. That is even too complicated for a duck hunter.

So I hope this helps to simplify the season and bag limit for all of you duck hunters.  Better yet, you really need to be a brain surgeon to understand it all.

Friday, January 13, 2012

I turn 60 today (or was it yesterday ... hell, I can't remember)

Today I enter my 7th decade of  life and I don’t even remember getting here. In the blink of an eye, I have been shoved from middle-age right into senior citizenship. I have become invisible and irrelevant to those that are selling beer, cool cars, skin and hair products, outdoor equipment, and a vast array of  campaigns aimed at a younger crowd. I am now the target audience of Depends, Geritol, denture creams, Scooter Chairs, and all the medical life-line gadgets.

Once I was hip, cool, rad, hot, (OK maybe not so hot) but overnight I have now become an old coot, a codger, a curmudgeon, a cranky old man. I can no longer walk along a beach and stare at  the  girls in bikinis without being tagged as a old pervert. 

Turning 60 was like being in a downhill slide on frozen pavement; You see everything coming but you can’t avoid crashing into it.

In 60 years, lots of things have happened in my life, happy things, very sad things, very important things. When I reflect on my life, what comes to mind is that I have been extremely lucky and blessed with what I have experienced.

What I have seen: The first space launch, Landing on the Moon, Inventing the color TV, Computers, Cell Phones, the list could go on and on.

Where did the time go? I don't feel any older. I still recognize the person in the mirror. It's just that the person I remember didn't have all that gray hair.

Anyway, today is the day, ….. and I really don’t feel any different than I did yesterday. The same old aches are still there, I still can’t read without my glasses, I still take the same amount of pills, and I better not hear one person say ….. You're at the prime of your life or These prelude the golden years, so have fun, or You should be all set now or You are as young as you feel. If I do, they are going to see how a 60 –year old man can whip their ass!

So what, … I’m 60 …. To hell with everybody, I’ll wear the rubber pants, ride the scooter chair, get dentures, comb my hair over, wear that life-line gadget around my neck, and be tagged an old pervert! The alternative seems to be worse. 

I have to go now, …. Need to clean the drool off of my keyboard.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Despicable Deed Was Carried Out On Lake Bistineau This Past Monday

Using the protection of a mid-day rain storm, a cowardly and despicable deed was carried out on Lake Bistineau this past Monday.

Some low-life individual(s) decided to steal all of my decoys. The decoys they stole weren’t just any decoy. The majority were the Model #72 Herters which are not being manufactured anymore and have almost overnight become a collector’s item.

Present day value of these decoys are between $9 and $12 each. The total value of what they took comes in just shy of $3,000. This being a felony theft, I called the Sheriff’s Department.

During their investigation I was told that it would be illegal for me to offer a reward for the death and/or dismemberment of the perpetrators so therefore I cannot offer a reward for the death and/or dismemberment of these thieves.

Putting aside the monetary loss, what these thieves actually took from me goes way beyond a price tag. This duck season has been virtually cut short. There is no way for me to get 150 decoys rigged, ready, transported, and put out to hunt. All this years past preparations, of building new docks, building new blinds, re-working and refurbishing old blinds, getting the camp ready, etc. Right now it all seems to have been for nothing.

What they actually stole from me is my desire to duck hunt. Right now I am “pissed” so I know that this feeling will pass and my passion for duck hunting will return.

But after storing up 40+ years of wonderful memories, this one will always be in the forefront and be one that I will never forget. And for the few years I still have left to hunt, there will always be the nagging fear that it could happen again.

If there is one consolation, it is the fact that even without being able to offer a reward for the death and/or dismemberment of the thieves, is that I will eventually find out who they are. These decoys are unique; they are hardly used by any other hunter in North Louisiana. They are all marked, easily recognized, and can be picked out even in the midst of other decoys. Plus you can’t take a boat load of 150 plus decoys out of the lake in mid-season without someone somewhere seeing you.

So if you are a duck hunter on Lake Bistineau, let me apologize now for disturbing your morning or afternoon hunt, but if you see an old fellow in a War Eagle boat perusing your decoy spread, it will be me looking for what was taken from me. Without being able to offer a reward for the death and dismemberment of the actual thieves, checking every decoy spread and temporary setup this season and for seasons to come is all that is left for me to do.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Show Me Yours!

Show me yours ……
OK, if you show me yours ….

Yours is longer than mine.
Yes, but yours has a larger diameter.

Even with the extra length, it is really quite firm.
Yours is nice and firm also.

How do you keep that long one in place?
It has a magnet attached to the underside to hold it.

A magnet? …. Yikes!
I just use the old fashion way and screw mine into place.

Yours seems to glow in the dark.
Yours also seems to glow in the dark.

Thus went the conversation as we sat in the duck blind comparing each other’s newest light-gathering optic shotgun sight by TruGlow. TruGlow makes the world’s most advanced product line of fiber optic sights in the world. They have over 10 different models for shotguns alone.

Bob uses the longer Magnum Glo-Dot and I hunt with the shorter Fat-Bead. But we both agree that the green is far superior to the red or orange for low light wing shooting. It just seems to gather more light.

You can purchase your own TruGlow sight from most outdoor retailers or order them direct from TruGlow. Just make sure that you order the right one to match your shotgun. They are not a fit-one-fit all, but are made differently to fit different makes and models of shotguns.

You can see and order your TruGlow sight from their website ….. Who knows it may even improve your shooting and at the very least, it makes for some interesting conversation.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Are You Ready?

Opening day of duck season …. IT’S HERE!!!

This is the day that you work out the kinks so that you are a well oiled hunting machine by the time the red legged mallards arrive.

1. Check Your Decoys
About 25% of my decoys come from other resources; they have names on them like …. Brotherton, Lee, Jenkins, Stewart, Saucier, Gaspard, etc. I spend several hours each year scratching off these unknown labels and re-writing my name to the bottom of each decoy. I then make sure that these newly altered decoys are placed into the middle areas of my spread.

2. Inspect Your Boat
No other type of hunting contains more variables, more unplanned events, and more things that could go wrong, than water fowling. Most duck boats spend the majority of their time sitting on the trailer in the garage or in the yard. Be sure to make an inspection of both the boat and the motor. Riveted aluminum boats have a tendency to develop leaks during the summer months and outboards seem to attract dirt-dobbers, wasp, ants, and more. Nothing is more frustrating on opening day than a motor that won’t run or a boat that leaks. I never really worry about the trailer lights as I am on the road long before most drivers are up.

3. Check Your Waders
I have found a way to combine checking my decoys, boat inspection, and wader inspection into a single step operation. I drag out the garden hose, fill up the boat with water, then throw a few decoys in and while the boat fills with water I climb in while wearing my waders. By the way, this is a great way to check your trailer tires and bearings. The weight of the water always seems to reveal any trailer tire weakness and wheel bearing short comings. Oh yeah, and any leaks in the waders.

4. Fine Tune Your Spinning Wing Decoys
Replace and/or recharge the batteries. Straighten and synchronize the wings of your spinning wing decoys. There is no greater distraction than having one wing with the white side up while the other wing rotates with the white side down.

5. Prepare Your Retriever
There is more to preparing your retriever for a full day’s hunt than just throwing bumpers for him to retrieve. You have to prepare him for what will actually take place in the blind. I begin several weeks in advance by standing at my kitchen counter with an open can of beanie-weenies, or a pop-tart. As if by accident I drop bits onto the kitchen floor and record my retriever’s response time that it takes to locate and scarf up the dropped food. Your dog’s reaction time should be fast enough to keep food from being underfoot should a brace of ducks swing over the decoys.

6. Inspect and Clean Your Gun
Do I really need to expand on this topic? If you are like most duck hunters, you will be spending Friday night wiping down your gun (several times) and packing, then re-packing your blind bag.

7. Pack Your Snacks and Drinks
Please refer to my previous blog on the proper etiquette required

8. Go Over All Hunting Regulations
Not really, I just added this step in case there are law enforcement persons who can read this blog.

9. Waterfowl I.D.
We have a designated I.D. guy; he is usually the first one out of the blind and back at camp. All harvested waterfowl are identified by this person and should someone have accidentally harvested a “wrong” bird, it is then given to someone whose bag limit can accommodate the addition. Oops, I forget ….. there may be law enforcement persons who can read this blog. Let me refer you to this website where you can obtain a waterfowl I.D. Chart you can even download their mobile app for identifying ducks.

10. Arrive Early
On opening day you must arrive at the duck camp early. Why not, it’s not like you are sound asleep at home. You have probably awakened several times through the night and checked your clock. You have most likely been up 30 minutes before the alarm is set to go off. So, you might as well drive on down to the duck camp and visit with your hunting buddies that have spent the same sleepless night.  ..... Now stop surfing the web, get dressed and go on down to the duck camp.

P.S. - Remember to take your gun

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Preparing For The Upcoming Duck Season

Preparing For The Upcoming Duck Season

All duck hunters know there are basic chores that have to be preformed prior to the arrival of duck season. These tasks include blind brushing, decoy readiness, retriever training, boat inspections, and wader repairs. These are jobs that almost every water-fowler performs routinely before the beginning of each duck season.

All of these are important tasks, however there is one job that should not be overlooked. What I am talking about is the type of preparedness that separates the average duck hunter from the seasoned veteran. If performed properly, it can make the difference between a good hunt and an excellent hunting experience. If properly done, it can lead to you being considered an expert in the art of water-fowling by your fellow hunters. Done poorly, and you will be remembered as just a run-of-the-mill duck hunter.

What I am talking about is the right and proper method of stocking up on drinks and snacks in the duck blind. With over 40+ years of duck hunting experience, believe me, I know what I am talking about here.

In order to understand the right approach to “blind stocking” we must begin with the premise that duck hunters are probably not the healthiest bunch of human beings. Have you ever made a visit to your local outdoor store in November? I would be willing to bet the shelves were loaded with “Mens Small” and “Mens Medium” clothing items. You would be hard pressed to find any “XL” or “XXL” items left on the shelf. And after 40 years of hunting experience I have never heard one hunter say, “I need to take my hunting clothes to a tailor and have them taken in.”

This is not to say that we don’t get our share of exercise, we are always chasing unruly hunting dogs, lugging bags of decoys through the mud and brush, who hasn’t had to paddle a boat with a stick or a pair of “flip-flops”, wade through knee deep mud, and carry a “ton” of shells stuffed into our coat pockets all in the same hunt. In fact I would be willing to bet that a group of 10 Duck Hunters would most likely open a can of “Whoop-Ass” on 10 Aerobic Instructors, just as long as we didn’t have to jog 6 miles to get to the fight.

If you stock your blind properly, you will find yourself bombarded with request from fellow hunters begging to hunt with you.

The vast majority of “duck blind food” is considered “snack” food and can be easily obtained from the racks at any gas station or local convenience store. Things like beef-jerky, Doritos, Cheetos, Fritos, (any thing with “os” in the name) all make excellent duck blind foods. Beanie-Weanies, Vienna Sausage, and canned Sardines are also welcomed table fair in the blind. Hostess Fruit Pies, Twinkies, Pop-Tarts, and Honey Buns can really top off a excellent morning hunt. And no blind can be considered properly stocked without an abundance of Pringles as they travel well and stay protected in those “tennis-ball-like” cans.

Roasted peanuts and beef-jerky are must haves …. The discarded peanut shells add a non-skid surface to the blind and the beef-jerky can serve as a practical tool for stirring coffee.

Which brings me to the drink selection. Deciding on what drinks to stock the blind with is very simple, just remember the following rule ….. “Canned sodas for hot and coffee for cold”. The soda flavor matters very little.

Never be caught with any fruits and/or vegetables, none of those granola bars, yogurt, or anything with Monounsaturated fats. Any of these items will guarantee you being in the blind alone.

And never, never, under any circumstance have a banana in the blind, or boat or on the dock. Think about the life threatening aspects of what can happen due to the careless placement of a banana peel!

This may all sound very complicated to those that are just beginning to stock their blind with unhealthy snack foods for this year’s season. Just remember the following:

• The food must be quick to fix (open a can, or peel back some type of wrapper should be all that is required)
• Duck blind food has to be the type that can be shared with a dog.
• It should be the type of food that you would welcome finding on the next hunting trip or next hunting season
• It must be laden with chemicals, nothing that is allowed to grow mold is allowed in the duck blind.
• Don’t forget about never bringing a banana to the blind which isn’t to say that banana flavored items aren't  welcomed ( Banana flavored Moon Pies are always a hit)

And never forget the 5-second rule, which is … any food that falls to the floor in a duck blind and isn’t immediately eaten within 5 seconds by the dog, means you might have made a poor choice in hunting dogs and it may be time to get a dog that is a little more eager.