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Duck hunting on Christmas Eve

Posted by on December 26, 2011

Yes, forget about that shopping crap non-sense! I would rather go duck hunting on Christmas Eve! My friend and I planned on meeting up at his duck club in Los Banos, California, which was basically this great parcel of natural wetland, a great home for ducks to fly in and out of. A total difference from hunting in rice fields for ducks.

Duck hunting is a lot different from deer hunting. For one, shotguns are used and instead of being in a tree blind like the one I was in New York, I’m in a ground blind surrounded by marsh plants along with duck decoys to lure the ducks to come in close enough to get shot. Duck calls are important too as they emulate the sound of a duck calling other ducks.

And just like deer hunting, the early morning is the best time to go get started.

duck hunting in morning dark, caza de patos en muy de mañana

Yep, it's dark - that's why we wear head lamps to keep our hands free to carry other stuff.

Sometimes, you get a spark or too from the shot going off!

fuego en el arma, fire in the chamber/action of the shotgun

One of the rounds gets fired up and ejected as I shoot at a duck.

And just as the duck flies over, I swing my shotgun to give the finishing blow.

Duck shot, pato cazó

It's kind of hard to see, but the little thing in the middle of the picture is a duck that I shot. I know, it looks like a video game but it's not since I put my video camera on my head.

As daylight breaks, we’re better able to see the ducks. The problem is that they can see us just as well even though we’re in camo clothing.

amanecer, alba, amanecida, madrugada en pantano/pradera, daybreak in wetlands

Clearing skies and the rising sun.

That’s why it gets more important to start doing duck calling and get the ducks to take a look at our position and hopefully, start flying close enough to us to get a shot at them.

Llamando patos, calling ducks with calls while duck hunting

My friend Nate calling in ducks. We both will switch off depending on the species as each one will have its own sounding call.

This is where good teamwork comes into play during duck hunting. One of us can look one way and the other can look the other way since duck hunting is basically 360 degrees. When one of us spots a group or one duck coming in, we’ll concentrate our fire towards that direction. Mind you that ducks can be difficult to shoot down – I’ve shot few ducks that should have gone down only to watch them continue flying like it was nothing!

disparando juntos para cazar patos, duck hunters shooting at ducks

The more guns shooting at one duck, the better.

And the thing about duck hunting is that birds can all of a sudden come out of nowhere. This sucker came out of left field and I had to shoot without letting my friend know because it came so fast. This is not like clay pigeon shooting at all!

pato en el cielo, duck in the sky

Zoom in if you have to since this one flew in hard and fast.

Of course, the good thing is that my friend owns a good hunting dog meaning instead of me going out there to retrieve the downed duck, we can stay in the blind and let the dog get it. I can’t tell you how many more ducks we could have shot had I stayed in the blind instead of chasing a wounded duck.

caza de patos, duck hunting, Northern Shoveler shot

My buddy and I shot at a lone female spooney with me delivering the death blow.

perro de cazar llevó el pato, black lab hunting dog brings back the duck

It's great to have a dog bring the ducks back. Makes life easier.

Lastly, after we were done hunting, here are the spoils. A great morning where if you get something, it’s already a good day. I couldn’t tell you how times I’ve gone out and shot and killed nothing. This was a better Christmas present than getting other crap that I don’t need!

patos muertos de la caza, shot ducks

We ended up with 8 ducks of 3 different species: green-wing teal, northern shoveler, bufflehead.