The perfect decoy spread, The invisible blind, The killer call. Duck hunters have been seeking the magic pill for at least the last 150 years. And I think I may have found it. Or maybe two. Or three … Of course, it’s not a magic pill at all. It’s a magic place. To find it we must also learn to scan for perfect weather and the perfect date.
I pulled into the field, and my headlights lit up barley stubble for as far as the eye could see. With no moon, when the truck was turned off it was darker than the inside of a black cow! My hunting companions had been stumbling through the field, trying to find their headlamps when I went opened my decoy trailer and turned on the light switch.
A crew of good friends was in for the better part of a week to hunt ducks and geese in central Alberta. We were enjoying a few days of hunting with some great friends who had incredible knowledge of the hunting area we decided on.
How about a late August drive through the countryside? If you’re an avid wing shooter, it’s one of the best ways to be ready for the waterfowl season opener in early September (depending on the area).
The sun was high in the southern sky, burning like a signal flare across our decoys. The white socks waddled in the wind, like snow geese trying to outwalk each other to the next morsel of grain. I could feel my face turning red, as the wind and sun began to take a toll on my white winter skin. We had been watching several large flights of birds working back to the south in their daily routine of bouncing between fields. A flight of close to 300 birds winged across the section south of us, and I turned up the volume on the electronic caller in the hopes of drawing their attention. It worked.
September 1st rolled around, and I found myself moping about not having enough time to get out hunting. The date has always been significant, as it is opening day for waterfowl. Not being able to get out, I felt even more angst when friends started posting pictures of successful hunts on social media. Seeing the birds and decoys made my mind race with anticipation to get into the field or onto a marsh. It wasn’t many years ago that those hunters weren’t on Facebook and other platforms, but today it is more unusual for a hunter not to be surfing a phone to see what everyone else is doing.
Mario grew up in Pennsylvania, but now lives on the Left Coast where he serves as Vice President of Brand Innovation for Final Approach Waterfowl and owner of Columbia River Decoys, Inc. While there are things he misses about the East, 107 days of duck season sure helps ease the pain of skipping Faschnaut Day. Hunting the equivalent of two seasons every year gives him plenty of time in the blind, but it also gives the birds twice the education. To consistently score, Mario puts all of his faith in his decoys.