The Duck Blog

Joe Balog was born and raised on the Great Lakes, where he's earned a living as a charter boat captain, pro bass fisherman and outdoor communicator. As waterfowl editor for Realtree.com, Balog was bitten by the duck bug while hunting the world famous St. Clair Flats. Between duck hunting, fishing, and dog training, Balog spends some 300 days a year on the water.

  • Gear Review: Post-Season Standouts (What I really, really, really liked)

    I’m not exactly a gear nut. I don’t often fall for gimmicks. I tend to prefer simple over complex, and I am leery to change what has worked for me in the past. I shoot plain old Federal steel shotgun shells, the same double gun I’ve owned for years, and...

  • Through the Eyes of a Child

    Don’t worry, my duck season stunk, too. Well, kind of… Duck season ended for me this past Saturday. The standard season ended Sunday the 31st, but a lot of work was needed to break down our duck camp for the season and it was simply time to call it. To...

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The Skunk

If you’ve never been skunked when hunting waterfowl, you’re either a liar or one of the luckiest people in the world and should buy a lottery ticket right now. Personally, I’ve had more days of not shooting ducks than shooting, or at the very best, it has been a 50/50...


How to Kill More Ducks…Guaranteed

A wise, although grizzled and slightly jaded, hunting buddy once asked me if I wanted to know the secret to killing more ducks. It was guaranteed, he said. Of course, I had to know and pressed him for the answer. Was it some underground call I’d never heard of, closely...


When Duck Season Ends

It was the type of sleep that rarely comes in a busy, adult world. Deep, dark, beautiful sleep. Awakening, I felt as though my body had been pulverized. Getting up out of bed proved to be an ordeal. Once vertical, I knocked the cobwebs out of my drowsy brain and...


A Win for Wildlife

It’s easy to get frustrated with America’s corporate policies and tax breaks when it comes to groups like Big Oil or the retail giants. Our elected officials, with their back-room politics and undisclosed sources of funding, don’t make it any easier to stay positive. But, in contrast, we recently had...


Good Dogs

If you hunt waterfowl, you should own a dog, preferably a retriever. There, I said it. I’m not going to tell you that you’re not a duck hunter just because you don’t hunt with a lab (or maybe a Chessie, those are cool, too), but my dog might. By in...


Omnibus Bill a Big Win for Wildlife

It’s easy to get frustrated with America’s corporate policies and tax breaks when it comes to groups like Big Oil or the retail giants. Our elected officials, with their back-room politics and undisclosed sources of funding, don’t make it any easier to stay positive. But, in contrast, we recently had...


How Do Duck Hunters Measure Success?

Oftentimes, hunting revolves around killing a trophy. Bucks are judged by antlers, bears by weight and turkeys by beards and spurs. For the most part, ducks don’t fit into such categories. Sure, we try to include leg bands as a way to gauge a hunter’s success, but deep down, we...


Double Guns And Ducks

To me, a shotgun is something personal. Aside from my duck calls, no other piece of equipment spends as much time in my hand during the season. Since I am a sentimentalist, bordering on mawkish, I tend to favor a more traditional firearm that harkens to a time before barrels...


Overlooked Waterfowl Tips

Many resources exist to gather duck-hunting pointers. Throughout the season, here at Realtree, we often share knowledge from some of the best in the sport, laying out a set of guidelines for everything from decoy placement to dog training. Rather than beat the same ideas to death, let’s take a...


Do It Yourself Spinning Wing Decoys for Divers

When it comes to duck hunting, most of my time is spend in flooded fields, shallow sloughs, or the timber chasing puddle ducks. However, I do hunt the big lakes around the Tennessee River for divers when the canvasbacks show up in good numbers or when the backwater hunting is...


Will Rain Bail Out California?

Earlier this fall, we reported on a major concern facing California waterfowlers , most notably those around the Sacramento Delta area, where the most severe drought in recent history has tightened it’s grip. Such dry conditions, coupled with an overall decline in mallard numbers throughout the region, could combine to...


Duck Season Ends, But the Work Doesn't

Throughout much of the northern US, duck hunters sulk back to work, the 2015 season now in the books. A few will travel to far away locales for another shot; even more waterfowl nuts focus attention on late season honkers. But, deep down, they realize the season’s over, and nothing...


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