The Duck Blog

Realtree waterfowl editor Brian Lovett has been an obsessive duck and goose hunter for more than 30 years, chasing his passion on the Dakota prairies and the marshes and open water of his home state of Wisconsin. He's been a writer and editor in the outdoors industry since 1991.

  • Fill Your Bucket List: 5 Puddle Ducks You Must Shoot

    Everyone’s into bucket lists nowadays. Duck hunters are no different. We dream and scheme about dazzling full-color drakes to make taxidermy dreams come true. But every duck is beautiful in its own way, so setting a short list can be difficult. In this article and the next three Tuesday “...

  • Game of Shadows: Keep Sunlight on Ducks, Not in Your Eyes

    Somewhere in the Waterfowling 101 manual, we lost sight of a basic hunting principle. Conventional wisdom holds that ducks and geese land into the wind, so hunters typically set up with the wind at their backs or at least quartering away to facilitate easy incoming shots on decoying birds. But...

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The Best Nicknames for Duck Hunting Spots

Despite the romance inherent in waterfowl hunting, we usually give our favorite spots pretty pedestrian names. Consider some of the areas I hunted in 2015, such as Bill’s, which I cleverly named for its owner … Bill. Then there was Peterson’s, which, again and just as cleverly, took the name...


Use These 3 Down-and-Dirty Tactics for Tough Mallards

Our lust for mallards never subsides. We pursue them from the warm opening bell of the season until the bitter, frozen end of the campaign, from the prairies of Alberta to the bayous of Louisiana and all flyway points between. Along the journey, greenheads often avoid and frustrate us. We...


Try These Devilish Details for Early Season Honkers

When they loaf at a park or munch oats in a field near a highway, local Canada geese might seem like the easiest opportunity in waterfowling. And then opening day arrives, and those familiar geese flare, land out of range, ignore your spread or switch locations, leaving you scratching your...


Good News for Hunters: Duck Numbers Holding Strong

North America’s Spring 2016 breeding duck numbers remained solid despite concerns about dry conditions across critical breeding areas, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service data released Wednesday. The FWS’ 2016 Trends in Duck Breeding Populations , based on surveys conducted in May and June by the agency and the...


Shovelers: These Dandy Ducks Get No Respect

I caught myself dissing northern shovelers the other day. Didn’t mean to do it. I guess it’s pre-programmed into most duck hunters. In fact, any mention of shovelers is usually followed by a smirk or chuckle. Shovelers — also commonly called spoonbills, spoonies, smiling mallards or Hollywood mallards — rarely...


The Most Difficult Duck to Decoy Consistently Is ...

Depending on the situation, any duck can be tough to decoy. Or easy. Every day, bird, setup and scenario are different. Let’s agree, however, that some species are consistently more difficult to bring to a spread. In this virtual head-to-head competition, we’ll sort through the ducks and determine one hunter’s...


Quick Tips for Identifying Ducks in Flight

Identifying ducks in flight can be one of the biggest challenges for waterfowlers — especially neophytes. After a couple of seasons afield or a few sessions with a duck-identification guide, most hunters can identify ducks within 60 or so yards in good light. However, identifying distant birds or ducks in...


Wet and Wild: How to Hunt Flooded Fields

In a recent Realtree.com feature on field hunting , I proclaimed that some of the best waterfowl action occurs in dry ag fields nowhere near water. A friend read it, scrunched his nose and narrowed his eyes. “What?” I asked, knowing he was formulating a critique. “Well, it’s good,” he...


My Top 6 Incredibly Dumb Duck Hunting Fails

Prediction: You’ll goof up once or twice this waterfowl season. Everyone does it. We’re human, after all, and mistakes are just part of the never-ending cycle of trial and error inherent in waterfowling. And in hindsight, some of our gaffes can be pretty funny. Consider some of my favorite bone-headed...


Avoid Disaster: Remember Safe Gun Handling When Duck Hunting

Experienced waterfowlers will blow right past this blog. No veteran hunter needs simple reminders about basic gun safety afield, right? Not so fast. Any hunter safety instructor will tell you that youngsters often display better gun-safety habits than veteran hunters. Too often, adults get distracted by other concerns or simply...


Why Wind Can Ruin Your Duck and Goose Shooting

Every waterfowler craves windy days, when decoys bob and move like real birds, and ducks and geese move restlessly. But although wind might bring mallards or honkers low into your spread, it can complicate the shot. In fact, you often have to adjust your shotgunning approach slightly to compensate during...


Trouble for Hunters? Delta Says Fewer Ducks in 2016

A leading waterfowl conservation organization has forecast a reduced Fall 2016 duck flight, saying dry conditions at critical prairie pothole region breeding areas will likely result in fewer juvenile birds. The good news, however, is that overall duck numbers remain very strong compared to long-term averages. “A remarkably high number...


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