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.

  • In Defense of 'Trash' Ducks

    Some hardcore hunters argue that a duck without a green head is not a duck, even going so far as to call anything but a drake mallard a trash duck. (I often point out that drake shovelers and goldeneyes also have green heads, even though I’m not prepared to argue...

  • 6 Traits Successful Duck Hunters Share

    You probably have a buddy or at least know a guy who seems infallible. He usually returns to the landing with a boat full of birds, and he seems to have the answer to every curveball Mother Nature throws his way. Basically, he’s a darn good duck and goose hunter...

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5 Steps for Waterfowl Doubles, Triples

Efficient waterfowlers know how to maximize opportunity, like plucking two or more birds from a flock when possible. Sometimes, the stars align, and chances for doubles or even triples seem easy. Usually, however, shooting multiple birds requires forethought, strategy and quick reflexes honed by shotgunning practice. These tips can help...


When to Call the Shot

You’ll experience two painful silences in waterfowl hunting. The first occurs as a flock circles for the third or fourth time, just close enough that you and your buddy glance at each other with anticipation, wondering if the other will give the “shoot” signal. The other happens after your partner...


Delta Urges USFWS Region to Return to Waterfowl Work

Delta Waterfowl Foundation has called on a Western region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to resume traditional migratory bird programming instead of focusing on renewable energy. Since 2014, Region 8 of the USFWS — which covers California, Nevada and the Klamath Basin, located in northern California and southern...


4 Ducks That Will Infuriate You

Though probably not as consistently maddening as turkeys, ducks can sometimes leave you shaking your head and considering new hobbies. They don’t always play by the rules. In fact, they often seem to invent new guidelines. Let’s look at four frustrating duck-behavior scenarios and identify some potential fixes. Behinders Every...


Waterfowl Bands Tell Tales We Love to Hear

Putting your hands on a freshly killed bird is always thrilling, whether you take a mallard from your dog, scoop up a bluebill in open water or hoist a honker from a stubble field. But the excitement increases when that moment includes a shiny bonus on the bird’s leg. Waterfowl...


Declining CRP Acreage Equals Problems for Ducks

A disturbing trend might mean big trouble for ducks and other wildlife, yet many hunters seem oblivious to the brewing storm. During the past nine years, acreage enrolled in the habitat-boosting Conservation Reserve Program has declined by about 30 percent. Moreover, the current farm bill reduces the enrollment cap of...


The Conversation

Silver streaked across the eastern sky, and during a time better suited for reflection and anticipation, I chuckled. “What?” my 13-year-old nephew, Riley, asked. “Nothing,” I replied. “Five minutes till shooting. Keep your eyes peeled.” I wasn’t laughing at him, of course, but at the fact that I was trying...


Return to Big Muddy

I was early for being late. Sure, my phone read 3:30 a.m., so I was technically on time for the day’s hunt. Yet somehow, I felt tardy for a return engagement to a locale that had forged something special within me decades earlier. The scene looked familiar, even in the...


5 Ways to Make a Difference Now

Most Americans follow a typical cycle during presidential elections: months of apathy or indifference followed by the forehead-slapping realization that only two lousy choices remain. Duck hunters can follow a similar path. Many forget about the world of waterfowl soon after hunting closes but then complain loudly when the next...


38-Year Journal Reveals Much

My duck hunting journal, spread throughout several tattered notebooks and electronic documents, reveals a lot about the past and provides insight for the future. The annual post-season summary, for example, lists the total number of waterfowl I’ve taken during 38 years of hunting and the number of shells used to...


Seven Duck Hunters You'll Meet on Public Land

A hunting buddy of mine takes the George Carlin approach when categorizing other waterfowlers on public marshes. They’re idiots or maniacs. There might be some truth in that, but I prefer a broader view. In fact, I’ve identified seven categories into which public-water hunters often fit. Learning to identify these...


An Open Letter to My Duck Dog

Hey Birdie. No, don’t get up. You look pretty comfortable curled up in the chair. Besides, I don’t have any treats right now. Anyway, I was looking through some photos and realized this past duck season was your fifth, and that you’re probably nearing the mid-point of your hunting career...


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