The Duck Blog with Joe Balog

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.

  • 5 Awesome Pieces of Duck Hunting Gear

    A perk of my job is gear testing. And while I’m not receiving new 4-wheelers or pallets of ammo delivered to my door, I do get to test some cool new waterfowl gear on occasion. As our duck season draws to a close here in Michigan, I find myself reflecting...

  • Tips for Late-Season Mallards

    The late season can provide outstanding hunting, but only for dedicated waterfowlers. That's because late-season ducks have seen and heard it all. Just finding them can be a chore all its own. In the latest episode of "The X," the Fowled Reality crew is headed to Minnesota for the final...

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Duck Stamp Act Passes Senate

While sportsmen and environmental backers continue to struggle with habitat loss, there appears to be one way to ensure more wetland conservation measures are approved in Washington: cold, hard cash. In what may be the most anticipated license increase in history, the price of the Federal Duck Stamp will be...


How to Find Late-Season Ducks

As early winter weather grasps the country, many duck hunters are all being faced with extreme conditions. Late season hunts and the associated freeze-up can be boom or bust. Scouting and patterning birds becomes a daily necessity. In this episode of The X, the Fowled Reality crew takes an in-depth...


Cover Blown: 5 Ways Ducks are Seeing You

You can adjust decoys, change your calling, or turn off the wing-spinners. But when ducks keep veering out at the moment of truth, chances are none of those changes will help because they're seeing you. I do most of my hunting in a public marsh that sees extreme daily hunting...


Wood, Polycarb or Acrylic? Which Duck Call is Best for You?

We all know there are many different types of duck calls on the market. Old timers swear by wood; many of us started out with polycarbonate models, and the "pros" seem to all blow acrylic calls. So which one is best? In this episode of "The X," the Fowled Reality...


5 Decoy Mistakes that Cost You Ducks

Nothing is more frustrating than watching working ducks fail to commit at the last minute. We wonder what went wrong. Perhaps it’s poor concealment; maybe the dog moved. But often times, it’s our decoys. When confronted with such a circumstance, many hunters simply move the spread around in a haphazard...


Advanced Duck Scouting Tips

Sometimes you'll find success by spending a little less time hunting and a lot more time scouting. In this video tip, the crew of Fowled Reality, hosts of Realtree's all-new waterfowling webisode called The X, show the importance of finding roosting areas, feeding areas, and loafing areas, and then putting...


Huge Non-Resident License Fee Increase in Michigan

In a perfect example of legislature ruling without considering the consequences, the state of Michigan recently raised its non-resident annual small game license by more than 100 percent and removed any temporary license option for waterfowlers. In the past, Michigan’s waterfowl licensing included both seasonal and temporary permits available to...


5 Reasons You Keep Missing Ducks

Ducks and geese are a lot harder to hit than what most people recognize. Want to be a better shot? Consider the following reasons why you miss, in order of importance: 1. You are aiming. I was once a great shot at deer camp with a rifle. But deliberately aiming...


New Dog Gear for Waterfowlers

Over the past several weeks, we’ve explored a lot of new gear available to waterfowlers in 2014. Not to leave any member of the hunting party out, it’s time to look into gear for our wingmen in the blind: retrievers. Without question my personal favorite aspect of waterfowl hunting is...


New Duck and Goose Blinds for 2014

Today’s layout blinds come in a variety of styles based on function. Some are designed for ease of mobility. Others feature a low-profile look for wary birds and a lack of field cover. Some concentrate on comfort. In this edition of our new product review, we'll see examples of each...


New Waterfowl Apparel for 2014

We're rounding third in our series of review columns, but the final two may be the most important: apparel and dog equipment. Today, we look into gear for ourselves; up next, it's items for our best companions. Possibly no other category has advanced more the last few years as waterfowl...


New Duck and Goose Calls for 2014

As watefowlers, we live with our calls. We carry them everywhere in the truck, and blow them all season long. Perhaps it's the mystique: somewhere in that call is the secret to never-ending success. This year, call makers are introducing models for all of our likings -- and budgets --...


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