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 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...

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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 --...


New Waders for 2014

The world of waders is rapidly changing, perhaps faster than any other product category in 2014. Over the past few years, more manufacturers are introducing waders coined as “hybrids" that combine breathable uppers with performance, waterproof field boots. Technology of the boots themselves has substantially increased for 2014, as more...


Awesome New Motion Decoys for 2014

As we limp across the duck-less months of summer, it’s about time to consider updating a few items. I last took a look at a few new standard decoys on the market for 2014; now it’s time for spinners and motion. As I last mentioned, the purpose here isn’t to...


New Duck Decoys for 2014: Part 2

Today we continue our look into the best new waterfowl decoys available for 2014. Each of those featured offers something unique – something we need – to kill more birds. Or, at least we think. Higdon Magnum Full-Form Mallard This year brings a bunch of new full-body and shell duck...


New Duck Decoys for 2014: Part 1

It's that time of year again. The waterfowling catalogs are hitting the mailboxes, and new displays of duck hunting gear are showing up on store shelves. In the upcoming weeks here on the Duck Blog, I'm going to be checking out as much new-for-2014 gear as possible to give the...


Corn Growers Push for More Ethanol in Fuel

A recent press release came across my desk and got my blood pumping. The Missouri Corn Growers Association released a statement calling for more ethanol in fuels to combat the high cost of gasoline at the pumps. According to the release, “the cost savings from blending competitively priced ethanol are...


Record Breaking Breeding Duck Numbers Reported

The annual Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey, a joint venture between the U.S. and Canadian Wildlife Services, has been completed, and it appears we are still living in the good ol’ days. The survey’s numbers are detailed in the Trends in Duck Breeding Populations report compiled by the USFWS...


The Fowl Life Premiers on Outdoor Channel

As hunters, we all share a common bond. It’s been said time and again: if you don’t hunt, you just don’t understand. The outdoor lifestyle, camaraderie and the obsessive pursuit far outweigh the kill or the trophy. Unfortunately, such core values are often difficult to convey to the non-hunting public,...


New Contest Aims to Get Kids Involved

I’ve been spending far too much time in my office lately. Duck season is still months away. My swamp-buster duck boat is in the shop waiting on a part. And even my Lab, Ernie, is laid up and forbidden from training due to recent foot surgery. My only escapes are...


Northern States Push for Early Teal Seasons

I’ve never associated hunting with pleasant weather. Here in my part of the world, waterfowling is done in the wet, windy autumn, and deer season comes as the leaves fall from the trees. With the exception of the spring turkey chasers, most hunters rate wool socks as their number one...


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