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.

  • Duck Unlimited Triples Grant Reach in the Gulf

    In a recent press release, I learned of funding being provided to Ducks Unlimited for major projects in the Gulf coast, specifically in areas originally affected by the Deep Water Horizon oil spill. It’s been five years since this event, and the anniversary has brought the topic back into a...

  • Choosing Waterfowl Loads and Chokes: Puddlers in Potholes

    In the second edition of our ongoing series, we discuss the proper setup for ducks piling in the marsh. Each year, I’m questioned about my passionate waterfowl addiction, and how the hunting is in my neck of the woods. Living in the mid-section of the Great Lakes gives me tremendous...

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Sunday Hunting in North Carolina: Waterfowlers NOT Included

I must admit, at first glance, I assumed I was going to read some good news. In a quick headliner on its website , Delta Waterfowl announced the passing of North Carolina's Outdoor Heritage Act in the state’s House of Representatives. With it comes more opportunities for Sunday hunting. Good...


60th Annual Duck Breeding Population and Habitat Survey Kicks Off This Month

Since 1955, the U.S. Fish & Widlife Service had partnered with the Canadian Wildlife Service to determine the overall population and health of the continent’s duck population, as well as the breeding habitat available for those ducks, in the annual Breeding Population and Habitat Survey. For those unfamiliar with this...


BP Oil Spill Money to Benefit Ducks

This month marks the fifth anniversary of one of the worst environmental disasters in US history, BP’s Deep Water Horizon oil spill. Occurring in the Gulf of Mexico, the spill killed 11 workers, and affected untold numbers of wildlife, including many migratory bird species. Recently, news has spread of BP’s...


2015 Duck Numbers Likely Lower

The last three years have been a boom for duck hunters. Extremely wet conditions in the Prairie Pothole Region during that period resulted in tremendous breeding success, putting more ducks in the air than at anytime since records have been kept. Thus, lots of hunters did lots of shooting. Understanding...


Choosing Waterfowl Loads and Chokes: Canada Geese in Fields

Possibly the greatest mystery to many waterfowl hunters surrounds exactly what happens when we pull the trigger. Experts offer advice on the best chokes and loads to kill more birds, but this does little to clarify things in real-life scenarios. I’ve read countless articles on the importance of patterning shotguns,...


New Bass Pro Shops Includes Waterfowler Paradise

For me, Bass Pro Shops has always been like going to Willy Wonka’s Candy Factory. It's the place where my childhood dreams were born. However, the draw to travel there is going to get even greater, if that’s possible. Next week, Bass Pro Shops will be celebrating the grand opening...


Is Oil Production in the Prairies Hurting Ducks?

I must admit, I was a bit frustrated after reviewing the Ducks Unlimited website . It appeared as though politics, and likely influence from Big Oil, were receiving priority over science. That doesn’t jive with me. One article talked of DU’s continued work in the Prairie Pothole Region, specifically those...


Duck-Grilling Tips from the Master

Just about everyone in the waterfowl world has heard of Scott Leysath. He's our version of a celebrity chef - appearing frequently on DU's TV programs and various websites. Leysath always presents a winner of a waterfowl recipe. He makes it look so easy. This week, while perusing the Internet,...


Future Duck Decline Likely

As I thumbed through the pages of the Delta Waterfowl magazine, my intention was to brief a story on small-water duck hunting. I hadn’t planned to stop on the story entitled “When the Prairies Go Dry” by John Pollmann. But, by doing so, my whole day changed. Sure, I’d heard...


5 Tips for Your Aging Retriever

I’ve said it before: the most vital piece of duck hunting equipment I own is my dog, bar none. While I love mud motors and Benelli’s, in the marshy locales I frequent, a good duck dog is imperative to recovering downed birds. But, as time seems to pass so quickly,...


Conservation, One Duck at a Time

A recent review of the websites of two popular waterfowl conservation organizations got me thinking. The headliner on DU’s site was all about wood duck boxes, as Delta Waterfowl advertised recent support of its Hen House program. And, while I’d normally just take a glance and move on, such front...


Snow Geese Season Expands in Canada

In an effort to combat ever-increasing numbers of snow geese, many areas in Canada have lessened restrictions on hunting the birds. Included are higher bag limits, no possession limit and longer seasons -- including some extending into June. In addition, Ross’ geese are now legal to shoot in many areas...


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