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.

  • 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...

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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...


Early Survey Data Reveals Good Waterfowl Numbers

While many outdoorsmen are in the turkey woods this time of year, I sit at home and think of ducks. Recent cold fronts give the dry morning air the crisp feel of fall, though it’s natures way of fooling me. For a die-hard waterfowler, the spring season offers few perks...


Woman Attacked by Duck, Sues Owner

I had to laugh when a story came across my desk destined for the Duck Blog. I take on the responsibility of reporting anything duck related here at Realtree.com, no matter how absurd the premise. A link took me to a report on a woman in Multnomah County, Oregon who...


DU Reports Progress in the MAV

As I shared with you a few months ago, I experienced my first trip to Stuttgart, AR, this season. Of course Stuttgart lies in the heart of the Mississippi Alluvial Valley (MAV) and is considered the holy land for mallard hunters across our continent. It's a place I’ve learned a...


Federal Refuge System Expands Waterfowl Hunting Opportunities

Realtree Outdoor News blogger Barbara Baird recently sent me a press release that stirred serious excitement in my world. It seems the US Federal Wildlife Refuge System will be expanding hunting and fishing opportunities on many of it’s refuges. In a day and age where hunting seems to be under...


Nature Teaches Us to Call Each Spring

Spring is finally in the air around my home state of Michigan. After a relentless, seemingly never-ending winter, complete with record snowfalls and massive ice-coverage across the big lakes, we are finally seeing the light. Literally. With the big thaw comes waves of ducks making their way to the breeding...


Should Michigan Up the Hen Mallard Limit?

Big news is hitting the waterfowl chat forums around my home state of Michigan, as the Department of Natural Resources is considering changing the mallard bag limit to allow for two hens as part of the four-mallard daily quota. As we all know, the Federal framework sets the official "bag...


Realtree's New Dog Food Tailors to Duck Dogs

"The only problem we’re having with our food testing is the palatability,” I was told by Lindsay Richardson of Corey Nutrition, makers of the new Realtree dog food. “When we stop feeding it to the dogs, they won’t eat anything else.” I had to see this for myself. It just...


Online Federal Duck Stamp Program to Expand Reach

Always waiting until the last minute, and unable to prioritize, I found myself in a bit of a bind. I had traveled to a Arkansas on a duck hunt, it was late at night, and I had yet to purchase my hunting license. Driving across a remote stretch of the...


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