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.

  • 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,...

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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...


Legislative Wins For Ducks and Duck Hunting

With duck season all but gone, I thought I’d take time to report on a few issues in the news, and how they’re big wins for waterfowlers. First, the duck stamp bill is officially in the books, signed into law recently by President Obama. With it will come a raise...


Tips for Spring Snow Geese

It's snow goose time in many parts of the country, and last week, I interviewed veteran snow goose hunter Marty Hesch for the inside scoop on hunting these amazing birds. Hesch lives and hunts in eastern Arkansas, but he cut his waterfowling teeth in Indiana and across the northern prairies...


I've Found it, at Duck Camp.

Duck Camp isn’t a destination. It doesn’t have an address you can load in a GPS, and it’s not the place your wife buys camouflaged curtains for. It’s a mindset, enjoyed by a few wise veterans, not yet appreciated by rookies, and never realized by the unfortunate masses. I’ve been...


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...


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...


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