Wild Times: Duck season is upon us

I was around 7 years old when I got my first exposure to the world of duck hunting. My father had gone out duck hunting with his friend. They had come up over the back of a pond dam and jumped a flock of Mallards. They returned home with the ducks and I was around when the cleaning of the ducks began.

I was enthralled with the beauty of those Mallard drakes. Those green heads on the drakes were stunning. Several years later, after being able to drive legally, I began hunting ducks with my friends.

We really had no clue what we were doing. We had no decoys. We had no blind. We had no hunting spot. We had no knowledge. We did have shotguns. We did have shells. We did have the keys to our dads’ gas barrels. We did have cars and pickups to get us around. We would drive around the countryside until we spotted a pond. We then would sneak up the back of the dam and peek over the edge and see if any unsuspecting ducks would be sitting on the pond.

If there were any ducks dumb enough to be sitting close to the dam, we would charge up the back of the dam and fill the sky with lead pellets. Occasionally, a duck would tumble out of the sky and we would then have to figure out how to get it out of the water. Yes, we were quite the duck hunters.

It was my sophomore year at Kansas State when I got educated and trained in the art of duck hunting. One of my buddies got me started in the proper art of duck hunting on the marshes above Tuttle Creek. It was a dream come true. We made countless trips to the marsh around Olsburg during the week, and since the two of us had no classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, it worked out well. The only problem was that we had was to find someone to take the ducks, since we could not come up with a decent way to cook them. It was on that marsh that I shot my first Mallards. Those big green heads would drop into that marsh and the shooting was magnificent.

If I had my preference, I would shoot Mallards and Wood Ducks. They are the most beautiful ducks in our area. This area of the state for duck hunting is referred to as the Low Plains Late Zone. Our hunting season for ducks will open up Oct. 28 and will run until Dec. 31. I have seen a few ducks in the area, but it will take some colder weather up north before the large flocks of Mallards hit the area. There are ample numbers of Wood Ducks in the area. I see them every night.

All duck hunters will be required to have a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation stamp, a Kansas State Waterfowl Stamp, and a Kansas Harvest Information Program stamp besides the normal hunting license. You must have your shotgun plugged so that you are capable of being able to have three shells in the gun. The daily limit for harvested ducks is six. Of the six ducks, no more than five may be Mallards and no more than two hens. Of the six ducks, no more than three Wood Ducks can be taken. Of the six ducks, no more than one Scaup, one Pintail, or two Canvasbacks or two Redheads can be taken. It can get complicated.

One thing for sure is that you better know your ducks. Identifying flying ducks can be tough, but it is necessary to make sure you don’t harvest too many of the wrong kind of ducks. A lot of the early ducks in this area are Gadwalls and Wigeons, of which you can shoot six if you so desire. Duck hunting is a lot of fun and once you experience some success, it can become addictive. Get out there and give it a shot.

Tim Kellenberger137 Posts

Tim Kellenberger serves as Owner, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief for The Sabetha Herald since 2004. He specializes in sports reporting and column writing, as well as sports photography. Tim is a Grace University graduate with a dual degree in agricultural economics and human resource management. He lives in rural Sabetha with his wife and has four grown children and two grandchildren.

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