Tracking ducks in my underwear

Published 9:50 pm Saturday, October 28, 2006

One of my newly found loves is duck hunting. I really don’t know why I like it so much, but I do. I guess certain things in life really don’t need a meaning or have to make some kind of sense to be ok.

I guess one of the alluring parts to me is watching the fall and winter migration from the northern breeding grounds to the southern feeding grounds and being a part of it. When I am out in the field or swamps and see the ducks banding in around the blind, I wonder where these particular ducks come from, where are they going, why are they going where they will fly and how come they keep flying when I shoot. Well, the last question is and will always remain a mystery for many wing shooters, but the others can easily be answered.

One of my newly found toys and websites to check is the Satellite Mallard Tracking page that I access via the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks web site. On this site, you can see the current position of radio collard ducks, the history of their position.

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To be able to literally sit in my living room in my underwear and watch the migration happen is cool, even if you are not a duck hunter. How many deer hunters would love to be able to follow their deer herd with the click of a button? The great part of it all for me is they have a duck named Marsha. Although the duck was named in honor of Mississippi’s first lady, Marsha Barbour, I told my wife, Marsha, I had them name it after her, pitiful of me ain’t it. Marsha knows better, but still humors me as she usually does; I guess it is only by God’s grace that I have such a great wife.

Well, Marsha and all the ducks in the last month seem to be making the border crossing into North Dakota and the prairie pot-hole region to feed on the crop fields and gain energy for the long migration south.

With the first arctic cold front having moved through, it seemed to have collected all the scattered ducks and stage them up to make the flight together. As the cold weather comes and ice and snow cover the northern plains and prairies, the southern migration will take place and I will be checking every day to see where Marsha has gone.

This could be a great project for you and your young outdoorsman or woman. Log onto the MDWFP web-site and click the link up top that ask “Where are the Ducks” and help me watch where Marsha and here girl friends go. If you happen to be a duck hunter and harvest one of the tracking ducks, please let me know and I will have a prize for you.

Squirrel season opens

With the arrival of squirrel season this weekend, many small game enthusiast like myself are wondering how well the squirrels are doing now and are there plenty to hunt.

Well the answer from my view and many others is that the squirrels are doing great, and yes there are plenty to hunt, the question to really ask is how bad do you want to hunt them.

With the swamps and hills still littered with downed trees, it is going to be hard to navigate just as it was last year. I think the program for the still hunters is to keep your eyes and ears open for rabbit and squirrel at the same time and consider it a combination hunt, and not just a squirrel hunt.

The downed trees that opened the forest floor up and have allowed an unprecedented amount of thickets and briar patches to evolve is going to aid in the explosion of rabbits.

This is the belief among most hunters and biologists in the state.

For you avid squirrel hunters that hunt with dogs, this would not be a good thing to try, even though you may just find out how good and true your squirrel dog is. Ouch! That struck a nerve didn’t it, well it is the truth so good luck and send me the pictures from the great squirrel hunts of Pearl River County.

Be sure to were your orange and look out for other hunters in the woods and as always, get outdoors and enjoy what God has given us.