Black bears are one of the most impressive predators you can hunt in North America. They have a large and diverse home range which affords many opportunities to newer hunters. On this episode I interview Alaska native and long time black bear enthusiast Jeff Lund about how to get started hunting these amazing creatures.

Part 2: Black Bear Hunting Tactics, Gear, Shot Placement, Field Care & More

Take Aways

  • Jeff Lund is the host of The Mediocre Alaskan podcast
  • Jeff also recently released the book A Miserable Paradise – Life In Southeast Alaska
  • Black bears can grow to up to 350lbs in some areas
  • The best place to find black bears is around food sources, often by streams full of fish or in the higher elevations with good forage
  • These bears are not typically a threat to humans under normal field conditions, but always put your safety first
  • Seasons differ across the country but the closer the bears get to hibernating the more temperamental they may become
  • Listen to the episode to hear about how beginners can get into black bear hunting.

Show Notes:

You need gear to hunt geese, fortunately a lot of that gear can double for duck hunting. On this episode I talk about the gear you need, should have, and should consider to go goose hunting and how it stacks up with duck hunting gear. I also talk about the single most important thing when it comes to getting you waterfowl hunting gear together and no it is not a type of gear or a brand, it matters much more than that. 

Items Somewhat Unique For Goose Hunting

  • Shotgun – Whatever you already have or can borrow is the best place to start! Hunt, learn, and then decide what would be best for you to buy.
  • Choke – People often go with a little tighter choke than what they use for duck hunting.
  • Shells – Consider going with larger shot than you use for duck hunting, higher velocities, or something denser than steel, like bismuth. 
  • A Goose Call – You do not need anything super fancy, but I waded through cheap calls until I found something that worked work well like the Field Proven Raptor Goose Call.
  • Decoys + Decoy rigs/anchors + Decoy Bag – You can start with as few as 6-12 decoys. You want something cheap, small, and durable.
  • A Good Hide – Many hunters, including experts build their own blind on location with whatever they can find that day. This should cost you $0 to get started.
  • Decoy/Gear Transportation – A Jed Sled is ideal once you have more gear than you can carry on your back, but a cart or kayak are good options too, if you have them.  

Items That Overlap Alot Of Duck Hunting

  • All the required hunting licenses – This will include some mix of general state hunting license, state waterfowl hunting license, and federal license depending on where you live.
  • Ear Protection – Never get into a goose blind without ear protection. Start with the cheapest foam ear plugs money can buy then work your way up to better electronic options, I think Tetra Hearing makes the best ear protection in the industry but they are most likely a second or third season purchase for most new waterfowl hunters. Keep in mind a good earplug strategy can make the difference between foam ear plugs being a usable tool and something that ruins your hunt.
  • Waders – You need to have a way to get into water to retrieve decoys and geese.
  • Waste Up Camo – You should be hidden well for goose hunting, but little below your shoulders should ever be visible.
  • Call Lanyard – Keeps you calls handy so you can grab them with minimal movement, and keeps them from getting lost in the mud.
  • Jerk Rig – Something to create motion on water when the wind isn’t blowing.
  • Cold Weather Gear – As the season progresses you will need items that are wind and waterproof. Warm gear will help extend your season.
  • A Hand Warming Plan – Some people like warm gloves, a callers glove, a warmer muff or just pockets with handwarmers. Get some experience and see what you prefer.
  • Headlamp – Expensive options get you very little more function than cheap ones. Waterproofing is about the only feature worth paying more for.
  • Decoy Gloves – Something waterproof is a must have for cold days with cold water.
  • Seat – You need something that will keep you dry, comfort is a plus. Consider a short folding stool, a turkey chair, a piece of an exercise mat, or just a bucket with a lid.

Listen to the episode for all the details!

Show Notes:

Goose hunting is a fun and exciting pursuit in its own right. Yet many of the strategies and tactics are similar to duck hunting. On this episode I focus on what is unique about hunting geese, and how you can find and apply general duck hunting methodologies as well.

Take Aways

  • When I talk about goose hunting, I am talking in the most general sense but still focusing on Canada geese since they seem to be the most prevalent for the largest number of new hunters.
  • The same four core duck hunting strategies apply to goose hunting but there are differences, some work better than others for geese and some are more expensive than others!
  • Goose hunting often occurs at somewhat further range than duck hunting, there are practical and technical reasons for this, though I would not go into it thinking this is supposed to be long range hunting by any means.
  • Geese are bigger than ducks, much bigger. Do not try to catch a falling goose out of the air. It is a very dangerous proposition!
  • For beginners tips on how to hunt waterfowl in general, listen to the last 15 or so episodes I have done on duck hunting.
  • For how strategies and tips specific to goose hunting, listen to this episode!

We should always be learning from our hunting experiences, and the experiences of others. This past season I learned a very important lesson about opportunities in the deer woods and how to manage them. On this episode I talk about how you can make decisions that enable you to enjoy your deer hunt to the fullest.

Listen to the episode to hear about the #1 thing I learned about deer hunting last year and how you can avoid making the same mistake I did.

 

Show Notes:

One of the best things about ducks is how easy they are to process. If you were just out duck hunting and brought some birds home, this is the episode for you! I talk about how to dress, clean, and cook ducks, and give multiple approaches for each step of the process.

When it comes to ducks, they can be cleaned like just about any game bird, the videos below will give you some insight into the nuance of the steps and help you with techniques that involve both plucking and not plucking the feathers.

Also remember, wild ducks are not store bought chickens, you didn’t get them the same way, don’t try to cook them the same way. Ducks require their own set of cooking methods, more about that is discussed in the episode.

Show Notes:

Up until recently every hunter using a firearm had to make a decision with every hunt. Do they protect their future or relish the present? Tetra Hearing has changed the game for all hunters when it comes to saving their hearing and enjoying every precious sound of every hunt and game species. Whether you are hunting ducks, geese, turkeys, deer, pheasants, grouse, crows, doves, elk, or anything else the Tetra AlphaShield & Multi-Pursuit hearing devices can not only save your hearing but help you hear better and hunt better.  I make no commissions on this product and there are no affiliate links. These are my own opinions and this my very own detailed and passionate review.  This may be the most important podcast episode I have ever done. Please listen to this episode.

Pros:

  • Allows you to hear everything around you with crisp clarity.
  • Audio quality is exceptional, no static, hum, ambient sounds, distractions, etc.
  • Can be custom tuned to your actual personal hearing levels for each ear.
  • Instantly blocks out the sound of gun fire and loud calling to protect your hearing.
    • These are designed to both stop the incremental hearing loss that comes from infrequent shooting with the average deer and turkey seasons as well as stop the accelerated hearing loss caused by high volume shooting seen in hunting waterfowl, pheasants, doves, crows, etc. 
  • Utilizes advanced audio processing technology to filter out various sounds you do not want to hear but more clearly capture subtle sounds you do want to hear.
  • Filters out the majority of wind noise.
  • Amplifies the unique sounds of the game animals you are hunting like turkey gobbles and yelps, duck quacks and wing beats, deer grunts and footfalls, pheasants flushing, and much more. 
  • Far better than anything I’ve seen on the market. In my mind they have no competitors, no one else offering similar products is even in their league. 
  • Fits snugly in your ear and will not fall out.
  • Works great while wearing a hat, beanie, whole head facemask, camo head shroud, etc.
  • Can be put on in seconds.
  • Reduces flinching causes by loud muzzle blast and may help some hunters shoot more accurately.
  • Uses long lasting disposable hearing aid batteries you can easily and inexpensively get in bulk.
  • Super simple to use, there is almost no way to do it wrong. Before long you can easily put them on in the dark without effort or thought.
  • Is sensitive enough to pick up the faintest whisper and the wing beats of ducks but instantly blocks out the roar of magnum shotgun shells.
  • Can be programmed for the game animals that you personally hunt.
  • Improves your hearing so well that even archery hunters may want to use them to hear game more clearly from further away.
  • Designed by ear doctors and hunters, does its job with outstanding excellence. 
    • It is as if they thought of every intricate detail but put it in a package with unexplainable simplicity. 
  • Utilizes high grade hearing aid technology meant to be used constantly, reliably, and without down time. 
  • Comes with 6 different size tips to accommodate different ear sizes.
  • Tetra has confirmed that people with Health Saving Accounts (HSA) can use those funds towards purchasing their products.

Cons:

  • They fit too tightly for my small ears at first. They felt acceptably snug after a few outings. But after a few half day hunts they fit comfortably enough that I would forget I was wearing them. I’d rather them fit perfectly from day one, but this is still preferred over being too loose.
    • Some people with small ears may not wear them enough to find out that their ears will adapt to them and they become comfortable over time.
  • Sounds weird indoors and around town. But they are meant to be used in the field and they do thrive in their intended environment.
  • The battery door feels a little delicate when open. Should be fine, but be careful to take it is easy when changing batteries. 
  • Price. No two ways about it, they are expensive. Costing as much as a firearm makes them a significant purchase. A very well worth it purchase, but not something most people can casually buy without saving up. 
    • They do go on sale occasionally. And Tetra has said they are working on sourcing more cost effective components to lower the prices.

Final Analysis: Every hunter using a firearm should get these, especially those hunting game requiring regular and frequent shooting like waterfowl, pheasants, doves, etc. If you are a new hunter it would be better to hunt another season or two with a less than thrilling firearm and buy these before upgrading your gun. Everyone should put these on their vision list and prioritize them as they are financially able. 

Learn more at www.TetraHearing.com

Show Notes:

A boat provides more than another tool, it enables you to hunt in new ways. On this episode I talk about core strategies to hunt ducks from a boat, kayak, or canoe.

Take Aways:

  • Small boats can be often be borrowed or purchased used inexpensively.
  • Boats enable you to not just reach places you could not access otherwise but they open up new hunting techniques.
  • Always be mindful of safety and what is beyond the water when hunting from a boat.
  • Make sure you have a plan to get back upstream when hunting moving water.
  • Always check your local laws for water and boat hunting.
  • Stealth is always important, even when hunting from boat.
  • Take appropriate safety measures like a life vest, they do make camo ones.
  • Listen to the episode to hear how to effectively hunt ducks from a boat.

Show Notes:

You can absolutely hunt ducks without much money or gear and be effective at it too. On this episode I talk about jump hunting, the easiest way to get started chasing ducks!

Take Aways

  • Jump hunting works best in the middle of the day when ducks are loafing or resting on/near the water. 
  • This works great because you do not need to wake up early or stay out late to hunt them.
  • The biggest factors here are stealth and strategy instead.
  • You do not need decoys, calls, a blind, or most duck hunting gear.
  • This is a great entry point for beginners as well as a great mid day hunting strategy.
  • The more you walk the more opportunities you are likely to find.
  • Always have a plan in mind to retrieve birds you shoot.
  • Pass shooting goes hand in hand with jump shooting.
  • Listen to the episode to hear the strategies for hunting ducks on foot. 

Show Notes:

Hunting ducks from a blind is likely the easiest and most popular way to start waterfowl hunting. It can also be very cheap. On this episode I talk about practical strategy for building a duck blind and hunting from one.

Take Aways

  • Using a blind makes duck hunting a team sport, you can not only have more fun together, you can be more successful together.
  • Finding the right place for a blind is a critical first step that is easy to overlook, especially in the dark.
  • Be mindful of concealment from the water, concealment from the air, and not being too close to the water’s edge.
  • The most effective blind is the one that looks natural, like it was always there.
  • Store bought blinds can be easier to use but are seldom better than what you can build using local materials.
  • You can build great blinds for $0. And with a few dollars you can get some simple materials to help.
  • Layout blinds can be great options for some situations but they require an additional skill set and safety training to use well. New hunters are better off building a blind for free and investing their funds in other gear to get started.
  • Listen to the episode to hear about the strategies for building and hunting from a blind.

Show Notes:

Weather effects almost all types of hunting and ducks are no exception. Some conditions help duck hunting and some make it harder. On this episode I simplify things for the new hunter so you can make better decisions based on the forecast. 

Take Aways

  • There is no one sized fits all weather model for duck hunting. It is not as simple as some make it sound.
  • Weather effects waterfowl habits differently in different regions, areas, and habitats. It may even effect different water in the same county differently. 
  • Do not rely on weather recommendations from people who hunt ducks 1,000 miles from you on different flyways at different latitudes. Their advice may be good where they live, but it may not translate where you live.
  • Birds are going to fly, and eat, and rest on just about every day no matter the weather. You can take ducks in just about all weather conditions. 
  • The rule of thumb is this, if you have the gear to hunt comfortably in the current conditions then get out there and see how those conditions effect ducks where you hunt,
  • Listen to the episode to hear specific recommendations for different types of weather.