People say to me through Twitter or on Youtube that waterfowl hunting in Canada is easy. All you have to do is just throw out some decoys and you will limit out. The people who say things like that are not bird hunters obviously. Even up here the path to the land of ‘Milk & Honey’ takes you through the desert.
I don’t know where I heard it first but the statement “Hard times make strong men” rings true. I tell my son this and maybe one day he will learn what it means. This saying is very become a good hunter some hard times and hard leassons.
When I started out hunting I could find no one to teach me the ins and the outs of bird hunting. I had some advice from people removed from the sport by 15 years but as one can imagine their advice wasn’t useful. So I decided to get out and hunt. I got a layout blind and a couple dozen honker decoys and went hunting. In those days my hunting was setting up my gear in a place where I wanted to hunt and more that often come home empty handed. My times in the desert were those first few years of hunting alone and learning what not to do. But I kept at it and then started to scrap out some birds which then stoked the fire.
I was able to make contact with a few good men that were willing to take me out and show me a thing or two. I came to realise that there were things I was doing right and a lot of things that I needed to work on. I learnt from those gentlemen that there were some pieces missing in my toolkit and they had the patience to show me what i needed to do. Those dudes were able to point me to path that took me out of the desert.
Things did not instantly improve but each and every hunt I learnt more. Then after many times of trial and error things started to fall together. I learnt the essentials of proper scouting, decoy placement, and concealment. I look back now at the the hunts I did in the past and laugh at my stupidity. I take pride in the time spent in the ‘lean times’ and I do know that if I had not learnt those lessons back the hard way I would not be a decent hunter today.
The advice I tell new hunters is this “JUST GET OUT AND HUNT”. Read up and watch Youtube videos. There is a lot of good info out there but unless you get off your ass and and hunt you will never learn a thing. Time spent trying to get under birds in an evening pass-shoot is important. Trying to shoot some birds on a DucksUnlimited pond with a dozen floaters is essential. Getting out with your dog and doing upland is time well spent. If you say your are all about hunting and yet do not get out and learn the hard way by hunting, I will have NO time for you. Lazy people are cancer.
So next time that I am told by someone that hunting in Canada is easy and all I have to do is throw some gear out and the birds will come; I will direct that person to this blog. Maybe that person will learn that once you have spent time in the desert can you enter into the promised land.