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  • What is the best way to set the decks for mallards? Seeing them is not the problem, getting them close is. What can I do?
    Answer:

    H.S. Pro Staff:

    How you set your decoys depends on the hunting conditions you have. If you hunt wide open water set them in an L shape with the long end of the L along the bank and the short end extending out into the water. If you have access to goose decoys use them on the short end of the L. If you are in a pothole set 2 groups of decoys and be sure you leave an opening between them for the birds to land.

  • Where do turkeys go when it's snowing?
    Answer:

    H.S. Pro Staff:

    Turkeys will tend to feed heavy before and during the snow. So try to find the food source and if the snow keeps on coming down and piling up, look for the birds in an area that offers some shelter, like large pines or cedar trees. Good luck.

  • Is it wrong to do any calling in my hunting area before the season opens or while scouting?
    Answer:

    H.S. Pro Staff:

    There is a gray area when it comes to this question. Some people say it doesn't hurt anything and others will come unwound when the subject comes up. Personally, I do a little calling, just enough to locate the birds, then I lay off and slip out of the area. Usually when doing this I use some type of locator call such as a coyote howler, crow call, or a gobble call but very little, if any, turkey hen yelping. I look at it this way. Turkeys are smart enough as it is--I don't want to educate them any further. Good luck.

  • I have two questions please. How does severe weather (storms) affect turkeys? During the day do they take to heavy cover, and what about on the roost?
    Answer:

    H.S. Pro Staff:

    I have found that turkeys are usually not as vocal when bad weather moves in. I have also found that birds will have a tendency to stay in the roost longer during stormy days. If hunting in rain look for good cover. I have also found that hunting after the rain can be very productive. When hunting after the rain I will try to hunt open areas because turkeys like to get out in the open to dry out. You will have a good chance finding turkeys around roads at this time. Good luck and I hope this will help you out. Hunt safe.

  • How do I become a professional waterfowl guide and how can I get those deep grunts out of my goose call?
    Answer:

    H.S. Pro Staff:

    As far as becoming a waterfowl guide there are several things to consider...the first is, are you in close proximity to large concentrations of birds? If so, get a business plan together detailing cost of hunts. What does it include? If lodging is paid by you, where will the clients be? Are meals included? Who sets and picks up the decoys? Is bird cleaning included?
    After you establish all of these it's time to figure out how you get the word out that you are in business. You certainly will need brochures and business cards, but you need some sort of advertising to reach a broad base of hunters. Print ads (either magazine or newspaper) are the best for getting the most bang for your buck, but it's expensive so make sure before you invest in advertising you have a clear game plan.
    Another great way to advertise is through media hunts...either by entertaining outdoor writers or people that shoot video and TV shows. This is still relatively expensive because the writers will want everything (including travel) to be complimentary. The video people will usually foot the bill to get there but as a rule get the hunt, lodging, and meals complimentary also.
    On that goose call to get those deeper sounds you have to open your throat. You do this by dropping the back of the tongue down. Say whoooo and pay attention to where your tongue is. Now say key and see where the tongue is. You should notice the tongue is way down in the mouth when you say whoooo. That will make a larger cavity to give more of a resonant sound.

  • What kind of call do I use when the ducks are call shy?
    Answer:

    H.S. Pro Staff:

    When the ducks are call shy here's what I do...let them approach your set silently. Don't hail are greet them at all. After they swing over the decoys and start to leave give them the absolute best hen greeting you can. Let them work back on their own after that and see what happens.
    If you think about it what you are doing in this scenario is duplicating nature. Ducks aren't sitting there hailing incoming ducks, but after a flock passes over resting ducks you'll almost always hear a hen bark out one of those nasty greetings. The flock usually turns into the wind and sets in. Try duplicating this and I bet you'll start calling in more birds.

  • I was wondering what kind of decoy setups are good if I only have three dozen mallards (I hunt on water, not dry land).
    Answer:

    H.S. Pro Staff:

    There are two set-ups that I'd recommend. The first is to make a J or an L pattern. On the straight end of the spread keep them thin and as you get towards the bend thicken the decoys up. Mallards tend to decoys to the edges of concentrations.
    The other spread is simple, just put out two bunches leaving a gap in the middle for a landing area. In either situation make sure the approach area coming in to the spread isn't blocked by anything. In other words, don't have decoys bunched up downwind of the landing area.

  • I love to waterfowl hunt. I have 2 dozen duck decoys and 9 goose decoys, 4 of which are full body decoys. What would be the best set up to attract both ducks/geese. I hunt on a pond will a grass area the whole way around it.
    Answer:

    H.S. Pro Staff:

    If you are hunting a pond the full bodies won't do you much good, so let's get to the floaters... What I would do is to set up with the wind coming over your shoulder, not straight away and not sideways but somewhere in between. Start off by putting out the duck decoys. Keep them in close to the bank out to about 15 yards. Now for the goose... If the wind is over your right shoulder put the geese on the right side if it's over your left, obviously put them on the left side. Place them right where your duck decoys end and run them out to about 30 yards. What you are trying to create is an L with the ducks being the long end. The birds should decoy right where the ducks and geese meet.

  • I've always had pretty good success at finding elk, but with bad weather conditions and heavy hunting pressure, they have become very call shy and much less predictable. What do you suggest for getting close?
    Answer:

    J.R. Keller's reply:

    I have found that when elk are pressured they have a tendency to go to lower elevations. If the elk haven't moved to lower elevations and are really call shy, I like to tone my calling down. You will find that elk will still be very receptive to calls but may come in silent and not screaming their guts out so try to be patient and I think you will be successful.
    Some calling techniques I have found that work well are soft cow calls on a diaphragm call. When I use this tactic I will try to sound like several elk and have had great luck with this approach.

  • I have been getting good at using my diaphragm, however I call in more hunters with it than elk. My question is, how in the world do you tell the difference between an actual elk calling you back or a hunter who is also good with a bugle?
    Answer:

    J.R. Keller's reply:

    Sounds like you have become pretty handy with a diaphragm call. Over the past couple of years I have had good luck using a bugle primarily for locating elk. Once I have located a bull I will switch over to cow calls. Now and again you have that stubborn old bull that you have to get down and dirty with that bugle, but most of the time your high pitched cow calls will do the trick. Hopefully this will remedy your dilemma with your encounters with other hunters.

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