A Few Tips for Duck Season

Wood Ducks on the Wing! *


One Way to Pluck Ducks & Geese

Plan to pluck your ducks and geese dry.  According to MDH (my deer husband), they are easiest to pluck soon after shooting.

If you situate your ducks/geese over a bag or deep pot, you can pull the feathers down and into the container.  Pull down with the lay of the feathers.

Another Option

If this sounds like too much work, I have an alternative.  Delta Waterfowl president, Rob Olson has some great videos on cleaning ducks.

Rob Olson’s 3 Pail Cleaning System

Breasting a Duck

Leaving a Wing Attached

Don’t Forget the Drumsticks & Thighs – Great info on how to BBQ a Goose!

Plucking Ducks

Dressing Ducks

Each of these are 2 to 5 minutes and well worth your time!

Tending to Your Decoys

Before storing your duck/goose decoys, spend a little time checking them over for next year.

This tip is from Chuck Barry, President of Texas Hunting Products (in Houston, TX).  To repair shot holes, use a short length of polypropylene rope.  Touch the lit end of a match to the end of the rope.  Dab the liquid polypropylene on the holes.

This operation can seal the holes.  However, if you check the repair before the area cools, you can use all those cuss words you’ve saved up (for just such an occasion)!

* Reflections of Autumn – Wood Ducks Rear Window Graphic used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics!


Our Sunday’s Special this Weekend: Western Rear Window Graphic Photos!  Then come back for a new article on Monday!


REMEMBER:  Deja Moo is the feeling you’ve heard this bull before!


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on December 18, 2010 at 6:18 pm  Comments Off on A Few Tips for Duck Season  
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Using Camo and a Blind When the Deer Aren’t

Article first published as Using Camo and a Blind When the Deer Aren’t on Technorati.


Used properly, camouflage can significantly improve your chances of getting close enough to a deer to shoot.  However, camouflage doesn’t cure all problems — all the time.

Face Paint, Face Veils & Head Coverings Disguise the Human Form!

How Camo Helps

Whether you use face paint, head veils/coverings or other camouflage materials, they usually do a great job of breaking up your outline.

They also help you blend in with your surroundings, thus forcing deer to use his other senses to find you.

Ground blinds in camo patterns extend your ability to hide while offering you visibility of your surroundings.  Here are a few hints about camo and ground blinds:

  • Bowhunters should locate their blinds about 15 – 20 yards away from trails made by game.
  • Use curved edges when covering your hiding spot, rather than squared edges.  It looks more natural.
  • Set your ground blind at a higher elevation than you expect to see game.  This takes you out of his direct line-of-sight and usually gives you a wider view.
  • Cover yourself completely; your skin, watch and weapons must be matte.  If a deer sees the sun reflecting off  the face of your watch — you are toast!

Other Considerations While Hunting

Safety is your first consideration — for yourself and other hunters.  Here are a few tips so you don’t become accidental prey or hurt others!

  • A bright orange vest/jacket/hat should be worn on your way to your hunting spot.
  • Don’t wear or carry anything that is the color of the game you are seeking.
  • Hang a tag of bright tape on the animal when you are field dressing or carrying game to your vehicle.
  • When you hear another hunter approaching, call out in a normal voice to alert others.  Do not shout, use a whistle or use an animal caller.
  • Be extremely careful of using an animal caller when other hunters are in your hunting area.
  • Be sure that you will have a clear shot and that you can see on the other side of the animal — before you shoot.

Remember: Safety takes a few extra seconds, but regret lasts for a very long time!


Come Back Sunday for a Look at 5 Dynamite Firefighter Graphics!


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on November 19, 2010 at 11:15 am  Comments Off on Using Camo and a Blind When the Deer Aren’t  
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Tips on Blood Signs While Hunting

Recently, I wrote an article about finding a wounded animal, Finding Your Wounded Deer.  There are so many facets to this problem that I want to attack it from a different angle.


Blood Spatters are Important Indicators of the Length of Your Search for a Wounded Animal!


Blood Signs While Trailing an Animal

Understanding what you are seeing on the trail may help you in finding a wounded animal.  Wild animals are not going to help you; it is up to you to decipher the blood spatters.

The experts I’ve consulted suggest starting where the animal was hit.  They recommend using squares of toilet tissue to mark the trail. Alternately, use plastic flags (and remove them later).

Recognizing the exact location the deer/elk/whatever was hit might not be very easy.  Before leaving your shooting location, find some landmarks to help you find the correct spot.

Knowing where the animal was shot can be a good indicator as to the distance you will need to travel to find the deer or other animal.

Blood Signs

You might need to get down on all fours to search the area.  Sometimes, blood and hair strands cling to the sides of grass stems and other foliage.

  • Blood that is frothy — with bubbles — is probably a lung shot.
  • Conversely, blood with bubbles may be a hit in the neck, with the bullet or arrow opening arteries and windpipe.
  • Blood that is very dark, may show a liver or kidney injury.
  • Blood mixed with vegetation (often greenish in color), usually means a ‘gut’ shot.
  • Blood in a spattered pattern can show an animal that is moving fast or that major blood vessels were severed.
  • The height of the blood sign often tells you the location of the wound.
  • Blood spattered on both sides of a trail usually indicates a pass-through wound.  However, this same sign can indicate that an animal doubled back on his trail with a one-hole wound.

Blood Signs and Length of the Chase

Generally, knowing what a blood spatter means will tell you how long it will take to find the animal.

For example, that frothy blood sign that indicates a lung shot, will probably be a short search.

Blood with bits of undigested food (a stomach or intestines wound),will usually take a much longer time.

However, bright blood — indicating a muscle shot or heart shot  — could be either! (A heart shot won’t take long, but a muscle shot could lead you on for miles!)


Do you know someone who might find this article useful?

Please pass it on!

Thank you!


‘Elk’ is a Rear Window Graphic used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on October 14, 2010 at 11:22 am  Comments Off on Tips on Blood Signs While Hunting  
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Take a Look at HuntingLife.com

Good News

Unless you read an upbeat blog like HuntingLife.com – positive news about hunters and anglers can be in short supply.

The author of this blog shares with his readers the latest-and-greatest news about outdoors, plus news about the individuals and groups who make a difference.


This site has been on my Blogroll for a very long time.  In fact, it was one of the first I added because of the incredible range of articles and information.

What I appreciate most is Kevin Paulson’s focus on the people and organizations that make good things happen in the American outdoors.

For Example …

Anglers and hunters are the conservators of the fish and wild game available in America today. How? Through the fees, taxes and stamp/license purchases, outdoor enthusiasts fund the state fisheries, parks and wildlife sanctuaries across our land.

A lesser-known role of hunters and anglers is the one of land acquisition.  Each year, land is donated and/or purchased by individuals and organizations to preserve our sporting heritage for years to come.

HuntingLife.com is at the forefront of naming names and giving credit to the folks who give so much to protect and preserve our outdoor traditions.

And They Do Product Reviews

Sometimes, HuntingLife evaluates products and reports to the readership.  Today’s entry (I’m writing this February 24, 2010) is about “Cold and Dry.”

It’s one of those products you might bypass because it lacks a glamorous name or a big-name endorser.  However, after reading HuntingLife’s review, this product is on my list to check out the next time I’m in a sporting goods store.

Just click on the “Reviews” button (left, under the HuntingLife.com logo) to see (an extensive) list of the evaluated products.

Your Hunting Photos

Do you have a photo of your last hunting outing?  HuntingLife has a photo gallery – and offers to let you share your great moments with the world!  Click on the “Gallery” button for instructions to send your hunting photo(s).


This brief article cannot hope to cover everything that is available on the HuntingLife site.  However, I found a listing on their site that seems to sum things up.

HuntingLife covers:

  • hunting news,
  • conservation news,
  • deer hunting,
  • elk hunting,
  • moose hunting,
  • sheep hunting,
  • bear hunting,
  • turkey hunting,
  • big game hunting,
  • waterfowl hunting,
  • upland game hunting,
  • hunting guides, outfitters, and hunting lodges.

Take a look soon!


This blog is a companion to my website: GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on February 25, 2010 at 12:24 am  Comments Off on Take a Look at HuntingLife.com  
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A Great Hunting Forum: TalkHunting.com **



Although I’ve followed TalkHunting.com through their tweets, I recently spent time on the site and like what I see.   If you are into hunting – this is a very friendly place.

With All the Tips & Hints Flying Around on TalkHunting.com, These Turkeys Should Be Shaking in their Shoes!


I’m not sure 400 words is enough room to explain this site!  A year ago, they decided to collect wild game recipes for a cookbook and recipes started to arrive.  Are you familiar with “Canned Venison/Elk?”  I wasn’t.

At the bottom of page one, Captain Dale offers the recipe as a pdf file.   Put raw slices of meat with some condiments in canning jars. By the time the pressure cooker has done its job, the meat is cooked and processed.

Forums for Various Types of Hunting

Although there are areas of general interest (Announcements & Events; Free Classified Ads, etc.), there are separate forums for specific hunting interests:  Deer, Turkey, Big Game,  Water Fowl & Game Birds, Other Critters (hogs, predators, etc.), and Hunting with Kids.

The thing that impressed me most was hunters helping hunters – with tips and suggestions.  An example in the “Turkey Hunter > New Turkey Hunter” Forum:  Someone new to hunting turkey asked how to get started. Seasoned hunters welcomed the newcomer and shared useful advice.

Free Hunting Products Given Away Monthly

An interesting aside to this site is the fact that hunting product sponsors offer a variety of items to be given away each month!  TalkHunting.com has devised a great way to distribute those prizes.

Members (yes, you must be a registered member to qualify) must promote the quality of the forum by participating in discussions.  You need to offer a minimum number of posts for your name to be added to the pot for the drawings.  Additional posts by members mean more chances of winning!

Why I Like This Site

I’m a native Houstonian and our family moved a great deal during my early years. Chatting with a stranger has never come naturally to me.  In fact, the entire concept of “social media” leaves me cold.

However, I’ve really enjoyed lurking (reading, but not commenting)* on this site.  I’ve learned quite a bit in the time I’ve spent there.

If you are looking for friendly folks, lots of support, interesting stories and photos, this is a great spot.   Say … lets lurk together!

On the site, I’m “marylouise22.”


* Lurking is common for newcomers; you learn how things work, how to comment, etc.  Of course, the expectation is that before long, you will want to participate.  This is a easy site to get started.


‘Proud Crowd’ is used by permission of ClearVue Graphics!


This blog is a companion to my website: GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com


Guess What? Your Mama Was Your First Hunting Instructor!


Mom Finally Gets Some Credit!


Most hunters do not realize that “dear ol’ Mom” was their first trainer in the fine skill of hunting.  Dads came along later, to take the semi-trained youngster to the woods for further instruction.

Let me show you what I mean.

Mom’s Hunting Tips

Your mother cautioned you ‘not to make a spectacle of yourself’ – an important hunting tip.  Great hunters stay in the shadows – out of direct sunlight. There’s only one word for hunters who walk along the tops of hills with the sun behind them – busted!

Mama was right when she cautioned you to ‘quit wiggling.’ No matter how well you’ve camouflaged yourself, too much movement will give you away.

The Importance of Smell in Hunting

Most large game have an acute sense of smell. So, when your Mama told you to take a bath because you smelled, she was offering good advice.

This is not a time to bathe with your new bar of “Obsession” soap. Neutral, non-scented soap is the best idea.

Hunters planning on stalking in pine areas sometimes store their ghillie wear in plastic bags, along with pine leaves.  Those hunting in dense woods often put a variety of leaves with their ghillie suits – so they will smell more natural.

How Deer & Ducks Use Light

Your mother provided excellent hunting training when she chased you to the bus, waving your mittens. Sweet thing that she was, Mama worried you’d catch cold.

Illness is the least of a hunter’s concerns. However, having one’s hands & face (and any other exposed surface) covered is critical because your body reflects light.

When a duck is looking down at a marsh and sees a flash of light, he continues on to a safer place. Deer also have an uncanny knack for seeing a single flash and knowing it’s time to move elsewhere.

Ghillie Wear as Concealment

If the hunter is relying on his camo and ghillie wear for concealment, he needs to remember Mom’s thoughts on this issue: “Child, go back to your room and take off that ratty shirt.”

She was really explaining that worn or faded camo does you little good. When the contrast (lights vs. shadows) is gone, so is your protection! If your image isn’t broken up by the lights and shadows, you will be seen.

“Don’t be a show-off,”  was just your mother’s way of reminding you that shiny objects are seen objects!

Like your face – a thermos, rifle scope, watch – has reflective properties. These items should be removed or concealed – either with contact paper or matte tape or whatever. Remember: Your solution must be matte (flat, no reflection) or it’s no good.

Sound Camouflage

When your mother queried you about “Are you ready?” and said, “Keep quiet when the visitors come,” she was doing her best to explain the importance of preparation for hunting. She was also trying to remind you to check your ‘noise factor.’

To be successful in hunting, preparation is critical. Realizing you need to travel back 100 miles to civilization to buy a can opener is a real bummer.

Oiling squeaks, gathering hunting supplies and food, checking your weapons – all calls for planning.  Game relies on noise and movement to save them from your dinner table.

When Mama asked you to look at something “from a different point of view,” she was offering another excellent hunting tip. Hunters are more successful when they are not at eye-level with their quarry.

Be up in a tree (10 -12 feet up), or sitting on the ground with your back to a tree. You want to see the “whites of his eyes” before your target sees yours! Be where he doesn’t expect you.

I could go on, but I think I’ve proven my point that your Mom was your first hunting teacher!

It just goes along with my other hypothesis: Your Mother is Always Right.

— (Signed) Mama

© 2009 by Marylouise of GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on December 10, 2009 at 1:30 pm  Comments Off on Guess What? Your Mama Was Your First Hunting Instructor!  
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Using Hunting Blinds to Increase Your Success in Duck, Goose Hunting

The Importance of Concealment


Concealment is an Important Part of Bird Hunting!


It is a known fact that concealment is an important factor in duck & goose hunting success.  But is camouflage – camo clothing – enough?  No, not really.  Remember that with a goose or duck’s life on the line, he/she tends to watch for hunters rather carefully.

However, to ensure success in hunting ducks and geese, you must control your movement!  One of the best way to hide your movements is to use a blind.

Blinds Come in a Variety of Shapes & Sizes

There are lots of low-cost solutions to the problem of hiding from duck and geese.  You just need to look around you and adapt your idea to your surroundings.

For instance, if you plan to  hunt in a cornfield, use corn stalks as your blind.  If you find yourself in rushes — make your blind of rushes!

It is important to use natural materials that fit into the environment where you are hunting.  Ducks and geese aren’t dumb … and they aren’t about to give up their lives to a dumb stunt like sitting out in a field, hoping the birds won’t notice you.

If you find yourself in a hayfield, gather up the grass into mounds and crawl into the center.  If you hunt  in the same place each year (lucky you), it helps to prepare your blind early and set it  in place, so the ducks get used to seeing it.

Duck & Goose Hunting from a Boat

Your boat should be camo’d for two reasons.  First, birds recognize boats as objects of the enemy.

Second, allowing the sun to glint off any part of your boat is a dead give-away of your presence.

Talking about glinting objects: Is your gun totally matte black?  If not,  you should acquire some camo patterned matte vinyl material to your gun stock to disguise it from the birds.


No matter how creative or  expensive your blind, your movements will scare birds away.  All the decoys in the world won’t entice game to come down … if they see a moving figure!

If you can’t sit still, you won’t be a success in bagging your limit of birds.


Full Disclosure: Although I sell blind materials, I will not mention them in this article.  My mission in this blog is to share information.


This blog is a companion to my website: GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on December 8, 2009 at 3:52 am  Comments Off on Using Hunting Blinds to Increase Your Success in Duck, Goose Hunting  
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Adding Decoys to your Goose & Duck Hunting

Duck/Goose Decoys


Decoys Tell Ducks Flying Overhead, "Yum, there's plenty to eat here."


Even if your budget is tight, a few decoys are important to any duck or goose hunter.  MDH,*  in the early days, had a few realistic decoys for the edges — and filled in the center of his hunting area with newspaper or folded diapers!

My husband encouraged both of our kids graduate to underwear ASAP so he could have their diapers for decoys! When Richard started hunting, painting your own decoys was the standard!

Selecting Duck/Goose Decoys

I consider the 3 most important things to learn about the decoys you are considering are:

  1. How much do they weigh?
  2. How heavy are the decoys? … and
  3. Will you be able to carry them where you need them freezing rain?

Most people look at price and the decoy’s looks without considering how easy the decoys are to carry and/or move around. This is a mistake.  You will have plenty of time to kick yourself for a poor choice (of heavy, odd-shaped, ineffective decoys)!

Getting the Drop on Decoys

Before dropping a wad of money in your sporting goods store, ask around.  What types do others feel are worth the money?  Is there any place these decoys are ineffective? Must you have a lot of them to have a convincing stand of decoys?


More Soon: I’m flying today and hope to write more tomorrow!


This blog is a companion to my website: GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com


Published in: on December 4, 2009 at 10:22 am  Comments Off on Adding Decoys to your Goose & Duck Hunting  
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Getting the “Gamy” Taste out of Wild Ducks, Fowl, Etc. (3 of 3)



Avoiding Gamy Taste in Ducks and other Fowl! *

Re-reading the two posts regarding “gamy taste” in wild game, the tone of the pieces seem to be focused on venison.  Perhaps a few words on wild ducks, wild geese, wild turkey, wild fowl, would be appropriate.

Why Wild Duck Tastes Different

In truth, wild duck, goose, turkey, etc., have a different taste than domesticated (the ones you can buy in the frozen meat cases). Wild game has not been ‘fattened up’ for the market, nor has it been fed special foods  – and diet truly does affect a bird’s taste.

A Step on the Dry Side

The ‘wild ones’ symbolize “what-you-see-is-what-you-get.”  And that is the beauty of wild game – no hormones were added – it is just natural food.  Because wild game has not been fed a diet of fats and things you cannot pronounce, it tastes dry.

Tips With Quail

Before freezing, quail may be skinned or plucked. For more moisture and flavor, pluck, rather than skin. Quail can be kept in the freezer (at 0 degrees) for 9 – 10 months – if placed in vapor/moisture proof containers or wrapping.

Fried Quail

4 quail, 1/4 cup flour, salt and pepper

After dredging quail in flour mixture, fry in hot fat. Brown on both sides. Cover skillet and reduce heat. Cook slowly until tender, ~ 20 minutes, turning once to brown evenly. Serves 4.

Ideas for Marinating Ducks & Birds

If your ducks are fish-eating animals, it is best to marinate in wine, buttermilk or vinegar. If the game is an older goose or duck, marinating your animal in the refrigerator for 4 to 12 hours will improve flavor.

These older birds respond well to 1/2 tsp. salt and 1 Tbsp. vinegar per quart of water. This mixture will improve flavor and tenderize the flesh.

Dining on Duck

Wild duck, which is a dark meat, is most flavorful when served rare. I’ve found that roasting a duck in a closed pan – after adding a few strips of bacon (across the carcass) – really makes a difference with large and less-tender birds.

The only way I cook ducks is with bacon (strips) and/or in gravy.  They need the moisture provided by these, plus a closed pan.

Wild Goose

Young wild goose  is wonderful: little waste, the meat is rich, dark and lean. Unfortunately, older geese don’t seem to get better in moist heat.  Given a choice, tell your hunter to aim for the youngster. 😉


One thing I forgot to  include with the venison info: Venison does not freeze until it cools down below 28 degrees.


* Reflections of Autumn used with permission of Vantage Point Graphics


This series includes:

#1 of 3: Can You Take the Wild Taste Out of Venison?

# 2 of 3: Removing the “Gamy” from Wild Game!

# 3 of 3: Getting the “Gamy” Taste out of Wild Ducks, Fowl, Etc.


This is a companion to my website: EasyOnlineOrdering.com

Removing the “Gamy” from Wild Game! (2 of 3)



Reduce 'Gamy Taste' with These Tips!


Where Does ‘Gamy’ Come From?

Generally, experts agree that that “gamy” taste is a by-product of improper handling of the game, after bringing the game down OR before cooking.

What are some examples?

  • Leaving an animal in the snow (dusk shot), to field dress in am
  • Not field dressing animal ASAP
  • Not completely removing entrails
  • Not rinsing cavity with clean water, soon after field dressing
  • Not getting animal on ice as quickly as possible
  • Not processing the animal within a day or two of harvest
  • Not rinsing carcass after skinning; hair, etc., creates off-flavors
  • Your deer’s diet – from wooded acreage, probably has more gamy taste
  • Deer on agricultural & suburban areas – better diet = better taste
  • Hauling game home exposed – in/on the truck/vehicle

Dave Adds

As an experienced deer processor, Dave (of  http://www.best-venison.com) has seen it all and has the photos to prove it. Look around his site for other info on reducing gamy taste.

  • Dave indicates that leaving bone-in the venison contributes to the gamy taste.
  • He believes “aging” deer can add gamy taste. See his suggestions.
  • He also indicates anything less than “double wrapping venison” for the freezer is a bad idea.

The Big Question

Essentially, the real question you should always be asking yourself is, “If this were beef from the grocers, how would I handle this piece of meat?”

Taming “Gamy” Before Cooking

Check out this site:  http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07333/837468-34.stm Steve Loder, author of 3 wild game cookbooks, gives an interesting explanation of venison’s fat being the source of much of it’s ‘gaminess.’

His theory and solutions are too lengthy to cover here, but he has the credentials to know his subject and give great advice.

Methods to Reduce Gaminess

There are many ways to remove the wild taste. At eHow, http://www.ehow.com/how_2067752_get-wild-taste-out-of-deer.html -check out the  idea there.

To Tenderize & Remove the Wild Taste

  • Before we fry the backstrap of the deer, we marinate the meat in milk for ~24 hours.
  • Cut up a pineapple – mix pressed pineapple slices, pulp, juice with meat chunks (or slices), cover, place in refrigerator for a couple of days, then use. If you are using a large piece of meat, increase the amount of fresh pineapple.
  • Buttermilk is another popular marinating liquid

Try venison in tomato-based dishes, such as meatballs and spaghetti sauce, lasagna, chili, etc. The tomato masks (or removes, I’m not sure which) the wild taste.


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com