Scout­ing from home

Rob Tre­ble is an avid wa­ter­fowl hunter who ven­tures out 30 times a year. Over nearly four decades he’s learnt that a lit­tle scout­ing from home can put you where the ducks are.

Field and Game - - SCOUTING FROM HOME -

Weather plays a crit­i­cal role in my suc­cess as a hunter. There are days when wa­ter­fowl will be dis­turbed and move for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons; a savvy hunter can take ad­van­tage of that move­ment.

I am largely re­liant on the weather, namely strong winds and over­cast con­di­tions. Be­cause the weather con­di­tions play an im­por­tant part in my hunt­ing, dur­ing the sea­son I utilise a num­ber of apps and fore­casts from the Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy (BOM) daily to de­cide where to plan to hunt.

If the weather is ideal for a par­tic­u­lar hunt­ing lo­ca­tion, I will change my plan, even on the morn­ing of the hunt.

From ex­pe­ri­ence, I know the weather is a key driver of wa­ter­fowl be­hav­iour at spe­cific lo­ca­tions. With the right con­di­tions, a given spot will pro­duce a num­ber of hunt­ing op­tions and you can go with the con­fi­dence you will suc­cess­fully bag some birds.

When there is no wind and clear skies I re­sign my­self to mow­ing the lawns and do­ing the do­mes­tic chores. So, what is ideal duck weather? Based on ex­pe­ri­ence, it is when the wind is blow­ing 20 to 30 km per hour by 9 am and I can set up with it at my back.

Th­ese weather con­di­tions are gen­er­ally enough to dis­turb wa­ter­fowl, they move and seek shel­ter from the con­di­tions. Over time you can gather in­tel­li­gence from favourite wet­lands so you know where the birds will be (or where they will want to move to) which­ever di­rec­tion the wind blows.

The trick is to be set up the night be­fore or early that morn­ing as the wind will build as the sun rises — es­sen­tially, you want to get there be­fore the ducks do.

The hunt­ing is usual steady un­til mid­morn­ing and with the aid of some de­coys, it can be spec­tac­u­lar with ducks de­coy­ing con­fi­dently and well within ef­fec­tive range.

You do need to ex­er­cise some cau­tion when hunt­ing on windy days. Rough weather, par­tic­u­larly on large bod­ies of wa­ter, can be very dan­ger­ous. If you are boat­ing make sure you have all the ap­pro­pri­ate ves­sel and safety gear; a duck punt is not go­ing to cut it on some­where like Lake Welling­ton in Gipp­s­land. Al­ways make sure some­one knows where you are and what time you will be back.

En­joy the breeze, a wind day makes for great hunt­ing ex­pe­ri­ences.

Un­til next time, hunt of­ten, hunt safely.

Rob Tre­ble

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