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Preparing for the Duck Trek

Duck Trek 2011

By: James Overstreet, OutdoorChannel.com

How do you back up a duck hunting adventure of a lifetime? If confronted with the opportunity, you load up the truck and do it all over again.

The logistics and route are finally in place for Outdoor Channel’s 2011 version of the Duck Trek.

Duck hunting itself is typically a simple endeavor. You throw in mud and water; mix it with shotguns, dogs and camo-clad hunters, and hopefully, a sky full of ducks.

However, thousands of miles of duck hunting on the move become a series of potential complications. The first step in any adventure is the planning.

Hours are spent staring at maps of states that stretch from Canada to Mexico. You begin to circle dots marking places you may have never seen, many of them with curious names such as Goofy Ridge, Creole or Bald Knob.

The circles on the map begin to form a pattern running north to south, with major variances to the east and west. In the end the circles are connected, forming a route that follows one of nature’s annual events, the great migration of millions of waterfowl.

From North Dakota to the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Texas, every stop on the map holds a story to be told. Near each is a body of water the migrating masses depend upon for rest and nourishment. There reside men waiting to meet them in the annual ritual known as duck hunting.

This collision of men and ducks takes place is many ways. The methods and tactics designed to insure the collision is one of the things that make duck hunters different. Geography and the type of terrain to be hunted dictate a duck hunter’s equipment list.

In Louisiana, a pirogue may be the finest watercraft available … in the open waters of Green Bay it becomes useless and dangerous. In Arkansas the only whistle hanging from a duck hunters neck is the one used to work a retriever. Duck holes vary from less than an acre to several hundred square miles of waterfowl habitat.

A duck hunter who spends his days on the Great Lakes may never witness the thrill of mallards breaking limbs while coming into a timber hole. The man leaning against the tree cannot begin to describe the screaming speed and sound of canvasbacks approaching three feet off the water.

In the end duck hunters have most things in common. Up and down the flyway we all hunt our hallowed places, we all suffer a bit at the hands of the ducks. There is a kinship between duck hunters everywhere.

The tales and memories of duck hunters are waiting to be told. That’s where we come in … it’s time to begin the Duck Trek.

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