Waiting, Waiting

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Waiting, Waiting

…and we kept waiting. I’m honestly not sure if we even pulled the trigger that morning. Too clear, too nice for ducks. You need fog or wind and clouds or even a good slushy rain. Nastier the better.

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Lowcountry waterfowling

By Matt Winter

Published in Tideline magazine, November/December 2012 issue

TLducks2

Photograph by Matt Winter

Ask most good ol’ boys and they’ll tell you the pecking order of Lowcountry hunting goes like this: Deer, then turkey, then waterfowl.

Just about anybody can hunt deer, whether on a small piece of private land, a big hunting club or deep in the Francis Marion National Forest. You just need a shotgun or rifle, the right licenses and some camouflage (and blaze orange on public land).

Turkeys are lot harder to hunt and a lot harder to find. You need more camo, turkey calls, ground blinds and special shotgun chokes and loads. You also need a good bit more know-how and access to relatively unpressured forest land.

Waterfowl hunting? That’s a different beast altogether. Boats, blinds, calls, waders, decoys and a good retriever are just the start. You have to gear up for an amphibious endeavor in cold weather and navigate a complicated web of federal and state regulations. Just identifying your prey is tough — recognizing a deer is a lot easier than telling the difference between a mottled duck and a ringneck zipping over your head in low light.

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