We Don't Stop | Go Hard Core "Decoys" or Go Home If you’re like us, the day after the last day of waterfowl season is a day filled with mixed emotions. It’s a day in which we reminisce about the hunts of the year, and remember the highs and lows and good times had in the field. It is also a day for many folks to park the boat, and hung up the quick rigs not to be seen again until the week before opening day! Well, we’re here to tell ya, that doesn’t have to be the case! As you have probably guessed by now, we believe in scouting around here. To us, knowledge is power, and by having a great understanding of how waterfowl use your area you greatly increase your chance for success. The importance of scouting prior to season, and obviously while hunting season is underway goes without saying, however, scouting after season can be just as effective. The return or spring migration is critical phase during the waterfowl life cycle. During this time, birds are in full breeding plumage, they have typically paired up and they are actively seeking food such as moist soil plants and invertebrates to ensure they are in top physical condition as they return to the nesting ground. As these birds make their way back north, they can tell you an awful lot about your favorite hunting locations. If you have taken some time to get out and stomp around your favorite marsh or reservoir you may have noticed that it seems like you see ducks places in the spring that you never see them in the fall. This can be very important information to have in your back pocket for a couple of reasons. First off, here in the Midwest snow melt coupled with spring rain events typically have a wide range of habitats available for spring migrants that were not available the fall prior. During the spring of 2014, this was the case as here in Missouri we had heavy snowmelt followed by a wet spring. As always, we took time away from chasing spring snow geese to scout and a couple of areas that we felt had potential during the waterfowl season as sleeper locations should the right conditions present themselves. We made several trips afield to see if we could determine not only bird use, but try and pinpoint any specific locations or landscape features that these birds were keying in on. This was the case on one particular site. The site was an old river oxbow that was directly adjacent from a large reservoir. This location was roughly 70 acres in size; however the location the birds were keying in on was roughly 2 acres in size directly in the middle of the area. We tucked this information away in the old memory banks for a later date, then came the fall of 2014! During September and October, we experienced record rain fall events. We knew that with amount of water we had, that the sites we scouted the follow spring would be holding water. As hunter pressure began to increase around our normal hunting locations, we began to consider giving our sleeper locations a whirl. Four limits later, we were reminded of the importance of doing your homework! I can honestly tell you that without having taken the time to scout these areas the previous spring, identifying the exact locations that birds were keying in on that our annual harvest total would have been several limits lighter. We had many successful hunts on both of our opportunistic sleeper locations that we scouted during the spring, and enjoyed zero hunter pressure from other hunters. If you take the time to make waterfowl hunting a 12 month affair, and spend some time in the field the spring we promise you will not regret it!