Want to Consistently Harvest Ducks and Geese? │ Get in and Get out! If you were to ask any seasoned waterfowl hunter what the keys to a successful hunt are, you would hear a wide range of comments from decoy placement to location and calling to concealment. If you were to ask those same waterfowl hunters what it would take to enjoy consistent waterfowl action at their favorite hunting spot for an entire waterfowl season, we would bet the answer would be unanimous, get in and get out! When it comes to duck hunting, goose hunting and waterfowl management in general there are two very distinct categories to consider: habitat management and hunter management. The habitat management aspect of waterfowl hunting is fairly self-explanatory. Waterfowl hunters work all season long to stimulate the seed producing moist soil plants that provide the necessary food source for waterfowl during the majority of the year, as well as stimulating invertebrates through water level management and even planting some annual grains like corn, beans or milo. These factors of duck hunting and goose hunting are what most hunters focus on and think about during the summer, and with good reason. Many hunter spend a lot time and money into ensuring that the table is set come November, however, surprisingly fewer practice the other factor, hunter management. Whether you own your own slice of waterfowl heaven or you are duck hunting and goose hunting public areas, hunter management is critically important. It requires discipline, dedication and an understanding that in order to ensure quality hunts down the road, there may be times where you need to leave the marsh a few birds shy of a full boat. What hunter management really is a self-imposed rule that limits the amount of time you spend in any one area, to ensure that waterfowl have a chance to continue to use the area unpressured, there by ensure future high quality hunts. As Hard Core waterfowlers, we love to pull the trigger and sit all day, however, in the long run it is much better to get in early, get your birds killed early, and get out! However, putting a restriction on the amount of pressure you put on the ducks in your area can have some pretty stellar rewards. Many hunters that practice the “get in and get out” philosophy whether hunting public or private locations control the amount of pressure they are placing on the waterfowl by setting a “closing time”. This is simply a threshold that states you will be done hunting, regardless of the conditions. Many public and private locations typically will select a closing time somewhere between one and two p.m. An early afternoon closing time provides waterfowl the opportunity to get back into the site and relax and forage. Now, regardless of the closing time, the sooner you can get your birds harvested and get out the better. The goal is to educate as few birds as possible. This is where you may need to make the decision to quit earlier on certain days than others. The obvious and most major benefit is that ability to consistently harvest waterfowl all season long. In most cases, not only will you harvest more birds, but the birds will tend to be very decoy and call friendly, as unpressured ducks and geese tend to be. Practicing the “get in and get out” method can pay huge dividends during periods between migration events. As waterfowl tend to become educated and stale rather quickly, practicing good hunter management can really help you consistently harvest waterfowl while others are struggling to scratch a few. With all of that being said, there are some instances where you can push the envelope a bit. Before, during and directly after a migration event it can be appropriate to push up to the set closing time you have established for your property or hunting party. With new ducks arriving, you can be a little less concerned about blowing the waterfowl out of the area. Duck and goose hunting can be great during these times, especially if you have been practicing the “get in and get out” method up to that point. Waterfowl that are migrating to a new location will actively search out habitat and other waterfowl. If your location has a healthy population of ducks and geese using the site prior to the migration you can bet that you will probably be in for treat up to and several days after the migration. As you know, here at Hard Core we believe in getting in and getting done. We hang our hats on being in the right place at the right time and having the best Hard Core gear for each and every situation. While all of those things help us to be successful day in and day out, we also keep in mind that we are hunters, hunting waterfowl that are very wary and at times elusive. In order to be successful day in and day out, you have to ensure that you are being smart and strategic, which can sometimes mean going home a couple birds short here and there. Here at Hard Core, we look at it as a small price to pay to ensure that we have waterfowl to enjoy throughout the season. As you hit the water this fall, and shift into duck hunting or goose hunting mode keep in mind the amount of pressure you are placing on the spots that you hunt. You might be surprised what getting in and getting out can do for and your crew this fall!