I shoot a lot of brown birds , right up until November. Some do colour out early, and are easy to pick out. This pick is from first week of Sept. I don't think the boys on the youth shoot worried too much about hens or drakes this day A week later and someof thedrakes are starting to turn These birds were taken October 15th This is a pic from October 25th, and you can see the difference in the coloration by this time. November 4th and still eclipse drakes Some days we can tell colour, others we can't. Early in the season, I tend to shoot the "big" birds when they come in, and about 65% of the time, they are drakes. I don't sweat it though, and I only shoot drakes when I have lots of time and the birds are plentiful. Otherwise, its first come, first serve.