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What’s the deal with black ducks?

Discussion in 'The Duck Hunters Forum' started by seiowa, Nov 6, 2020.

  1. seiowa

    seiowa Elite Refuge Member

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    We don’t have them here and I’ve never shot one so I admittedly don’t “get it.”

    what’s to get excited about? To my ignorant eye they just look like a hen mallard. Personally that would be hard for me to get fired up about but maybe I’m missing something? Genuinely curious.
     
  2. fishnfool

    fishnfool Elite Refuge Member

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    Rarity in some flyways/areas is all I can think of. Same reason pintails or canvasbacks are prized in certain areas but no big deal in others.

    Lots of people claim they are the weariest of ducks but they're no different than other puddlers - weariness is all about pressure.

    Appeal is certaily not for their tablefare - at least for coastal birds.
     
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  3. WHUP ! Hen

    WHUP ! Hen Elite Refuge Member Supporting Member

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    We are too far west for the traditional flyway for them. 15 or so years ago I bagged two blacks that were in a group of mallards, the only ones I have ever seen in my area. I think their numbers are declining because they are cross breading with mallards. The guys on the east coast have a better handle on this than I do.
     
  4. Ducker 4 Ever

    Ducker 4 Ever Elite Refuge Member

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    All duck's lives matter!!
     
  5. bill cooksey

    bill cooksey Elite Refuge Member

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    Between AR, TN and nw MS, I'll see one (or often a pair) killed in my blind every 2-3 years. We used to see quite a few more in TN, but I'm talking 30+ years ago. Here, since they are a little rare, it's a treat to kill one. They also are far more striking than a suzie. To me, a mature black is a beautiful bird.

    I think the whole "wary" deal is based on places in the northeast where they are local. Whatever the species, a day or two of shooting, and they tend to get tough. Gulf coast hunters can relate due to mottled ducks. They know their local marsh like you know your den, so avoiding pressure is easy. Down here they are usually one of the easier species to work into the decoys.
     
  6. bill cooksey

    bill cooksey Elite Refuge Member

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    I thought "weariness" was all about getting insufficient sleep.
     
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  7. Ruination

    Ruination Elite Refuge Member

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    No idea. But the central fellers get all excited about it.

    I don't think black ducks are extra weary at all.

    A stud drake looks nothing like a hen mallard though.
     
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  8. mister gadwall

    mister gadwall Senior Refuge Member

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    They are both weary and wary by the time they get to the mid atlantic . I think wariness is intuitive to the breed, and it is not all about pressure. From my experience a pair of black ducks is the hardest of all species of waterfowl to attract to a landing in a decoy spread. Unless they have just flown nonstop 800-1000 miles the night before. Mink Creek and I have seen migrating flocks of a dozen or more land in the decoys at first light and literally fall asleep instantly, likely having left south shore of Lake Erie the night before on a frigid strong north wind.

    Once in the area they tend to circle at 100 yard distance several passes and then just go sit by themselves somewhere. Get one mixed up with the mallards and the group pressure may bring them in to the decoys but by themselves they are really spooky . We see a fair number of them on the west side of the appalachians . And we harvest a dozen or so annually. But after I've killed one or two each season , if I am by myself I generally give them a pass after the first ones anymore. Truth is so many black duck have hybridized with mallards its harder every year to pick one up that has the solid blue speculum, majority have the white band of hybridization in the speculum.

    lf you know where a group of black ducks is hanging out by themselves they are fairly predictable to come back in to that spot sometime during a day, and just hunting a spot without a single decoys or maybe with three really good black duck decoys and a little motion can be effective, but even then they can be wary with decoys or even live birds on the water.

    Now this experience is based on inland , non coastal , edges of the Atlantic flyway. and not the coast. Legally the east side of the Tennessee Mississipi flyway actually, the one Cooksey says has no ducks. The migrants that get here may well have seen it all as far as pressure and decoys before they reach the creeks, casual water and nooks and crannies of my part of the world in the winter. But we generally kill some annually, and over 60 years of this stuff I suspect Ive seen 12-15 banded blacks come in the blind.

    Wade Bourne and I were discussing black ducks in his blind in Missouri one day and his thoughts and mine stated above were in agreement. He said once a drake black duck attracts a hen in the fall he will stay with her through winter and then tend to be isolationists in terms of joining other groups of birds. Having watched a lot of mid atlantic inland winter loafing areas in january with binoculars I think the paired backs follow exactly that pattern of behavior . There could be 500 ducks on a large expense of a reservoir area and the paired black ducks that are
    there are generally paired up and off by them selves as you scan the expanse of birds. Mallard pairs at that time of year can act the same way but not nearly to the extent of the black ducks. Just my observations.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2020
  9. Dirtybird420

    Dirtybird420 Elite Refuge Member

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    They are actually a pretty duck when u get one in hand. Kinda like a gadwall u gotta really look at it closer. They are wary cause yes most are local. With that said if there’s ice they’re the dumbest duck out there. I don’t understand the hype. They die the same as any other duck. I’d honestly rather shoot a limit of shovelers then a black n most guys in Midwest won’t shoot a shoveler. Go figure.
     
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  10. Quarne

    Quarne Elite Refuge Member

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    Whatever bird is not common in the area you hunt is a "trophy" or a big deal for a lot of us. Just like in the almost forgotten past if you shot a canada goose there was a chance that you could end up with your picture the local paper.
     
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