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Old Hunter Tales, Myths and Outright Lies

We hunters are continually in search of tips and secrets that will help out in the pursuit of our prey.  We read articles, watch videos, talk to biologists and listen to experienced hunters.  There are many great sources of good information.  There is also a lot of misinformation out there.  Some are Old Hunter Tales, others are often repeated myths and a few simply outright lies.

I have several people to thank for getting me into duck hunting.  Rhett was one of them.  When we hunted together he required that hen decoys always be placed on the ends of the spread.  He informed us regularly that to do otherwise would make ducks land short, well out of shotgun range.  To this day I follow Rhett’s instructions.  However, throughout my time in college studying wildlife biology, animal ecology and ornithology, as well my 20 years in the natural resources field, I have never found anything that would suggest this idea holds any water.

Hens on the Ends
Hens on the Ends

Another example.  When learning to call ducks we are taught greeting calls, feeding chuckles, hail calls and simple quacks.  Then warned to never make 3 single quacks in row as it is a warning call given when ducks detect danger.  Again I have never found any science to back up this claim.  However, it gains support as veteran hunters repeat it to newbies.  All duck hunters have heard a hen mallard quack as she jumped into the air, but the number of quacks almost always varies.  Also, most ducks are silent when they sense they are in imminent danger.

By no means are these Old Hunter Tales restricted to duck hunting either. Deer hunting is full of them, too: small bucks don’t rub big trees (or vice versa); the rut is determined by moon phases; and deer always walk into the wind.  These are just the tip of the iceberg.

In my opinion most of these bits of misinformation actually do little to take away from the hunt.  Some actually add to the traditions and lore of being outdoor in the role of hunter.  So I continue to place my hen decoys strategically and avoid using the 3-quack warning call in salute to those that passed on the passion of the hunt to me…

So what are some of Old Hunter Tales, Myths or Outright Lies you have heard?


About Aaron Hershberger

Aaron "hershy" Hershberger is an Outdoor Education Specialist with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He loves being outdoors. When not outdoors he is day-dreaming about being outdoors and/or whining that he is not outdoors. Hershy has been a Hunter Education Instructor, in two states, for nearly three decades & a Bowhunter Education Instructor for over 20 years.

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