John's Journal...

Secrets of the Duck-Hunting Pros

Chad Belding and Bob “Rip” Clark  

Editor’s Note:Every day of duck Click to enlargeseason professional duck guides have to produce ducks for their clients becauClick to enlargese hunters who have paid their money expect to have ducks in the decoys to take. We’ve interviewed guides from several points of the United States and Canada to learn their secrets. Today, we talk to Chad Belding of Sparks, Nevada, and Bob “Rip” Clark of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Downsize Your Decoy Spread:
Belding guides for Waterhaven Outfitters in Ft. Collins, Colorado. He mentions a secret he uses for ducks that have remained in the air too long. “Since most of the ducks in Colorado are accustomed to seeing a big decoy spread, I downsize my spread,” Belding says. “I only may use two mallard decoys and two coot decoys with a jerk string attached to them.  I’ll set my decoys away from the center of the pond I plan to shoot and instead put them in the shallow water where coots usually  swim. I call just enough to get the ducks’ attention, and then I jerk the string on my coot decoys to simulate coots’ feeding. I think the coot decoys give the ducks in the air the confidence that everything is o.k. Often the ducks will come in and settle  in the coot decoys. Although I’ve discovered that not many people use coot decoys, they can be very  effective.” Click to enlarge

Follow the X:
Clark, owner of Dog ‘N Duck, grew up Click to enlargehunting ducks and guiding hunters to ducks. He employs several secret strategies to consistently bag ducks feeding in Canadian pea fields. “I go to different pea fields each afternoon and look for ducks with my binoculars,” Clark  explains. “When I spot a large flight of ducks feeding in a field, I wait until almost dark.  Once the ducks leave the field, I drive into the cut pea field, take a large roll of toilet paper, mark a big X on the ground with the toilet paper and anchor the paper with mud. The next morning before daylight, I drive my truck to the X, unload bale blinds or lay-out blinds, place decoys in a spread, take up the toilet paper and then put my hunters in the blinds before the ducks start flying. At first light when the ducks come to the field to feed where they’ve eaten the previous afternoon, they’ll light in our decoys. You do have to call some, but not much when you use this secret tactic.”

To hunt with Bob Clark at Dog ‘n Duck, call (780) 913 – 1337, email, or visit

Tomorrow: Snake River Secrets with Thayne Barrie

Check back each day this week for more about "Secrets of the Duck-Hunting Pros"

Day 1: Jeff Poe of Lake Charles, Louisiana
Day 2: Billy Blakely
Day 3: Barnie Calef
Day 4: Chad Belding and Bob “Rip” Clark
Day 5: Snake River Secrets with Thayne Barrie


Entry 488, Day 4