John's Journal...

Waterfowl Guide Mike Miller Explains How to Take Late Season Honkers and Quacks

Day 3: Mike Miller Explains When to and When Not to Call Late Season Ducks and Geese.

Editor’s Note: Mike Miller of Colorado is consumed with waterfowl hunting. He hunts and guides for both ducks and geese in eastern Colorado and western Nebraska. This week Miller will give Night Hawk’s readers the five secrets for taking late-season ducks and geese.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewIn the late season, reading the body language of the ducks is critical in determing how and when to call. By the late season, the ducks just about can tell you the manufacturer of the duck call that you’re blowing, because they have heard so much calling up and down the flyway. If you’re going to call effectively, you have to change your calling up. Most duck hunters don’t change the way they call from the early season until the late season. Often they blow the calls loud and hard into the late season, just like they have at the first of duck season. When the ducks come in and start looking at your decoys, if they are leaning like they want to come in but then turn away, that’s when you really need to start calling to them. As long as they are coming to the decoys and look like they are committed to come into the decoys, don’t try to blow them out of the air with your calling. However, if they look like they may be leaving your spread, give them some encouragement to come back by calling to them.

This time of year is when you really have to know your ducks to get them into your decoys. You have to fight the urge to call too much and too loudly – instead of soft calling and letting the decoys do the work, which will produce more bellies up and feet down than the hard loud calling you do at the first of the season. Once you see the ducks committing to the decoys, back-off your calling. Decoys will do the work for you in the late season, and light calling will make those decoys sound alive.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewWhen you are scouting for geese in the late season, do not only look at the birds but listen to them. I was scouting for geese at the end of January one year, and I noticed the geese were silent as they came in to the decoys. But just before they landed, they started talking to each other. Other flights of geese were above the flight that was coming in, and just as they started to land, they began calling a lot – probably hoping to pull that other flock of birds down with them. I really like to call heavily to late season geese as they are coming in and mimic what I’ve seen the geese do when I’ve been scouting. But when the birds lock their wings, start to sail and bring their feet forward, I put the call down and get my gun.

When I see the geese out of calling range, I start flagging geese. As I watch, I usually can see the geese turn, when they spot the flagging. Once the geese start making the turn to come toward my decoys, I’ll begin giving them a hail call to get their attention. I listen to what they are saying and call the way they are calling. When the geese start circling the decoys, then you can give them the double cluck calls and really get them excited.

To get in touch with Miller, you can email him at or contact him on Facebook. Watch Miller’s YouTube videos: How to Use a Duck Call and
How to Tune a Duck Call.

To learn more about hunting and cooking all species, go to John’s Author Page for a list of his print books still available and his Kindle books.


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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: Watch the Weather When Hunting Late Season Waterfowl with Guide Mike Miller

Check back each day this week for more about Waterfowl Guide Mike Miller Explains How to Take Late Season Honkers and Quacks"

Day 1: Guide Mike Miller Tells What You Need to Know Before You Go for Late Season Waterfowl
Day 2: Guide Mike Miller – Fewer Decoys for Ducks and More Decoys for Geese
Day 3: Mike Miller Explains When to and When Not to Call Late Season Ducks and Geese
Day 4: Watch the Weather When Hunting Late Season Waterfowl with Guide Mike Miller
Day 5: Guide Mike Miller - Waterfowl Don’t Carry Pocket Watches So Be Patient

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Entry 754, Day 3