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

Day 4: Watch the Weather When Hunting Late Season Waterfowl with Guide Mike Miller

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 ViewAt the end of January one year, we had 55-degree weather for several consecutive days. I told myself, “This should be great for ducks. I will go find a small river that dumps into a big lake and set-up at the mouth of that river to call ducks.” But when I went down to scout where the river dumped into the lake, the river was frozen solid with chunks of ice pushed up on top of each other, indicating that the river was starting to unthaw. The inlet where I wanted to hunt was also frozen. So, I went and looked at the main part of the lake to see what the weather was doing out there. We had 2-3-foot waves with winds blowing about 25 mph. Since I knew the lake and the river, I still went hunting the next morning. I realized the wave action would clear out the ice from the inlet and the mouth of the river. When I reached the spot where I wanted to hunt, the ice jam was broken out of the mouth of the river, and the water was running out of the river into the lake. I set-out my decoys, and we enjoyed incredible duck hunting. There was a long point at the mouth of the river. We used little muskrat boats to set the decoys just off the point where the water creates an eddy. I knew that the ducks loved to pile into that little eddy, after they had been out on the main lake feeding. We took mostly mallards and widgeons on that day. We let the diving ducks fly.

A lot of things can happen with the weather. It either can make the duck hunting great or terrible. As part of your pre-hunt scouting, know what the weather has been doing, what the weather will do, and how the weather can impact your duck hunting on the day you’re going to hunt. The weather also affects the geese. One time late in January, I was watching four really big Canada geese that were flying into a 25 mph wind. I couldn’t believe that those geese could fly into a wind blowing that hard. As I watched, I saw the geese light into about 2 inches of water covered with cattails.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewWhat you have to remember about goose hunting is that geese will fly, regardless of the weather. They will fly lower in high winds than they do when the wind isn’t so strong. Once you find the geese, you can expect them to come back to that spot, even in high winds. Knowing that the geese will fly low in a heavy wind, you also have to think that the geese may drop into the field where they’ll be feeding somewhat short of where they’ve been feeding with light winds. So, you may have to put your decoys out a little bit farther in the direction you expect the geese to come from to get them to commit to coming in farther away. I call this type of spread a short J, having the hook of the J turned the opposite way from the normal J hook decoy spread. Many times, I will set my decoys out in a wide line, similar to the shape of a cigar, angling from left to right and at about a 45-degree angle. Once the geese get to the outside edge of your spread, they usually will come down the line of decoys and land right at the end of the cigar spread, which should put the geese wings cupped and feet out right in your face.

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: Guide Mike Miller - Waterfowl Don’t Carry Pocket Watches So Be Patient

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 4