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Tunica, Mississippi - Beaver Dam Duck Hunting and Bird Hunting at The Willows

Hunting at Beaver Dam

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Every duck hunter in the nation believe that if they’ve lived good, sportsmen-like lives and have close relationships with God, they’ll hopefully get permission to hunt at Beaver Dam near Tunica, Mississippi, before they die. The next couple of days we’ll learn more about Beaver Dam’s outstanding duck hunting.

Most of the blinds at Beaver Dam consist of tree houses crafted like long, dry boxes with waterproof roofs on them that can accommodate five to eight hunters and suspend them up off the water with all the comforts of home in them. Each blind has an opening in front of it and a resting spot that makes ducks drool. Today the ducks primarily taken at Beaver Dam include mallards, gadwalls, wigeons, green-winged teal and a few wood ducks.

The 5- to 10-year-old wood in the location where I hunted with the Boyds still produced plenty of ducks in this site where hunters had hunted for many years. The morning I hunted, Boyd used Avery Greenhead Gear mallard decoys. “I like the Avery decoys because they’ve got a lot of detail, they’re extremely lifelike looking, they float and move well, and they attract ducks,” Boyd emphasizes. Unlike other duck hunters, Boyd doesn’t spend much time positioning his decoys in a fishhook design or any of theClick to enlarge well-known decoy patterns. “We just sort of scatter them out and leave an open pocket in front of the blindwhere the ducks land,” Boyd mentions. “We’ve noticed that in this timber-type hunting we do here at Beaver Dam, ducks meander more and don’t sit in tight bunches like they do on open water. So, we set up our decoys as naturally as we can to look like resting ducks in our area.”

Learning About PhD Ducks:
What do you say to the prettiest girl in the school who’s heard every pitch you can dream up to get her to go out with you? Boyd and the hunters at Beaver Dam deal with this dilemma every year. “By the time the ducks reach Tunica, they’ve heard all the calling, seen all the decoys and experienced every duck-hunting technique known to man,” Boyd says. “So for the most part, we’re stingy with our calls.”

We had a slow day when I hunted with Boyd, and I noticed Boyd didn’t call much louder than a whisper. I asked him why he called so little. According to Boyd, “In the timber, you don’t want to call loudly. Many duck hunters don’t understand that sometimes ducks don’t want to be called to at all, so you actually may take more ducks by keeping your mouth shut. We let the ducks tell us what to do. We first try to get their attention to see how they respond to the calls. If they flare off the calls, we shClick to enlargeut up and bet on our decoys to do the work of pulling the ducks in close to us. Now, some days, we’re not as stingy with our calling as we are on other days. If there are numbers of birds flying over our blind, we’ll get on the ducks pretty good with our calls. But generally, when we get the ducks in close, we quiet our calling. Mostly, we’ll quack and give some low feeding calls. We’ll give the hale call, if we feel it’s appropriate. But we’ve found that if we just make our setup look as natural as possible, and then reassure the birds in the air that those decoys are talking to each other, the ducks will usually come into our blinds. We really don’t get down on the ducks and blow the reeds out of our calls. The ducks want to be here. We just have to let them know that some of their buddies are down here waiting on them.”

Boyd talks to the ducks in a smooth, southern-drawl style language and earns a good portion of his livelihood depending on his ability to talk ducks out of the sky. Boyd guides on Beaver Dam every day of duck season, however, he doesn’t use an expensive call made from acrylic or a custom call crafted from one of the more-exotic woods. “I like an Olt D-2 regular duck call,” Boyd reveals. “It’s an old, antique call I bought on eBay. I’m not the best duck caller there ever was. But I know this old call has a real duClick to enlargecky sound, and it’s worked for a long time. These calls were probably made in the 1950s, when even the commercial calls involved some craftsmanship. In the 1950s, everyone had an Olt D-2 duck call. In its heyday, Olt was the premier duck call. Duck calls change, and more importantly, duck hunters change. But the ducks remain the same. They do everything the same as they’ve always done it for thousands of years. But I did buy a new Zinc call I’ll be trying out this season.”

At the other end of the blind, I heard Lamar Boyd, Mike Boyd’s son, cranking up his calling and motioning the rest of us to shut up and sit still. A veteran of duck blinds, Lamar Boyd has hunted and taken ducks at Beaver Dam ever since he’s first held a gun. Many believe he’s probably got webs connecting his toes, because of his total immersion in duck hunting his entire life and having grown up in one of the greatest places in the world to hunt ducks. After a flight of ducks passed over our blind, I asked Mike Boyd, “Why do you like to duck hunt so much?” He replied, “I was an avid deer hunter, and I’d taken quite a few bucks. But deer hunting was a lonely sport. You basically sat there and waited for a deer to come by your stand. But duck hunting has several interesting aspects. The decoys, the dogs, the sounds and the sights of the ducks and the fellowship with the people you hunt with add layers of enjoyment to any duck hunt. On a deer stand, you’re supposed to be quiet and sit still. In a duck blind, we can move around, be comfortable, eat, tell stories and enjoy one another as well as hunt ducks.”

For more information on Beaver Dam, call Mike Boyd at (662)363-6288, or email him at To learn more about Avery Outdoors’ quality duck-hunting products, go to Go to or call 1-866-see-miss (733-6477) for more information on visiting Mississippi.

Tomorrow: Watching Miss Molly Work

Check back each day this week for more about "Tunica, Mississippi - Beaver Dam Duck Hunting and Bird Hunting at The Willows"

Day 1: Beaver Dam – A Duck Hunter’s Dream
Day 2: Hunting at Beaver Dam
Day 3: Watching Miss Molly Work
Day 4: Tunica’s Odd Couple
Day 5: How Roscoe and Daisy Work


Entry 435, Day 2