Sunday, November 23, 2014

Novice Women's Duck Hunt - a video slideshow

For the fourth year in a row, my friend Judy Oswald and I have organized a fantastic event for women: the Novice Women's Duck Hunt.

It starts with a day of training ... no, wait. It started with a night of drinking, and THEN we started training the next day: shooting instruction, waterfowl ID, calling and plucking/gutting. The next morning, we all head off to a cluster of three duck clubs in the Upper Butte Basin.

This year's group of women was fantastic. They were excellent shots, they were super fun and a few got limits on their hunt, including one of the brand-newbies! Good stuff, for sure, and you can get an idea of the fun by watching this video:

© Holly A. Heyser 2014

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Hunting the Drought: a column for Shotgun Life

Just about every duck hunter in California went into this fall wondering what duck season would bring.

Our population of local ducks - especially mallards - is at record lows, but the migrants that just winter here are at record highs. And we're in a serious drought, meaning water for the wintering birds is seriously limited.

We had a general idea what to expect, but the way things started here didn't necessarily match those expectations. You can read about how my opener went in my latest column in Shotgun Life.

© Holly A. Heyser 2014

Friday, October 3, 2014

I want to believe (in my dove hunting spot) - a column for Shotgun Life.

Dove season in NorCal last month was, um, pretty lame. For the most part. A spot that performed pretty damned well last year was ... well, that's the subject of my latest column for Shotgun Life.

© Holly A. Heyser 2014

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Banded birds in Cali - an interactive map

In the Fall issue of California Waterfowl Magazine, we did a huge piece on banded ducks and geese that were recovered in California during the 2013-14 duck season, with lots of cool charts and maps, and a video that I posted here last month.

Well, the magazine is done, but I just can't let go of it, so I've spent a bit of my Saturday afternoon creating these interactive maps.

In the first, each dot represents one recovered bird. Just like in Google Maps, you can zoom in and out, and change from map view to satellite view, but the really cool thing is you can click on each dot to find out what species it was, when it was recovered, and when and where it was banded.

One thing to keep in mind: Band recovery data is user-reported, which means the location may be imprecise. So, take the recovery locations with a grain of salt.

The second map is where all the birds in the first map were banded.


© Holly A. Heyser 2014

Monday, September 1, 2014

Why failure is good - a column for Shotgun Life

Whenever I work with new shooters or hunters who want to get into duck hunting, I always work really hard to lower their expectations. Shooting clays is hard enough; shooting ducks that move faster and can change course instantly can be almost impossible for the newbie.

It turns out that embracing failure is really good for your brain, and my latest column for Shotgun Life explains why.

And here's a fun postscript you won't see in the column: Minutes after I sent that tale of epic failure to my editor, I got an email from someone submitting a hunting photo for the magazine I edit, California Waterfowl. The caption - with names changed, of course - said this:

Bobby Jones, age 14 attended the 2014 Youth Hunt at the Quack Quack Duck Club and took
a full limit of seven ducks while only firing nine rounds.  This was Bobby's first duck hunt.



© Holly A. Heyser 2014