Spaniel Journal Home Page

The Bookshelf
reviews by Bill Fawcett

Hunting Ducks and Geese by Steve Smith

There is a great body of knowledge concerning waterfowl. However, classic works such as George Bird Grinnell's American Duck Shooting do little to clear up the confusion, especially for those who are not "genetically" duck hunters. You know, the ones who have not had a duck blind in the family for 200 years.
Hunting Ducks

Spaniel owners, perhaps more than others, might benefit from some current information. After all, if you live in some of the great duck hunting areas of the world (and already have a family blind) you probably have Labs and Chessies. In the mountainous part of Virginia, where I live, I discovered that there really are more waterfowl hunting opportunities then perhaps anything else. And I have a spaniel.

Steve Smith's book Hunting Ducks and Geese (Hard Facts, Good Bets and Serious Advice from a Duck Hunter You Can Trust) fits the bill marvelously. It was an extremely enjoyable read.

Smith notes the differences between duck hunting in the days of G.B. Grinnell and now. Certainly there have been a lot a regulatory changes. But cultural changes as well. Later in the book there is a discussion on land leases and hunting camps - what to look for and pitfalls to avoid. This is the sort of practical advice contained throughout the book.

The first third of the book talks about ducks, divers and dabblers, and geese. The nature of the habitat they demand and some basics on waterfowl behavior. Like any good grouse covert, duck habitat has certain signatures, and to be a good duck hunter you must learn to recognize those features.

My experience with geese is as a jumpshooter, and I was pleased to note that Smith hunts geese both ways. His description of a drainage-ditch sneak had me laughing; and he is right- it is a whole lot of fun when you can pull it off. For the record my craziest sneak involved hip waders, the worst sneak involved a cow pasture which resembled a mine-field if you get my drift.

This is a book on Duck and Goose hunting, so I suppose we will have to forgive Smith for not mentioning my duck dog of choice- the Springer Spaniel. Well, there is a brief mention of the American and Irish Water Spaniels, and everyone's favorite- the Giant Poodle ( I really want to meet a hunting Poodle someday). Most of the chapter on Dogs concerns the Lab, Chessies and Golden Retrievers, and there is not a whole lot of information on the training aspects.

Page 1

| Next Page | Archived Book Reviews | The Bookstore |

| Bookstore | The Bookshelf | Our Sponsors | Spaniel Resources | Letters | Archives | Spaniel Journal |
| Martin Deeley | Bill Fawcett | Tickety Boo | Billie K. Edwards | Loretta Baughan |

Copyright © Spaniel Journal & L Baughan Webdesign, 2002-2004, all rights reserved worldwide