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Bill Fawcett Reviews
Waterfowling: Beyond the Basics by M.D. Johnson

This recent publication by Stackpole has the size, paper and photographs of a "coffeee table" book, and is likely to end up there in duck camps all across the country. It is full of some very nice photographs (by Julia Johnson) and is interesting to skim just portions or read from start to finish.

Although this is a book about duck hunting, its mostly big water and lots of "stuff"; this is the "bass pro" style of duck hunting. Sink Boats, blinds, large decoy spreads and calls - you get the picture. Just wanted to make sure the readers of this spaniel magazine understand. I need to mention that so many of the pictures in the book were furnished by Avery Outdoors that it looks like a promotion for that vendor. However, the author does give some other vendors press, and also has lots of information from various guides, all who apparently represent various duck call companies. I think I saw a few dogs in the book, but all but one was solid black. The book does not deal with dog work in any detail.

As stated in the title, the premise of the book is "beyond the basics". Many chapters deal with decoys and placement, "layout hunting" (sneakboats), calls, and all the other gadgets. The chapters are short enough for bathroom reading. Much of the books is in a Q & A format with various guides and other experts.

I did enjoy the chapter on rail and snipe hunting. More than I enjoy eating snipe. Can't blame the dogs for not wanting to pick those critters up.

I'm a spring creek kind of duck hunter, so much of this was alien to me, but I did enjoy the stories and some magnificent pictures of ducks that I may never see. If this is your style of duck hunting, you'll probably enjoy the book.

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Waterfowling: Beyond the Basics
Copyright © 2008 by M.D. Johnson
Stackpole Books
ISBN 978-0-8117-0205-8

Bill Fawcett resides in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with his wife, Cindy, and his Smythwicks Springers: Jenna, Beebe, and Drake. He is a hunter, field trialer, breeder and member of the M-AHSC and the ESSFTA. He maintains a public FB ESS pedigree database at

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