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Waterfowl Hunting Gear

Waterfowl hunting refers to the hunting of several types of aquatic birds, but most commonly ducks and geese. At the turn of the century in America, there was a thriving industry that was centered around the hunting and processing of waterfowl for their feathers, down, and meat. Over hunting, and the use of giant shotgun that could kill dozens of ducks at once led to legislation by the gaming commission.

The most important piece of equipment for a waterfowl hunter is the shotgun. Due to the nature of the hunting, and the fact that shots must be made from a very long distance, makes hitting ducks, geese, and other waterfowl with single fire weapons such as rifles, difficult at best, and at most times virtually impossible. Lead shot cartridges were used for the longest time, until government regulations forced waterfowl hunters to use steel shot. Their reasoning was, that shot that fell in the water was likely to be eaten by the bottom feeding birds. Lead shot had the potential to poison the birds.

Perhaps the second most important piece of equipment required for waterfowl hunting, after the shotgun, is the retriever. When waterfowl is shot, it is most times done in a lake or pond. As a result, the hunter would have to wade in and fish out the birds. Instead specially trained dogs are used to go into the water for the hunter and retrieve the birds. Several breeds of dogs are suitable for this kind of task, most commonly these are black labs or golden retrievers, who have the natural instinct to do so, after years of careful breeding.

While hunting waterfowl, a hunter usually sits in a blind of some kind, so the birds do not see him in their descent. These can vary in quality from a hole in the dirt, to a lavish underground cabin.