Duck Hunting Workshop – Part 1

This past spring, I attended the Washington Outdoor Women’s “Duck Hunting 101” workshop.  It was a day long workshop consisting of four separate stations: clay shooting, setting decoys, using a hunting dog, and duck hunting and gun safety.  I took their shorter version of the Duck Hunting workshop at their fall retreat and loved it, so I was really excited to go to this.

duck hunting 101

Our view for the day

The workshop was being held at a private hunting club—a men’s only hunting club to be exact.  But, for this one weekend out of the year, ladies took over!  The hunting lodge itself was beautiful.  I wish I could’ve gotten pictures inside of the big vaulted ceilings, wood and stone work throughout, a huge fireplace, and big leather couches to relax in.  I’d love a hunting lodge like that one day!

About 30 women attended, plus all the instructors.  The day began with breakfast.   Washington Outdoor Women sure know how to feed you well at all their workshops!  Breakfast was a huge spread of options, several home cooked.  One dish was a delicious salmon egg bake that I’d love to try and make myself.  After everyone was fed, we had a quick intro then broke off into our groups.

Clay Shooting

duck hunting 101

Clay shooting station

The ladies were separated, groups A-D, and would rotate through all the stations.  My first station was clay shooting.  I ended up in the group with women who had previous gun experience, so we shot first.  Everyone else took the gun safety workshop before getting to shoot the shotguns.

duck hunting 101

A father and son taught this workshop.  They quickly went over the basics and it was time to get shooting!  Each woman had 6 chances for their turn.  I’ve only shot clay pigeons one other time and it was during my Hunter Education field test where I hit it on my first try.  Definite beginners luck!

The shotgun range I shot my first clay pigeon at

The shotgun range I shot my first clay pigeon at

The first couple women who went missed all their shots.  To be fair, we were having some problems with the machine shooting the clay pigeons.  It wasn’t shooting when it was supposed to.  It was my turn to get up and the instructor said he thought I’d shoot one since I shot a deer last year.

I yelled pull and sure enough, he was right!  First clay pigeon shot of the day!  I’d really love to get more into trap shooting.  It’s a lot of fun and I feel like it’s something I could become pretty good at with practice.  It’s also so satisfying to see your clay target break into pieces!

duck hunting 101

The beautiful view while shooting

We had an hour at each station and boy did that hour fly by quick!  Each woman went through the station once.  A couple women were pretty new to using shotguns and they went another time so they could hopefully shoot their first target.

duck hunting 101

One of the reasons I love learning with a group of women is they’re incredibly encouraging.  Everyone cheered and was genuinely happy when a woman did finally hit her first target.  It’s an incredibly supportive environment to learn in.

Our next station in the Duck Hunting workshop was setting decoys and we were getting out on the water to learn!

To be continued…

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Waterfowling Workshop!

After constantly checking their website to see when this would happen, registration finally opened for the Washington Outdoor Women’s Introduction to Waterfowling workshop!

I’m so excited! I’m planning to attend with a girl I met at the last retreat. I’m looking forward to meeting more women that love hunting too. Hopefully enough women sign up! They had to cancel last year’s event because not enough women signed up. 

I’ll be knocking out two goals in one weekend, this workshop and my 5k the next day. This year’s off to a busy start but it’s doing things I enjoy!

Can’t wait!

Washington Outdoors Women – Duck Hunting 101

The second day of the Washington Outdoors Women workshop had us all up bright and early!  Breakfast was at 7am sharp so my alarm was set for 6:15am.

Everyone woke up groggy.  Our area of the cabin was next to the bathroom which meant we fell asleep to a symphony of flushing toilets, creaking doors, and muffled voices.  Needless to say, it took a couple hours to fall asleep.  Luckily, the excitement of the day ahead had everyone in a good mood!

Duck Hunting 101

I walked over to the Duck Hunting 101 workshop after breakfast and met our instructor.  The class was set up in a “blind” with our decoys out in front.  She told us to grab a bag and take a seat.

Washington Outdoor Women Duck Hunting 101

Our makeshift blind for class

The bag was full of the first round of goodies I got that weekend.  Inside was a Ducks Unlimited baseball hat, a waterfowl identification guide, a couple decals, an issue of Ducks Unlimited, and information about duck hunting.  It was unexpected but really awesome to receive.

We started the class by first going over a handout that covered everything in the workshop.  Since I went duck hunting with my brother last Christmas, I knew a few things already.

We covered safety with firearms, staying warm, knowing the weather and area, and letting someone know your hunting plan.  I’m a person who’s always cold, so it’s going to be really important for me to figure out the proper layers to stay warm.

Our instructor had a great tip in case we did get really cold while sitting out there waiting for ducks.  Take two hand warmers and then place them in your pants, directly on your kidneys.  It’s a point that will warm your body faster.  I’m definitely trying it out!

Next, we went over shotguns.  She covered proper fit which was great to learn as a woman.  Since most guns are made for men, they don’t always fit the best.  She recommended cutting stocks down so the gun fits perfectly to your arm length.

An incredibly useful exercise she went over was “shoot the moon.”

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Merry Duck Hunting

Duck Hunting 2 - Country Huntress

As many awoke excitedly on Christmas to open their presents, I woke up bright and early excited to head out for my first duck hunt.

With no holiday plans until the afternoon, my brother and I seized the opportunity to get out and see if we could shoot some ducks.  I’d been interested in duck hunting for awhile so I couldn’t wait to learn more about it.

Duck hunting is my brother’s favorite and he has his go-to spots around where he lives.  But since we were both home for Christmas, it was all new territory neither of us knew.  The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website has a great “GoHunt” feature that shows public land for different types of hunting.  I put in our location and found a couple of areas for duck hunting.

We headed out as the sun was rising and drove to a large lake outside of town.  We figured there wouldn’t be many other hunters out since it was Christmas morning, but boy were we wrong!  Several cars were parked along the road and we heard gunshots ring out almost immediately after stepping out of the car.

This area seemed to be along a migratory route as several flocks of ducks flew overhead and quacking echoed throughout the sky.  The only problem was they were too high to shoot.  As we walked along a small stream, my brother taught me about jump-shooting.  Unfortunately, we saw no ducks to actually jump-shoot.

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