Just because the numbers of ducks bagged are down in the marsh, it doesn't always mean you won't get your birds. Here we are in the latter part of November wondering where the big gangs of gadwalls and teal are, and I'll be the first to admit that the numbers are not what they should be.

But for the third weekend in a row, my blind has taken limits of both.

Here's my theory: On a good year in Delacroix Island, my hunting areas will hold gadwalls by the thousands in nearly every shallow lagoon. Anyone who travels the pipelines around Little and Grand lakes and over to the Twin Pipelines can attest to it.

On those years, we certainly kill our birds, but it isn't like you think. For instance, the three seasons before Katrina was silly with ducks. The lagoons were loaded with greys and wigeon. In a morning hunt, sitting in a blind, hunters would possibly see several thousand birds in the air.

A guide could wear out a duck call in a matter of hours. On those good years, I estimate that around 75 percent of the ducks I tried to work to the decoys would totally ignore us. Why would they be interested? I just said there were 1,000 grey ducks and wigeon sitting in the open water. Flock after flock would approach our set, see the live birds and keep on going.

The birds we did shoot were usually stragglers: five birds or less in a group. Usually singles and pairs were the ones that I could call off the bigger flock. The big groups that we did get were always teal.

This year, there are no huge rafts of gadwalls in the open water. A good caller can make a big difference right now. Birds flying through my area are much, much more interested in my flock of three dozen decoys and respond much quicker to the call – I would say 75 percent more interested. A total flip flop.

Less competition from other ducks has to be the difference.

I know, I'm not the only one experiencing this, right?

This has been my recipe:

• Use everything to your advantage
• Hunt the best wind (build multiple blinds to take advantage of it)
• Use your calling skills (you may need to get their attention)
• Scout the area
• Look for feathers where birds have been sitting or obviously where you see the
• By all means, don't keep running through the birds with your mud boat. That drives me crazy, but that another story for another day.