by John McDougall
With 2017 having been a bumper year for duck hunting, many have looked forward to good seasonal rains and another great duck opening for 2018. An approach to distributors has enabled me to pick out some products that you might want to consider as the season approaches. These are reliable items that are sure to enhance your opportunities and make for a pleasant shooting campaign.
From one of Australia’s long-standing distributors of shooting accessories, Alcock & Pierce, you can confidently rely on the Osprey label of duck hunting accessories such as decoys (both black duck and teal), mesh decoy bags, shooting vests in mesh and camo pattern along with VFG field cleaning kits and a host of duck callers, including the Scotch and Shaker callers. During my search I could not find another distributor carrying camo gun bags so if you are after a well-padded version, Osprey offers one. Alcock & Pierce has been around since 1903 when the firm first opened its doors to the Melbourne public. Although now a distributor and not dealing with the public directly, the company can be contacted on 03 9738 2400 (ask for Tim). Or you can visit the website at www.alcockandpierce.com.au to view a fine line of products.
A.S. Horne, based in South Australia, is no stranger to dedicated Australian shooters and fishers with its impressive array of waders. These are offered in many styles with varying boots and are made from durable material that can be repaired if torn. There are several options with the boots, including the solid Blundstone rubber boot or a soft foot boot for rice shooting. These waders are far superior to many of the cheaper imports and will provide years of service. I have thigh boots for the rice and full-length waders for duck hunting. I have always wanted to support local manufacturers and these waders are sheer quality. The great news is they are also supported by A.S. Horne should you tear or damage them. The firm can be contacted on 08 8359 1644 for your nearest distributor (ask for Penny). Or view online at www.ashorne.com.au
Fowl Talkers are three guys absolutely dedicated to duck hunting. Housed in Melbourne, they have several presentations on YouTube where you can watch them calling in ducks with their ‘Fowltalker’ callers. These are available for purchase online along with DVDs about how to use them. The guys not only produce callers but are also introducing decoys for the dedicated hunter. The YouTube presentations and DVDs are absolutely riveting with excellent camera work and even better calling. Sav Mangion can be contacted by email from the website www.fowltalkers.com.au
NIOA, based in Queensland, is one of the biggest distributors of firearms related products in Australia. For the duck hunter the firm imports Bob Allen shotgun accessories, which include a neoprene cartridge belt that is adjustable for various waist measurements. NIOA also imports an array of knives suited for the duck hunter including a sturdy SOG folder and a Miguel Nieto folder, which are both ideal for cutting through flesh, removing heads and other appendages during the dressing of a duck. This merchandise can be viewed on www.nioa.com.au or Damien can be contacted on 07 3621 9999 for the closest retail outlet and a copy of the firm’s catalogue as it does not deal directly with the public.
Outdoor Sporting Agencies, located in Melbourne, has several options on offer for the duck hunter including the MTM Case-Gard range, which include ammo boxes of various sizes right down to choke tube holders. The ammo boxes are water resistant with a neoprene seal around the lids and are ideal for the avid waterfowler to store ammunition. The lockable ammo crate utility box can hold about 21 boxes of shotshell ammunition to meet legal requirements when travelling.
OSA has Ridgeline clothing from New Zealand with lightweight mesh camo pants and tops available for duck hunters during the hotter autumn days and the Stalker pack of warmer polar fleece garments in camo for the colder, wet months of May and June. OSA also offers the fine Tetra gun cleaning products to keep your gun well maintained in the hostile environment of brackish water when duck hunting. Again, being a distributor, these products are not sold directly to the public but can be viewed online at www.osaaustralia.com.au Or a call can be made to Jim at OSA on 03 8353 2626 for your nearest retail outlet.
SSAA Merchandise includes several items that may well be appealing to the duck hunter including the Ka-Bar folding knife and the JKR Camo Knife. These would be well suited as a general knife for preparing ducks and as an utility knife about camp. The 17-piece shotgun cleaning kit is another great option at a very affordable price to throw in with your gear. The SSAS Knife Roll set might also be a consideration if you breast out ducks. Check the range at store.ssaa.org.au
Winchester Australia, based in Geelong, distributes Winchester and Browning knives along with camo apparel from Browning. Their products can be viewed online at www.winchesteraustralia.com.au while Jackie can be contacted on 03 5245 2445 for information of nearest retail outlets.
So gearing up for duck season should be quite a joy with some fantastic equipment in the marketplace. Some products are long-standing and proved while others are new and innovative. Whichever you choose, I can assure you they will give good service and make your time spent out in the field hunting ducks a pleasure. Enjoy!