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Old 09-27-2014, 04:25 PM
Rockyman41 Rockyman41 is offline
 
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Default Buffleheads. Anyone eat them?

I'm new to water fowling.

I don't have permission on any fields yet or a blind and decoys yet so I have been taking advantage of some afga land on the side of a pothole lake. I have had a little success with mallards and have seen a few geese. What I have seen in very large numbers are what I believe are buffleheads. The lake is covered with them.

Are they worth shooting? They seem small but a few of them would beat the one mallard I've got so far.

On a side note: what is the best waterfowl pocket reference book? I have been using my hunters ed book at the field and google at home to help Id what I have been seeing.
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Old 09-27-2014, 05:14 PM
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wwbirds wwbirds is offline
 
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Default Ducks Unlimited used to have a nice poster

It was available free from DU and not only showed all north american ducks but the zone they generally fly in.
Buffies merganzers etc usually fly low over water and are not great for table fare while mallards pintails etc fly high and drop down directly to water are better tasting.
Puddle ducks jump straight up off water and are good for table while divers usually run and flap along the surface to get airborne are not good for table fare.

I know, I know I have many people tell me they eat merganzers, eiders and even buffies but with mallards pintails gadwalls etc available in large quantity in Alberta why would you want to??
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Old 09-27-2014, 05:22 PM
Jadham Jadham is offline
 
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R u sure they are not Scaup? Buffleheads are more of a woodland duck and aren't too common here, while Scaup are much more common. Scaup aka Bluebills are a decent eating bird.


http://www.deltawaterfowl.org/huntin...ification.html

http://www.ducks.org/hunting/waterfo...poe=mobileHome

Last edited by Jadham; 09-27-2014 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 09-27-2014, 10:28 PM
Secret coulee Secret coulee is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jadham View Post
R u sure they are not Scaup? Buffleheads are more of a woodland duck and aren't too common here, while Scaup are much more common. Scaup aka Bluebills are a decent eating bird.


http://www.deltawaterfowl.org/huntin...ification.html

http://www.ducks.org/hunting/waterfo...poe=mobileHome
X2 were i come from a just about full plumage bufflehead is worth mounting they leave very early in sept and the males are amazing in the coulour spectrum for brizience
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Old 09-27-2014, 10:30 PM
Rockyman41 Rockyman41 is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jadham View Post
R u sure they are not Scaup? Buffleheads are more of a woodland duck and aren't too common here, while Scaup are much more common. Scaup aka Bluebills are a decent eating bird.


http://www.deltawaterfowl.org/huntin...ification.html

http://www.ducks.org/hunting/waterfo...poe=mobileHome
I can't say for sure but I don't think it was a scaup. I just got back from an evening hunt and observed them through binos for a while. They have a dark head and bill with white cheeks. Very similar to a Canada goose. They have black eyes and a dark back and wings. The wing has a small white patch on top and they seem to have grey/white underside and dark legs.

They are small ducks so it may be possible that they are juvenile maybe?
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Old 09-27-2014, 10:51 PM
archeryman archeryman is offline
 
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Could be a ruddy or a merganser. In any case, some divers aren't bad eating. I quite enjoy scaup and canvasback. Never hurts to shoot one a try it?
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  #7  
Old 09-27-2014, 10:58 PM
Rockyman41 Rockyman41 is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wwbirds View Post
It was available free from DU and not only showed all north american ducks but the zone they generally fly in.
Buffies merganzers etc usually fly low over water and are not great for table fare while mallards pintails etc fly high and drop down directly to water are better tasting.
Puddle ducks jump straight up off water and are good for table while divers usually run and flap along the surface to get airborne are not good for table fare.

I know, I know I have many people tell me they eat merganzers, eiders and even buffies but with mallards pintails gadwalls etc available in large quantity in Alberta why would you want to??
I was talking to a du rep at the farmers market last week. He gave me lots of good info and some booklets but no poster unfortunately. I'll ask about it the next time I'm there.

Thanks for the info guys. I've tried to read as much as I can about water fowling but I'm still pretty green. Any advice is always appreciated.
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Old 09-27-2014, 11:43 PM
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Red Bullets Red Bullets is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockyman41 View Post
I'm new to water fowling.

I don't have permission on any fields yet or a blind and decoys yet so I have been taking advantage of some afga land on the side of a pothole lake. I have had a little success with mallards and have seen a few geese. What I have seen in very large numbers are what I believe are buffleheads. The lake is covered with them.

Are they worth shooting? They seem small but a few of them would beat the one mallard I've got so far.

On a side note: what is the best waterfowl pocket reference book? I have been using my hunters ed book at the field and google at home to help Id what I have been seeing.
Here is a website that you can go thru the list and check every migratory bird id. In fact there are all sorts of birds you can check out.

http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/fram....html#Anatidae

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a great bird resource too. Has recording of birds too .
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Last edited by Red Bullets; 09-27-2014 at 11:51 PM.
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  #9  
Old 09-28-2014, 11:28 AM
petew petew is offline
 
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We do have Buffleheads here, and they are not bad eating. I used to shoot a lot of them during the late winter hunting on the Bay of Funday in NB. years ago.

Pete
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  #10  
Old 09-28-2014, 11:39 AM
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Pixel Shooter Pixel Shooter is offline
 
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shot a few female buffleheads this year so yes they are here still, wouldn't say great eating lol. out of all the ducks, teal have to be my favourite to eat
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Old 09-28-2014, 03:11 PM
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They aren't the worse eating bird out there I've shot lots and they never go to waste if nothing else toss them in with the sausage meat
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Old 09-28-2014, 09:19 PM
Rockyman41 Rockyman41 is offline
 
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Well I think the birds are on to me. I went out last night and the divers had nothing to do with me. They peeled out as soon as they saw my canoe hit the water and stayed as far away as they could. I still managed two mallard hens so I'm pretty happy.

Today I wasn't so lucky. I decided to try another lake. Got all the way out there and realized I forgot a paddle. Since I didn't unload the night before it meant the paddle was at the boat launch of the other lake.

20 mins of backtracking and I find out that someone used my paddle for target practice. It was full of holes.

I ended up just going home.
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  #13  
Old 09-28-2014, 10:49 PM
Heron Heron is offline
 
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Is it perhaps Goldeneye ducks you are seeing?
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  #14  
Old 09-28-2014, 11:14 PM
Rockyman41 Rockyman41 is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heron View Post
Is it perhaps Goldeneye ducks you are seeing?
I don't think so. The bird I've seen have dark eyes.

I'm wondering if they are maybe lesser scaups or perhaps juvenile scaups. I took the dogs for a walk this morning down to the slough by my house. I observed the same ducks there as I saw at the lake. Along with them in the group were larger duck with blue bills that fit the description of greater scaups. There were also quite a few shovelers and quite a few geese. I'll try to get pics next time out
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Old 09-29-2014, 05:17 AM
happy honker happy honker is offline
 
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Are they coots?
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  #16  
Old 09-29-2014, 07:42 AM
edmhunter edmhunter is offline
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Buffleheads are one of the smallest and prettiest of the DiverDucks.

Very little meat and not as good as ducks that eat in grain fields, like the good ol Malard.

Funs to shoot because like teal that are really fast!
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File Type: jpg Bufflehead.jpg (7.8 KB, 25 views)
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  #17  
Old 09-29-2014, 10:18 AM
particle particle is offline
 
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I would not recommend Scaup for eating. It was the first bird I brought home to my wife after starting this whole adventure, and after a dinner that tasted like tough liver marinated in fish oil she was pretty dubious about my next outing. Luckily I brought home a mallard and she's back on board with my new hobby.
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  #18  
Old 09-29-2014, 04:51 PM
Jadham Jadham is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by particle View Post
I would not recommend Scaup for eating. It was the first bird I brought home to my wife after starting this whole adventure, and after a dinner that tasted like tough liver marinated in fish oil she was pretty dubious about my next outing. Luckily I brought home a mallard and she's back on board with my new hobby.
One of the hardest things about starting up duck hunting is learning how to cook duck!

Sounds like your first duck was overcooked.
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Old 09-29-2014, 05:00 PM
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The Fisherman Guy The Fisherman Guy is offline
 
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I don't mind Buffleheads; they are a challenge to shoot, and they don't taste too bad. Wash the breasts well, and marinate for at least two days. Grill on med-high heat until medium rare. Slice as thinly as possible and enjoy.
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  #20  
Old 09-29-2014, 05:01 PM
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wwbirds wwbirds is offline
 
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Default yup poor cleaning and cooking ruins duck meals for many

Surprised how many don't know the little pockets in back bone near thigh hold the kidneys which if left in to cook makes whole bird taste like liver.
if you want to eat rubber ducky just put a nice mallard in oven to cook quickly at high heat.
We cook our ducks in cajun pot roast style very slowly at around 225 degrees for 6 hours in nothing but spices (no salt) 1/2 inch water in bottom of roast pan with a whole sliced white or yellow onion.
People that say they don't like duck are snacking on it cold the next day it is so sweet and tender. You can add salt after cooking so it wont turn the onion sugars to vinegar instead of carmelizing them.
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  #21  
Old 09-29-2014, 05:02 PM
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wwbirds wwbirds is offline
 
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Default yup poor cleaning and cooking ruins duck meals for many

Surprised how many don't know the little pockets in back bone near thigh hold the kidneys which if left in to cook makes whole bird taste like liver.
if you want to eat rubber ducky just put a nice mallard in oven to cook quickly at high heat.
We cook our ducks in cajun pot roast style very slowly at around 225 degrees for 6 hours in nothing but spices (no salt) 1/2 inch water in bottom of roast pan with a whole sliced white or yellow onion.
People that say they don't like duck are snacking on it cold the next day it is so sweet and tender. You can add salt after cooking so it wont turn the onion starch to vinegar instead of sugar carmelizing them.
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