I think every fly fisher turned duck hunter (or vice versa) has thought at least once: “Hmm, I wonder if I can make use of these feathers.” While most fly tying materials are either dyed mammal fur, synthetic fibers, or feathers that come from tricked out chickens, your harvested waterfowl can yield some pretty useful materials. This is about a very specific feather in a very specific location, that you can easily pluck, slap on a hook, and toss into a stream on your next trout adventure.
The ‘18-’19 duck season has come to a close, and if yours was anything like mine, the close may be a relief as much as anything. To say this season was rough would be an understatement, but as every grisled waterfowler would be happy to point out, “that’s why they call it hunting, not killing!” As tempting as it would be to dump all my gear in a pile and crawl into my bed until early September, there’s still work to be done.
The hunting purity scale, popularized by the likes of the meat eater crew, is often used to describe the authenticity, challenge and grit level involved in a big game hunt. For those of us who love to chase feathers just as much as fur, I’ll attempt to apply this scale to the pursuit of waterfowl.