Some of his first memories as a child are of being out in the fields, marshes, and bays of the Texas coast.
What has spurred his hunting aspirations from those early years were the little things, such as hunting with his Dad and Grandfather, the ride in the boat, and the beauty of the birds.
Since then, Davis has hunted a variety of habitat throughout Southern, Central, and Northern Texas, and also into Oklahoma and Arkansas. He cherishes these hunting experiences and tries to apply his know-how and learn more with every new trip.
Davis shares his wealth of knowledge and skills in the following passages.
Please give Davis a big IronBands.com welcome.
My life is hunting. I was born into it with some of my first memories of being in the field near Port Aransas, TX.
I was so young, I honestly don't remember the first duck I shot, but my Dad tells me I shot it off of his knee with an old single shot 410 shotgun. It was a redhead.
Now people know me as that crazy die hard hunter. However, I am always the only "crazy die hard hunter" they know. With my enthusiasm, it has been such a joy in my life to help mentor and watch friend after friend turn into a hunter.
Hunting is in my soul, it's what I do, and who I am. I cherish every moment I spend in the field, whether it's a beautiful sunrise, a flock of birds locked up on the decoys, or just shooting the breeze with family and friends, there is nothing like it.
I am very blessed to live in a place where I can hunt ducks in almost every scenario. From bays, marshes, rivers, sloughs, lakes, cattle ponds, flooded timber, flooded fields, and dry fields, I've been lucky enough to do it all. I do my best to take everything I've learned from these experiences, and apply it anytime I'm in the field.
I slowly migrated north over the years, attending Baylor University, and am now living in Dallas, TX. I hunt primarily public and leased land.
I love to hunt public refuges because they allow flexibility. Since birds don't usually stay in one place, hunting public land allows me to chase the birds, setting up where they want to be for any given day.
Refuges also allow the option to hunt various habitat and explore new methods. When scouting for birds, I might come across marshes, creek bottoms, open lakes, flooded timber, swamps, or other waterfowl environments. Exploring in this way creates the opportunity to learn new terrain and add diversity to my hunting.
Wherever I hunt, I gain access any way possible which may be by boat, kayak, foot, or even mountain bike. Here in Texas, a lot of our better hunting occurs on large open water lakes, rivers, and bays, so boats are the norm. Kayaks are also used for the very shallow hard to reach hunting holes.
The techniques I use for an individual hunt will vary given the terrain, weather pattern, and waterfowl species. If I was preparing for a lake hunt with flooded dead timber and multiple river inlets, my game plan might look like the following.
My first approach would be to look at the big picture, literally, checking satellite photos to get an idea of where I might want to take a closer look. Next, I would visit the targeted areas, learning the cuts through the timber, water depths, and coves, always making note of compass direction in relation to possible wind directions. Finally, I would explore the local vegetation to learn what the lake might offer in the way of waterfowl food sources.
I usually make notes of these findings in a journal. Then later on when checking the weather forecast for an area I have previously scouted, I will know which coves, cuts, or sloughs would be the best to hunt.
During the hunt, setting up for wind direction and terrain are the biggest factors to properly working birds.
When setting decoys, there are a number of different styles of presentation. I prefer the "J" shape myself. I tend to position the short end of the "J" facing directly down wind, favoring placement where I think the birds will want to work, or where I want to persuade them to work. I am also mindful of where the birds will be feeding and in what direction, again setting the decoys accordingly. Species of decoys will vary with the area, always incorporating as much motion as possible.
As for calling, I usually abide by the guideline, less is more. I will usually only call at birds when they stray off line from my spread, or if I am hunting an area where I need to grab the attention of the birds, and persuade them to take a look at my decoys.
If there's a golden rule in waterfowling, it's to be flexible. If things aren't working, change it. If the spot is no good, move, and don't ever be afraid to try something new. Being different is sometimes the key to success.
Solid Hunt, Buddies First Pintail
The picture above is from a duck hunt here in north Texas.
My girlfriend and I, along with two good friends of mine, had a great hunt.
The sun was out and birds were everywhere. We worked huge groups of mixed species all morning long.
One of my buddies shot his first pintail too. It was towards the end of the hunt, and I was actually calling at a group of mallards working us. A pair of pintail cut under the mallards, and locked up on the decoys.
I called for my friend to shoot.
One shot later, the drake was down. It was a super looking bird too, which now graces a wall of his home.
We made out with a four man limit of mallard, gadwall, teal, and the special pintail.
It was another one of those great days in the field.