Rigging the FLG Duck Hunting boat for filming

FLG Quacka Killer Command Post

FLG Quacka Killer Command Post

I have decided to upgrade the FLG duck hunting boat for filming our hunts this year. We do not have a full time huntographer on the FLG Waterfowl Team as of right now so we are prepping the boat and our equipment to film our everyday hunts POV “Point of View” style. I want to mention that we do have scheduled in this season where we will be filming with a huntographer like Opie and PT and whoever else may join us for some great duck and goose hunting in various states including OK, IL, and MI. The FLG Team purchased our filming equipment from B&H PhotoVideo. They have great prices and an awesome insurance program that is hands down the best in the industry. They can provide a wide range of equipment including camcorders, still cameras, tripods, mounts, cables, memory cards and mics.

I am setting up with two GoPro Hero HD wearable underwater cameras. Here are some of the great features of this camera: Up to 1920 x 1080p HD quality video, SD/SDHC memory card slot, 180′ waterproof housing and 5MP still images. With all the various mounts available for these cameras, I will be using them on my retriever while he makes retrieves, on my gun for POV action shots and any other position I might find effective. I am also going to use two DXG 5B1V Sportster HD Camcorders. Here are some of the features of this camera: Up to 1920 x 1080p HD quality video, 128MB Internal Flash Memory, SD/SDHC Expansion Slot, 1/3.2″ 5MP CMOS Sensor, 3″ LCD Display, 4x Digital Zoom, Waterproof up to 10′, LED Video Light, and an HDMI Output to HDTV. One of these cameras will be mounted inside the boat for shooting our conversations and calling techniques. The other will be placed on a tripod behind the boat or blinds for the wide angle shot. I also have one Kodak Playsport Zx5 waterproof/dustproof/shockproof HD video camera that is very compact and portable. It is about the size of most smartphones and I will carry that in my pocket for any random filming I need to do outside the blind where I need something readily accessible.

Again, B&H PhotoVideo is the place to go whether you are a professional photographer/videographer looking for a high camcorder or if you are a Do-It-Yourself outdoorsperson wanting to capture the things you love to do on video to share with your friends and family. Please visit B&H PhotoVideo to see all the equipment they have available to you. Also, do not forget to sign up to get our weekly gear deal alert coming exclusively for you from First Light Gear.

Thanks for reading,


Decoys Made In America For The Long Haul

The "Henryettan" The Legendary First Decoy by G&H Decoys

The boys and I here at First Light Gear have been searching for a quality, American made decoy to hunt over for quite some time now. I personally have been hunting over a mixed bag of decoys from different manufacturers that just have not stood up to the abuse of hunting hard for a full season. I’ve had decoys leak right out of the box, paint chipping after only a couple uses, and various other problems that effect the full usefulness of the product. In our search, we focused on companies that offer superb realism in their decoy design, quality control so every decoy out there is anatomically correct and have the same look as the next one, features that stick out from the competition that make setup any easy task and companies that are family owned and operated that focus on customer service and staying in touch with what their customers are looking for.

Rain, Tornadoes and Crazy Flash Floods

Rooney Driving Down What Used to be a Road

Just wanted to stop in and say hello from Oklahoma. What an eventful week it has been for me and my family. It’s kind of a blur but I will try to recap as best as I can. As the rain started coming down heavily this past Sunday, I spent my day clearing driveway culverts up and down the street to keep the water moving. Our pool also had to be pumped down a couple times on Sunday. We were getting BUCKETS of rain. Our backyard was filling up quickly and by the end of the day, water was flowing over the street. Throughout the night as I tried to sleep, the rain kept coming. I was definitely nervous about whether the town’s inferior water management could handle all this rain water. As I left for work the next morning, things seemed to be maintaining levels around our house. On Monday morning, the rain just kept pouring down. I went home to check on things around 1pm and the water was rising again. There was just no place for it to go. When I was home, I changed clothes, got some knee high rubber boots on and my rain coat. I knew I would need them soon. I went back to the office and instructed my employees to start putting computers and paperwork up as high as they could get them and prepare to leave the office. At that point, I got a call from my wife saying she had come home from work with the kids and couldn’t get to the house. I told everyone at work to shut down and go home. I left hastily and when I got to the house, I found a literal river running across my front yard. I could not even see the driveway. As I pulled in, my wife was trying to bring the kids to the house, Connor in arm and hanging onto Aidan’s hand as he kept falling down from the rushing water. As the boys and I moved some items to a higher level in the house, the wife took the dogs out to the vehicles. I carried the boys to my truck and hooked up the boat. The wife was helping the neighbor girl (home alone) gather up her cats and puppy. As traffic was piling up trying to go north up the mountain, I decided we were going to risk going down river in order to get away from the traffic. It worked out just fine. We found the neighbor girl’s parents and dropped her off and then headed to a friend’s house on the mountain. The rain had stopped and I was getting messages from friends saying the water had receded. We ended up going home that night and found very little damage. Only some wet boxes in the lower level of the house.

Of course, all this time, in the back of my mind, I was thinking how all this water was filling up the sloughs and ponds in the area. It has been so dry around here that it made for a difficult waterfowl season in 2010. Even though it’s early, I hope the precipitation is steady enough throughout this summer to maintain the water levels needed to sustain good habitat and food supply for the local and migratory birds.

Things are Runing a Little Wild at The Dam

I finally got a chance to go look around today. Went to the dam and the water is 3 ft from the top. They have all 10 gates open right now. Called the Corp of Engineers today and they expect the water level to rise another 2 – 3 ft in the next couple days. This will cause the low lying areas to the east of us to continue to flood. I pray that it does not affect too many people in the area although I think it will. For now, we’re doing well and thanks for reading.


Oklahoma ’10-’11 Waterfowl Season….What I Learned.

FLG Team Retriever Cody Ready For Action

Well, the 2010-2011 waterfowl season has come and gone and I’m already thinking about next year. It was a good season. I’m not a person to keep track of numbers but I know we did limit out a few times. This was only my second season of hunting here in Oklahoma so I am still on this huge learning curve. I grew up hunting waterfowl in the northern states and Canada so this is a whole new ballgame down here in the south. Here are some of the things that I’ve learned:

  1. Don’t EVER think you can pattern these birds. Every day is different! Anything, and I mean anything, will change these birds: Wind, temperature, weather, hunting pressure, food supply, and/or water levels.
  2. Don’t get in a routine of calling birds the same way day in and day out. Watch how the birds react to your calling and adjust your calling to what they are reacting to in a positive way. Also, different size groups will react differently to your calls.
  3. Concealment is everything which also means, in my opinion, keeping the sun out of your face is more important than keeping the wind at your back. We had more luck this year having the birds come in on crossing shots then we did having them funnel in straight out in front. Also, when hunting fields, dig your blind in if it is allowed by the landowner.
  4. 4. Change up your decoy spread. New migrating birds like to see big groups on the water. If the birds have been around awhile, they prefer smaller groups. Also, those wary birds will tend to land out away from shore a little so be prepared for longer shots and position your decoys as such. For example, don’t crowd your blind with decoys; get them out away from you.
  5. You should spend WAY more time scouting than hunting to have good, quality hunts. The dash of my truck is still stacked high with maps, plat maps, etc. I use my vehicle GPS to mark locations where I want to hunt and if I’m walking a field or motoring around on the river or lake, I use my handheld GPS to mark exact locations where I see birds.
  6. Finally, go with your gut!!! If you’ve scouted well and come up with a plan for the next morning, stick to it if at all possible. There were many times that I’ve changed my mind last minute and it’s turned out to be a bad decision.

And now to add a few more things that I’ve learned that aren’t quite related to the above:

  1. When choosing a hunting partner, make sure they don’t have leaky waders
  2. If you take your kids hunting, make sure it is warm enough out that if they fall in the river they’re not going to be in danger
  3. Don’t think that your dog is invincible and protect them as much as you can because a good Labrador will not stop. They are dedicated!
  4. If you are inviting friends to come hunt with you for the first time, make damn sure there is a nasty cold front coming through or they will have a bad hunt and won’t come back next year.
  5. Make sure the plug in your boat doesn’t have any debris in it when installed
  6. You get what you pay for when buying decoys
  7. When hunting out of a big boat that is too heavy for 2 people to lift, watch your water levels throughout the hunt to make sure you don’t end up beached… (4 times)

Hope these tips help you become a more successful hunter. This game we call hunting is forever a learning process. Don’t be stubborn. Be willing to learn and change….

Josh “Rooney” Dickerson

Starting Out…Your First Decoys

A spread of Mallard decoys.

Decoys…How to pick the right ones, how to rig them, how many to get….these are all questions that ever waterfowler has. Everyone that I have talked to has a different opinion on what to do. So I thought I would share my thoughts on the matter.

1. Quantity. A decoy collection is built over many years and with an understanding spouse. You don’t have to buy 4 dozen decoys your first year. Start slow and build a quality spread.

2. Versatility, you want your first decoys to be able to handle multiple uses. For example removable keels so you can use them in the field of an adaptor stake like they use at G&H Decoys. This will give you options and make your dollar go farther.

3. Paint or color, you want your decoys to be realistic as possible. So look for a company that has a quality paint scheme.

Killing Quackas

Josh "Rooney" Dickerson and @michaelkotzum

After quite a few frustrating weeks of hunting here in Oklahoma we finally got into the mallards this morning. I took my usual route yesterday morning scouting the birds and seeing how the extremely cold temps had effected the bird movement and the smaller waters. Some of the bigger ponds were still open, and of course the rivers, but all the shallow waters and sloughs were locked up tight with ice. I knew by experience where the birds would be so I headed to my favorite lookout point on the Arkansas River. As I started scanning the shores on the other side with my small binoculars I could see quite a few birds tucked up tight along the shore. You see, in this area, we have thousands of cormorants (better known as water turkeys to the locals) that use the same waterways as the geese and ducks and I wanted to make sure these were ducks. My binoculars weren’t quite strong enough to make out what the birds were but after some examination I noticed they were standing up in the water and flapping their wings. I knew then that the birds I was looking at were mallards…thousands of mallards!!! At that point I made a phone call to Michael and told him to be at my house by 5am the next morning. But, for my regular hunting partner Tommy, all I have to do is send him a  text with a time and he’ll be there. Every time. No explanation needed.

Michael was sitting in my driveway at 4:30am this morning when I woke up. I’m guessing he was just a little excited. This is the first time he’s hunted with us. We got the boat hooked up, checked everything out, loaded the dog, guns, gear, and all the warm clothing we could find (it was 9 degrees this morning). This is no time to be messing around, we had to be very careful. We got to the launch and found about 20 foot of shore ice. It was thin enough to launch the boat but I was nervous. After a cold 10 minute boat ride, we were at our spot trashing up the boat and putting out 5 dozen decoys. Just about time we got situated, we had our first pair of ducks coming into the decoys. I took one shot and dropped a widgeon. It was the beginning of a good day. Even with the roto duck not working properly, the mallards were very responsive to the calls and decoys. Most of the birds were skirting our decoys a little forcing longer shots but we were dropping birds out of every small flock. Cody, my retriever, was having  a hard time seeing the downed birds with the fog that was lingering over the river. About 10am, we had about 6 birds in the boat and 4 on the water as well as a decoy that had floated away from us. Tommy and I had to take the boat out and make the retrieves ourselves. After that, Tommy cooked up a mean breakfast even though our eggs had frozen solid. After breakfast, we had a couple more flocks of “new” birds come in and we had our limit.

We ended up with 12 drake mallards, 3 hen mallards and 3 widgeon by noon. It was an awesome hunt…FINALLY!! Michael had a great time and Tommy is ready for more tomorrow. Cody also did very well for the conditions and he will sleep well tonight. There were still new birds working us while we were picking up so we will be right back in the same area tomorrow morning. More reports coming soon….

Josh “Rooney” Dickerson