This past winter Rooster and I ventured out in the marshes to try our hand at some duck hunting. We went to an area up Provo Canyon just west of Deer Creek Reservoir. The area isn't super popular among duck hunters because we weren't necessarily in the "marshes". We walked up the Provo River, which feeds into the reservoir, and flushed ducks up off the river. While this isn't traditional duck, it sure was a heck of a lot of fun and it definitely got me hooked on this type of hunting. Anyway, the result from our two hunts was 3 ducks and it was a rush to see those birds fall from the sky! The picture on the left were two ducks shot by one of my good friends and the picture on the right was my first duck!
When we got home from the hunt, Rooster helped me pluck the ducks. Hank Shaw, from Hunter Angler Gardner Cook, teaches how much better it is to pluck your ducks rather than "breasting out" the ducks as is so popular among a lot of duck hunters. It was somewhat intimidating to pluck a duck but, Rooster and I got to plucking using Hank Shaw's wax method... "Wet-plucking".
The first step in this method is to make sure you examine the bird to see if there are any areas that are really badly shot up. I chopped off the tips of the wings as well. Continue to "rough pluck" the bird which means taking off the tail feather, the large wing feathers and some of the bigger feathers on the body, make sure to anchor the skin while doing this, you do not want bare skin here.
After the bird is rough plucked and inspected it's time to dunk the ducks in a pot of steaming water that you've melted canning wax in (this is something you should probably prepare before because it does take a while for the wax to melt this way). This is really cool because after the wax melts it floats to the top so, when you dunk your duck in the pot, you are coating the feather with liquid wax. After you dunk the birds, move them into a bucket of ice cold water and let them sit for a bit. After the wax had cooled, it will be hard and brittle. You should be able to start breaking the wax around the neck and peeling it away. You will be amazed how easy the feather come off as you peel away the wax.
Be careful around the bullet entries, you do not want to tear the skin more. Slow and steady wins the race. When your done, you'll be amazed, your duck will look like a professionally processed bird!
We won't show you the pictures of the next steps but, basically it's time to take out all the guts. Remember that there are some things that are edible inside the bird like the heart and liver.
The finished product looked great and definitely got me interested in trying different recipes with duck, it was tasty. I followed Hank Shaw's roasted duck recipe found here and served it with some of my home made Chimi-Churri (mom's recipe that I will post later).
Thanks for reading! It was a great hunt and obviously a lot of fun after. Thanks for helping Rooster!