If you’re a fan of duck hunting, or dogs, or duck-hunting dogs, you might want to stop by Valley Bend Shopping Center on Carl T Jones Dr. SE today (Nov. 4) between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. for the finale of the “Super Retriever Series Crown Championship- Super Dock Competition”, a very long title for a contest between some very long-jumping dogs.
Duck retrieving dogs are known for their incredible enthusiasm when it comes to launching themselves into the water to retrieve downed waterfowl, and the competition evolved from that.
Before you reach for your Twitter account, no ducks are harmed in this competition. (Though it’s reasonable to assume that quite a few wind up as duck dinners when these dogs are out in the marshes with their owners.)
In the Super Dock event, handlers throw a decoy into a pool while their dog waits on a dock. At a signal from the handler, the dog sprints down the dock and makes a mighty leap to land as much as 30 feet away, seize the decoy and return it swimming at top speed.
Even if you don’t hunt and have never seen a duckboat, the enthusiasm of the dogs makes this a fun event. You can get more information on the competitions at the Super Retriever Series website here.
Here’s the schedule:
Sunday, November 4, 2018
Alabama’s waterfowl seasons are November 23-24 and Dec. 1-Jan. 27 this year. The seasons include most duck species and geese. A $25 federal waterfowl stamp is required, in addition to the $11 state duck stamp and the standard state hunting license, and only steel shot is legal–visit www.outdooralabama.com for details.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), total populations of breeding ducks across North America were estimated at 41.2 million birds in the traditional survey area, a decrease of 13 percent from last year’s estimate of 47.3 million. However, total duck numbers remained 17 percent above the 1955[?]2017 average. In addition, populations of the most abundant duck species were above their long-term averages, except for northern pintails and scaup. In the Mississippi Flyway, which accounts for most ducks harvested in Alabama, total breeding ducks in the survey area were down 5 percent this spring but remained 7 percent above the long-term average.
Duck hunting success is Alabama is linked to weather conditions to the north, with severe winters and early snow pushing large numbers of ducks to the open waters here. Mild winters in the Midwest can mean slow hunting for Alabama waterfowlers.