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So, what does an avid waterfowler do when the shallows turn to ice? Well, you can stay home as the temps will be back up in a few days or you can head to open water, which follows the addage that you have to be where the ducks want to be.There are very real dangers when waterfowling, the perils of the cold water alone should be enough, but couple that with 2-3 guys, a dog, decoys, and a boat load of other stuff real problems can arise in seconds. Cold and water can equal a dead hunter, think about such things as the slope of the ramp where you plan on launching, can you get a boat in and out on an ice slicked ramp?? Somethings as simple as telling someone where you are going and when you are returning are very important, if you haven't called to tell them you are back it could be the one thing that saves you.Currently, it is only about 15 degrees...for north Alabama that is downright cold. The wind sucks the heat right away from you, so that means layers. I'll actually have to put the thinsulate liner in my parka. But, you can get carried away, with too many clothes, especially socks restricting the blood flow in already snug boots or waders. Also, you can work up a sweat putting out the decoys, this will become cold wet clothes next to your skin once you settle down to wait for the birds so take it slow to keep from building up the heat and moisture.The areas that I plan on checking are the protected open waters off of the main river, then there are the small creeks and streams, there should be some oxbows or bends that the birds can hold in. If the water is up, there are place where the river floods large sections of oak flats, that although not legal to hunt in them, you can hunt along the river banks next to them. Then there is the use of a scull boat in the open water for the birds that raft up....a very effective tool to slip well within gun range of birds that are not used to being hunted in this way.Be safe!
 
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