By George Gruenefeld (published in Hunting )
Make It Real
When waterfowl outfitter Paul Conchâtre scouts for Canada geese in the Pothole country of Western Manitoba, he doesn't just want to know where the birds are feeding-he also wants to know how they're feeding. "You've got to figure out why the geese are scattered around a field in a particular way," says Conchâtre, owner and operator of Birdtail Waterfowl Service. "We hunt mostly grain fields, so we often see them lined up along the old swath rows where the most grain has been dropped. So if you go out and put your decoys in a big circle, the birds get suspicious because it isn't what they're used to seeing."
Instead, Conchâtre splits his decoys into two blocks of eight or nine family groups. For morning hunts, each family group includes one or two lookers, and four to six feeders. Then in the afternoon, he uses a mix of lookers, feeders and sleepers. For both scenarios, each block of families includes 40 to 72 decoys, or 80 to 144 in total.
When setting up the decoys, Conchâtre leaves a 25-yard-wide runway between the two main blocks. He then positions four sentry birds and three or four feeders to act as blockers 70 yards off the upwind side of the runway. "Geese usually want to stop short of another bird rather than put down the landing gear two feet over its head," he explains. "That's the wall."
Since the blockers and the birds along the runway are the first decoys incoming birds see, Conchâtre uses flocked-head, full-body decoys for added realism. "Some guys think we're out of our minds when they see how much detail we go to," he says. "But it's those details that get you your limit."
"I have hunted with Paul Conchatre for several years and can confidently say he is a 'Damn Fine' waterfowler and friend. I have had the pleasure of going out in Western Manitoba to Birdtail Waterfowl to join Paul and his crew. I have consistently been very impressed with their hunting, scouting and planning skills. They really know how to put you where the birds are. Paul always goes the extra mile."
"We enjoyed our first hunt with Birdtail Waterfowl so much so that the following year we booked again taking along some of our best clients. The guiding was excellent, the weather balmy and the birds plentiful. You haven't hunted waterfowl until you've hunted the Canadian prairie pot hole region with an expert guide."
"Late last October, my friend and I joined Paul at Birdtail Waterfowl. Without a doubt it was one of the finest hunts I've enjoyed over 60 years of hunting waterfowl. Paul was a stickler for detail and did everything in his power to find us the birds and put us under them. Sometimes the hunt was too good, lasting only 20 minutes. The food and accommodations were great and we were welcomed as if we were long time customers. I would highly recommend your operation to anyone looking for the trip of a lifetime."
Owner of Mick Lacy Game Calls.
"I just wanted to send you a little note to say "Thanks" for another successful trip to Birdtail Waterfowl. As always, the trip was fun, the food was great, and the hunting was AWESOME!!
For the last several years, we've had the opportunity to hunt with Birdtail Waterfowl and the hunting has always been excellent.
Birdtail Waterfowl is WORLD CLASS!!! The Ducks, Canada Geese and Snows/Blues were plentiful and eager to decoy...and we were eager, to let them do just that!!!! Your guides were totally professional and just as obsessed with waterfowl as we were! Seldom have I seen guides work that hard for their clients...it shows they TRULY love the sport!
I could go on and on about the Quality of your operation, but, I'll cut this short.
I would Absolutely Recommend Birdtail Waterfowl to ANYONE who is looking for a great trip to Canada for Waterfowl!! I've Never been disappointed, and I'm 100 percent sure they won't be either.
Looking forward to this season!"
Buck Gardner Calls