I met duck hunters Janice Gaudern and Judy Hall while in Arkansas last year, at Bust A Duck Guide Service in Gregory, Arkansas. The two women and Judy’s trusty companion, Gunnar, traveled to Arkansas from their home in Tampa, Forida. The first thing I noticed about the women is that they each carried a Syren XLR5 Waterfowler.
Judy is a retired teacher and coach of girls’ sports for 39 years. Janice is in medicine, and does MRIs and CT scans. They’re been friends for 20 years, having started their friendship through hunting. “It’s not as much fun,” said Judy, “unless you’re going with somebody, and especially bird hunting – it’s more sociable. You can talk and cut up!”
They chose duck and gamebird hunting because of their dogs. “It’s rewarding for the dogs to see what they can do in a hunting situation,” said Judy.
Judy started hunting ducks in Florida. She said, “I loved being there before the light, setting the decoys and watching the wood ducks come in. I expanded from there, and looked into Arkansas duck hunting … I had hunted Arkansas at another Arkansas site before last year, and it was a big mixed group … it was cost effective to go with Amy’s set-up (Amy Ray’s Sisterhood of the Outdoors).” She also added that she loved the comradery she found at the hunt (It was the second of Sisterhood hunts for both women.)
Syren XLR5 Waterfowler
Judy saw the Waterfowler, made by Syren, a few years ago. She found it lighter than the other shotgun she carried. Since buying the gun, she has taken it afield for pheasants, dove and quail.
About her purchase, she said, “I went back and forth with a couple of shotguns. There aren’t a lot of women’s shotguns. The weight of the gun – it was lighter than the gun I had. Made for women, you don’t have to have it cut down. The only thing I added was a cushion for my reach, because I have long arms. Right out of the box, women cannot go wrong with that gun.”
She added, “When you put your gun to your shoulder, it comes nicely into that pocket because of the gun’s cant; whereas a man’s gun fits more on the shoulder bone. You can swing it fast, and it’s light and gets on target quickly.”
When asked for advice on how to choose a good field gun, she said, “You need to go to a reputable gun place and have somebody that knows what they’re talking about. When you pick up that gun and bring it in, does it fit in nicely and comfortably for you? When you put your cheek to it, does the sight come up properly? Sometimes, you’ll get that ghost – that double vision – so you really want to make sure it’s lined up properly.”
Finally, she advised that “when you’re practicing, you should make sure you wear your hunting coat and make sure the gun fits.”
Gunner, the Wonder Dog
The first dog that Judy trained, Gunner, is a registered Golden retriever. Janice also had a Golden retriever, named Cody, that she trained, and she helped Judy to train Gunner. “A Golden is a more thinking dog than labs are; you tell a lab to go here and go there. A Golden retriever will think, “Why do I have to go there when this way is shorter?’ They’re more of a thinking dog.”
Gunner performed beautifully in the marshes and on the river in Arkansas, and his enthusiasm and prowess impressed all of us.
Fixing Wild Ducks
“The best way that I like is to breast it out, wrap it in bacon and put it on the grill. I do like the poppers, too!”
This year, Judy, Janice and Gunner will travel to Crestview, Florida, for a coastal hunt along the Gulf shore. (We will be sharing their adventures on our social media platforms when possible!)
If you’re interested in learning more about this phenomenal waterfowl/bird gun, check Syren’s beautiful, instructive website with information on the XLR5 Waterfowler in 12 gauge.
This article was originally posted at our “Syren Savvy” column on WomensOutdoorNews.com and co-written with WON Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird. Barbara is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting, and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at http://www.ozarkian.com