In the "Balance of State" we had a 99 day duck season this last year. If my math is right, seven ducks a day gives a possible season limit of a whole bunch of ducks. Should an ethical hunter limit his/her annual take? 200 ducks max? 100 ducks?
I don't think there is a answer to this, I beleave to each his own, when they set the seasons they forcast X number of hunter = X number of birds taken, there will be some that shot only 10 birds this last year and some that shot 100 birds, i'm will to bet the Pacific flyway avg. was closer to 15 or less per hunter on Avg.
I can remember back in my prime late 60's and 70's having 200 birds seasons that has little importance anymore, just going out and getting a few quility birds, watching my dog retrive and get excite with every shot, being able to hunt with my son's and watching them get there first triple or a limit of ducks is more enjoyable now then me shooting a limit.
Don't get me wrong I still enjoy shooting a limit of birds, but watching someone else that is close to you, or a few friends that have not had the success or hunted the places that I have over the years is a bigger reward.
So it is not for me to say if it's ethical or not that is up to you as the hunter.
I think a similar discussion/argument came up last year too. A couple of things I found interesting included the "possession limit" vs. how many ducks are in your freezer. I never got a real clear definition on that one, BUT...
I personally think that, as long as you're not wasting the ducks (like some folks tossing spoonies and buffleheads on the levy or in the parking lot trash cans), you should be allowed to shoot a limit whenever...even if that comes out to 693 birds a season. If you and your friends want to eat them, then why not? I've frozen ducks for over a year, and they still tasted OK when I finally cooked them.
Of course, my tune would change if everyone actually shot a limit every day out, but we all know how unlikely that is. Seems like the most prolific of us are usually closer to 100 birds per season or less.
To change perspective, I'd look at it like this... 693 birds, and we'll go wild and say they're all 2 lb mallards... that's 1386 lbs of meat, feather, guts and bones... say we end up with 500 lbs of edible meat.
Dang! As I work this out, that's an awful lot of duck meat....
Anyway, ethics would indicate making the best use of your harvest. Don't kill what you won't eat. Other than that, fill the freezer if that's your wont.
As long as :
A) None of the birds are going to waste
B) You're not shootin over limits, and
C) You're givin back more to the resource than you're taking, be it habitat, breeding, CWA, Delta, DU, etc.,
I say have at it!!
The foodsavers are awesome, but a good one ain't cheap. As such, I don't have one yet.
I've found that a good wrap with freezer paper (butcher's paper), then packed in a gallon zip-lock, will keep most meat in good shape for a year...sometimes longer. I've stowed venison, pork, ducks, and even fish this way for ages. Actually, a good trick for fish is to freeze them in salt water. We used to use the half-gallon milk cartons for that.
Remember, air is your enemy when it comes to freezing meat.
We bagged between 40-50 this year. Considering my immediate family of 6 and the size of a teal/widgeon. That many birds don't last to long, cause we all love bar b qued duck breast. My family also likes to pot roast a goose in carrots and potatoes in a crock pot. So at this point we have about 3 ducks and 7 geese left in the freezer. The perception most non-hunters have is you get these big fat white ducks like the ones by the 605 fwy in El Monte whenever you bag a duck.
I have a couple possessions in my freezer (from my son and me). Here's how I save the meat without freezer burn, or a fancy contraption. All the legs get thrown into a big ziplock bag. At the end the season I'll cook them up as an appitizer. I save the livers that same way. My wife makes pate out of them. Finally I'll put two to four breasts in a quart-size zip lock bag. I'll put enough water into it to cover the meat and extract all of the air. Then, I lay the bag on its side in a shallow roasting pan and freeze it. After it is frozen, take the bag out of the pan. The bags can been stacked on top of each other or like books. It is very space efficeint and protective.