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Last week I finally finished a project I started 3 seasons ago. Some of you may remember I’ve posted in the past about collecting the down from many of the waterfowl I’ve shot the last 3 seasons. Well after hours and hours of plucking, and 3 years of compiling down, I finished the overall project. I purchased some nice downproof rip stop fabric and sewed a large quilt with spacers sewn into every baffle to maintain more loft. My collection of down was about 30 large ziploc bags. I estimate it consisted of about 80 ducks, 80 honkers, and 2 swans. I stuffed the baffles and did the final sewing last Wednesday and couldn’t be happier with the final product. It’s insanely warm, very lightweight, packs down to almost nothing, yet still puffs up with great loft. I bought a compression sack to hold it all, and it works great. I got the chance to use it last weekend camping near Smith and Morehouse reservoir. Low was 13 that night, and the quilt was very warm.
I plan to use it for some backpacking big game hunts I have planned in the near future, and just for all around camping as well. I also think it will be nice to use on those extra cold layout blind hunts, or hunts on the ice.
Of all the projects I’ve done for waterfowling over the last 20+ years, this is one that I’m extra proud of.
From my hunting journal, here are the species I harvested that contributed to the project.
Tundra Swan
Canada Goose
Mallard
Pintail
Wigeon
Gadwall
Shoveler
Greenwing Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Canvasback
Redhead
Bufflehead
Long Tail Duck
Common Goldeneye
Barrows Goldeneye
Lesser Scaup
Ruddy Duck
Ring-necked Duck

So about 18 species in all. It was quite the undertaking.
 

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I'll take one in King size and digital cammo please. ;)

That looks great! It sure feels awesome when a project like yours comes to an end. Now you can begin gathering for the next one.(y)
 

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So cool. My Dad has been asking for me to save my down for a project just like this. The one part of this we could not figure out is how to clean the down. Do you clean it or does it go in as is? If you clean it, how do you do it?
 

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The one part of this we could not figure out is how to clean the down. Do you clean it or does it go in as is? If you clean it, how do you do it?
I didn't clean it at all. Its actually quite surprising how clean the actual down is underneath all the feathers. I was VERY selective, and only used the down off of the belly/neck of the birds. Anywhere that was shot, I would just pluck around so there was no blood or anything. Birds with pin feathers didn't work. If the bird was too shot up, or got roughed up by a dog or something, then it was also a no go. And I was very careful getting only down, no feathers at all.

It realized pretty quick that geese are way better than ducks. A limit of big puddle ducks will yield about the same amount of down as 1, or maybe 2 geese. And the bigger the bird, the longer the down fibers. So after a point, I only did smaller ducks more as an effort to have different species involved than anything. Like I said, there are probably about 80 ducks, and 80 geese contributing to the amount of down I used. So by the numbers, it was basically half ducks. But I bet those ducks were only 15-20% of the down total, with the geese/swans making up the bulk of it.
 

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Amazing! I was thinking of doing something like this, but with a down couch that is on it's last leg. I might PM you for some details! Congrats!
 

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Very cool, Jeremy. Brings to mind "Grandma's Feather Bed".
 

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So rad. Hope more people try this out this fall!

I want to experiment dyeing and making my own Marabou feathers for fishing. Anyone ever do anything like that? I think commercial feathers are generally from white turkeys but figure a goose belly is fairly similar!
 

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Awesome Jeremy - I bet that thing is super warm. Very cool to do it on your own too. 30 ziplocks full of down is ALOT!!
 
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