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barnold's picture
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Location: Washington, MO
Joined: 10/10/2005
Posts: 154
How is this done?

I live near St.Louis,MO and would really like to get started in waterfowl hunting. I shoot clay birds alot and am fairly descent. I have a golden retreiver, that will retrieve for me, but he needs a little help he's still a little green(nothing I wont be able to fix). I've never duck hunted before, and was wondering how I should get started without breaking the bank. I have alot of places I could go to that have ponds and small lakes but I just dont have a clue on how to go about bagging a few of these critters.
So if you've got any help or advice please let me know.

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Location: Nova Scotia
Joined: 08/17/2002
Posts: 1762
How is this done?

Waterfowl hunting can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be. For starters you should have a shotgun capable of atleast two shots.(semi, pump, O/U,SxS) You can do it with a single shot but the action can be fast and the follow up is nice. Next, get a couple of decoys to throw out. Don't buy dozens of them for now, just a half dozen(or less) will work. Get a decent call. I like the single reed calls best but my brother(hunting partner) likes a double reed. The double sounds better but the single is louder and doesn't freeze up as quick. Next you need to make a blind(or buy one). Just gather some native veg. and build one. It doesn't have to be fancy. Get some camo. and you are ready to go. Remember, ducks are FAST and you have to lead a lot on them but you will get used to it and it will depend on weather conditions as well. It is challenging in 40 mph winds. About the same as shooting a cruise missile flying by. lol

barnold's picture
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Location: Washington, MO
Joined: 10/10/2005
Posts: 154
How is this done?

OK, I've got two Remington 870's one is a 3.5 in mag the other just shoots the small stuff, should I use the mag?

How big of a pond should I start on? What time of day is best?
Will Mallard decoys bring in wood ducks? do I need to get decoy specific or does it matter to the species of bird from the air what kind of decoy i have?

Thaks for the reply

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Location: Nova Scotia
Joined: 08/17/2002
Posts: 1762
How is this done?

The size of the pond doesn't matter that much. Calls travel a long way and decoys can be seen by ducks a long way as well. As for the shotgun, if you have the 3.5" mag you might as well use it. I personally like and use the 870 the most. It may not be as fast as my semi but I have never needed that much speed in the duck blind and the extra reliability is great. Shot in the #4 steel will probably work well for you. If you go for the expensive(but effective) Remington hevi-shot you can use a #6 easily. If you have a decent number of wood ducks there you might want to pick up a decoy or two for that and keep them seperate of the mallards. They don't associate much(up here atleast). The mallards tend to be a bit more aggressive than the wood ducks.

barnold's picture
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Location: Washington, MO
Joined: 10/10/2005
Posts: 154
How is this done?

So I should get specific when it comes to the type of duck I'm hunting and the decoys used? I thought a duck was a duck and they would all just kinda kick it together? thanks

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Location: Nova Scotia
Joined: 08/17/2002
Posts: 1762
How is this done?

Sometimes that will work. The blacks and mallards co-habitat and sea ducks seem to get along together but the wood ducks seem to keep to themselves most of te time. I have seen them with ring-necks before. Maybe it is the larger size that intimidates them.

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Location: Pennsylvania
Joined: 10/28/2003
Posts: 1647
How is this done?

Set up where you see ducks while scouting. The best place to hunt ducks is where they already want to be. Get in early. The first 1/2 hour of shooting light is the best of the day for me. I only use 3 decoys, 2 drakes and a hen(mallards). I hunt in rivers with waders. I have taken mallards and black ducks over the decoys and the only wood duck I got was just flying through. I don't think he intended to stop there Big smile

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
How is this done?

The 870 is a great gun. Go for all the firepower you can muster. I'm finding that I can be cheap on everything except good ammo. Good ammo is worth it.

Another way to get ducks is on the jump. Mallards and other puddle ducks will land and spend time on literally a puddle. Until you develop your prowess with decoys and calling this might be a way to put some in the freezer. Ponds, drainage ditches, creeks, rivers, whatever. But beware. Ducks, unlike pheasants, deer, etc., won't try and hide if they see you coming afar off - they'll just flat out fly up and to the next county. So, don't let them see you until you are in range. Closer the better.

Sometimes you can get ducks when they feed in the fields, but it's tough hunting.

However - there are few things in life that match watching some mallards lock up overhead to your calling ... and make their way around to your decoys. And you need a disciplined dog at this instant - `cause you don't want them to see anything amiss.

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Location: Pennsylvania
Joined: 10/28/2003
Posts: 1647
How is this done?

Get yourself one of the instructional tapes and listen to it in the car on the way to work (so your wife won't throw you out of the house). I have been killing ducks on nearly every hunt since I learned to call them from Dick Kirby and friends, the tape is called "Mallard Talk" but I'll bet any audio tape from the big name guys would work.

barnold's picture
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Location: Washington, MO
Joined: 10/10/2005
Posts: 154
How is this done?

I'm so glad I joined this thing.
You guys have been great! I really apreciate it.

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Old School ...

Old School Duck Calling ...

1. Buy the loudest duck call possible.
2. Spend a morning or afternoon at a wildlife refuge. Let their `music' sink into every fiber of your being.
3. Find an apartment building, warehouse, or other structure (natural or man-made) that will provide a crisp echo.
4. Position yourself about 3000 feet away - far enough away so that the end of your high-ball doesn't mask the beginning of the call echoing back. (Sound travels about 1000 feet / sec).
5. Practice until you can produce your own lil' wildlife refuge.

Finally - stay east of the Mississippi so we're not in competition.