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Location: Nova Scotia
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How is this done?

It is always a good idea to hook up with the local pros. You can learn a wealth of info. from the right individual. Some will be willings to share their secrets but some will not. Just be a sponge and absorb as much as possible. Remember that duck hunting doesn't have to be hard, we(hunters) just like to make it that way. I have had as much success with a simple set as I have with elaborate ones.

WesternHunter's picture
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Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2368
How is this done?

No doubt you've probably already done your first duck hunt. If not here's some advise. I know you've got the guns, the dog, and the shooting skills. Time of day to start - be set up at waters edge by the time th sun is starting to peek out over the horizon.

Guns/Ammo - 12ga Remington 870 is the workhorse of waterfowl guns, the standard by which all other guns are measured up to. Use high velocity 3" or 3.5" magnum non toxic shot. Steel #2, 3, or 4. Modified choke is a good overall for ducks, unless you're in really close quarters, then go with an improved cylinder. I use a 12 ga Remington 11-87 Special Purpose with high velocity steel 3" magnum shells and just love that gun.

Decoys - you'll need at least 6, but 12 is better or more, spred them in a V or U pattern with the tip pointed into the wind. Oh get a decoy bag too, mesh works good to help the decoys drain after retrieveal. Wait until the ducks have flown off the water before you set out the decoys. You don't want to scare the duck off before legal shooting daylight, that will be a missed chance to shoot when they fly.

Dress for the weather. Below is advise for colder season dressing from November through January.

Waders and Clothing - You'll only need neoprene in extream cold. If you never plan to hunt in temps that will be all day lower than 20°F then don't bother with neoprene, you'll sweat too much and feel cold and clamy. So get a pair of either chest height breathables or rubber lined canvas or rubber lined nylon/polyester. Don't buy a pair that has black suspenders, I don't know why some makers like Browning or Columbia put black suspenders on a camo wader Brick Wall,) Go with a pair that has a suspender color of either camo, brown, OD Khaki. Remember you'll dress in layers for comfort so make sure all your layers are colored to match the terrain. Camo isn't really totally needed, but since there are too many great pattern out there available why not get some. Pick a pattern that will match the vegatation where you'll do about 75% of your hunting and consider the time of season you'll be out.

Layers - Wool, polyprop, or polar fleece, choose drab colors. Get a good pair of wader liners made of polar fleece, the type with stirups, the color of these is less important. Heavy wool socks with a wool or polyprop sock liner is a great combo. Get a heavy wool sweater, and a good camo waterfowlers jacket. A good warm wool hat is a must for all cold weather hunting - a stormy kromer works great. I've always used the CC Filson Waterfowl hat in Tin Cloth khaki color, it has a short brim and is made of a tough waxed cotton canvas outer shell and lined with olive shaded densely weaved 100% wool. Get some fingerless drab colored raggwool gloves with a good leather palm sewn on them. The leather palm helps you keep a good grip on your gun. Never go with wool gloves that don't have a good leather or rubber palm on them, trust me, bare palmed gloves are too slippery when holding a gun. Bring a stretch fleece neck gator to help hold in body heat if you get too cold. Keep a dry bath towel and dry change of clothes in your vehicle. If you get accidentally submerged in cold weather, get back to your vehicle to towel off and warm up as soon as possible. You may just have to call it a day and come back another time rather than risk hypothermia.

Other Gear - waterproof bag for your stuff. Avery shell bandolier called power belt (serves as a wader belt and ammo carrier).

We usually make our own blind in the tall cattails and reeds. Just stomp out a small spot about 3 to 4 feet from waters edge. No matter how well camo'd out you are, try not to move around too much once you're situated, duck will see you. Hunt with at least one friend, you'll know what I mean by this when you start setting out decoys in the water or get stuck in the mud.

To get duck you have to go where the ducks are and where few hunters will attempt to go. When every other body of water is frozen, hunt warm water sloughs near by that don't freeze. Ducks will fly into those late season. We go to a place in Montana every November that requires us to drudge through a solid 300 to 400 yards of 6' to 7' tall dense cattails, reeds, and marsh to get to waters edge. Imagine doing that while in waders loaded down with decoys, guns and gear in the dark of early morning when it's 5°F to 10°F . I have never seen any other hunters besides us anywhere near that waters edge Big smile But either way, that's where hundreds of duck are every year, because right there at waters edge out to about 50 yards the water doesn't freeze. You have to work to get them.