5 replies [Last post]
Joined: 03/31/2013
Posts: 2
How to get started waterfowling

Hey guys! I have really wanted to get into waterfowling for some time now, yet I honestly do not know where to start.

What call?

What equipment?

Where to hunt?

Just any tips that you guys think would be helpful would be great!


Critter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4433
I am going to presume that by

I am going to presume that by your other post you are planning on hunting around Pennsylvania so what I and other hunters that are out west won't really help you too much.  But for beginners I would suggest that you go down to a sporting goods dealer and talk to the folks behind the gun counters and see what they have to say.  You may be in a situation where you will need to join a club to find somewhere to hunt ducks and geese. 

To get you started off I would suggest a pump action 12 gage shotgun such as a Remington 870 magnum, they have been around for a long time and will be around for quite a few more years.  A 12 gage will come with the capabilities of shooting a 2 3/4", 3", or a 3 1/2" shell depending on the chamber, I would get one that will shoot a 3" round.  Some like the 3 1/2" and some don't.  The shotgun should also come with a set of choke tubes which will allow you to vary the spread of the shot as it leaves the barrel for different hunting conditions.  I like shooting a modifyed choke out of my water fowl guns. 

For what else you are going to need, chest waders are a must for when you need to get into the water if you don't have a dog to get the birds for you.  Decoys are a must have.  Anywhere from a dozen to what ever you can afford along with a bag to carry them in.  Calls are going to depend on what you are hunting.  If you only have ducks a goose call won't do you any good. 

These are just some of the basics and others should chime in to help you out.   

WesternHunter's picture
Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2374
Getting started

Yup I agree with what Critter posted in his reply.  A good 12 ga shotgun capable of at least 3 inch shells.  26 inch barrel with Modified or Imp Cyl choke. Waders, decoys, calls.  Start with one duck call and one goose call and learn how to use them.  Decoys, at least a dozen.  If the birds are coming in don't scare them off with your calls, let em come in. Invest in good clothing - hats, coat, insulation base layers, gloves, etc.  You don't need the latest greatest camo patterns on the market, any drab earth tone color will work fine.  A shell holder or bandolier are helpful for carrying your ammo and keeping it readily available to you in the field.  You don't need all the fancy bells and whistles that often get over marketed these days.  As far as equipment goes, keep it simple and then your own experience will dictate what you need to add later. In general though for all types of hunts I like to keep gear to a minimum, only bringing what I need.  Learn to shoot.  Start out with trap and then move onto shooting sporting clays, do this as much as you can.

My biggest advice to newbies - NO SKY BUSTING.  Keep noise and movements to a minimum.  Nothing will tick off other hunters on public land more than the guy scaring birds off by blasting away or botching a call before the birds even come close to being in range.  Excessive walking around the wetlands all day just scares birds from coming in.  Pick a spot, hunker down and wait.  Get up and do what you need to do only when no birds are around.

Buy maps, good maps.  Look for pot holes, marshes, irrigation ditiches, sloughs, etc that are on public land.  Scout those areas.  It takes a lot of hard work and scouting to find any good hunting area, just like fishing.  Before the hunting season starts go out at dawn then again at dusk, see when the birds are coming in and where.  Make note of the general times.  Some of the best action is early at first shooting light and late at last shooting light.

Many states wildlife divisions offer free seminars to hunters.  Take advantage of them.  Learn everything about proper fireams usage and safety and remember that carrying a loaded gun in the field under real hunting conditions is often a lot different than shooting a gun at a controlled range, it all require vigilance and safe handling. Difference is that under hunting conditions you are generally cold, moving in akward marshy terrain or through dense cattails, and often times weighted down with clothes, gear, decoys, etc. So learn proper handling and safety and adhear to it always when it comes to firearms, and don't tolerate anyone who doesn't.

Preacherdan's picture
Joined: 04/16/2013
Posts: 26
i agree with the previous comments

if you want to kill ducks my suggestion would be to find yourself some public ground pot holes, unless you have private ground then by all means hunt it, remember to find yourself where the ducks want to be, no matter how good you are, if the ducks dont want to be where your at, they wont be. 12 ga shotgun is a must, along with waders{get good ones and keep care of them because they are expensive and if you keep care of them they will last you years} you can get a dozen hot buy decoys from say cabelas for like right under $30 , they arent the greatest decoys but you can kill birds over them, dont waste your time with the mojos and roboducks, they work down here for about the first 2 weeks of season then they do nothing but flare birds.  if you want to buy nicer decoys later on then you can do so, if you are hunting pot holes, you may only need 6-8 decoys, if your hunting open water or a field thats another story.  i would rather hunt pot holes and rivers myself. if you want to field hunt birds, your talking a whole nother game, you will need alot of decoys, both for the geese and ducks, and a lay out blind.  when i first started i bought used decoys then i moved on to by my own new ones as the years progressed,  as far as a boat goes you do not have to have one, if you can find a spot where you can wade the entirety of the water, i have a 17 ft lowe with a 50 hp evinrude on it with a beavertail blind, which will hold about 4 of us guys, on the big lakes i can scoot around nice and quick like. but to be quite honest, i use my beavertail stealth boat much more often, just a little 2 seater swamp boat with a troll motor on it, beavertail boats are gonna cost you right around 1000 bucks, depending if your hunting still water or big open water i would personally just get a beavertail boat, i agree with western hunter, get one goose call and one duck call, most of the time less is more.  some times birds want talked to, and alot of times they would just assume you be quiet so they can work your spread. if you are hunting still water, some sort of ripples in the water is a must, rig yourself up a jerk string or get a quiver duck butt, or a prop on the bottom of one of your decoys, the ducks will like the movement in the water. ....duck hunting is my favorite style of hunting , there is nothing quite like it in my book, the first time you have 60 mallards drop right on top of you im sure you will agree!

wesdes's picture
Joined: 07/19/2014
Posts: 5
Your world is about to change

Sorry but didn’t ready the above post, but i am a avid waterfowl hunter have been for the past 10 years, my two cents is to go on a guided hunt first so you can grasp what its all about.  Do that before you buy any decoys or calls or mojos or boats or waders or anything, and trust me the equipment list for waterfowlers could go on for days.  But if you just want it "jump in" or "Light" as us addicts say.

First (Other than gun and shells) - Don’t know how old you are but "walking in" on public land is no fun, no matter your age... get a boat, if you don’t have one, a canoe is a great and cheep and you can get to alot of holes people have to walk or big boats cant fit.

Second - Decoys.  now with decoys you get what you pay for but if you don’t mind painting bout every other year just get cheep ones, and get a Mojo or equivalent and not the wind power ones (You don’t per say need one but "When in Rome")

Third - Calls.  get a cheap one and keep it in your truck and practice every chance you can and once your comfortable and confident go to the store and try out a few and find one that sounds best with the way you call, **start with double reed**(Don’t worry bout the people staring at you, if they are staring they are not addicts yet).

Fourth - Waders - check out a lot of them and try them on, all waders are not equal, I bought a pair for like 300 bucks they lasted for 2 seasons just got a pair this year for 120 and they are way better and more comfortable.  Shop, Shop, Shop

Fifth - where to hunt - Just find a spot and go, call game wardens and/or biologist for all the tips and stuff.  just let them know up front your new to it and just looking for them to point you in the right direction and just go hunt, trust me you will mess up a lot and a few more times but when you have them light in the decoys and hit the water like a ton of bricks you will be taking out a second mortgage and considering what organs you can sell and still make hunts.

Those are my tips, take em or leave em.  Just message me if you want some help or advise.  I’m not the best but i have a few hunts under my belt.


FYI - Also you will notice that everyone limits out, don’t believe them and stay strong

wesdes's picture
Joined: 07/19/2014
Posts: 5
Also if you need some help

Also if you need some help killing some birds where ever you are just let me know ill pack up soem gear and catch a plane or drive or somthing.

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