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smithmr's picture
Location: alabama
Joined: 08/01/2010
Posts: 8
Duck Hunting Tips

Duck Hunting….

Tips I hope you can use to bring you more ducks..

Scouting Areas - Due to the time consuming nature of scouting it is often the thing that gets put aside first, but given the way that the environment a duck lives in is ever changing it really is a necessity. Simply put, a duck needs three things to survive and prosper: food, shelter and a place to rest. If you find a spot that has all three of these you are in for some great shooting! Often it is a bit harder than that, but the key is to remember that we must always keep these three things in mind while scouting

Keep Your Decoys Loose - Many duck hunters make the mistake of setting their decoys way to tight. When ducks are sitting tight on the water it's most often because they are alert to danger and ready to take flight. Relaxed ducks on the water are typically spread out in small groups on the water, especially early in the season. Place decoys no closer than 3 feet apart, and at least 12 feet between the groups early on in the duck hunting season. Pay particular attention to this.

Watch Your Shot Pattern - Before season arrives be sure to pattern your gun with the same shells your going to use during the upcoming duck hunting season. To pattern your gun simply shoot at a large piece of cardboard with a 30" diameter circle drawn on it at 40 yards…Also, when shooting small ducks number 3’s or 4’s work great, medium to large ducks number 1’s or 2’s works great.

Double Tap That Bird - If a duck has it's head up or is swimming after hitting the water from being shot always shoot it again, even if you have a dog. It can be tough for even a dog, yet alone a hunter, to catch up with a crippled duck. Many times a crippled duck will dive underwater and grab a weed, never to be found by either a dog or hunter. Successful duck hunting is all about efficiency and you certainly don't want to loose a bird you have worked so hard for.

Don't Be Seen/Camo - Not remaining motionless is probably the number one mistake made by new hunters. Even with the best of camouflage patterns a hunter can not make any quick motions. If you have to move wait until the ducks are behind cover to move, such as a tree that you are leaning up against. Also, avoid standing up in short cover and ducking down when seeing approaching birds. Always keep a low profile when duck hunting. AND REMAIN COVERED.. Why bother buying a camouflage jacket and waders if your going to leave your face and hands uncovered? By not keeping your hands and face covered ducks are going to see your head and hand movement that much easier. Always use a head net or camo face paint along with gloves.

No Place For The Ducks To Land - After you have attracted the ducks to your decoy spread where are the ducks going to land? If there is no opening or landing zone in your spread the ducks will probably leave after circling several times, or land outside of shotgun range. Be sure there is opening in your decoy spread that the birds can land in without having to fly over other decoys.

Don't Over Call - The best advice for this common mistake is if the ducks are doing what you want them to do why keep calling? By continuing to call when not necessary you risk the ducks pinpointing the sound of the calling, being you, and seeing some thing they don't like. You also risk making a wrong sound that the ducks don't want to hear, and flaring them. All in all less is usually best.

Keep Your Dog Under Control - When duck hunting it's just as it's important for the hunter to minimize movement, as it's just as important that your dog doesn't give you up. Your hunting dog must be trained to remain motionless and silent when the ducks are working your decoys. If your dog wants to break when the ducks are working simply tie them to a tree or inside of boat versus ruining a hunt.

Thanks for reading.
Please check profile out if ya got time..

WesternHunter's picture
Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2374
Good stuff

Those are some good tips you posted .  I especially agree with the first sentence you wrote about camo.  I can't tell you how many times I've watched ducks failed to commit to landing in an area because the hunter or the hunters dog(s) could not remain still.  Been hunting waterfowl for the better part of 26 years and one thing I quickly learned about duck hunting is that if you want to be successful you need to put in a full days work, not just dawn and morning times, but you have to be out from before sunrise to sunset.  Ducks come into an area anytime of day. I've also learned that you often have to go to where the ducks want to be, rather than expecting them to always come to where you'd rather be.  That can often mean having to walk with gear through 300 yrds of marshy 7ft tall dense cattails just to get to a certain area.  It sure pays to be in good physical shape no matter what type of hunting you do.

Location: So. IL,
Joined: 07/16/2010
Posts: 28

I would say that is probably one of the most important this in your list. Having a ilmannered dogs is like being around a ilmannered child...

bearklr's picture
Joined: 07/07/2010
Posts: 86

The three I always think people overlook are concealment, wind and calling.  My favorite thing to listen to is all the guys on the water hammering away at a fast feeding chuckle.  This call is only made by ducks when they're in the air.  The ducks on the water have shorter bursts of a chuckle mixed up with pauses and quacks.  yet every year it never fails I hear guys out there chuckling away.  My guess is they think it sounds cool so they have at it.  The next is the wind.  You can do everything else right.  Conceal the blind, call em' in and layout the spread but if your opening doesn't allow them to land into the wind they more than likely will drop in out of range.  Most of the time I see this, guys are hunting along a shoreline with the wind in their faces.  Get those dekes out there a good ways so the birds can circle and land into the wind between you and the dekes.  Keep em' too close and they'll land outside of them.  The last item I see is concealment.  Guys camo up their boats and blinds and stand back and say "Man, that looks good".  Yeah it does, from eye level.  What does it look like at 50 yards up though?  Did you blind in the top?  Did you leave big open holes in the top of you boat blind to stand up that'll stick out like a sore thumb?  Everything you do in regards to spread, setup and blinds should be from an elevated perspective.

WesternHunter's picture
Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2374
I know what you mean

Sometimes a duck call does more harm than good for your odds of success.  I only ever bother with a call if I see a flock of them off in the distance.  If the birds are already coming into an area where you are set up most times you are better off not calling at all.

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