You’re curious to start duck hunting but don’t know where to begin. This is a common problem. Although most people don’t hunt for their livelihood, this skill is not widely taught. Hunting is a way to connect with our roots and the earth. It’s something many people long to do – even though it’s not necessary. This article will help you start duck hunting and get you out enjoying one of the most beloved outdoor pastimes in the world.
How to start duck hunting
You may have many questions if you are going to start duck hunting. What camo do I wear? How does each duck look? There are many other things. We will try to answer all of your questions here. But you have to do one thing, that keeps reading!
Read more: How to become a hunting guide
Gear for you
The first step to start duck hunting is to have the proper camouflage. Although many would argue that buying a gun is the first step in duck hunting, it is integral. It is also crucial to observe what other duck hunters do in the blind. Sometimes, the best way is to leave your gun in the truck. Camouflage depends on the location you will be hunting. Mask is not necessary if you’re hunting in a layout blind.
A lighter, grassier camo is best if you’re hunting in a dead area. A leafy, somewhat bark-like camo is best if you plan to pursue in the woods using a flooded timber hole. You’ll need some waders after you have chosen a camouflage. You have to be ready to wet. Ducks love water. If you’re not standing in water, ducks can get soaked by sitting in the rain or putting out decoys. Choose insulation that is appropriate for the climate where you will be hunting. You can layer more clothing underneath your waders if you choose more breathable insulation.
Read this guide to know how to choose binoculars for hunting.
It is very important to choose the right clothes for duck hunting. It is necessary to wear long sleeves and long pants when hunting ducks in the year’s heat. Camouflage is an excellent choice, but dark colors are crucial. Wide-brimmed hats are great for sun protection and hiding your shiny white face from passing ducks if you happen upon them. Waders are a common practice that can make hunting more enjoyable on cold days. However, you should be cautious about the depth and texture of groundwater. You may be able to avoid getting utterly wet if you have a well-trained canine companion.
Hunt with experience
Next, find a friend/relative who hunts legally and responsibly. Then get out on the water with them. Learning from others is the best way to learn. They’ve done it before. You will learn from them how they do it. Your first hunt will be a lot more successful if you go out with another person and observe.
This setup is not ideal for waterfowlers who hunt with the wind at their backs and decoys in front of their eyes. However, it has its advantages. The first is that ducks are more likely to see the blind when they approach the decoys. This makes it easier for them to detect movements by dogs and hunters. Another problem is when you are shooting. Ducks can quickly turn downwind after the first shot. This makes it more challenging to get the following picture and increases the chance of them being crippled.
Another alternative is to place my spread so that ducks can decoy in front of my blind at a cross-angle. My blind is less visible to attracting ducks, and birds will cross my blind as they fly downwind. My second and third shots, in many cases, are as close or closer than my first. Caught birds can also be easily reached for a quick finishing shot.
Find a friend
If you can. Duck hunting is a social activity, unlike other types of hunting. This is not to say that duck hunting involves long hours spent in the marsh, drinking beer, and chatting loudly with your friends. You won’t spend hours in a swamp unless you’re actually hunting. You have to connect with experienced hunters to help you get started. Create your own hunting group or be a solo hunter for the time being. It is much easier to learn how to duck hunt if you have a mentor, but it is not impossible to do it independently.
Find the ducks
Scouting is an essential part of a successful duck hunt. Even if you are the best duck caller and have the most beautiful decoys, it won’t make a difference if there aren’t any ducks. Take a friend or relative along and go on a drive to find the ducks. A roost is where ducks sleep at night. It is almost their home. They also have places to roam and eat.
If you don’t want the ducks to find another roost, one tip is not to hunt the nest. Hunting should be done in areas that provide food or where ducks lie around or along the road. Traffic is where ducks fly from one place to another and can be as beneficial as feeding or loafing areas.
Find the “X” symbol if you’re in the feeding area. This is not only for field hunting but also can be used to hunt water. Ducks move from their roosts to the places they feed. They will eat most often in the morning and evening hours. The “X” indicates where ducks stopped eating the previous day and will likely return to feed again. You can place a bucket or other visuals on the “X” so that you can locate it the next day.
Simple to read
Many waterfowlers bring both duck and goose loads to the blind. However, plastic cartridges can become unreadable or fade over time, making it difficult to determine which shot size is inside the shells. I use a black magic marker to write the shot size or letters on all my brass casings to avoid any confusion. This allows me to quickly identify and choose duck or goose loads as they are carried in a hunting vest’s shell loops.
Find the right firearm
A 12-gauge shotgun is the most popular gun for duck hunting. A 20-gauge shotgun is sometimes used by men for teal hunting or as a challenge. However, I recommend that novice hunters use a 12-gauge shotgun as long as they can handle it. A semi-automatic shotgun is a good choice, but a pump-action shotgun is also a good option. It is a legal requirement to hunt ducks with non-toxic shots. Your shot size should be appropriate for the species you are hunting and the area where you are hunting. A smaller pellet is better for hunting teal. If you are shooting smaller birds and faster, I recommend using a number four shot or three-shot. Shooting number two shells when hunting mallards and ducks of the same size will give you the knockdown power required to shoot larger birds.
Chokes are an added-on to a gun. You can add chokes to any weapon. The choke is inserted into the bore of the shotgun at the muzzle. The choke can make the shot pattern tighter or more spread for a close shot. It all depends on the location you hunt. A cylinder choke is best if ducks will finish right in front of you. A modified choke might be needed if they’re spending further away than 30 or 40 yards. It is essential to match your choke with the area you are hunting and the location where the birds will finish.
Choose a decoy
Duck hunting is a big part of decoy hunting. Don’t let anyone tell you that the most expensive decoys will be the best or that they will guarantee you kill more ducks. Many people have killed many ducks with a single gallon jug. Don’t be discouraged if you find a group of full-body ducks for $120 for six decoys. These ducks aren’t necessarily expensive. RedHead, for example, sells a dozen floaters at $30 each.
Motion in your decoy spread will make a difference in the type of decoys you use. Motion is anything that creates a ripple in water or causes movement in baits. It is essential because a group of ducks will not stay still, whether it is two or three dozen. You have to mimic a live duck’s movements with your decoys. Your decoys should be able to feel and see that they are real ducks. The “robo duck” is an effective and straightforward motion decoy. Also known as mojo, these decoys are electronic and make water currents or have constant wings motion.
Perfect your call
Duck calling can be both very entertaining and quite humbling. You may feel like a “duck whisperer” when they call you in. But if your calling makes them leave, which is most likely if you’re a beginner, you will feel like you have a new hobby.
Practice is the key to calling. You will improve your calling skills the more you practice. Duck calling is almost an art. You need to know how to do it correctly, when, and how loud or soft to call. You can start duck calling in many different ways, but the easiest way is to watch instructional videos. YouTube has many beautiful videos for free. You can also purchase tapes and even join a calling class. The most important thing is to practice.
Many waterfowlers make the common mistake of flushing large numbers of ducks from a roost before dawn. These birds will fly away to feed at first light, then return to their nests later in the day if left alone. Instead of scaring the birds by setting up in the dark, wait for sunrise or later to set up before you go in. Even though you might not get some good shots early, it may make you a better hunt overall. The birds will return in smaller groups and offer more shooting opportunities.
My most extensive advice is to ensure that start duck hunting legally. Hunting ducks is highly restricted and can result in high fees if you break the regulations. You must complete your hunter education and be familiar with all rules and regulations. You should be able to identify ducks flying and dead.
Remember to have fun while you’re out there. It’s great to kill more than you can handle, but it’s okay to kill as many as you want. Hunting with friends and family, dogs or not should be fun. It’s a great idea for youth to participate in waterfowl hunting. It’s a good hobby and you must enjoy it.
Hunting birds requires patience. Poor shots can cause birds to flee your hunting area. It’s crucial to take your time, be patient and keep your sights on the target. Duck hunting is not about trying to rush your shot. It is essential to take your time and get it right. Then, when you feel it is correct, go for it. Always aim for the last duck. The lead duck is the most popular choice for hunters, but you can seek the last duck to ensure that your aim is correct and you hit the target. Duck hunting can be a challenging sport to get into. It is worth taking the time necessary to properly prepare to start duck hunting. Although it may seem difficult at first, you’ll soon discover why duck hunters love what is offered.