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October 9, 2013 at 8:37 pm #5992
I recently purchased a new shotgun, a 12 guage 3 inch franchi affinity, for turkey, small game, and I would like to get into waterfowl, but I do not know where to start. It seems like its very expensive. Do I need decoys? Do I need hip waiters or a duck boat? How am I supposed to distinguish one duck from another while its in the air so I would know to shoot it or not? How camouflaged do I need to be? Do ducks have good vision and hearing? Basically all the major things I need to know, Thanks.October 9, 2013 at 10:33 pm #5996
Wow, lets start with the easy stuff. I am speaking from my experience hunting puddle ducks in California and Maryland and divers (my favorite) in Maryland. I do not believe that ducks have good hearing as we talk softly in the blind or on the boat (not loud) and it does not seem to matter. They see well and you had better blend in to what you are sitting in/on and do not move where they can see you. Remember they are up high so they can see down into the boat or blind. With respect to recognizing ducks, just have to get pictures and learn. It is not that hard. I do not know where you live or where you would be hunting, but you need to find out what is not legal to shoot at or what has low limits and make sure you know hbow to spot them. Black Ducks for instance, only allowed 1 in Maryland (I am sure other places too as the Feds are involved), need to know what they look like flying as you only want to take one. You most likely need decoys, but the number and placement will depend on where and what you are hunting. I mostly hunt divers. People have told me you need bizillions of them on long lines or they will not give you a look. Do not know if that is true, but I do know that we shoot our limits most week-ends over three long lines with 10 – 12 ducks on each and six singles to break up the ends. However, I suspect that the bizillions may not be far off when hunting in other places or for different species. Here we hunt buffleheads, redheads, scaup (blue bills), scoters (technically a sea duck) and longtails (old squaw) on rivers and the Chesapeake from a boat. I hunt puddle ducks on ponds in the swamp on the eastern shore of Maryland. Need waders in the swamp and ponds, do not in the boat. I usually wear waders on the boat anyway because in January when it is cold on the water, the waders help keep me warm.
As far as expensive goes, duck hunting is somewhat expensive as decoys are not cheap and you need different ones depending on what you are hunting. However, you do not need the really expensive ones. For scoters, we use milk jugs painted black on long lines (when we go exclusively for scoters).
I learned to hunt ducks in California from a friend that took me with him and the same here in Maryland (different hunting tactics used in California than here in Maryland for puddle ducks and divers are different than puddle ducks). When I moved to Maryland, I met an old guy at work that wanted to hunt ducks, but his wife would not let him go by himself (he had already had two heart attacks). She let him go with me because if something happened I could get him to help. As he is old he only goes a few times a year, but I learned from him and then started doing it on my own and with another friend too. (BTW, the guy that taught me and I live about 80 miles apart. I do not hunt in his spots near his place without him and he does not hunt in the spots near my place I found without me – courtesy).
Hopefully you can find someone that needs a partner to duck hunt with and you can learn from them.
oh and one more thing, they fly fast, you need to lead them a long way to hit them. I am not lying when I say that you need to lead a bufflehead by 6 feet if they are buzzing the outside of you decoys at full speed!
Still Hoping for Improvement. . .October 10, 2013 at 9:41 pm #6071
Thank you very much for the detailed response. I will use all of the tips you gave me.October 23, 2013 at 8:28 am #7461
Duck hunting is a blast, you’ll love it! Duck hunters and duck hunting are very social as compared to deer hunting and most duck hunters are more than happy to take out new hunters and show them the way. There are so many different ways to hunt them it’s hard to explain here. But don’t be afraid to ask questions. best bet use the local forum here or find another one and bet you’ll find someone to take you out and show you the ropes. Learning to identify ducks can be daunting at first but not too hard especially when you start to figure out what’s in your area. As far as expense, it certainly can be, but doesn’t have to be. Good wind and waterproof clothes help you enjoy yourself but you can build up your stock as you go.
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