River ducks

Duck Hunting for puddlers like Mallards, Sprig (Pintails), Black ducks, Widgeons, Woodducks, Teal, and other ducks.

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River ducks

Postby m3500 » Sun Jun 30, 2013 8:21 pm

This is a question for all you river hunting guys. 1. How many decoys do you usually use and brand. 2. What choke and brand of load, what oz shot and shot size. And lastely what range you tipicaly shoot your ducks.Now I know there's some of gray areas as far as situations and such but in general for hunting medium to large ducks. I'm asking cause I'm still relatively new to hunting rivers and just wanted to know what some of you guys use.
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Re: River ducks

Postby Oklahoma Greenhead » Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:37 pm

In my experience, rivers can be feast or famine. Usually they are alot better when it gets COLD! Once temps drop and water starts getting frozen up, these rivers are the only water that stays open for a ways around. When it comes to numbers of decoys, use what youre seeing. Mainly ill set up about 2 doz floaters (mallard, pins, and gadwall) then maybe a doz full body mallards and doz geese. In regards to your shot size and all that. I shoot 3in 3's. Thats what i shoot all the time. Your shot distance shouldnt change just because youre on a river. Just keep in mind that the birds that you kill are gonna be in flowing water so get ready to jump out and head down stream!
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Re: River ducks

Postby jack lowe » Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:25 pm

Oklahoma Greenhead wrote:In my experience, rivers can be feast or famine. Usually they are alot better when it gets COLD! Once temps drop and water starts getting frozen up, these rivers are the only water that stays open for a ways around. When it comes to numbers of decoys, use what youre seeing. Mainly ill set up about 2 doz floaters (mallard, pins, and gadwall) then maybe a doz full body mallards and doz geese. In regards to your shot size and all that. I shoot 3in 3's. Thats what i shoot all the time. Your shot distance shouldnt change just because youre on a river. Just keep in mind that the birds that you kill are gonna be in flowing water so get ready to jump out and head down stream!

amen !!! except i shoot black cloud number 2s with a mod but oh well lol
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Re: River ducks

Postby sstermer » Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:53 pm

Usually use between 1-2 dozen duck decoys, mostly mallards with a few blacks, teal, etc. depending on the time of year and what we are seeing. We also use between 2-24 goose decoys too(mostly shells). If the river area's you are hunting are more open and bigger, go with some magnums for visibility too. Typically we try to match what we are seeing in scouting.

Buy what you can afford, my first season I hunted over a dozen of cheap tangle free dekes. The next year I added a 1/2 dozen magnums. Now I have an old coal bin half full and still upgrading. It's an addiction. :yes:

Use what patterns in your gun. For me it's #3's and we don't shoot over 40 yards anymore.
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Re: River ducks

Postby m3500 » Thu Jul 04, 2013 7:00 am

Thanks guys I just wasn't sure I know I should be matching the decoys with birds I'm seeing. Anyway I have 1 dozen GHG lifesize mallards, 6 redhead GWT hens(early season teal) , 3 black ducks that I painted from mallard floaters, and 10 Canada goose floaters. I will also be shooting 3's this season and keeping my range 40yards and under. Oh and almost forgot I hunt on the susquehanna river.
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Re: River ducks

Postby Normmcclean » Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:00 am

I dont know how big of water you are hunting but I hunt the missouri river at the last part of its flow so on big water visibility is crucial. 6 doz decoys is a starting point. if you hunt near sandbars I really like using a couple dozen goose shells set on the sand just to the side of your duck spread this adds a ton of visibility without being to expensive. also be minful of the divers using the river in your area most divers have a good amount of white on them which adds a ton of visibility and depth to your decoy spread. I run buffleheads and bluebills in deeper water and keep my puddlers on the shallow inside portion of a J hook spread. Flowing water ducks are always moving so a spread without moving wont finish ducks like they will in a flooded field or marsh. a homemade jerk cord is probably the best tool for river hunting. I shoot federal ultra shok 3" 1 1/4 oz #3's 1450fps plenty punch for late season mallards with enough pattern density for teal or divers that blast thru the decoys at 70mph. I usually keep goose loads at the ready. most times geese will be off in the distance and you have enough time to swap loads while your working the geese in. Hevi-shot goose 3" #2's are the best load going. They are expensive but when you only get a few chances at geese I like to make every one count. I shoot a briley spectrum light mod choke for everything. Life jackets are a must also like to keep a nice little fire making kit in a zip lock on board. if you fall in and you are miles from the launch starting a fire on the beach might be a life saver. Also dont feel that you have to hunt out of your boat just cause you have a boat blind does not mean you have to stay in it during your hunt most of our hunts we set up a couple hundred yards from the boat in natural cover and brush or we dig down in the sand with layout blinds. I see guys set up on the edge of the river especially when back waters ad wing dams are froze up they are near the middle of the river with giant island size boats that sit 4 foot above the water these stick out like a sore thumb. ducks cant see the hunters but giant brush patches on ice edges just dont look right. be safe always leave a map I have all my river aerials laminated so I can write on them with white board markers and leave it for my wife with 2 or 3 possible spots I will be hunting. Good luck river hunting is the purest form of the sport no expensive lease or club just hard working hunters getting it done on public ground
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Re: River ducks

Postby luie b » Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:22 am

The guys around here that hunt the Mississippi usually have at least 200 decoys to 500 decoys. It's insane how much money these guys spend to hunt just until freeze-up, then they sit at home and cry about how duck season is over and wasn't any good when it's just starting to fire up. If they would get their fat lazy butts into a cornfield with a layout blind they could smack a lot more ducks but they can't stand the fact of not having a comfortable, heated duck blind with hot food to hunt out of.
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Re: River ducks

Postby Leaky-NY » Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:17 pm

I take it you're asking about a normal flow river. Here I hunt the Hudson River and it can have as much as a 4' change in depth during the tide changes. So where and when we hunt depends on scouting, tides and if we want to be flexible and able to move as needed. I will toss out about 3 dozen mixed dekes.I will include goose decoys in with my duck decoys because we see that here. It seems what one wants the others wants to be there also. I think the key point is being flexible and scout even as you hunt.

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Re: River ducks

Postby Haywoodhonkerhunter » Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:24 pm

I hunt a fairly small river but it's kinda odd I may have woodies land in the decoys and 10 yds past them I can have divers drop in.I usually have around 2dozen puddle duck deks and I'll throw out a few divers just in case.I shot 3" #3 hevi metal out of a pattern master and it does a wicked job

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Re: River ducks

Postby Black Smoke » Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:15 am

I am in now way affilated with "Body Language Decoys" and I don't hunt rivers at all but if you guys want some decoys that have motion without a jerk cord or mojos check out their new keel system its amazing! I think they would work on water when you have wind too but seriously check them out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFT8N8QNa8s

wish I knew how they are designed so I could try and make them myself.
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Re: River ducks

Postby hankyorke » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:02 am

That's not new, made from plastic trim from big box stores. Think rudder on a sail boat. It works when you have the right flow; too little & decoys don't move, too much & your decoys look like slalom skiers. I sold mine.
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Re: River ducks

Postby hunter69 » Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:57 am

I Hunt The Ohio. I Usually Put Out 3 Dz Decoys Mallards,Pintail, Teal. I Get All Species To Come Into Them. I Also Use 2 To 6 Dozen Canadians. Only About A Dozen Full Body Canadians. I Try To Use Kent #1 3.5In For Everything. We Own About 600 Yards Of The Bank On The Ohio Right Across From A Refuge So We GeT A Few Bird Across The River That Seek Shelter From All The Public Hunting Over there
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Re: River ducks

Postby thomashamm2 » Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:00 pm

Ive hunted the Rock River in WI many times. It really helps to rig your decoys on a long line and have 2 or 3 long lines. Also have some geese on the outskirts of the spread and have some decoys rigged to weights close to your blind. This will normally be a lot of decoys. Maybe 75 or 100. Numbers really help on rivers. A modified or improved modified choke works best, but i use a modifies. Any 3 or 3 1/2 inch shell with number 2 shot works. Blackcloud or fasteel are two good choices. The shots range from 15 yards to 40. Good luck.
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Re: River ducks

Postby rebelcj7 » Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:06 pm

2. What choke and brand of load, what oz shot and shot size. And lastely what range you tipicaly shoot your ducks.

I shoot Hevi Metal 3" BB's 99% of the time. Sure bb's may be overkill, but dead is dead right. I hunt all over for various types of fowl and just easier for me to go with bb's

Range wise, typically less then 30 yards. But the hevi metal can and will reach out and touch em when you need it to!
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