Tips for getting into duck hunting?

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

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Tips for getting into duck hunting?

Postby ChasinTail » Wed Nov 27, 2013 1:42 am

What are some things I need to know to start duck hunting?

I've got a buddy that Is a good duck hunter and is gonna take hunting with him. I'm gonna keep my eyes and ears open and try to learn as much as possible and hopefully be able to get out and kill some ducks by myself come next season. I'm in KY.

Here's a few questions, I have a lot more though.

What size shot and choke do you primarily shoot and what changes do you make for different scenarios?

What's the easiest way to learn the different types of birds?

What's a good cheap beginner call just to get me started and practicing?

What are the main things I need to get started with?


Thanks in advance. Btw I'm not trying to get into duck hunting because of the new fad with the DD and all that, I try to hunt everything that's in season because I enjoy hunting and being outdoors.
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Re: Tips for getting into duck hunting?

Postby MJO21 » Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:20 pm

My advice would be to take up deer hunting. It is much easier and ridiculously less expensive!!!!
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Re: Tips for getting into duck hunting?

Postby Echospartan » Thu Nov 28, 2013 9:06 am

I'm new to the forum but not new to the sport, so I'll share what I know. I like #2 and #3 steel. I like 2 3/4" shells but most guys shoot 3" for ducks, you'll also see a couple of guys shoot 3 1/2" as well. Although I think the 3" is the all around best so once I shoot up these 2 3/4" I'll probably switch to 3"ers. I use a factory modified choke about 80% of the time but occasionally use a full. Waders is near the most important thing for ducks if you plan on hunting over water. warm camo clothing, about 1-2 dozen mallard decoys to get ya started. I would recommend looking at GHG hot buy mallards or Flambeau classic storm front mallards. As for calls take a look at the Flambeau banded lady, down at wal-mart for $15, good call for some one learning the basics of calling. For easy duck ID go to ducks unlimited web page and check out their waterfowl ID page. Hope this helps!
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Re: Tips for getting into duck hunting?

Postby Honk-n-quack » Thu Nov 28, 2013 12:46 pm

I use #2s religiously for ducks. I like 3"s but I bought a box of 3 1/2"s for my gun. It doesnt hurt to get extra payload on a bird. I have a gas autoloader and the ammo was cheap so I am not concerned about it. I use 3 1/2" Black cloud BB for geese. I had a 100% pattern at 35 yards. I usually use a Steel Full choke for duck and goose hunting, but I am going to start testing with a patternmaster next year. I do use Improved Cylinder Steel for jump shooting though. The best way to learn birds is go to a public pond and bring a identification book and learn the birds. You can tell the difference by their body shape, wing beat, etc. There are many good beginner calls, the Primos banded lady, Buck Gardner Foulmouth 2, Buck Gardner Reactor (worth the extra $ awesome call!). The main things you need is waders, a decent camo jacket, face mask, gloves, insulation, and two dozen decoys (flambeau Storm front or GHG Hotbuys) and a can of flat clear coat to protect the paint. Oh and a gun and ammo, that makes it alot easier
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Re: Tips for getting into duck hunting?

Postby Einstein » Thu Nov 28, 2013 12:57 pm

My biggest advice is don't be cheap. MY first year duck hunting I was cheap, and the next year I bought new calls, waders, and jackets. Cabela's SuperMag 1600 gram waders are your best friend. I've never been cold in them after freezing in other waders.
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Re: Tips for getting into duck hunting?

Postby Drakenstien » Thu Nov 28, 2013 5:40 pm

MJO21 wrote:My advice would be to take up deer hunting. It is much easier and ridiculously less expensive!!!!


Depending on how you hunt deer hunting ain't that cheep in my opinion. You may buy decoys but in deer hunting you have to buy a stand. You choose a membership for both or hunt public. Either way you got to pay the same for both to make work days, scout, and get equipment.


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Re: Tips for getting into duck hunting?

Postby ChasinTail » Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:05 pm

Thanks for the tips guys.
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Re: Tips for getting into duck hunting?

Postby Mugzwump » Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:59 pm

If your hunting buddy is taking you out to his spots. use what he uses to start out. If you can, shoot smaller shot at close range birds. understand the concept of leading. I tell newbies to lead and shoot, if you miss, double the lead on the followup.

Buy the best clothing you can afford. Waders are an asset. Buy the cheapest duck call you can find.

You don't need a lot of decoys to shoot ducks. I have over 6 dozen and i'll usually only take a half dozen mallards out. the only time i'll use them all is when I've got a boat-full of buddies to help pick them all up. Might be why your buddy is bringing ya! It doesn't seem to make much difference at the end of the day. Look around for a used bunch... commit to dozens upon dozens after you're hooked. All the hot stuff with fancy colours doesn't change anything, by the time the ducks can make out what type of decoy you have out, they're close enough to be dead.

Ducks will come looking for other ducks when they hear the calling. I'd say about half my duck kills in 20 years were while just paddling around in my canoe with no decoys. paddle and sit, call, paddle, sit ,call. But nothing beats the look of a large flock coming in over a nice spread. I've hunted marshes with other hunters running full spreads of 3-4 dozen and my six will win half the time.

If you're moving around in the blind you're gonna get skunked. Keep your head down till someone yells shoot.

otherwise be prepared to sit in a hole or duckboat all day and do nothing, see nothing and shoot nothing or miss everything. It'll get better.

deer hunting is damn boring compared to duck hunting.

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Re: Tips for getting into duck hunting?

Postby Echospartan » Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:31 am

^^ some great info here. Follow his instructions and you'll do fine, and yes deer hunting is stupid when compared to duck hunting, if I had to choose only one type of hunting to do, it would definely be duck hunting.
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Re: Tips for getting into duck hunting?

Postby Drakenstien » Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:11 am

Mugzwump wrote:If your hunting buddy is taking you out to his spots. use what he uses to start out. If you can, shoot smaller shot at close range birds. understand the concept of leading. I tell newbies to lead and shoot, if you miss, double the lead on the followup.

Buy the best clothing you can afford. Waders are an asset. Buy the cheapest duck call you can find.

You don't need a lot of decoys to shoot ducks. I have over 6 dozen and i'll usually only take a half dozen mallards out. the only time i'll use them all is when I've got a boat-full of buddies to help pick them all up. Might be why your buddy is bringing ya! It doesn't seem to make much difference at the end of the day. Look around for a used bunch... commit to dozens upon dozens after you're hooked. All the hot stuff with fancy colours doesn't change anything, by the time the ducks can make out what type of decoy you have out, they're close enough to be dead.

Ducks will come looking for other ducks when they hear the calling. I'd say about half my duck kills in 20 years were while just paddling around in my canoe with no decoys. paddle and sit, call, paddle, sit ,call. But nothing beats the look of a large flock coming in over a nice spread. I've hunted marshes with other hunters running full spreads of 3-4 dozen and my six will win half the time.

If you're moving around in the blind you're gonna get skunked. Keep your head down till someone yells shoot.

otherwise be prepared to sit in a hole or duckboat all day and do nothing, see nothing and shoot nothing or miss everything. It'll get better.

deer hunting is damn boring compared to duck hunting.

Mugz.


He's right. I bought 100 decoys for 170 dollars(good deal). I haven't used but 18 so far because right now I don't feel like I really won't to put out that many. I bought so many not for a good deal because there is 3 kinds of duck hunting in my area. There is divers, then a place where there is almost all gadwall and teal, then there is puddlers. Start off small and simple don't over do it. Scouting is the most important because if you are where the ducks want to be than you don't need decoys(it helps though) and you won't have to call. Oh if you plan to start off with projects, like a project boat, decoys, and blind, plan to be frustrated. I did it this way and it took forever but I enjoyed it. It also saved me money. It cost me about $2000 to get in I got a 16ft boat that is what I wanted and Works well, 100 decoys, pop up blind, push pole, stake out sticks, mojos, camo, big lights for the front of my boat to run at night, and all the extras. You don't have to spend that much because I feel high class with my set up but. Iv cooked and all.


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Re: Tips for getting into duck hunting?

Postby Rhock19 » Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:41 pm

Practice practice practice. When you get a duck call, learn all you can on it. go to the range frequently in the off season, and most of all hunt ducks! Once youve acquired enough to go out and hunt get out there and watch birds. learn how they fly, where they like to fly, how they want to land, and enjoy it all. It takes time to be a skilled hunter. Field experience is huge in becoming a successful hunter.
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Re: Tips for getting into duck hunting?

Postby thomashamm2 » Mon Dec 02, 2013 1:04 pm

I apreciate u trying to get into duck hunting the correct way by learning first. The best way to learn how to duck hunt is to simply go with someone that does it. Also read books on the subject. If your new to duck hunting i suggest 2 shot with a modified choke. You can kill anything u want with it. Once you get a little more experience you can switch between shot sizes such a 4's for teal and woodies, 2 for other ducks, and bb's for geese. I always keep a modified choke in tho. for a beginner call i suggest the Duck commader duck picker. there easy to blow and they sound great so you will get a lot of use from it. to learn about duck species go to amamzon.com and buy a book on it or go to ducks unlimited .com and look at the species there.
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Re: Tips for getting into duck hunting?

Postby JuniorPre 360 » Mon Dec 02, 2013 1:15 pm

Be ready to spend a lot of money, don't get caught up in purchasing the latest and greatest gear (calls, guns, ammo, decoys), learn the laws and how to ID the ducks, and for heck sakes please remember there are other people trying to enjoy the hunt on public land. No need to skybust, hunt right next to people, shoot early and late, or act like a complete D-Bag in the marsh. Starting off I'd say be humble and VERY patient. It's a learning process that pays off down the road.
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Re: Tips for getting into duck hunting?

Postby Drakenstien » Mon Dec 02, 2013 2:57 pm

But you can get away with spending less than a thousand if you have a gun and clothes. That includes buying a boat. Just got to look for deals. Wait and only get something if it's a deal.


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Re: Tips for getting into duck hunting?

Postby Mugzwump » Mon Dec 02, 2013 3:45 pm

I started out with next to nothing. All you need is a gun. Over the years I've worked my to a full set up of gear. Even though I have everything from boats, fancy guns, decoys and blinds spilling out of the garage... I find myself more often than not, out in the marsh, with a beat-up 1187, in a canoe and a half dozen rotting decoys sinking into the lake. Sometimes keeping it simple is the most enjoyable aspect of hunting. More time to watch the sun come up, more time to see the ducks flying. Some days i'll walk to a hole in the woods with about 6" of water, no decoys, no boat, just plain old rubber boots, and just sit cuz I know the woodies will show up any minute. A lot of times they don't... lol.

I tried out the duck picker this year, I like it and used it almost exclusively, though as soon as the temps dip below freezing it sticks like burrs to a dog.



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Re: Tips for getting into duck hunting?

Postby ChasinTail » Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:19 am

That's the kind of tips I was looking for. Thanks guys.

I've been looking at the Duck ID app and playing this game called Duck Master where you ID the birds (great for learning btw). I can identify almost all the birds that we have around here mostly. Still gotta get out and find some to practice IDing in the air.

I picked up a Flambeau Banded Lady for learning. I think one of you mentioned it. Still gotta learn the different calls and what to use in different situations.

Gonna get a dozen or so decoys from my buddy to use here soon. Probably won't be hunting over them, mainly just to put on a pond behind my house to try to draw some ducks to it. Has some pretty good flooded timber and has woodies and a few teal busing it early but they've already moved out. Gonna put up some boxes this spring and try to get some more in there though.


Still need some waders though, any suggestions? I've got some frog toggs water proof bibs and muck boots that'll work for now. I think were gonna be mostly lake hunting out of the boat so I don't need them just yet.
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Re: Tips for getting into duck hunting?

Postby Mugzwump » Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:44 pm

ChasinTail wrote:That's the kind of tips I was looking for. Thanks guys.

I've been looking at the Duck ID app and playing this game called Duck Master where you ID the birds (great for learning btw). I can identify almost all the birds that we have around here mostly. Still gotta get out and find some to practice IDing in the air.

I picked up a Flambeau Banded Lady for learning. I think one of you mentioned it. Still gotta learn the different calls and what to use in different situations.

Gonna get a dozen or so decoys from my buddy to use here soon. Probably won't be hunting over them, mainly just to put on a pond behind my house to try to draw some ducks to it. Has some pretty good flooded timber and has woodies and a few teal busing it early but they've already moved out. Gonna put up some boxes this spring and try to get some more in there though.




Still need some waders though, any suggestions? I've got some frog toggs water proof bibs and muck boots that'll work for now. I think were gonna be mostly lake hunting out of the boat so I don't need them just yet.


Sounds like a nice spot. I put decoys in my swimming pool... we get a few ducks in every year, the dog loves 'em. :lol3:

I don't know how cold it gets where you hunt, but sitting in a boat all day around here, neoprene chest waders are a huge bonus. Just make sure you get a boot size big enough to fit in a couple pairs of wool socks. I also use the hot pocket things on the coldest days... one in each shirt pocket, one in each pants pocket, and then one in each glove.

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Re: Tips for getting into duck hunting?

Postby ChasinTail » Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:08 pm

With this storm coming in these last few days it's COLD. Got out for my first real duck hunt this morning. Big open water on the lake.

Had a few groups of 15-20 come by early and real high but just kept on movin. Had a few groups of 5-10 come by and lock up but wouldn't commit. Also a few singles and doubles here and there but no luck. After an hour or so and not seeing any more birds me and another guy sat on the bank while he got the decoys up, about the time he had all of them up a group of 50+ came by LOW, that figures. Had about 35 decoys out and my buddy didn't have his blind on his boat so we just banked it and sat in some brush. Had a pair of bald eagles flying around over us for a while too. Weatherman said 6mph winds but it was at least 20, that and I believe I sweat in my mucks in the truck my feet got real cold. Had a great morning anyway, man was I excited when those birds started to hook back around toward us.

Headed to a bigger and better lake in the morning, hoping to kill some ducks. Honestly doesn't matter to me if we do or dont, I'm having fun and learning a lot either way. He got his boat blind set up with heater and all so it should be a lot more comfortable this time, I believe I'll bring a change of socks anyway to change into after the work gets done and maybe they won't get cold.
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Re: Tips for getting into duck hunting?

Postby shawn_c992001 » Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:33 pm

When I got started about 5 years ago I had to learn pretty much everything on my own. DU site has plenty of articles to help a newbie, everything from general decoy set up and shooting tip to just targeting certain species. Try shooting a modified or Imp Cyl choke tube along with 3" 2's for ducks or even BB's if you want to try shooting some geese. One thing that will help is shooting a box of clays. Either passing from right to left or left to right, this will help you establish your lead.
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Re: Tips for getting into duck hunting?

Postby Mike657 » Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:52 pm

1. Remington 870 (Very durable, cost effective,and cycles just about anything.)
2. Black Cloud #2-#BB Those are my favorites, but every bodys gun shoots different it might be a good idea to pattern your gun with different shells to see wht your gun likes.
3. GHG decoys (Hot Buys will do.) Mallards will do to start you off, but it would be a good idea to see what ducks are in your area maybe invest in some of those. Though i have harvested many divers and almost every puddler duck over an all mallard spread.
4. Ducks Unlimited sight has a duck Id part that shows the species and its call.
5. Duck commander duck picker is a nice and versatile call to start off with. When i started i got the DC classic commander back when it was $18.
6. Take in all you can from you're buudy. That might be the best tip good luck and have fun in the field.-Mike
Good Luck in the field-Mike.
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Re: Tips for getting into duck hunting?

Postby ChasinTail » Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:49 pm

Thanks for the tips guys.

Didn't get to get out this morning but drove around scouting all day. Seen a few big groups on the lake but none in the air. The swamp is covered in ducks, gonna hit it in the morning and hope they're still around. Saw all different Kinds of ducks and could ID them all with the binos, still have to work on IDing them in the air though. There was a few beautiful drake pintails swimming around at 30 yards making me wish I had brought a gun.

Been blowing my call till my lips go numb and it sounds pretty good so far, cannot get that chuckle going though, should be able to speed it up after a ton of practice though.

I'm shooting 3" #2 dryloks, they pattern good at 35 yards through my Nova. Also bought a few boxes of BB for geese.

I've got a dozen really nice looking decoys from my buddy. Just need waders now.
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Re: Tips for getting into duck hunting?

Postby ChasinTail » Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:07 pm

Got out for the second time with my buddy. Went to the swamp this time. Had a big pond to ourselves and had about 80 dekes out. He had them out before I got there and planned on sitting in a blind that was flooded in an island in the middle of the swamp. After we got in there we couldn't find a way to get over into the blind in the dark or set the boat up behind it to have an opening to shoot from. Well daylight rolled around and were still trying to figure it out when the birds start coming in, some flying over and a few lit in the decoys but we weren't ready. About the 3rd group I got a shot and killed my first greenhead. Finally got in the blind and set up but we were to late. Had a few more groups of birds fly over and work a little but kept hitting the pond next to us.


Had a great set up and probably would have killed quite a few birds if we would've been set up. Ended up not being able to find my duck for all the Lilly pads in the pond. Hoping to get some waders and be able to get out there everyday on my own and learn more.
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Re: Tips for getting into duck hunting?

Postby Mugzwump » Sat Dec 14, 2013 8:20 pm

ChasinTail wrote:Got out for the second time with my buddy. Went to the swamp this time. Had a big pond to ourselves and had about 80 dekes out. He had them out before I got there and planned on sitting in a blind that was flooded in an island in the middle of the swamp. After we got in there we couldn't find a way to get over into the blind in the dark or set the boat up behind it to have an opening to shoot from. Well daylight rolled around and were still trying to figure it out when the birds start coming in, some flying over and a few lit in the decoys but we weren't ready. About the 3rd group I got a shot and killed my first greenhead. Finally got in the blind and set up but we were to late. Had a few more groups of birds fly over and work a little but kept hitting the pond next to us.


Had a great set up and probably would have killed quite a few birds if we would've been set up. Ended up not being able to find my duck for all the Lilly pads in the pond. Hoping to get some waders and be able to get out there everyday on my own and learn more.


Sounds like ya'll had a bad case of the messarounds. Get in, gun up, 'n' shut up.

Mugz.
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Re: Tips for getting into duck hunting?

Postby Drakenstien » Sat Dec 14, 2013 11:11 pm

In my opinion a lot of people do and pack to much. Keep it simple, pack lite, and leave early so you can still be early even if you catch the train. That's what I do and I'm never late.


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Re: Tips for getting into duck hunting?

Postby Mugzwump » Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:25 pm

When you down a bird, retrieve it right away. Just like the old saying, "One in the hand is better than two in the bush"

When it goes down, you keep an eye on it and go get it right away, have your buddy in the blind keep an eye on it too, and direct you as you make your way through the marsh. If you wait till later, you'll lose birds for sure. It's better to miss the birds flying over than to miss the one you just killed.

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