Serious diver hunters only

Duck hunting for diver species like Canvasbacks, Redheads, Ringnecks, Eiders, Goldeneye and other diver ducks.

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Serious diver hunters only

Postby longlakesd » Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:28 am

I don't get it. Seems to me that divers are one of the most interesting birds and above all the most difficult birds to predict when it comes to hunting them or knowing the best way to setup for them. I have scouted and set up on an x where their has been rafts of 2000 plus bills and they seem to just change their mind the next day and go a thousand yards in some other direction and raft up. We typically end up with 1 or 2 bills per outing when we go out in NY but i am an experienced waterfowler and I know when days are good for mallards, for geese, yet after hunting divers for 4 years I have had very little success for learning hunt from hunt on what to do different. I know if you go out in most of my spot with the right wind, at our back with some precipitation its going to be a good puddler duck hunt, and that seems to always be the case. The only time I have limited out on scaup with a 2 bird limit was a few years back when a buddy of mine found a fresh raft of bills, it took 20 minutes. We were done. It was awesome. But does anyone else think this? Or is it just me ? we usually run 4 lines of 17 inch scaup foam urethane blocks I painted myself and made myself, with a 10 drake to 3 hen ratio. I know that divers in general don't like to fly over decoys and they are very species specific. And we set up accordingly. Its just that it seems too many times that we have that flock of 12, 100 yards out and they kinda give us a look but never finish. The other day for the first time we had a flock of 10 bills decoy and were 45 yards out when we only had 1 line out perpendicular to the boat with a wind parallel to the boat and shoreline. In this particulair case we were setup 5 or 10 yards further then we generally do setup from our decoy rigs. Could it be that we are setting our boat to close to the decoy rig? typically we only get single and occasionally doubles for bills that will decoy but we have good success with buffies and goldeneye. They just seem so hard to pattern or predict as opposed to geese or mallards. Also we hunt out of a 16 ft low profile lund fishing boat that i converted to a duck boat whcih has a scissor blind that pops up for us.
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby mdfowlman » Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:30 am

Here on the chesapeake I usually try to get in thier flight path vs set up where they have been rafting up. If you can find two raft of birds set up between the two they will usually trade back and forth between both rafts and its typically much smaller more manageable flocks
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby MarkNY » Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:40 am

I know your pain... Its tough in NY because they get lots of pressure and we dont get new birds on a regular basis. I have lots of thoughts on this but one of the most important things to me is to be on the windblown shore as opposed to the lee shore like a typical puddle duck hunt. Divers love that windblown shore no matter how much wind. Makes it tough for boat blind setups but those days when your having trouble keeping the boat anchored, untangling lines of dekes etc your usually shooting divers. good luck, mark
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby Pumpgunner » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:32 am

If you're hunting in a spot where ducks are rafted nearby, in my experience it's pretty hard to pull them away from the raft if that's where they're headed. Best you can hope for is to make them swing by close enough for a shot. I'm not sure what the conditions are like in NY but out here trying to get in the flight path rather than where they are landing might produce more birds.
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby longlakesd » Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:51 pm

MarkNY wrote:I know your pain... Its tough in NY because they get lots of pressure and we dont get new birds on a regular basis. I have lots of thoughts on this but one of the most important things to me is to be on the windblown shore as opposed to the lee shore like a typical puddle duck hunt. Divers love that windblown shore no matter how much wind. Makes it tough for boat blind setups but those days when your having trouble keeping the boat anchored, untangling lines of dekes etc your usually shooting divers. good luck, mark


So pretty much with the wind in your face? I actually did this last weekend with the wind in our face, not planned just worked out that way with 3 to 4 ft waves.... was pretty rough for the 16 ft lund but we stuck it out and we did pretty well. Just seems like they would have difficulty managing that kind of a landing ... totally opposite of a puddler hunt
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby Feathers » Tue Nov 19, 2013 5:20 pm

Something is wrong with your decoy spread. Bluebills are one of the easiest birds to decoy. Getting big flocks in is not a problem with a good spread. Explain your decoy set up in more detail and I will see how I can help.
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby Black Smoke » Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:13 am

^
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby Tealer » Wed Nov 27, 2013 8:40 pm

Feathers wrote:Something is wrong with your decoy spread. Bluebills are one of the easiest birds to decoy. Getting big flocks in is not a problem with a good spread. Explain your decoy set up in more detail and I will see how I can help.


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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby ILgoosehunter12 » Wed Nov 27, 2013 11:41 pm

I have never had a problem having divers to decoy. I guess it just depends on where you are and how many diver hunters there are around you. Where I am, there are just a few guys that truly diver hunt. I know where the divers get down to me, I am diver hunting only. We usually just run two lines.The only problems I have had decoying divers is after they have been around for a while and they get shot at and they zoom around and land wide. Goldeneyes give me fits sometimes, but not too often. Hope you can find something to solve your issues man! Good luck
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby cootlover » Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:05 pm

Maybe he is not a Serious diver hunter are he cant shoot.
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby Big Iron » Sun Dec 01, 2013 8:53 am

mdfowlman wrote:Here on the chesapeake I usually try to get in thier flight path vs set up where they have been rafting up. If you can find two raft of birds set up between the two they will usually trade back and forth between both rafts and its typically much smaller more manageable flocks


This might be the best piece of advice you see on this board all year. I'm not sure why more people cannot understand this.

Other advice would be to get rid of the store bought blind and make something that blends in with the area you are hunting.
Usually the pop up blinds are too tall and boxy.
Set more decoys, 4 rigs is not very many. Sometimes it will pull birds, but where we hunt it's a #'s game most of the time. Stay still in the boat.....Could be just one little thing that you are doing that the birds don't like
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby moreychuck » Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:13 am

mdfowlman wrote:Here on the chesapeake I usually try to get in thier flight path vs set up where they have been rafting up. If you can find two raft of birds set up between the two they will usually trade back and forth between both rafts and its typically much smaller more manageable flocks



i am not a hardcore diver hunter, just a late season diver hunter. when they have a choice of my spread or a big raft it gets a little dicey.
there may be something not right about the way the dekes are sitting in the water, why dont u post some pics ect u can do everything right n shinny paint or boobers will cut u down
i have a couple hard core diver hunters in my area one from downstate but stays a couple houses down. they hunt a couple same lakes i do. after they have pounded the divers hard i get duck landing just outside my dekes. just out of range. most place divers just barrel right in. that may be what u got goiing
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby 682x » Sun Dec 22, 2013 4:21 pm

We target a lot of divers and I live with lakes all around and it seems they like the shallow waters best also and a large spread! They sure do like to be with there friends too .
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby blackstorm » Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:14 am

I am not the best diver hunter, but having hunted the Niagara river from shore for 20 years, the two things that impact the birds from working good are a muddy bottom and movement in the blind. The birds seem to key on these two things the most, also having a 100 bird spread makes decoying the birds easier. The best advise I saw on a forum years ago was to view your spread from above like from a bridge or high bluff. It shows you what the birds see and you will find out that most of your decoys are not as visible as you thought, darker is better to draw them in.

In hunting the finger lakes for the past 5 years the boat blind is critical as they see a lot of them and flare at the first perceived problem. I have found hunting the small rivers use a smaller spread as there are just not that many big flocks of birds around.

So I guess what I am trying to say is match your set up to what the birds are doing where you hunt.
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby hawgripper » Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:32 am

I have hunted divers my whole life, more than anything else.

when you find a raft sitting somewhere, stop and watch them for an hour or so and watch where they are fly to and from. You want to find where they are feeding and graveling and set yourself up in between. I have been doing this for over 30 yrs. now and have had great success. I never hunt with more than 30-40 blocks but do run just bills.
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby GunnerNYS » Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:21 pm

hawgripper wrote:I have hunted divers my whole life, more than anything else.

when you find a raft sitting somewhere, stop and watch them for an hour or so and watch where they are fly to and from. You want to find where they are feeding and graveling and set yourself up in between. I have been doing this for over 30 yrs. now and have had great success. I never hunt with more than 30-40 blocks but do run just bills.



An old timer gave me this great advice 20 years ago :thumbsup:
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby trigger22 » Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:33 am

There's nothing hard about decoying divers, blackheads especially. I've decoyed them to crab pot floats. It's all about numbers and to say they are species specific isn't true. At least not in the Pamlico Sound. We usually run blackheads, redheads, cans, and buffleheads and if in an area with scoters put them out as well. The more the birds in a raft the more decoys it takes to bring them in.
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby MDF » Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:38 pm

Ill just touch on one point that always catches my eye when hunting. Seems everyone likes to set up where a raft was or is. My response is thanks, now the hunting will be crap for everyone in the area. Set up in flight paths, let rafted ducks sit and mill from raft to raft and you'll get your limits and get good hunts for days. Divers naturally sit in numbers and like to move around in most any conditions. They aren't puddlers where you would set up where there sitting or feeding for a good hunt. I continuously see so called "layout hunters" (usually guys who just got into the sport and don't have a clue) go and chase up rafts set up on the location of the raft and ruin the hunting for everyone in the area as the raft moves to somewhere were they wont be bothered.
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