Getting set up

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Getting set up

Postby arno7820 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:23 pm

Hello fellow hunters,

My brother (back east) keeps telling me to get out of the woods and onto the water. I've watched plenty of duck hunting videos and have been trying to make a sound that somewhat resembles a duck. I'd like to get set up with a spread that will bring me some action but I'm on a budget.
I'm hoping a few you you guys can give me pointers on what species of decoy I should buy for the panhandle of Idaho, how many and what landscape ill have the best luck in. I see the pros using boats and dogs but have neither so I would be restricted to fields maybe shallow water but have a feeling that might be a mess.
There doesn't seem to be many videos stating how to pattern duck habits. And being stuck in town most of the week doesn't allow me much time to personally observe this. Do ducks stay near water? How big of a body of water do I need to be hunting near? Is there a main flyway ducks passing through Idaho use? Any beta on northern Idaho waterfowl would be greatly appreciated. I'm new but really want to be part of the waterfowl community and share in this love of the outdoors.

Thanks for the help!
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Re: Getting set up

Postby Mugzwump » Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:45 pm

When I was a kid I hunted from a canoe without any decoys at all. I'd all but bust a lung calling and manage to pull in a lot of singles and smaller flocks, and sometimes get a crack at passers by. I'd do it just like that all over again if I had to start all over.

I'd buy a small jon boat or a canoe first, that will open up your options a great deal, and then once you're on the water you'll find out what species you'll be seeing most often or what species you would like to hunt, start hunting them and THEN you buy your decoys.

you should be able to score an old canoe for less than $300, and some guys hunt from kayaks too, though I've never tried that.
Hope this helps.

Mugz
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Re: Getting set up

Postby dudejcb » Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:15 pm

I think all of us, at one time very soon after deciding we wanted to become a good water man and duck hunter, bought a book or two. Looked at maps Started blowing a duck call to learn the muscle memory needed for tone and volume control. ONly practice in your car and start by learning the feed gabble. The "dugga dugga dugga" for up to 45 seconds. do this one first and start killing ducks. Before you can master the hail call (the most obnoxious call BTW) or the comeback, or the surprise greeting call, the simple feeding gabble will bring "working" ducks right over your head for kill shots.

Do you have binoculars and a car? is there a lake or reservoir near you that has a marsh? Park within binocular distance a half-hour before sunrise and watch for ducks flying out to feed. Follow them in your car. Pull your head out.
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Re: Getting set up

Postby Brandon_Rad » Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:07 pm

For me, it really depends on how late you are in the season. For the early season I take anywhere from 16-24 duck floaters. I also stick with a darker decoys with 2:1 hen to drake mallard set up with a couple wigeon. Then as the season moves on I use less decoys but brighter colors on the drakes. Depending the location I bring some full body standing ducks and set them on the edge of the ice or in a separate section of the field.
For some locations, the birds react way better to smaller amount of decoys where I hunt.
Just experiment and have fun with it and you will figure out your own set ups.
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Re: Getting set up

Postby arno7820 » Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:22 pm

Thanks for the advice gentleman, I look forward to next season. I got out the other day to look at a series of ponds I found on google maps.
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Re: Getting set up

Postby HaydenHunter » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:43 am

google.earth is a great tool to show you where you need to spend scouting time. Also, you can go to the Fish and Game office on Kathleen Avenue in Cd'A and usually there will be someone there that can discuss some general hunting areas with you. Hunting recruitment, and the licenses that it generates, are F&G's revenue source, so they are generally quite helpful to get you started. Take your Atlas and Gazetteer map and a pencil and make notes. It's how I got started.

One thing to remember (and you probably know this if you are living in this area) is that the winter pool levels of most of the hunting areas in the Panhandle are waaaaaaaaaaaay lower than the summer levels. I am talking lakes and rivers. So what you see out scouting this summer will not be what you hunt in this winter. At least not after the first couple of weeks of the season.
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Re: Getting set up

Postby arno7820 » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:54 am

Good point on the water levels I hadn't thought about that. Would lower water levels be a benefit when hunting bottom feeders or disadvantage due to the sudden drop off most lakes have?

Thanks for the tip on the IDFG too.
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Re: Getting set up

Postby Mugzwump » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:39 pm

arno7820 wrote:Good point on the water levels I hadn't thought about that. Would lower water levels be a benefit when hunting bottom feeders or disadvantage due to the sudden drop off most lakes have?

Thanks for the tip on the IDFG too.


There's no telling what ducks will do really when water levels change... But I look at it the same way I do trout.

A quick rise in water will result in a short feeding frenzy, as all the good stuff on the banks gets washed up, ducks will do the same and attack all the floating grubs and plants they would normally have to dig for. This would be a good spot to hunt.

When the water drops, fish go deep, where all the aquatic life becomes concentrated. Ducks will do the same and follow the water... The only thing here is ducks will take advantage of the exposed silt and mud and they will root for food there, till the mud drys up and becomes too hard. A fresh mud flat next to a deeper pool is a great place to find puddlers and divers, even geese and I would take the chance set up there even if I hadn't yet seen a duck around.

As water levels drop even further ducks will leave for better pools or they'll tough it out... if you can find the pool they want you're in biz.. though I don't have too much experience with that.. things never get that dry here. Once every few years I'll get ducks using my swimming pool in the fall, but there has been lots of water the last few years I haven't seen 'em in a awhile.

I'm sure there are other guys who have more to say about low water than I do. I only ever see a change in 3 or 4 feet at the most from year to year.

I think it's one of those things that you'll learn about your area, but go somewhere else and it's a whole new game... and each year has it's tricks.

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