New to Duck Hunting Need Help!

From the Berkshires to Cape Cod, Here is the place for the Bay State waterfowler to discuss and share their Massachusetts duck hunting experiences.

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New to Duck Hunting Need Help!

Postby Greenhorn » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:35 pm

Hi, I'm new to the forum and duck hunting. I'm 15 and looking forward to getting into it next season. I am going to mostly be hunting large beaver ponds in central mass and a large slow moving river with plenty of tall grass along the bank in central NH. I do have a 10ft jon boat with an electric motor.Looking for any advice as to what kind, brand, species and amount of decoys to get. It will mostly be my father and I and maybe 1 more person a short walk to where I will hunt. Any advice on calling and what are some quality calls for beginners. Just a few more questions. Will I need waders to hunt beaver ponds? Should I have goose decoys? Please add anything else you may think I would need.

Thanks,
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Re: New to Duck Hunting Need Help!

Postby mawtrfowler » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:06 pm

First off, welcome to the forums.
The number and species of decoys you need really depends on the areas your hunting and what the ducks are doing. A dozen mallards is a good start and should do the job in most situations as you will most likely be encountering mostly mallards. After that teal and wood ducks would the other ducks you're most likely going to encounter. If you wanted to diversify those would be my two choices.
A quality call at a good price is the wood version of the Buck Gardner Spit-Fire.
Regarding the beaver ponds it depends on the pond. They can be deceivingly deep because the areas that the beavers flood are low lying areas. The beaver pond that I hunt is gets deep very quick but also has a couple shallow areas which are wadeable and also happen to be where the ducks want to go. I would say waders are a necessity for duck hunting.
Goose decoys are a good thing to have if you have geese in your area but aren't cheap or necessary.
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Re: New to Duck Hunting Need Help!

Postby woodduck14 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:57 pm

I'd pick up a dozen mallard decoys for sure.
Waders are a must have.
Check out cabelas for a possible after season sale, I'd also pick up a mallard call. Read different reviews on which calls are best, each person has their own preference.
As far as calling goes, I say the least amount the better especially if you are just starting out. Check out some YouTube calling vids for ideas. Practice as much as you can, I like to practice when I'm driving (the wife gets sick of it in the house), the best part about it are the weird looks you get from other drivers. Obv you won't be driving at 15 yrs old though.
As far as goose decoys, I like to hunt over them because they are so much bigger and easier to see from a distance. Like mawtrfowler said if there are no geese in the beaver ponds then don't use them. Good luck and welcome!
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Re: New to Duck Hunting Need Help!

Postby Greenhorn » Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:17 pm

That's good to know about beaver ponds because my first thing would be setting up decoys I step out a little to far and ruin my hunt. So waders are neccesary. For the mallard decoys should they be super magnums, the whiter January decoys or just regular? Should I get insulated or non insulated waders. Thanks for all the informative responses.
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Re: New to Duck Hunting Need Help!

Postby mawtrfowler » Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:33 pm

Life size regular mallards will be fine. You'll definitely want to get insulated neoprene waders. You won't need to wear as many layers and you won't be cold once the temperature drops.
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Re: New to Duck Hunting Need Help!

Postby Jofa » Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:56 am

mawtrfowler wrote:Life size regular mallards will be fine. You'll definitely want to get insulated neoprene waders. You won't need to wear as many layers and you won't be cold once the temperature drops.


Good advice here, u probably can't get a boat into most beaver ponds, and someone will have to fetch the birds u shoot, and since you're youngest you will probably be that person! :wink:
good luck!
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Re: New to Duck Hunting Need Help!

Postby Greenhorn » Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:31 pm

So far my plan is to get 6 teal decoys, 2 dozen mallards. A pair of waders. Possibly a layout blind? A call. Anything else you think i need seeing as i've never done it before.
Thanks,

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Re: New to Duck Hunting Need Help!

Postby JTR » Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:39 pm

Extending decoy pole, blind bag, blind chair, waterproof cell phone box.

I'd also consider a small folding saw for making blinds on the fly. You are also going to want either good gloves or a hand warmer that attaches to your waders. The list really goes on and on. Just some other things off the top of my head...

Decoy bag
Decoy weights and line, I like my homemade keel grabbers
Face mask or face paint
Call lanyard - truthfully though, I'd worry about your decoys and spread first, then worry about calling.
Canoe roller if you will be using a canoe or kayak
Bird strap

And don't forget the TP in the blind bag.... You'll thank me later. :yes:
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Re: New to Duck Hunting Need Help!

Postby HeritageHunter » Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:36 pm

I started out with:
1 doz Mallard Dekes w/weights & line ($50)
Bag to carry dekes (I got the Cabelsa one w/ Shoulder straps) ($40)
Waders ($125)
Blind Bag ($25)
RNT Coco Hunter Mallard Call w/CD ($40)
Laynard ($25)
Bird Strap ($15)
Camo clothes, hat, face mask

Layout blinds and field dekes are great if you are going to hunt fields, if not you should spend your money else where. I added in the prices one too give you an idea how much it will cost you to get started, but also you do not need to spend a ton of money on a call or dekes to get started. Other than the RNT call I still use all this stuff to hnt with. THe Call stays in the car with me and I use to practice daily when driving to work.


Good luck and welcome to the forum. The guys on here are great and if you have any questions post them up. I guarentee someone will be able to help you out.

HH
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Re: New to Duck Hunting Need Help!

Postby mawtrfowler » Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:47 pm

Heritage Hunter gave a very good for what you will need. Unless you're hunting fields a layout blind wont do you any good and an important thing to remember about decoys is that your going to be carrying them in with you. Those dozen decoys might seem light but once you start carrying them in waders and hunting clothes along with your gun and anything else you have they are very cumbersome and uncomfortable to carry.
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Re: New to Duck Hunting Need Help!

Postby VaTailfeathers » Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:45 am

While wading, use a wading stick to keep your balance.
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Re: New to Duck Hunting Need Help!

Postby Professor_Leakey » Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:23 am

a jerk cord would be a good pick up too. easy to make or cheap to buy, and very effective.
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Re: New to Duck Hunting Need Help!

Postby Greenhorn » Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:11 pm

Thanks for all the advice. Would you suggest getting decoys that include feeders, rester's and active or just a dozen decoys. Another question what have you found to be the best thinsulate amount for waders. I was looking at 800 gram and 5mm neoprene from cabelas and another from Cabelas 800 gram with 3.5 mm neoprene and last Cabelas 1200 gram with 5mm neoprene. What are your thoughts.
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Re: New to Duck Hunting Need Help!

Postby Professor_Leakey » Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:26 pm

im thinking its tough to buy waders at 15 because you are gonna grow out of them quick...cabelas guarantees for life
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Re: New to Duck Hunting Need Help!

Postby mawtrfowler » Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:47 pm

I have the cabelas lightmag 800's, which are 3.5mm and 800 grams of thinsulate. So far i haven't had any problems with just a pair of jeans, a sweatshirt and a pair of wool socks underneath them. The coldest temps i've used them in since i bought them was in the mid 20's and I've been comfortable. If its hot in the early season, wear a pair of shorts under them and you'd be fine.
As for the decoys, different positions such as feeders add realism to your. A pair of feeder butts will cost you $15.
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Re: New to Duck Hunting Need Help!

Postby Greenhorn » Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:56 pm

Thats the wader I was looking at light mags. From the reviews and what you've said sounds like a good wader.
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Re: New to Duck Hunting Need Help!

Postby james1981 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:52 pm

I would also consider having a half dozen over sized decoys, and a Mojo or other brand decoy in your spread... I often hunt remote beaver ponds and lakes in NH and Ma with less that a half dozen decoys... feeders, quiver... Prolly could get away with one quiver duck and a half dozen mallard decoys... Local birds i often just use a mojo, and thats enough to get the birds to decoy in the honey hole...
That is I live and hunt in north central ma and southern NH... I need to remind myself that unless you are planning on coastal hunts having a large decoy spread is often a double edged sword... I prefer small and realistic...
I have shot more ducks over three decoys and a mojo than any other set up... and the Mojo will get the teal and woodies flying right in... and less to carry to a blind...
I also hunt with guys who get really mad at splashing rounds and sky blasting at large flocks in the early season... The best tip I could give is doubles or singles when hunting alone sometimes pay off bigger than the large flocks in the early morning... again preference especially when working water with a group of people during the hunting season...
My two cents...
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Re: New to Duck Hunting Need Help!

Postby james1981 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:03 pm

Wader life can be short, I would head to a cabelas or bass pro and look at the brown waders... Ducks are not that picky on realtree max vs marshland... Brown or green drab waders tend to be less expensive under 150 dollars... then if you think you need more camo either conceal yourself better, or buy some cheep camo netting to rest on top of yourself to blend in, walmart sells this stuff cheep... 10 dollars when its on clearance.
A good set of waders will last but in all reality wading through brush, trees, and shorelines takes its toll... maybe 3-5 yrs... on neoprene. By that time you could definitly have set aside some money for a new pair...
REMEMBER LIFE JACKETS save lives in duck boats... SPEND the money and get a good life jacket... one that you will wear ALL OF THE TIME while in a boat.
I ran into a game warden two years ago in NH when he did a license check and he said something like " I have never been to a drowing where a person wore a life jacket." Kinda sunk in when i was loading my gear in November. In NH there is no mandatory life jacket law...
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