Duck Season V2

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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Duck Season V2

Postby KingOfBattle3320 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:28 am

Greetings all,

I am sure you guys get this quite frequently, but instead of begging for help I will try to ask more pointed questions. I posted this on the RI forum, but doubt it will get much traffic.

I am brand new to the Forum and duck hunting in general. I am currently in Afghanistan (2nd time, :help: ) serving with the US Army and was turned on to the idea by more than a few friends that I serve with. I believe this is going to be the beginning of a beautiful hobby once I return to my home state of Rhody. In preparation for my return, I was wondering if you gents might be able to help me out by answering a few questions to start.

1. I currently live in RI, and being so close to Massachusetts, I know it can't be too hard to go water-fowling over there. Are there locations in the southeast of Mass that are viable locations? I live around Pawtucket, so south of Boston and east of Worcester.

2. I have heard puddle ducks are easier to start with, as compared to sea ducks. Do you think I should start with puddlers first? Is there a good size puddle duck population in Mass?

3. What kind of shotgun do you suggest? I currently have a very old 870 pump 2 3/4 with a Mod. choke but may resign to using this as a backup. I am currently eying the Franchi Affinity for its Inertia system and affordable cost.

4. Can anyone suggest a guide to begin with? I, being in the military, am very comfortable with the outdoors but would like to learn the basics from someone on a basic day trip before I set off on my own.

Thanks again all and I look forward to the responses!
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Re: Duck Season V2

Postby OmegaRed » Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:05 am

Hey Man,

Thanks for serving. I'm not from the area,but I can answer a few of the other questions.

I don't think that puddle ducks vs. divers are "easier or harder". Little different strategies and different equipment for both. Divers would be a lot more expensive to break into depending on what you set up for. You can hunt puddle ducks with a dozen or two decoys and a gun. Generally speaking, you need more decoys to be effective for divers and may need a boat of some kind and all the equipment that a boat entails (truck to haul, trailer, registrations, motor etc).

Shot guns - you're going to get the Chevy vs. Ford scenario. Everyone has a personal preference. There are tons of good guns out there that you'd be happy with. Just depends what your financials are, what fits your well and what you determine you "need". You don't need a semi auto, although most prescribe (myself included) to that. You don't need something with 3 1/2" chamber unless you plan on goose hunting (and you still don't absolutely need 3 1/2", most just like the flexibility). So post up how much money you wanna spend and we can point you in a direction so that you can go to a gun store and mess around with some different guns for feel.

As far as a guide I can't help, but I'm sure there are tons of people on here that can and use stuff on the internet. Ask for references before you go. Touch base with people that have went with that guide. They won't lie if they werent happy! Also, don't forget to tell them you're military. Some might toss you a discount or special offer as a way of saying thanks. Lastly, ask questions that you have to them. Explain you are starting off and want to learn more from a "pro". All the guides I know would much rather have someone admittedly that doesn't know how to hunt a specific animal than someone that read on the internet and is a know it all, telling them how they hunt back home or questioning their motives.
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Re: Duck Season V2

Postby kjm1022 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:38 am

The Rhode Island forum is usually very quiet, not sure why? Try looking up "Billyblanks", he was from Mass but I think he moved to the Newport area, cool guy, hunted with him a few times.

As for puddle ducks vs sea ducks, puddle ducks taste good, sea ducks taste like garbage, just my opinion. :wink: If you wrap seaduck in bacon, grill it, then throw away the duck and eat the bacon. :thumbsup:

As for shotguns, whatever you feel comfortable shooting will work just fine. The capability to shoot 3" is best, but you can kill decoying ducks at 20yards all day long with 2 3/4". 3.5" is completely overkill and encourages some people to take shots they have no business taking, again just my opinion based on observations. Some guys can hit ducks at 80 yards, ive yet to hunt with someone who can but if you read through some posts, these miracle shots happen all the time. :lol3: Personally, I'm into "fooling" the duck, making him think my decoys are live ducks making duck sounds. Once you have a duck come in cupped and committed, you won't want it any other way. Blasting at a duck flying by at 50mph that doesn't know or care you're there just doesn't do it for me, but hey, lots of guys do it and think it's hunting so what do I know?

As for a guide, be your own guide. Do some scouting and you'll find some ducks. There are enough guys on here that will be more than willing to take you out and show you the ropes.

Most importantly, enjoy being in the outdoors, seeing amazing sunrises, company with your friends in the blind and being safe. :beer:
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Re: Duck Season V2

Postby KingOfBattle3320 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:10 am

Thanks guys, great responses so far.

I am trying to spend somewhere in the range of $800 dollars for a semi-auto. If I spend anymore money on firearms the wife will wring my neck, I am sure I am preaching to the choir here.

What do you guys estimate the cost of a simple start up set being? I believe I will start with puddlers. I was suggested a dozen mallards and a half dozen pintails by one of my avid duck hunting friends here. I'll also need the calls, the lines, blind set-up, waders, etc. Hopefully I can repurpose some military equipment to help against the cold, I am sure the Army won't mind.

How is duck hunting generally in Mass? Friendly enough for a newbie?

Thanks again guys!
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Re: Duck Season V2

Postby cambrandt » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:44 am

"Friendly enough" about sums it up. There are colonial-era ordinances protecting the right to fish, fowl and clam below the high tide mark so hunting in coastal areas is generally accepted if not welcomed (you have to obey all the other rules) and I've found my fellow hunters to be a generous group in terms of advice, willingness in the early stages to take me along, etc, etc.

The Remington Wingmaster is a good place to start the discussion about what gun. If you go after ducks in and around saltwater the depreciation on an $800 shotgun will bring tears to your eyes.

Number of good guides around, most of whom will go the extra mile for somebody who has served.
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Re: Duck Season V2

Postby OmegaRed » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:20 pm

For $800...I would check out Winchester SX2 OR SX3, Beretta 390/391, Benelli SBE1. I would make sure I got something with corrosion protection on it, dipped etc.

Winchester you could probably find close to new if not new if you spot a deal. Other two you can find on forums or gun broker in pretty good condition for around that price.

I wouldn't go crazy on gear...you can buy that over time. A set of waiters, a cheap call, and some shells. For deeks (I'm not familiar with what species) I would get like you said, a dozen or two. After your first season, you can start to tell what kind of ducks you are seeing and buy them after season ends for like half off. That should get you started!
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Re: Duck Season V2

Postby mawtrfowler » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:46 pm

My recommendations would be as follows:
Guns- I haven't had a chance to shoot an Affinity but I have handled and they've received rave reviews and are one the best shotguns in that price range. If you can find a used Benelli SBE 1 for a good price then that would be a good. My friend picked one up last year for $650 like new and my fathers friend has been shooting one for over 10 years with no problems.

Decoys- Start off with a dozen mallards and then you start adding to your spread after you see what species around your area.

Calls- My go to call is the Buck Gardner Spit-fire Acrylic. The Acrylic goes for around $70 but the wood version is right around $30 and is a great call for the money.

Waders- Anything neoprene with boot feet will work

And for spots look at some WMA's near you for early season and the coastal salt marshes for late season after inland waters have frozen. Heres the link http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/habitat/ ... a_maps.htm
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Re: Duck Season V2

Postby Baymen Moe » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:07 pm

Welcome to the forum and thanks for your service. You've got plenty of good advice here to go on so far. I could add to it but could sound all the same. Don't blow the whole wad at once, believe me, you will do it over time and it hurts less that way. :lol3:

Stay in touch here, things can get slow because the seasons pretty much done but you can usually count on plenty of responses to most any subject.

Enjoy
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Re: Duck Season V2

Postby james1981 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:41 pm

I really enjoy puddle ducks and goose hunting, The early season goose hunt is the best of the year... Young birds, big bag limit and a hell of a lot of shooting...
For Puddlers, a mojo mallard and a half dozen magnum mallards will do the job really well, Even a magnum set of Black ducks work really well. I would definitely reccomend a spinner for puddlers, I set a spread really to what I see, A half dozen to a dozen is way more than enough for small rivers and backwaters. A trick I learned for some bigger rivers is to mix in a pair of goose decoys into the spread, They are big and easy for ducks and geese to see.
Buy a decent call, if you are in the spot they want to be they will come right in...
I would also search craigs list for a bunch of used decoys, they will work fine, I got my first half dozen carrylites from a friend who was going to throw them out and they still made the ducks decoy right in and mixed them with some new greenhead gear deeks and I still use them...
As far as a shotgun, I am a pump shotgun guy... far more reliable. Benelli makes a hell of a gun, Mossberg with a 3.5inch chamber is what i shoot... Mainly because of hunting geese and with a few other guys, makes using any shell possible when in the field. It may make you cry when you have an 1000 dollar gun in a canoe with mud, water, dirt, grim and all kinds of crap.
I am not a coastal hunter so I couldnt help you there... but beats the hell out of a gun really quick... I have heard browning guns do well on the coast.
I have a raddison canoe that can support me and a lot of gear and dog... great little boat and light as hell... around $800 new.. I have seen them cheep for 300 or less on craigslist.
Hope that helps a little,
I didnt see many guys posting about the mojo mallard... The best thing to happen in duck hunting in a long time...
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Re: Duck Season V2

Postby HeritageHunter » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:59 pm

Thanks for your Service.

I am a huge fan of the Remington 870. 2 3/4 only is yough for sea ducks, but for puddlers should be fine.

Autos are nice, but if you are going to sea duck hunt in the middle of January pumps are hard to beat for reliability.

Dozen Mallards for dekes

As far as calls RNT makes good entry level singe reeds. Pick up a calling CD and that will help.
Keep the tradition alive and take a kid hunting!!!!

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Re: Duck Season V2

Postby KingOfBattle3320 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:07 pm

Once again, awesome replies. I am jotting down a lot of great information.

Now that I sat down and looked at it, I realize the Affinity only shoots up to 3". Is 3 1/2" required if I ever plan on shooting geese/seaducks?

I have the 870 Wingmaster with a Mod. choke, so I can shoot steel, but its only 2 3/4" so I plan to use it as a back-up and a gun for anyone who wants to come along.

What are good websites for picking up gear on the cheap? I know of Cabelas and Bass Pro Shops, how is Amazon for hunting gear?

The one good thing about being deployed is I have way too much time to do research and start putting a plan together, haha.

Thanks again gents.
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Re: Duck Season V2

Postby MIKE J. » Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:37 am

No need for 3.5" shells for anything. (well maybe coyote) The improved ballistics on non-toxic shotshells in today's market make even the 2 3/4" shell a duck and goose killah in the hands of a disciplined hunter. Each gun has it's sweet spot when it comes to patterning with a particular shell.

The best time for getting deals on hunting equipment is NOW!! check out Roger's sporting goods and Macks Prairie wings as well as the big box stores. Lots of clearance sales. Stock up on ammo now before the prices go thru the roof because of the Anti Gun agenda. .223 is now $1 a shot on average now for a 20 round box. 3 months ago I purchased 1000 rounds for $425. the same crate is now $825 and people are paying it :eek:

Decoys: 1 dozen oversize mallards is fine.

Like Moe said, the rest will come with time.
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Re: Duck Season V2

Postby KingOfBattle3320 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 10:44 am

Thanks Mike, appreciate the info.

What is a good brand to get started on for the Mallards? Are Flambeau alright? I see they are some of the cheapest, and pops always said you get what you pay for.

Are there any towns or wildlife management areas between the Pawtucket / North Attleboro / Fall River area that are acceptable places to start? I am not asking anyone for their personal areas, I have read enough to know that isn't the best way to go about things, haha. Just need a general area to scout around for when I get home?

Do alot of you guys use GPS systems? I am most familiar with military map reading, what type of maps, if you use them, do you all use? Being a Forward Observer, MGRS comes second nature, but I don't know the availability of these types of maps in the civilian world.

Thanks again!
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Re: Duck Season V2

Postby OmegaRed » Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:51 am

KingOfBattle3320 wrote:Thanks Mike, appreciate the info.

What is a good brand to get started on for the Mallards? Are Flambeau alright? I see they are some of the cheapest, and pops always said you get what you pay for.

Are there any towns or wildlife management areas between the Pawtucket / North Attleboro / Fall River area that are acceptable places to start? I am not asking anyone for their personal areas, I have read enough to know that isn't the best way to go about things, haha. Just need a general area to scout around for when I get home?

Do alot of you guys use GPS systems? I am most familiar with military map reading, what type of maps, if you use them, do you all use? Being a Forward Observer, MGRS comes second nature, but I don't know the availability of these types of maps in the civilian world.

Thanks again!


Google maps, GIS maps if you have access to any ESRI products. You're pretty much just looking for floodplains, rivers, and habitat. Everyone always get's their panties in a twist about people using computers to scout, but that's because they are too stupid to use them. It's a tool that saves plenty of time and gas money. You just can't rely on it as your only resource. It can put in you in the area, but only field time will tell you if it's viable or not.
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