Drift Hunting?

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Drift Hunting?

Postby dbohunts » Mon Jan 02, 2006 11:56 am

Anybody out there ever drift rivers for ducks? I don't have a boat but I do have a canoe and I have read some articles about taking the stealth approach on river ducks. It sounded pretty fun, just wondering if anybody has tried this method, particularly around the triad region. I live very close to ther deep river, thought about giving it a try. Thanks for the input.
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Postby Duck U 2 » Mon Jan 02, 2006 1:01 pm

No, but I'd like to. My dad used to do it a long time ago, and I have a friend that does it on bigger rivers down east. There was a good article on it in Wildlife recently.
I have a larger duck boat, but want to either buy a canoe or build something stealthy this winter. I know a few places, but Hurricane Fran knocked down so many trees that a lot of free floating is limited now.
-Duck
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Postby NC-CreekHunter » Mon Jan 02, 2006 2:23 pm

Most of my hunting lately is from a canoe, drifting rivers and streams.

Camo is important - I use 2 sheets of camo burlap from Walmart to cover the canoe - 1 in front of me and 1 behind since the inside of my canoe is light colored. I have matching velcro tabs along the outside gunwales to pull it tight (self-sticking fuzzy on the boat with the hook side stapled to the burlap fro a quick fit). I then put a bunch of local brush and cane on the front, poking out about 2-3 feet above and to the sides of the boat. Sit low in the boat, on a pad in the botom, not high in the seats. It looks like a big brush pile drifting down the river. Paint or tape all light spots and the paddles. You will know you have enough camo when the ducks will not fly until you are 5 yards out.

I drift along close to the bank, watching the river margins ahead, and look closely behind downed trees. I have padded the gunwales with black foam pipe insulation to lay my paddle/shotgun alternately when I spot ducks ahead. I keep an extra paddle handy since I tend to freeze when I see ducks, then let the paddle slide quietly out of my hands when I reach for my shotgun.

I see lots of woodies, plenty of mallards, and some hooded mergansers, teal, and blacks late in the season. It is a fine way to spend a morning, or an afternoon when the ducks aren't coming to your decoys, or especially when the ponds are all frozen.

I usually pick a river segment that lets me float around some big horseshoe bends and walk back a couple of miles to my truck without having to schedule a shuttle.

If you hunt with a buddy, take turns paddling, with the gunner ready in the front. If you see a real big raft of ducks, you can turn the boat sideways and both shoot (watch for broadside rocks!). I am not worried about giving away my secrets, since you will rarely ever encounter any other hunters this way. Try it, if you are a good paddler since winter is not a good time to get wet. I carry a dry bag with extra clothes, and tell someone where you plan to float. Canoe books are available for most areas that point out some good routes and access points, though most any bridge crossing will do.
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Postby Duck U 2 » Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:18 pm

Awesome post NC. Sounds like you've got it down pat. I need to give it a shot.
-Duck
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Postby dbohunts » Tue Jan 03, 2006 8:45 am

Thanks for the tips Creekhunter. I am definately going to give it a shot soon. :thumbsup:
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Postby Mouse » Tue Jan 03, 2006 3:55 pm

I too drift hunt and I can tell you once you try it you will be hooked. Its perfect for those cold and I mean cold mornings where the ponds, swamps, and small creeks are froze over. Just like Nc-Creekhunter said hug the banks and when you take the bends always take the closest side to you. You will be suprised at where a bird can hide. Around my parts we always shoot Woodies, Mallards, Teal, and the Occasional Goose. Most of the time I go with my cousins and we take turns riding up fron in our 10 ft john boat. We take the seats out and two ride the front together seperating the river in half. If its a single bird on the left the man on left shoots him same goes for the right side. IF its two or three birds left side starts on the extreme left bird and right does the same from his side. The guy in the back does all the padling and steering. Once someone has shot at the nearest bank we stop and change places run a rotation. You will enjoy it go with friends and you won't be sorry you did.

Glad to see there are more of us drifters out there, good luck!
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Postby yetz » Tue Jan 03, 2006 5:03 pm

I need to give this a try!!!

I've seen a few boats drifting the Neuse from time to time and have always wanted to try it!

I've seen people using trolling motors does that work well or is paddling the best method?
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Postby greenheadguy » Wed Jan 04, 2006 8:12 pm

using a trolling motor then shootin at ducks is illegal but you do whatever you want.
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Postby Duck U 2 » Thu Jan 05, 2006 6:42 am

That's right, and I beleive that you have to have the prop out of the water or something like that.
I'd like to try this, but unless you have a motor to get back to the truck you'd have to have another truck parked at a bridge down stream. Definately something I might try. Probably do a test drift in the summer to make sure it's navagational.
-Duck
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Postby yetz » Thu Jan 05, 2006 5:07 pm

greenheadguy wrote:using a trolling motor then shootin at ducks is illegal but you do whatever you want.


Actually according to the regs book on pg. 45, you can use a motor, but your forward progress must be ceased prior to firing. Maybe they were using the motor to navigate turns and get back. Too much to chance if you ask me.
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Postby Mouse » Thu Jan 05, 2006 7:07 pm

The motor is used stricly for getting birds that you have shot or when light is fading getting back to the boat ramp. but best method is to use two trucks one at each ramp thats what we do and it works. But honestly stay away from the bigger rivers like the neuse because its not unusual for ducks to see you long before you see them. Stick to the smaller creeks and rivers there you will mop up! There is cold weather on the forcast and that means swamps will be freezing soon. I know where I'll be those days.

Good luck all try it sometime its fun jump shooting.
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Postby slowgo » Tue Jan 17, 2006 2:46 pm

I've float hunted on a 20ft jon before with a 50 horse and no camo. Best time to go is overcast, the birds wouldnt get up til we were 15-20 yards from them. If you have 10 or so woodies get up at that range you can make it a short trip. I'd say weather and how quiet you can be are more important than camo. The biggest factor is whether or not someone has been doing the same thing in the area, if your not seeing birds go somewhere else.
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Postby Mouse » Wed Jan 18, 2006 12:52 pm

It definetly does not take much pressure hunting the birds by floating to educate them. On the last day of the year its gret way to end the season. Go to your favorite morning hunt then hit the float. Good luck!
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Postby ripthosducks » Fri Jan 20, 2006 9:20 pm

Hey

New guy!!
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