Telling Ducks Apart

This Midwestern state holds many waterfowl species. Post here and read others views on Wisconsin duck hunting. From the mighty Mississippi river to the west to the great lake of Michigan on the east, WI has many different types of hunting available to hunters.

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Telling Ducks Apart

Postby DuckDeerHunterWI » Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:22 pm

Tips on telling the difference between ducks on the fly
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Re: Telling Ducks Apart

Postby marktank » Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:30 pm

get a LeMasters guide. best book ever. Now go do some homework on duck hunting.
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Re: Telling Ducks Apart

Postby mikeg1005 » Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:02 pm

Hunt, its really the only way you'll learn.

No guide is going to tell you how to identify a duck coming in on your decoys 2 minutes after FST.
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Re: Telling Ducks Apart

Postby marktank » Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:36 pm

You need a guide to know what birds are which in your memory bank before you go out there and just start shooting not knowing what looks like what.
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Re: Telling Ducks Apart

Postby marktank » Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:38 pm

Mikeg1005 you probably just keep shooting and ID your birds when you get home.
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Re: Telling Ducks Apart

Postby 'JaminC'mon » Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:57 pm

A big thing along with hunting is scouting. Find a place in the spring where birds are resting on open pockets of water and check them out with binoculars and compare them with a good ID book, like Le Masters as someone else mentioned. Then do it again in the summer and early fall after birds have molted and begin getting their colors so you can tell their body shapes as well as colors. Do that because half our duck season in the northern zone is often shooting at "eclipse ducks" that haven't gotten full color yet so it's sometimes tough to ID them on the fly. Lucky for me we have a few ponds in my hometown that hold lots of birds during the spring and fall migrations so I can sit there for hours with the binoculars watching them. You'll also see them flying in and out so that is a good way to ID them as they fly. Most birds species have a distinct feature or mannerism about them that allows you to ID them, so it is our job to learn that.

The biggest thing I'd suggest is getting an ID book and looking at birds with binoculars. Also it doesn't hurt to search Google images for each species and take a look; you'll find some awesome reference photos.

And I saw in another post you had that a fella was generous enough to offer to take you out next fall. Please take him up on that offer. Even as a moderately experienced hunter like myself, I'd take him up on that if it was offered to me. Everybody has their own methods so you can always learn something new.
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Re: Telling Ducks Apart

Postby Bill Herian » Wed Dec 18, 2013 2:34 pm

Can't learn it from a book. Gotta see them in motion. In the field, you rely on shape, flight pattern, speed, size etc, more than what any book can show. It's just something you learn as you go. You can't be expect to reliably ID every duck on the wing before some exposure in the field, despite what the blowhards say.

If you go and watch ducks in the spring, don't just put the binos on them and identify them, watch them take of and land, watch how they fly in a group. If you get close enough, look for distinguishing shapes, not colors, you can't count on seeing those colors early in the season.
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Re: Telling Ducks Apart

Postby Pete-pec » Wed Dec 18, 2013 5:27 pm

Bill Herian wrote:Can't learn it from a book. Gotta see them in motion. In the field, you rely on shape, flight pattern, speed, size etc, more than what any book can show. It's just something you learn as you go. You can't be expect to reliably ID every duck on the wing before some exposure in the field, despite what the blowhards say.

If you go and watch ducks in the spring, don't just put the binos on them and identify them, watch them take of and land, watch how they fly in a group. If you get close enough, look for distinguishing shapes, not colors, you can't count on seeing those colors early in the season.


Ding ding ding ding! What he said!
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Re: Telling Ducks Apart

Postby Westtennduckhunter » Wed Dec 18, 2013 6:08 pm

Delta waterfowls' website has a pretty neat set of tests. Check it out.
teddysberna wrote:
whistlin_wings wrote:Did you get his autograph?

I thought about getting him to sign my cleavage, but decided against it at the last moment.
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Re: Telling Ducks Apart

Postby marktank » Wed Dec 18, 2013 6:13 pm

obviously this kid does not know what duck is what. if you don't know what they are to begin with, going out and watching them is not going to do you a damn thing. you need a book or some resource to know what you are looking at. I can go look at birds all day, but if I am not educated as to what they are, whats the point!


this post is pointless. figure it out yourself!
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Re: Telling Ducks Apart

Postby Pete-pec » Wed Dec 18, 2013 6:34 pm

Tank, I will agree he might not know what bird is what, but his question did not ask what a picture book duck looks like. He asked how to identify birds on the wing. You know as well as I, that not every flying duck is a mallard, and they do have certain characteristics that set them apart. Obviously it would be useful to have a mentor take him out and show him those unique differences. Something a book cannot do by the way.

Wing beat, sound, shape, silhouette, feather patterns, bill shape, wing shape, tail shape, coloring in wings, head and breast, all help in identifying a bird on the wing. Unfortunately there's no book that can substitute learning in the blind with schooled mentors.
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Re: Telling Ducks Apart

Postby marktank » Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:16 pm

Exactly. My point is you need a book to start off knowing what is what. You obviously can't make ducks fly out of a page but its a starting point if he don't know the difference between a mallard and a teal.
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Re: Telling Ducks Apart

Postby Maxgold » Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:02 pm

Just learn how to identify a hen mallard and the rest will fall in place.

:bow:
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Re: Telling Ducks Apart

Postby Bill Herian » Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:10 pm

Maxgold wrote:Just learn how to identify a hen mallard and the rest will fall in place.


:lol3:

So true. That's pretty much how I did it.
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Re: Telling Ducks Apart

Postby DuckDeerHunterWI » Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:31 pm

Guys I really post a lot of questions to keep this site active ok
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Re: Telling Ducks Apart

Postby Rhock19 » Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:05 pm

What? Your killing me smalls
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Re: Telling Ducks Apart

Postby 'JaminC'mon » Fri Dec 20, 2013 12:07 am

DuckDeerHunterWI wrote:Guys I really post a lot of questions to keep this site active ok


uuuuuhhhhhh wut?? :huh:

It's plenty active, don't you worry.
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Re: Telling Ducks Apart

Postby mikeg1005 » Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:34 pm

marktank wrote:Mikeg1005 you probably just keep shooting and ID your birds when you get home.


Yup, exactly.

I also hold the DNR regulations next to my barrel to determine if the mallard is 30 or 40yds away as I shoot. :rolleyes:
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Re: Telling Ducks Apart

Postby War Wagon » Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:46 pm

Hunt with someone who knows how hunt ducks. Listen to what he is saying, watch what he is doing. You can get more from him than any book or web site. Most of all, keep your mouth shut and ears open.... :yes:
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Re: Telling Ducks Apart

Postby WIgunner30 » Thu Jun 12, 2014 10:41 pm

Experience and time outdoors. Hunting a area that holds tons of species also helps over time. I shoot mallards, teal, woodies, shovelers, gadwall, black ducks, widgeon, mergansers, scaup, red heads, buffleheads, canvasbacks, ringnecks, and more. It's a pretty good mixed bag out of the same spot. That's how I got dam good at duck identification. Like anything practice makes perfect.
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