Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics

The eastern side of the nation has some of the best hunting. Share your West Virginia duck hunting tips, tactics, insights and information.

Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics

Postby Z.herndon » Sat Nov 10, 2012 2:21 am

Hey guys lets start a topic about tips and tactics that we use around here. And no I am not wanting to know your spots just wanting to help guys that are new to the sport get a few pointers.
Like the following:
Spinning wing decoys; what are the best ways to use the and how many and which ones you prefer.
Jerk strings how to make your own and how to use them.
Decoy patterns for rivers, ponds, and lakes.
Gang rigs.
What decoys species you use around the area to match the ducks.

Just whatever other tips you would want to share throw them out there.

And I will start.
As for gang rigs:
A cheaper way to make your own; go to Walmart and buy 2 5lb. Dumbells(hand weights) probably about 8 to 10 bucks. Next go to a hardware store and get some 1/4 " waxed black line, for one rig you will need at least 80ft for the main line and then you will need to get other line for your short shots to your decoys. I use about 2ft for mine. A gang rig helps out a lot for hi to g divers but you can also use them for puddle ducks too. It is a good way to start a J-HOOK or other patterns. You set your main line as the outline and then throw out your single decoys to fill in. Believe me it helps plus if you have to walk to your spot ou will loose a ton of weight off of your back.
Hope these continue and help!!
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Re: Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics

Postby Z.herndon » Sat Nov 10, 2012 3:38 pm

Spinning wing decoys:

My opinion I try to make the decoys look different from every where else. Ducks see these things from Canada all the down to the gulf. So try to make something g different. Customize poles for your mojos or other spinning winged decoys. Try high poles to shirt poles. I have even taken string and tied them up from a tree limb in thick flooded timber. Point o the matter is ducks see every kind of decoy that is out there so if you can make your self look different than everyone else's spread it could make a okay shoot into an unforgettable one. Hope some other people start to post.
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Re: Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics

Postby WOODIE13 » Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:42 am

Jerk string.

I like to use nylon twine and use two decoys v. one for more ripples. I then take a bungee cord and attach it to a 5 lb anchor and run a section of twine from the bungee cord to the decoy. For the main line I use about 25 yds of cord to go to the blind.
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Re: Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics

Postby WOODIE13 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:11 am

Field goose hunting in deep snow.

We used this trick in VA after the snow had been on pretty solid for 4 weeks and the geese were just flying over the fields and not using them at all. Take a green outdoor carpet and lay out on on top of the snow, toss a little bit of snow on top of it and put you some full bodies and shells around it, we also added every decoy we had to the out skirts just for more visibility. They came in on a string, limits two days in a row.

Image
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Re: Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics

Postby GREENhead21 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:17 am

I'm a ex-West Virginian, so the tips I have are mostly from hunting in the wild wild West. We hunt Utah, Montana, Canada, South Dakota, and Idaho. I think the biggest mistake we see (or hear) when we're out hunting is bad callers. There are a few basic rules to calling:

1. Quit squealing! Lots of callers try to blow into that thing as hard as they can, have you ever heard a duck that loud? It sounds like a kazoo!

2. Know when to use each call. Don't use a feed chuckle in 12 feet of water! No ducks are feeding in that water. Ducks usually only feed in 12 inches of water or less, and they have a good idea of the water depth. Also, don't use welcome calls to ducks that are coming into you already, just quack them and they'll land! There are a million calls you can use, but knowing when to use them is key.

3. Don't blow only 1 call for each duck that comes in. Even though there is nothing more beautiful than that hen mallard call, don't try to call teal, redhead, cans, or any other ducks with it over and over. Every now and then they may land, but not consistently. Learn all of the different calls if you want to kill all the different ducks! (and if you get the wood duck call down, let me know!!) My personal favorite this season has become the Duck Commander Whistle. You can make lots of different sounds with this, that is useful for a few different ducks (pintails, teal, greenies, widgeon).
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Re: Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics

Postby WOODIE13 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:11 pm

Silence is golden most of the time and I do like a whistle too, ducks here it a lot farther than most think and it is not getting blown at them all the time either. A goose call works too at times.
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Re: Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics

Postby fultz_danNWPA » Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:10 pm

The biggest tip I got is to make sure cars and other things are not anywhere near where you are hunting. Idk how many times I've seen guys park cars in fields they were trying to hunt. Not the best idea. Also it is very important to have something over your head for cover. Most guys do a good job of getting covered in front but ducks look down now straight at you. Do this and I guarantee more ducks will be in range.
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Re: Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics

Postby Z.herndon » Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:00 am

KNOW YOUR SHOOTING RANGE!!!!!!

One of the biggest problems with duck hunters is they shoot at ducks way before or when they don't even have a chance at killing the duck, "skyblasting". I mean with a 3 1/2 in #2 she'll the only real effective killing range on a duck is between 60 to 70 yards, if you shoot at ducks that are to far all you do is scare them off and if you do shoot them you might just wing them. And every hunter has a duty as a hunter, that is if you are going to hunt something it is your responsibility to take/kill that game quickly and clean. If you wound a bird that you can't retrieve then it just hurts duck hunting as a sport. All I ask ,and I think I can speak for a lot of other hunters is that, when you are out duck hunting the next time look at how far the birds are before you jump up and pull the trigger. If you just wait a lot of times the birds will circle and make another pass to get a better look at your decoys. So if you be a little bit more patient most of the time you will have better opportunities and more kills.
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Re: Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics

Postby WOODIE13 » Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:04 pm

Scouting.

Do not drive your boat right at birds and try not to bump them too much, have binos, glass them from afar, then you know where to set up the next morning. Also, do not drive right up on them and let the 12 gauge salute go either, WV does not hold the birds of Arkansas or Texas, all you are doing is solidifying that the birds do not want to be there the next day.
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Re: Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics

Postby Z.herndon » Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:21 am

Guys I just want to thank everybody for joining in. These are all good. Just hopefully other hunters will take these into consideration on their next time out. If everyone would take these tips and tricks and really use them we would have great duck seasons. I know that I have came across a ton of instances where I wish I would have these tips when I was a newbie. So all of you guys that are just getting into the sport use these tips and tricks and I promise you will have better successful hunts.

Once again thanks to all that have joined in on the topic this far and keep them coming.
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Re: Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics

Postby Z.herndon » Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:35 am

DECOY SPREADS

their are countless options for spread layouts for decoys for every situation. But their are a few tips I can share that I have had success with.
1.) don't put decoys too close together, my rule of thumb is in early season use less space between decoys. Like 1 to 2 ft. usually in the early part of duck season the drakes haven't paired up and you will see more groups or bunches of birds that are closer together. And as the season goes on more ducks are starting to pair up, so space your decoys in pairs and leave 4 to 5 ft. between your pairs. Also as the season goes on sometimes you don't need to use as many decoys. This is more true with puddle ducks.

2.) DIVERS
Divers have an entire different way of staying in groups. In early season you will see large groups of birds that are close together, especially if they are feeding. So in early season you can use a lot of decoys and you can put them pretty close together. But in your spread put a lot in closer to your blind and as you get farther away start to spread them farther apart so this will make the birds want to land closer to the big group because that is where the food is. This same tactic will work all season but you might want to just lessen the overall number of decoys you use.

But in all just be ready to change the decoys on the fly. If you set your spread out and the first few birds come in for a look and then flare off. There is something that they dont like. So don't be afraid to jump out there and change it up. Sometimes it takes only a small change and you will have them back pedaling in the kill zone.
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Re: Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics

Postby WOODIE13 » Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:03 am

For decoys, at least for the divers, run you some gaddies or wigeon in with them, they do not call them robber ducks for nothing. Also, run some geese, the size and the black on white on the geese will draw them, old timers on the bay called them tollers, you may not shoot a goose, but you would be remiss in not running them just for ducks.
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Re: Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics

Postby Z.herndon » Sun Nov 18, 2012 2:34 am

Decoy tips

Another decoy that almost every hunter overlooks is the "COOT". If you can remember on every pond or lake or river almost every time you see birds on it there will be coots there too. Coot decoys are a big confidence decoy. I have meet some hunters that I my use coot decoys and shoot alot of birds. But sometimes I like to throw 4 to 8 coot decoys in the spread, some on the outskirts of the spread and some closer to your landing zone. Also a great blue herring decoy helps out a lot. The herring is the first bird that gets up off the water when something doesn't look right.

Decoy tip
Don't just throw out decoys. Decoy spreads are a work of art. There are plenty of time proven spread layouts that you can find on the Internet that will help you get an idea of how to set your spread. But among all things on your spread make sure you leave a big enough landing zone for the birds to land. I don't know his many times I have drove by guys that had decoys just everywhere. Scout for ducks, look at them with binoculars and remember how they were and try to imitate them.
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Re: Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics

Postby WOODIE13 » Sun Nov 18, 2012 5:11 pm

Decoys, Part III
I like running goose decoys in with the ducks, even when goose season is out, the visibility just stands out from a distance.
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Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics

Postby Russ-n-Brazoria » Sun Nov 18, 2012 6:06 pm

For saltwater try to figure out where the closest freshwater is. Birds gotta pruge they're gizzards of salt digested while feeding.
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Re: Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics

Postby WOODIE13 » Sun Nov 18, 2012 9:58 pm

Russ-n-Brazoria wrote:For saltwater try to figure out where the closest freshwater is. Birds gotta pruge they're gizzards of salt digested while feeding.


Oh yeah, made for some great shooting on the C. Bay in VA :thumbsup:
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Re: Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics

Postby Delduck » Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:28 am

I just want to thank all of you for doing this. The knowledge and tips getting shared here will benefit us all, especially me... Thanks again. :thumbsup:
Hopelessly devoted.
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Re: Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics

Postby WOODIE13 » Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:18 pm

Quit hitting me up on where I put in and where I am seeing ducks and geese. You are now entering the twilight zone, please do not adjust up monitor, you will get where ever I feel there are birds, so stop asking me :thumbsup:
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Re: Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics

Postby WOODIE13 » Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:34 pm

Do not set up on top of me, ecspecially down wind, within 400 yds, common courteousy. If you do, DUCK has a couple of meanings, seriously and do not cry if I was there first. :thumbsup:
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Re: Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics

Postby Z.herndon » Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:30 pm

Cover your face when the ducks are flying.

The best thing that a duck hunt has in his arsenal besides his gun is his hat. Pull your hat down a little lower and never look at the birds directly. Ducks are looking down all the time and they can defiantly pick out a white face. I can't count how many times I have heard a hunter say "I don't know what happened they were circling and circling and just flared off just outside of shooting range" most of the time it's because they were looking for the ducks.

Look at the birds from the corners of your bill of your hat turn your head just a little so you can still see and try to prevent yourself from lookin up until you are pulling out the "MEATSTICK". Also face paint works too or a mask just try to keep your hands and face hidden. These are the most overlooked parts of your body when it comes to duck hunters.

Hope this helps guys and keep the tips and tricks coming. It's always good to help your hunting brothers out by passing on some advise. No cyber scouting please this is just to give basic hints to all of those newer hunters or other hunters that just need a little advice.
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Re: Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics

Postby WOODIE13 » Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:41 pm

Do not have to be a comp caller to get them in, let the decoys work, birds get leary real quick. A quack, a whistle, even a honk will get the birds attention.
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Re: Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics

Postby QuackAttack31 » Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:46 pm

Don't get picked off

If there is one thing I learned hunting every day for the last week it's do not call when the ducks are directly over you. I put this theory to the test today when getting circled and we seemed to have 3 times as many ducks decoy in today. It seems they pick out where the sound is when over your head versus being out at a distance.
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Re: Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics

Postby Z.herndon » Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:15 pm

Good tip.
I have found that sometimes it helps to not call at all or to just give a few single low quacks when the birds are circling over head. You just have to play with it and let the birds tell you what they want. :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :beer:
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Re: Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics

Postby WOODIE13 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:54 pm

Set up on the sunny side of the river when it is cold if the wind is right, ducks like it :thumbsup:
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Re: Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics

Postby WOODIE13 » Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:11 pm

WOODIE13 wrote:Silence is golden most of the time and I do like a whistle too, ducks here it a lot farther than most think and it is not getting blown at them all the time either. A goose call works too at times.



X2, all the birds that committed, nary a call :thumbsup:
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