One load: from Wood Ducks to Canada Geese

Share you waterfowl hunting gear tips and questions here. Including blinds, camo, clothing, etc... For decoys and calls, please see the other appropriate forums for that type of genre, Thanks.

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One load: from Wood Ducks to Canada Geese

Postby AppalachianHollers » Mon May 04, 2020 7:59 am

This fall will be my first time ever waterfowl hunting. We’ll be on public land in East Tennessee, flooded timber, wooded creeks, and fields. No open water, so shot opportunities should be within 45 yards.
I shoot a 28” Winchester SXP 12 gauge.

With it being our first time and already hunting other species (namely turkeys and deer), we’re on a bit of a low budget until we pattern migrating fowl throughout this season. Buying used decoys, will buy and practice a call, will probably try using my breathable fly-fishing waders with mud boots to set out decoys (and hopefully, retrieve).
To that end me and my hunting partner are looking to split a case of 3” shells while they’re on sale this time of year. My default right now is Federal Black Cloud FS Steel, but I’ll be grateful for other suggestions that’ll run less than a dollar a shell right now.

Species range in size and behavior from wood ducks to Canada geese. I cannot decide if I want to go with #3 or #4 shot. If geese never entered the picture #4 would be a no-brainer. But I am uncertain of the effective range of #4 shot on geese. If they fly over decoys rather than land, are they out of range unless you’re shooting #2’s or BB?


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Re: One load: from Wood Ducks to Canada Geese

Postby HNTFSH » Mon May 04, 2020 8:34 am

AppalachianHollers wrote:This fall will be my first time ever waterfowl hunting. We’ll be on public land in East Tennessee, flooded timber, wooded creeks, and fields. No open water, so shot opportunities should be within 45 yards.
I shoot a 28” Winchester SXP 12 gauge.

With it being our first time and already hunting other species (namely turkeys and deer), we’re on a bit of a low budget until we pattern migrating fowl throughout this season. Buying used decoys, will buy and practice a call, will probably try using my breathable fly-fishing waders with mud boots to set out decoys (and hopefully, retrieve).
To that end me and my hunting partner are looking to split a case of 3” shells while they’re on sale this time of year. My default right now is Federal Black Cloud FS Steel, but I’ll be grateful for other suggestions that’ll run less than a dollar a shell right now.

Species range in size and behavior from wood ducks to Canada geese. I cannot decide if I want to go with #3 or #4 shot. If geese never entered the picture #4 would be a no-brainer. But I am uncertain of the effective range of #4 shot on geese. If they fly over decoys rather than land, are they out of range unless you’re shooting #2’s or BB?


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Not sure how many birds you guys think you'll be shooting at but I'd personally want a different shell for Woodies and Canada's.

Especially pass shooting Canada's. You'd regret winging them and watching them fly off and come down 250 yards away, without a really, really good dog.
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Re: One load: from Wood Ducks to Canada Geese

Postby azdukhuntr » Mon May 04, 2020 8:49 am

AH :welcome: to DHC. My suggestion would be #2 steel, preferably zinc plated round shot, as a "do everything" load as long as you get the geese in the decoys. I would not suggest Flight Stopper shot because the increased wind resistance of the "saturn" ring around the the shot will cause the shot to spread out quickly thinning the pattern at extended ranges. I have used Fiocchi Speed Steel 3" with good results in the past when I've taken my 12ga. Inexpensive well made ammo with 1-1/5oz zinc plated shot at 1550fps. Last time I bought some I paid $11.99/box at a LGS. Online price should be a little less than that. They load it with BB, #1, 2, 3 and 4 shot so you can pick a load for just about any situation. Whatever shells you decide on make sure you and your buddy pattern the load out of both shotguns. That being said remember that Italy has been shut down with the Wuhan virus and some parts of the country are just now starting to open back up so not sure about current supplies over here. Good hunting this season.
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Re: One load: from Wood Ducks to Canada Geese

Postby Rick Hall » Mon May 04, 2020 9:05 am

When I was hunting mixed duck and goose bags, from in-your-face teal to passing blue/snow geese, daily, 1 1/4oz 3" steel 1s were my compromise load.

But they were just that, a compromise. Their thin patterns undoubtedly cost me some teal and other swift or erratic ducks, and their limited down-range energy also limited the range at which I was willing to shoot geese.

4s would better serve your likely duck chances and BBs, or even BBBs, improve your luck on passing geese.

Others will little doubt be along with more expensive, higher-density-than-steel options that could well offer more effective compromise. But, were it me, I'd much rather learn to get birds closer than hit them farther.
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One load: from Wood Ducks to Canada Geese

Postby Bluesky2012 » Mon May 04, 2020 10:53 am

In East Tennessee, you’ll be shooting most likely just a handful of woodies with maybe a few ringers or something else occasionally sprinkled in. There’s aren’t really migratory Canada’s there (or many migratory ducks at that), so you will know if you are either where resident geese do or don’t go.

If I was you, I’d just get some #3 shot and use that for all my ducks. Geese will be seldom so just buy one box of #1 shot and carry 3 rounds of it in your pocket. You can hear Canada’s from far away so you can just swap to that handful of #1 shot before they get there.


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Re: One load: from Wood Ducks to Canada Geese

Postby Tim Terrell » Mon May 04, 2020 8:05 pm

Rick Hall wrote: But, were it me, I'd much rather learn to get birds closer than hit them farther.


There you go...
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Re: One load: from Wood Ducks to Canada Geese

Postby AppalachianHollers » Tue May 05, 2020 8:33 am

Rick Hall wrote:But, were it me, I'd much rather learn to get birds closer than hit them farther.


Sounds like the most satisfying approach, just like with turkey hunting.
I’ll of course be Googling faithfully this summer as season approaches, but when it comes to breaking down the different phases of duck hunting, from scouting to setup to calling to whatever the heck “finishing” calls are, etc., are there any good resources I should be on the lookout for in less-digital formats (e.g. when the used book warehouse store opens back up)? Or articles that won’t pop up to the first 3 results pages?


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Re: One load: from Wood Ducks to Canada Geese

Postby Rick Hall » Tue May 05, 2020 8:59 am

AppalachianHollers wrote:...to calling to whatever the heck “finishing” calls are...


In terms of the call/instrument used, it's generally best to finish your birds with the same one that started them, because you know they like its tone, though you might want to lower its volume. Much the same could be true of the call/cadence that started them, though you'll probably want to alter its timing.
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Re: One load: from Wood Ducks to Canada Geese

Postby sprigs4days » Tue May 05, 2020 10:25 am

Don’t get into wood ducks a whole lot,but do kill a fair share of teal and Canada’s. Been using federal (redbox) #2 for years.
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Re: One load: from Wood Ducks to Canada Geese

Postby HNTFSH » Wed May 06, 2020 7:05 am

Woodies and Teal I prefer my Kent's in a #4.
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Re: One load: from Wood Ducks to Canada Geese

Postby sprigs4days » Wed May 06, 2020 11:51 am

HNTFSH wrote:Woodies and Teal I prefer my Kent's in a #4.

I can see that, but one of the few things this state has to offer is it’s variety of waterfowl. Later in the season the divers start to show, talk about tough birds. Some days it’s puddlers, divers and geese. #2 shot seems to work best for me.
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Re: One load: from Wood Ducks to Canada Geese

Postby AppalachianHollers » Wed May 06, 2020 12:18 pm

I think since I won’t be hunting open water, there’s not a fat chance I’ll be seeing any diver action, or long-shot geese.


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Re: One load: from Wood Ducks to Canada Geese

Postby sprigs4days » Wed May 06, 2020 12:26 pm

AppalachianHollers wrote:I think since I won’t be hunting open water, there’s not a fat chance I’ll be seeing any diver action, or long-shot geese.


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Rarely do I hunt big water. Hunt marshy ponds surrounded by cattails. Gotten Cans, redheads and jacks outta said ponds with an occasional speck or snow.
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Re: One load: from Wood Ducks to Canada Geese

Postby AppalachianHollers » Wed May 06, 2020 12:35 pm

Hopefully at some point I’ll get permission to hunt a pond, but without a dog to retrieve I would have to cast a top water lure or something to get anything back. [emoji23]
For now it’ll just be flooded timber, flooded and dry fields.


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Re: One load: from Wood Ducks to Canada Geese

Postby sprigs4days » Wed May 06, 2020 12:53 pm

I’ve made a few retrieves with a well trained rapala in between dogs. If you catch the bug you may have to retire that rod-retriever for a four legged one.
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Re: One load: from Wood Ducks to Canada Geese

Postby AppalachianHollers » Wed May 06, 2020 5:53 pm

sprigs4days wrote:I’ve made a few retrieves with a well trained rapala in between dogs. If you catch the bug you may have to retire that rod-retriever for a four legged one.

My 15-month old son has been obsessed with dogs since he was 6 months old, and that’s only gotten stronger. Believe me, whether I catch the bug or not, a black lab is on the way at some point in the next couple years!


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Re: One load: from Wood Ducks to Canada Geese

Postby Elvis Kiwi » Thu May 07, 2020 11:00 pm

a 1 1/8th oz load of steel #2s or #3s would be my pick.......the #3s suit us down to the ground for ducks and will do for geese if they close......but the #2s will do it all. a bonus with #2s over #4s is MOST of your shot will exit birds so not many teeth breakers.
as to what brand of load???
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Re: One load: from Wood Ducks to Canada Geese

Postby handyandy » Mon May 11, 2020 1:09 am

just split a case of #2 or #3 shells of whatever the cheapest on sale is at the time. I've run federal speedshok a lot, cheap fiochi, rio blue, winn xpert I really can't tell a difference in any of them comparing like rounds. I prefer #2 I've blasted teal with it all the way up to canadians. It will take them down if they decide to finish further out, and they work up close. But your doing it the right way just using what you got already getting what you need cheap to see how things go and if you want to continue.
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Re: One load: from Wood Ducks to Canada Geese

Postby mudpack » Mon May 11, 2020 6:47 am

Keep your shots under 30 yards and you can kill anything from teal to Canadas with any steel waterfowl load being made today.
Providing you can hit them.
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Re: One load: from Wood Ducks to Canada Geese

Postby AppalachianHollers » Mon May 11, 2020 8:31 am

I think instead of buying a case, I’ll just scout the fields and shorelines I’ve been pinning on my map app. If we see mostly Canadas, we’ll speed over to Wal-Mart and buy a couple boxes of #2’s and pattern. If it’s mostly ducks, we’ll lean toward #4s. Scouting will determine how much we want to invest. If we can pattern flocks hitting fields at dawn or dusk, we’ll be behind the schedule a bit, but we’ll feel easier about buying Canada silhouettes + layout blinds or 2 dozen more mallard floaters w/Texas rig supplies for the remainder of the season and seasons to come.


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Re: One load: from Wood Ducks to Canada Geese

Postby AppalachianHollers » Mon May 11, 2020 8:32 am

Of course, said scouting will be closer to season. I guess November?


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Re: One load: from Wood Ducks to Canada Geese

Postby Elvis Kiwi » Mon May 18, 2020 2:15 am

mudpack wrote:Keep your shots under 30 yards and you can kill anything from teal to Canadas with any steel waterfowl load being made today.
Providing you can hit them.

:bow: :bow: :bow: AMEN to those wise words :thumbsup:
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Re: One load: from Wood Ducks to Canada Geese

Postby Duckin_It » Sat May 23, 2020 6:03 am

If you get ready to buy a case check out Rogers Sporting Goods. Cheapest prices I've found. For your do everything load I would shoot #2. I've killed geese out to about 40 or 45 yards with it and Woodies. I also shoot a Patternmaster choke. Costly but I think it was worth it. Shoots really tight. Either I hit them or miss completely.

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Re: One load: from Wood Ducks to Canada Geese

Postby BusterAZ » Sat Jun 06, 2020 5:15 pm

Elvis Kiwi wrote:
mudpack wrote:Keep your shots under 30 yards and you can kill anything from teal to Canadas with any steel waterfowl load being made today.
Providing you can hit them.

:bow: :bow: :bow: AMEN to those wise words :thumbsup:


I agree as well and killed several decoying geese with #4 Kents when I wasn’t expecting to encounter them.
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Re: One load: from Wood Ducks to Canada Geese

Postby uglymug » Tue Jul 21, 2020 11:12 am

I have to shoot Bismuth out of my Grandpas old Remington 11-48 with a fixed modified choke. I used #5 bismuth and I was stacking them better than my usual #2 Steel load out of my V3 or Montefeltro.

Made me consider switching to that full-time, but it gets pricy quick if you're not on point with your shooting.
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