Trouble getting ducks to finish

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Trouble getting ducks to finish

Postby jdbdkhr » Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:11 pm

I'm having trouble getting Mallards to get their feet down within gun range. I can't figure out if it's my setup or they are just spooked from being blasted at when they are out of range by people who think this is like dove hunting. Doubles and singles come in good but the groups of 10 or 20 just don't want to finish. They will either land 30 or 40 yards away from the decoys or just get back up. I only call when they are going away. I can turn them and get them to circle and they look like they are going to commit, then flare at the last second, or land out of range. I would appreciate any advice. Thanks in advance.
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Re: Trouble getting ducks to finish

Postby AWall3322 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 6:31 am

Sounds like you don’t have a big enough spot open that those bigger flocks feel comfortable landing where’s it’s fine for the singles or doubles


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Re: Trouble getting ducks to finish

Postby jdbdkhr » Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:07 pm

AWall3322 wrote:Sounds like you don’t have a big enough spot open that those bigger flocks feel comfortable landing where’s it’s fine for the singles or doubles


I am hunting a large lake. Usually on an island point or off to one side depending on the wind. Typically I use a J hook spread. Divers in a strip 10 yards wide, 50 yards long. Mallards and Black ducks making the hook towards the bank. I leave a hole at the end of the divers. The singles and doubles are landing in the divers, the flocks are landing or almost landing with the divers. Do you think I should use a horse shoe or C shape spread with a big hole in the middle?

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Re: Trouble getting ducks to finish

Postby CatFan » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:01 pm

I hunted a lake last year and will I never really had large flocks to contend with I found I had the best luck by separating my divers from my puddle ducks in two groups, one to either side of my boat. I left an opening between them in front of the boat. I'd put the divers closer to deep water if that was an option. I also and to bring in the outside edge of my decoys within gun range for the Buffleheads that liked to buzz the edge a foot off the water a Mach 2. Ever bird that came in hit the gap between the divers and puddle ducks.
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Re: Trouble getting ducks to finish

Postby jdbdkhr » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:07 pm

CatFan wrote:I hunted a lake last year and will I never really had large flocks to contend with I found I had the best luck by separating my divers from my puddle ducks in two groups, one to either side of my boat. I left an opening between them in front of the boat. I'd put the divers closer to deep water if that was an option. I also and to bring in the outside edge of my decoys within gun range for the Buffleheads that liked to buzz the edge a foot off the water a Mach 2. Ever bird that came in hit the gap between the divers and puddle ducks.


Monday was the biggest flock I have ever turned and got to come in to my spread since I started duck hunting, at least 20 birds. So it was an accomplishment, I just wish they would have gotten on down. Had 10 or so come in Saturday. They are landing with the divers and not the Mallards, which seems strange to me. But I am a novice and still learning.

Have you had mallards land with the divers and mostly ignoring the Mallard decoys in your spread? We usually see groups of 4 and 5 so I'm thinking these are migrating birds. They seem to be a little bigger than our local lake ducks.

I am trying to formulate a plan for Saturday and I'm thinking the 2 separate groups is how I'll go.

Thanks for the advice.
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Re: Trouble getting ducks to finish

Postby DuckMauler » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:30 pm

jdbdkhr wrote:
CatFan wrote:I hunted a lake last year and will I never really had large flocks to contend with I found I had the best luck by separating my divers from my puddle ducks in two groups, one to either side of my boat. I left an opening between them in front of the boat. I'd put the divers closer to deep water if that was an option. I also and to bring in the outside edge of my decoys within gun range for the Buffleheads that liked to buzz the edge a foot off the water a Mach 2. Ever bird that came in hit the gap between the divers and puddle ducks.


Monday was the biggest flock I have ever turned and got to come in to my spread since I started duck hunting, at least 20 birds. So it was an accomplishment, I just wish they would have gotten on down. Had 10 or so come in Saturday. They are landing with the divers and not the Mallards, which seems strange to me. But I am a novice and still learning.

Have you had mallards land with the divers and mostly ignoring the Mallard decoys in your spread? We usually see groups of 4 and 5 so I'm thinking these are migrating birds. They seem to be a little bigger than our local lake ducks.

I am trying to formulate a plan for Saturday and I'm thinking the 2 separate groups is how I'll go.

Thanks for the advice.



I've had mallards come into a diver spread countless times. Think about it, the ducks are flying around 50 mph and they look down and they see "ducks" and they come if it's presentable and if they want to. If you're in the right place and you have white or black milk jugs out, they'll come.
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Re: Trouble getting ducks to finish

Postby AWall3322 » Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:02 pm

CatFan wrote:I hunted a lake last year and will I never really had large flocks to contend with I found I had the best luck by separating my divers from my puddle ducks in two groups, one to either side of my boat. I left an opening between them in front of the boat. I'd put the divers closer to deep water if that was an option. I also and to bring in the outside edge of my decoys within gun range for the Buffleheads that liked to buzz the edge a foot off the water a Mach 2. Ever bird that came in hit the gap between the divers and puddle ducks.

This. Try putting out two groups. Don’t string the divers, make them a small pod. Same with the puddlers and you sit in the middle. Gives them countless options on where to land but for whatever reason they almost always land in the center. Leave a decent gap between the groups but leave it where you can shoot outside either group if they land out there


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Re: Trouble getting ducks to finish

Postby jdbdkhr » Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:15 pm

AWall3322 wrote:
CatFan wrote:I hunted a lake last year and will I never really had large flocks to contend with I found I had the best luck by separating my divers from my puddle ducks in two groups, one to either side of my boat. I left an opening between them in front of the boat. I'd put the divers closer to deep water if that was an option. I also and to bring in the outside edge of my decoys within gun range for the Buffleheads that liked to buzz the edge a foot off the water a Mach 2. Ever bird that came in hit the gap between the divers and puddle ducks.

This. Try putting out two groups. Don’t string the divers, make them a small pod. Same with the puddlers and you sit in the middle. Gives them countless options on where to land but for whatever reason they almost always land in the center. Leave a decent gap between the groups but leave it where you can shoot outside either group if they land out there


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Thanks, I will give it a try.
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Re: Trouble getting ducks to finish

Postby CatFan » Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:15 pm

Good luck and let us know how it goes. As for mallards landing in the dirvers, I've only be using diver decoys for a couple of years and in that time never had mallards working while hunting that spread, it was always some sort of diver.
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Re: Trouble getting ducks to finish

Postby jdbdkhr » Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:36 pm

CatFan wrote:Good luck and let us know how it goes. As for mallards landing in the dirvers, I've only be using diver decoys for a couple of years and in that time never had mallards working while hunting that spread, it was always some sort of diver.



I'm going to try Saturday, if I can get the boat in the water...lol
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Re: Trouble getting ducks to finish

Postby luvalab » Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:21 pm

If the Mallards are already using the area and you are on the X try no decoys and good soft feed chuckle to finish them near you. Sounds crazy, but it works. Good luck!
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Re: Trouble getting ducks to finish

Postby jdbdkhr » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:34 pm

No mallards today. Had mixed diver spread on the right, puddlers on the left, big hole in the middle. Had 20 or so ringnecks come in from the right and flared off at the edge of the spread. SMH. Did have a merganser buzz over, turn and come right into the hole. Getting more ducks closer than ever, but still can't seal the deal. Thanks for all the help and I'll keep grinding it out. Learning a little more every time out.
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Re: Trouble getting ducks to finish

Postby CatFan » Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:41 am

I don't have a lot of experience with ringnecks but have been told they take their own sweet time in committing do decoys and that they also tend to prefer larger spreads of decoys as well. And without hearing you calling or seeing how your hunting it hard to offer more advice. Keep in mind as well these are living, breathing animals with a mind of their own. Sometimes they just say 'hope'.
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Re: Trouble getting ducks to finish

Postby jdbdkhr » Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:42 pm

CatFan wrote:I don't have a lot of experience with ringnecks but have been told they take their own sweet time in committing do decoys and that they also tend to prefer larger spreads of decoys as well. And without hearing you calling or seeing how your hunting it hard to offer more advice. Keep in mind as well these are living, breathing animals with a mind of their own. Sometimes they just say 'hope'.



I don't call much, mostly at ducks going away. A few quacks strung together, mostly what I hear from the ducks in my area. No stage routines or blind calling or calling to impress the guys on the next island 500 yds away. I hunt mostly from the bank on islands in the lake. Try to hide in trees or limbs formed into a blind. Generally try to be in naturally shaded areas, unless wind dictates otherwise. I think my setup and locations are basically sound, at least as good as they can be on public waters. I'll just keep at it, things are bound to click one day.
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Re: Trouble getting ducks to finish

Postby luvalab » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:07 am

One thing to consider is if the ducks sit naturally where you are hunting. There are plenty of spots that seem logical to us, but for some reason the ducks will not land/sit there. This is especially true when hunting Mallards and Black Ducks, you have to be where they want to be and on public land that is typically a very secluded spot with natural food source like smartweed. With divers try to find where they are sitting or on a point close to their flight path when they trade back and forth. If divers flare short of the decoys then move your decoys further away from the blind, make sure they are not looking directly at you once they setup and that the sun is at an advantageous position for you. Finally, one of the worst things you can do when duck hunting is setup on the same point and expect things to change. If that area is not working out then spend a decent amount of time scouting to find where the ducks want to be instead of just setting up to hunt. It will pay huge dividends and over several season you'll gain some good options for places to hunt. Stay after them and good luck!
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Re: Trouble getting ducks to finish

Postby jdbdkhr » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:16 am

luvalab wrote:One thing to consider is if the ducks sit naturally where you are hunting. There are plenty of spots that seem logical to us, but for some reason the ducks will not land/sit there. This is especially true when hunting Mallards and Black Ducks, you have to be where they want to be and on public land that is typically a very secluded spot with natural food source like smartweed. With divers try to find where they are sitting or on a point close to their flight path when they trade back and forth. If divers flare short of the decoys then move your decoys further away from the blind, make sure they are not looking directly at you once they setup and that the sun is at an advantageous position for you. Finally, one of the worst things you can do when duck hunting is setup on the same point and expect things to change. If that area is not working out then spend a decent amount of time scouting to find where the ducks want to be instead of just setting up to hunt. It will pay huge dividends and over several season you'll gain some good options for places to hunt. Stay after them and good luck!



I think I may have had the decoys a little close. And we were lit up by the sun. I should have been more on the point. It was the first time I hunted that spot. Thanks again for your advice and I will keep trying.
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Re: Trouble getting ducks to finish

Postby CatFan » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:48 am

jdbdkhr wrote:
CatFan wrote:I don't have a lot of experience with ringnecks but have been told they take their own sweet time in committing do decoys and that they also tend to prefer larger spreads of decoys as well. And without hearing you calling or seeing how your hunting it hard to offer more advice. Keep in mind as well these are living, breathing animals with a mind of their own. Sometimes they just say 'hope'.



I don't call much, mostly at ducks going away. A few quacks strung together, mostly what I hear from the ducks in my area. No stage routines or blind calling or calling to impress the guys on the next island 500 yds away. I hunt mostly from the bank on islands in the lake. Try to hide in trees or limbs formed into a blind. Generally try to be in naturally shaded areas, unless wind dictates otherwise. I think my setup and locations are basically sound, at least as good as they can be on public waters. I'll just keep at it, things are bound to click one day.


I'll still call when they are coming at me just much more subdued. Some chuckling and very, very light and relaxed quacking. I'm trying to emulate contended ducks that are just chilling. I'll stop if they are fully locked up as in not even the nervous looking partial wing beat and coming right at me. Cupped and gliding. I don't know if you said how long you've been at this but you can read their body language after doing it a while. I probably can't describe it but last year I had 8 Cans fly over and hit them with a come back when they were about 150 yards out moving right to left. The turned away and I could tell they were interested. But my son thought they were leaving. No sooner did he say it than they completed their turn and came straight in from several hundred yards out. Just takes experience and doing it wrong hundreds of times. IMO, being still and blending is maybe more important than being completely hidden. In that case above I was sitting in an 18 foot fiberglass bass boat that was pushed in the reeds and had came burlap laid over it. But we were still and didn't have any thing to glare.
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Re: Trouble getting ducks to finish

Postby jdbdkhr » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:37 am

CatFan wrote:
jdbdkhr wrote:
CatFan wrote:I don't have a lot of experience with ringnecks but have been told they take their own sweet time in committing do decoys and that they also tend to prefer larger spreads of decoys as well. And without hearing you calling or seeing how your hunting it hard to offer more advice. Keep in mind as well these are living, breathing animals with a mind of their own. Sometimes they just say 'hope'.



I don't call much, mostly at ducks going away. A few quacks strung together, mostly what I hear from the ducks in my area. No stage routines or blind calling or calling to impress the guys on the next island 500 yds away. I hunt mostly from the bank on islands in the lake. Try to hide in trees or limbs formed into a blind. Generally try to be in naturally shaded areas, unless wind dictates otherwise. I think my setup and locations are basically sound, at least as good as they can be on public waters. I'll just keep at it, things are bound to click one day.


I'll still call when they are coming at me just much more subdued. Some chuckling and very, very light and relaxed quacking. I'm trying to emulate contended ducks that are just chilling. I'll stop if they are fully locked up as in not even the nervous looking partial wing beat and coming right at me. Cupped and gliding. I don't know if you said how long you've been at this but you can read their body language after doing it a while. I probably can't describe it but last year I had 8 Cans fly over and hit them with a come back when they were about 150 yards out moving right to left. The turned away and I could tell they were interested. But my son thought they were leaving. No sooner did he say it than they completed their turn and came straight in from several hundred yards out. Just takes experience and doing it wrong hundreds of times. IMO, being still and blending is maybe more important than being completely hidden. In that case above I was sitting in an 18 foot fiberglass bass boat that was pushed in the reeds and had came burlap laid over it. But we were still and didn't have any thing to glare.



I've been duck hunting for about 7 or 8 years now. I'm not real confident in my calling and I figure I'm better off being quiet if they are coming in. If they are going away I figure I have nothing to lose so I give em what I got. This is the first year I have seen big flocks working, so it's new territory for me. I usually just see 5 or 6 birds at most. They are usually locals that are real shy because they have seen decoys, heard a lot of calling, and been shot at. My best hunts were when I've been hid good and never saw the birds and they dropped right into the spread. I shot my first limit of mallards that way a couple years ago. Barely had time to grab my gun much less call to them. Based on those experiences I try to worry more about cover and decoy placement than calling. I just try to add a little more to my game each year. I'm in it for the long haul and I'm patient. Took me a long time to learn how to consistently kill big deer so I just stay at it and take it as it comes. I really appreciate all the help I have received from y'all on this Forum.
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