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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All!

Very new to the world of duck hunting. So new I have not even shot a bird yet. Right now my main focus has been scouting but that has been a challenge. I have not found much of anything in the WMAs and I have found ducks at English Marsh but cannot find access. I am not asking for your honey pots, but any advice on scouting would be helpful.

I live on the South Shore
 

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Welcome Jake. The south shore has a lot of places to hunt ducks. Start by looking from above, google earth. Identify the towns and explore. Check town regulations in regards to hunting. Putting some miles on the vehicle can pay off even without using google earth. Look for waterways, even small ones that could lead to larger areas. Watch for ducks at dawn and ducks and see where they’re going. My best advice would be to stick around this forum. Some good guys here. Not a bunch of us but willing to help. I think I’m up to 5 guys that I’ve hunted with thanks to this site. And if I keep the tradition of having a fourth hunter’s gathering, by all means attend. You could be in a great blind in no time. Good luck and enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Welcome Jake. The south shore has a lot of places to hunt ducks. Start by looking from above, google earth. Identify the towns and explore. Check town regulations in regards to hunting. Putting some miles on the vehicle can pay off even without using google earth. Look for waterways, even small ones that could lead to larger areas. Watch for ducks at dawn and ducks and see where they’re going. My best advice would be to stick around this forum. Some good guys here. Not a bunch of us but willing to help. I think I’m up to 5 guys that I’ve hunted with thanks to this site. And if I keep the tradition of having a fourth hunter’s gathering, by all means attend. You could be in a great blind in no time. Good luck and enjoy!
Moe,

Thank you for the response and I will take all of your advice. I just downloaded Onx to help me with some scouting. I think I actually reached out to your services this season for a guide but I was too late. I am happy to see the forum is still up and running as it seems much more positive than the Facebook groups.

Thank you again for all your help. Hope you have the gathering again!

Jon
 

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Welcome Jon. Everything BM said is true. Scan around on google maps then find somewhere that looks good and scout it at first light. You really only need to watch 10-15 minutes prior to legal and 20 minutes after legal and you’ll have a good idea of ducks use it. Once you find a spot I can’t stress enough on hiding. If you question if you have enough cover you don’t. You can never be too hidden. I have a few buddies that don’t like to be covered too much because they can’t see the ducks but you won’t get the chance if you’re not covered enough. You don’t need a lot of decoys but every situation is different as well as different parts of the state. I would suggest a kayak or single person canoe if you don’t own one yet. Also have patience and let the birds get close. Shooting at far birds isn’t good for anybody. If you hit one the chance of losing them is higher or you miss and you just educate them. Good luck and please share when you get your first bird.


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Hi Jon love the title name now you have to keep it forever.
Small kayak and a life vest probably in your future. At first just for retrieving birds you’ve downed.
I like to form a cover/blind with camo burlap and some grass from surroundings. Cheap, packable and effective.
Check your network ask your closest contacts you might have a close friend or family that has a property they know ducks are on. They wouldn’t give permission to anyone else but because it’s you, you’re in... that would be best case scenario.
Good luck be safe out there.
 

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Jon,
Ton of good advice all ready. WMA can be tough especially during pheasant season. Don’t give up on them though. I have a couple of spots that produce really well during the second part of the central season. That onyx app is great. My son is a avid bow hunter and swears by the app. I typically use google earth. I also do a lot of my scouting in evenings from sunset to dark. Scouting is still a big part of the hunting experience for me. I will spend every Sunday of the coastal season scouting. When my kids were little they used to join me every Sunday. My daughter still sometimes goes with me at 17. Don’t be afraid to ask landowner permission. I usually bring a bag of apples and talk about hunting and the joy of harvesting my own meat. I bat about 65 percent success rate if I can start a conversation. Once permission is granted keep up the relationship. I mow and do leaves for one elderly lady. I also will drop off pies on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and cookies and chocolates at Christmas. I also check in during the off season to see if they need anything. I have even introduced a couple of the landowner kids to fishing and still surf fish with one of them to this day.
 

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Welcome to the forum Jon! Like others have said, a lot of good info from others. Ill just reiterate the scouting part, don't give up. It has been a strange year, I feel the ducks aren't as concentrated as previous years because of the amount of rain we got this summer. More options for them I feel has spread them out more. Only thing I would add is start to try to scout some spots that has moving water. With it getting more into winter and colder temps, a lot of spots will eventually lock up. Having an option that won't freeze will be huge.

Hope we get the opportunity to meet at some point. I would highly encourage attending BM's gathering if he is able to host again next year. Good times with some awesome people!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Welcome Jon. Everything BM said is true. Scan around on google maps then find somewhere that looks good and scout it at first light. You really only need to watch 10-15 minutes prior to legal and 20 minutes after legal and you’ll have a good idea of ducks use it. Once you find a spot I can’t stress enough on hiding. If you question if you have enough cover you don’t. You can never be too hidden. I have a few buddies that don’t like to be covered too much because they can’t see the ducks but you won’t get the chance if you’re not covered enough. You don’t need a lot of decoys but every situation is different as well as different parts of the state. I would suggest a kayak or single person canoe if you don’t own one yet. Also have patience and let the birds get close. Shooting at far birds isn’t good for anybody. If you hit one the chance of losing them is higher or you miss and you just educate them. Good luck and please share when you get your first bird.


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Avian,

Thank you on the advice! At first I was looking at all of these fancy kayaks and canoes. I am settling for a lifetime kayak tractor supply is selling for under $300. Are you usually setting up a blind or using natural cover?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Jon,
Ton of good advice all ready. WMA can be tough especially during pheasant season. Don’t give up on them though. I have a couple of spots that produce really well during the second part of the central season. That onyx app is great. My son is a avid bow hunter and swears by the app. I typically use google earth. I also do a lot of my scouting in evenings from sunset to dark. Scouting is still a big part of the hunting experience for me. I will spend every Sunday of the coastal season scouting. When my kids were little they used to join me every Sunday. My daughter still sometimes goes with me at 17. Don’t be afraid to ask landowner permission. I usually bring a bag of apples and talk about hunting and the joy of harvesting my own meat. I bat about 65 percent success rate if I can start a conversation. Once permission is granted keep up the relationship. I mow and do leaves for one elderly lady. I also will drop off pies on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and cookies and chocolates at Christmas. I also check in during the off season to see if they need anything. I have even introduced a couple of the landowner kids to fishing and still surf fish with one of them to this day.
Thank you for all the scouting advice. There are so many good salt marsh and ponds near me that only have private access. I guess I need to practice my baking. I like the idea of making it a family affair. I have an 18month and would love to raise him into this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi Jon love the title name now you have to keep it forever.
Small kayak and a life vest probably in your future. At first just for retrieving birds you’ve downed.
I like to form a cover/blind with camo burlap and some grass from surroundings. Cheap, packable and effective.
Check your network ask your closest contacts you might have a close friend or family that has a property they know ducks are on. They wouldn’t give permission to anyone else but because it’s you, you’re in... that would be best case scenario.
Good luck be safe out there.
Ha, I was hoping to evolve the name but I think I will be a newb for a very long time. Thank you for the advice! I am going to be buying a kayak next week. Do you hunt from the kayak?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Welcome to the forum Jon! Like others have said, a lot of good info from others. Ill just reiterate the scouting part, don't give up. It has been a strange year, I feel the ducks aren't as concentrated as previous years because of the amount of rain we got this summer. More options for them I feel has spread them out more. Only thing I would add is start to try to scout some spots that has moving water. With it getting more into winter and colder temps, a lot of spots will eventually lock up. Having an option that won't freeze will be huge.

Hope we get the opportunity to meet at some point. I would highly encourage attending BM's gathering if he is able to host again next year. Good times with some awesome people!
Thank you Jambrose! That does make sense. I believe for me that leaves the ocean ha! Most of the moving fresh water seems to go through towns that do not allow hunting. I would love to meet up in the future. It sounds like a blast!
 

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Ha, I was hoping to evolve the name but I think I will be a newb for a very long time. Thank you for the advice! I am going to be buying a kayak next week. Do you hunt from the kayak?
Hunting from a moving kayak isn’t for everyone. It requires a load of expensive and specific gear to do safely. Plus in most cases you’d want a more substantial kayak.
Not really a game for the salt water anyways.

The yak you want is small cheap to get to a spot carrying your gear or drag to the spot from your car, maybe with gear in it.

The hunt you are looking for is - get into a spot the ducks go early, put a few decoys out just to make it look like a duck party, be simple. Hide well and then shoot them as they’re landing near the dekes. Right at am shooting time will be your best bet, sundown next best.
When your scouting think about how your going to make all that happen in the spot.
Get a headlamp and next some camo neoprene waders.
Be safe no duck is worth an accident.
 

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Hunting from a moving kayak isn’t for everyone. It requires a load of expensive and specific gear to do safely. Plus in most cases you’d want a more substantial kayak.
Not really a game for the salt water anyways.

The yak you want is small cheap to get to a spot carrying your gear or drag to the spot from your car, maybe with gear in it.

The hunt you are looking for is - get into a spot the ducks go early, put a few decoys out just to make it look like a duck party, be simple. Hide well and then shoot them as they’re landing near the dekes. Right at am shooting time will be your best bet, sundown next best.
When your scouting think about how your going to make all that happen in the spot.
Get a headlamp and next some camo neoprene waders.
Be safe no duck is worth an accident.
Farm, your last sentence is probably the best advice given so far.


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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hunting from a moving kayak isn’t for everyone. It requires a load of expensive and specific gear to do safely. Plus in most cases you’d want a more substantial kayak.
Not really a game for the salt water anyways.

The yak you want is small cheap to get to a spot carrying your gear or drag to the spot from your car, maybe with gear in it.

The hunt you are looking for is - get into a spot the ducks go early, put a few decoys out just to make it look like a duck party, be simple. Hide well and then shoot them as they’re landing near the dekes. Right at am shooting time will be your best bet, sundown next best.
When your scouting think about how your going to make all that happen in the spot.
Get a headlamp and next some camo neoprene waders.
Be safe no duck is worth an accident.
Farmhunter,

Thank you for the advice! I just grabbed a cheap kayak to get started and I have 6 decoys. I hope to get out on the hunt a few times over the next couple week! Thank you. Especially on the last piece of advice :)
 

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Remember this isnt Missisippi flyway... Maybe a few decoys on small ponds, a jerk cord and not really even a call. Over calling is a bad habit, prolly second to sky busting.
FYI i run a Raddison Canoe about 1200 bucks new, you can find them all over craigs list. Its about 46 lbs unloaded. It has its downfalls rocky shores hate the thin skin, sticks, stumps. As long as you do your homework its a great canoe. This time of year, I might look to rivers and streams that have wide areas that stay ice free late. Up in central ma we are close to lock up where the small ponds get frozen over.
Be sure to use google maps distance measure for 500ft, There is a list of towns with no discharge. That is a civil infraction and not criminal act. Its a town fine but ignorance is no justification.
From a bowhunting site... However in navigatable water ways you are not on anyones property so you do not need permission just distance.
This is from 2016, with all the new people popping up on here, thought it might be useful.
According to a list compiled by MassWildlife, towns requiring hunters to obtain written permission of landowner or town authorities include Acton, Essex, Milton, Swampscott, Andover, Framingham, Monterey, Tolland, Alford, Georgetown, Natick, Topsfield, Bedford, Gosnold, Needham, Tyngsboro, Beverly, Groveland, New Marlboro, Tyringham, Billerica, Hamilton, Newbury, Walpole, Blandford, Hampden, North Andover, Waltham, Bolton, Harvard, Northboro, Wayland, Boxford, Holliston, Norwood, Wellesley, Boxborough, Hull, Peabody, Wenham, Brewster, Ipswich, Reading, Weston, Brookline, Lincoln, Rowley, Westboro, Carlisle, Littleton, Sandisfield, Westford, Chelmsford, Lunenburg, Saugus, Westwood, Concord, Medfield, Seekonk, West Newbury, Cuttyhunk, Methuen, Sheffield, West Stockbridge, Danvers, Middlefield, Sherborn, West Tisbury, Dover, Middleton, Southboro, Wilbraham, Dracut, Millis, Stow, Dunstable, Sudbury and East Longmeadow.
Those towns with ordinances prohibiting the discharge of firearms include: Arlington, Chelsea, Medfield, Stoneham, Ashland, East Longmeadow, Medford, Tewksbury, Avon, Lawrence, Melrose, Wakefield, Bedford, Lexington, Newton, Wilmington, Belmont, Longmeadow, North Reading, Winchester, Boston, Lowell, Randolph, Winthrop, Braintree, Lynn, Salem, Woburn, Burlington, Lynnfield, Somerset, Canton, Malden and Somerville.
 

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Good info.
There are many places where the property lines don’t stop at the waters edge. The old saying that no one owns the water is only true in certain spots.
A lot of small swamps and small rivers in my area are covered up in private property.
If your inside a private property line your trespassing. I know a local farm that will have EP working you over after your first shot.
Especially the big old farms are well respected well connected to the authorities.

The onX app should show property lines.
Have fun stay out of trouble.
 

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Good info.
There are many places where the property lines don’t stop at the waters edge. The old saying that no one owns the water is only true in certain spots.
A lot of small swamps and small rivers in my area are covered up in private property.
If your inside a private property line your trespassing. I know a local farm that will have EP working you over after your first shot.
Especially the big old farms are well respected well connected to the authorities.

The onX app should show property lines.
Have fun stay out of trouble.
I think you might be mistaken, Trespassing the land must be posted. If a navigable river is listed as long as you are on water and not anchored you are legal. To commit trespassing you must hunt on posted land. Meerly accessing non posted land is not trespassing. I am not sure of MGL on who owns land underwater however you are legal to float rivers and streams legally NO ONE OWNS THE WATER!
 

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I think you might be mistaken, Trespassing the land must be posted. If a navigable river is listed as long as you are on water and not anchored you are legal. To commit trespassing you must hunt on posted land. Meerly accessing non posted land is not trespassing. I am not sure of MGL on who owns land underwater however you are legal to float rivers and streams legally NO ONE OWNS THE WATER!
No hard feeling James keep doing what works for you in your spots man. I hope the best for you out there.

I don’t believe I am mistaken.
In New Hampshire you can hunt any private land that is not posted. They advertise that.. but it’s not true in MA.
If your inside a private property line you are trespassing.
If you pass by a posting or someone tells you it’s private property you are trespassing after notice.
I don’t believe there is any dispute over where the property lines are.

The enforcement of this stuff is at times non existent and always situational.
What you can get away with maybe different argument.
Probably like littering.
But you aren’t magically granted access onto someone’s private property because you couldn’t detect a posting as you walked, paddled, ran or skipped in.
We may live in Massachusetts but this is still America and we still have private property.
 

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Farmhunter, not looking at starting any arguments, just healthy debate and clarification. Massachusetts abstracts clearly state that barring any town regulations, private property is open to hunting unless otherwise posted. That being the case, I’m one of the guys that’s always checked or asked for permission, regardless of posted signs or not. We owe it to property owners to be respectful and responsible.
 
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