From my experience, Duck hunting is not as easy as the video games make it seem. If you have to overlook all the ducks, the amount of times you miss a shot and how they have to leave the screen before you shoot then you shouldn’t overlook one thing: You have to find a spot to hunt from. This is important. You also have to move about while you hunt, unlike the video games.
Apart from the great, fat-free meat and money gained from ducks. Hunting gives you a great satisfaction from outdoor activities. You can go duck hunting with family and friends and get to enjoy some quality time with each other that way. Hunting in groups gives a great feeling of generosity when you share your bounty with others as well.
It is also one of those activities that give you both nutritional and physical benefits as it lets you exercise and also provides one of the purest forms of meat.
Before going out to hunt, here are a few tips to rock on your first hunt:
- Mind the Weather: Duck hunting is mostly done around September and the day might not turn out as sunny as expected. Before leaving, make sure the weather will be safe to hunt in. If you’re not sure about the weather then wear something that will be, warm on the inside while you hunt in a cold weather. If you're hunting in groups then carry communicators to keep, in touch with each other while hunting. However, you might have to camp somewhere for shelter and also put away your electronic devices when the weather changes its face.
- Hunt with Friends: Ducks travel in flocks. These flocks could be a hundred or more-so duck hunting is something you cannot just do alone because you’d run out of meat to kill. Going with friends makes it worth the hunt and you also get to take breaks, share life stories and talk about past hunting experiences. Hunting in groups is recommended for newbie as well to help them get acquainted with the hunting game and its benefits.
- Find a spot: You can’t just go out there aimlessly looking for ducks. If you spotted a group of ducks in a swamp or ponds, be sure they come around at the same time each day before going on a hunt. Ducks move in groups and they migrate a lot.
- Hunt with Decoys and Camouflage: Wear a cap to conceal the upper parts of your face. If you have a brown camouflage or wader to put on it’d be great as well to conceal your body parts and blend you into the environment. Decoys make a great attraction to real ducks. Decoys are really affordable and are allowed to be used for duck hunting all over the World.
- Hunt with a Shotgun: Most people never really pay attention to the weapon they go hunting with. You should. If I’m caught hunting with a pistol for example, I could, be violating a few laws. A pistol is not a gun for hunting by the way. Shotguns are recommended for hunting. In areas where the weapon you carry doesn’t really matter, your type of bullet doesn’t matter as well. You can go hunting with gun powder bullets or lead. In areas where rules are against guns, never hunt with lead bullets. If you're wondering whether you could hunt ducks with bows and arrows then worry no more, you can.
- Make Duck calls: It sounds really easy when you find someone who can make duck calls. It’s not as easy as it sounds but making duck calls gives you greater chances of making a kill while hunting. Duck calls attract other ducks to the environment, giving you great chances of hitting your target for the day.
- Move but don’t distract: You’re advised to be mobile but really steady and quiet while hunting ducks so you don’t scare the flocks. Be mobile, in a quiet way. If you have to put your bag away, do so.
- Hunt with a boat: Duck hunting with a boat is not compulsory unless the ducks are high on waters or you simply can’t walk all day in the name of hunting. Hunting ducks with a boat also lets you fish while you hunt. This also depends on the area you’re hunting on.
- Hunt with pets: Ducks cannot really fly; they jump for a long distance and land again. If you happen to miss a shot, chances are, the duck was hit and your pet could catch up with it before it regains the strength to fly. Injuring your target is very common when you hunt with a powder shotgun
- Locations: For the newbie interested in hunting as well but don’t know where to start from, you can hunt in places where there are lakes, rivers and swamps. Ducks are known as waterfowls, and waterfowl hunting could happen in lakes, ponds, swamps, sloughs and other places with fresh waters.
- Checkout Parks: Most water parks and reservations let you pay a few dollars to hunt ducks on their lands for a whole day and you get to keep your kills. These parks are private and hundreds of ducks for sports and food are available.
- Read the rules and regulations: This is usually the final warning I give to those going on a duck hunt. Hunting in some states requires some paperwork and licenses. Find out about yours and get a permit before hunting in that state.
Get permissions to hunt on private property, a park or federal property. There are land use laws around various states as well and violating these rules and regulations could get you in big trouble. Some private property out there can also let you pay to hunt on their land. You should find out from anyone around you.
You are only allowed to hunt legally with a shotgun. The 12 and 20 gauge shotguns are recommended, but you can use any other brand of shotgun around that gauge. If you’re not sure about the gun to hunt with, ask around the nearest gun store.
Be on the lookout for other hunters. There is no advisable way to make sure there are other hunters around without alarming the flock of ducks in the same area. If you recently got to the hunting area, run a small survey around with your eyes and also make duck calls at some point to be sure there’s no one around the area.
When you are not sure it’s a duck, don’t shoot. You could shoot something else or someone. If you are hunting with a pet, like a dog has him, or she confirms if the surrounding is safe for Duck hunting.
Do not hunt with Chemicals. Most times ducks come around wetlands or small rivers. Do not poison the river or set dangerous traps in the name of hunting ducks. These chemicals could harm other animals in the surrounding and endanger the habitat.
Do not shoot randomly. Set your aim on a target and hit it. Newbie hunters tend to just shoot in the direction of the flock with hope to hit at least one duck. This is understandable because ducks migrate and feed in flocks but it’s not a sure way to hit your target. Taking a random shot will scatter the flock, or your bullet could hit something else. If there’s a flock, take a shot at one duck and see how it goes.
If you find the right place to hunt, don’t feel scared of hunting Ducks. Duck hunting is not poaching, especially when you can differentiate a Pigeon or other animals from a duck.
Never go hunting with kids, especially little girls. If you have to teach your little boy a lesson or two, make sure the hunt location is not far from home. That way, you can come home quickly if anything happens while the hunt is going on. Also, do not let the child carry a gun especially if he/she is below eighteen. It could get you in a lot of trouble.
Carry Food. Whether you’re alone or with a group, go with snacks or some food in case you get tired. You are also advised to do the same while hunting with kids or pets. A lot of things could happen while you hunt. Someone could get lost.
Don't carry noisy backpacks while you hunt, especially backpacks with the jingling metallic sounds. They could scare the ducks while you're taking out your gun or in hiding. Also, your backpack should be big enough to hold food, water, and other hunting equipment.
Finally, if you plan on hunting for hours longer, make a hunting tent or camp to come back to and eat, rest before continuing your hunt. If you made a kill the first time off to hunt, you can roast it and eat before going off to hunt for the second time. The sizes of tents vary. If you are hunting in groups, individual tents are ideal, especially when there's enough space on the land.