One of the first things I noticed about waterfowl hunting is all of the equipment that is necessary. Duck hunting is the most equipment intensive hunting there is. You are going to need everything from decoys, waders, a blind, duck boat, etc. That is just the beginning of the equipment you are going to require. The reward for acquiring all of this equipment is that you will be rewarded with memories of waterfowl hunting for years to come.
Here is a basic list of equipment you will need to get you started:
Guns and Shells:
Don't purchase a discount shotgun if you are going to become serious about waterfowl hunting. You are going to need a 12-gauge chambered for 3 to 3.5 inch magnum shells. You should purchase a high quality shotgun that was designed for hunting. You should get one with a synthetic stock. My opinion of a perfect shotgun is the Benelli Super Vinci. This gun was introduced in 2010. This gun has everything a duck hunter could possibly want. What is nice about Benelli's is that you can shoot it hundreds of times without cleaning it. I am certainly not recommending this, but if it happens you really don't have to worry because it won't hurt your gun.
Of course, this gun is very expensive. There are less expensive alternatives such as Remington's 870 Wingmaster. Many a duck hunter cut his feet on the Remington 870.
Make sure that you understand your local laws regarding the use of shot. Steel shot is required if you are shooting over water. Lots of hunters have gone to Bismuth shot. Just check with the local laws before you invest in something that you cannot use.
You will need to invest in a pair of high-quality waders even if you intend on hunting from a boat. Waders will guarantee that your feet will stay warm and dry. You need to have waders that are camouflage and warm. Neoprene is a must if you hunt in the northern half of the United States. The best waders for duck hunting are the ones that come with a boot foot. These do not require you to buy wading shoes.
I always like to try on a pair of waders before I buy them because I like to ensure that I am going to be able to move in them. I test my entire range of motion before I decide on a pair.
There are dozens of different kinds of decoys. They come in every shape and size. Begin with a dozen mallard decoys. If you place a dozen floating decoys in a well thought out spot, you will have birds flying in close enough for you to take a shot. As you become more experienced, you can experiment with more and different kinds of decoys.
Above is pictured a couple of hunters placing out a spread of "standing" mallards. If you are hunting in very shallow water these will work. I started out hunting in marshes where the water was mostly 3 feet deep. I needed to use floating decoys. I have hunted over spreads with a little as 12 decoys, and spreads with as many as 300.
Of course, there are endless more things that you are going to need to consider before you are ready to go. They all depend on where you are going to hunt. The list is going to be different depending on whether you are hunting in a marsh or on a river, from a camo boat, or a blind, or if you are standing in a flooded marsh.
What I have given you here is a bare-bones list of the equipment that is needed no matter what where you are going to hunt for ducks. I have given you a few ideas here, but there is no substitute for practical experience on the water while duck hunting.