Quackkk -quack- quack- quack! This is the sound you hear coming from a mile away when your laying in your blind and the first bit of light starts striking the landscapes around you. Many of you know what this is all about. It's that sound that gets every hunters heart beating a little faster knowing your first shot at some ducks or geese will be arriving just minutes from that moment. You've gone through all the hard work scouting the night before, setting your alarm for that nasty 4:00am wake up call, driving yourself and your hunting partners and all your gear out to the field only for an hour and a half of that grouling work of setting up your hunting position and your enourmous never ending spread of decoys. But finally, after all this hard work, your chance at a limit of ducks and geese is just an instant away.
Being an avid waterfowl hunter myself, I have a huge passion for the sport and I would like to spread a little word to people that have an interest in the sport, but have never had the knowlege and support to know what it takes to have a succesful hunt out in the field. Many of us were brought up to the sport by our fathers and in alot of cases even our mothers who wanted to pass their passion down. I was fortunate enough to have this flow of passion being passed down by my father and I feel the desire to now pass this knowledge on to anyone that hasn't had this opportunity in life.
My first waterfowl hunt was nothing special as far as the gear we used and the location of our hunt. Hunting waterfowl can be as complicated as you want it to be or it can be simple and not require a whole lot of gear. I am going to discuss the bare minimum of knowledge that you will need to know and the minimal amount of gear that you will need in order to have a very successful hunt.
To start off, I'd like to discuss the gear aspect of waterfowl hunting. In order to have a successful hunt, you are going to need to make sure you can camoflauge yourself so that birds wont be able to identify you as they come into your spread. This will require a camoflauge outfit including a jacket and some bibs or pants to wear over your legs which you can find at any outdoor outfitting store. Next, you will need some decoys. I would recommend shopping around a few different sportsman stores and finding yourself a couple dozen floating duck decoys and a couple dozen goose shell decoys. This will be plenty enough to draw in flocks of birds into your decoy spread. A pair of waiders is always a great thing to keep in the back of your truck as well whenever you go out hunting for waterfowl. The most important thing that you will absolutely need, is a method to call in the birds. I would recommend at least one duck call, a second is always nice in case during frigid temperatures one of your calls just so happens to freeze a backup is always nice. A goose call is also a neccesity. For a beginner, I would recommend a floot style of call rather than a short reed call which is harder to function properly without more experience. This is the absolute bare minimum amount of gear you will need in order to find success in waterfowl hunting.
Now, lets discuss the hunt. If you ask me, the hunt includes the scouting, the setting up of your decoy spread, and the actual hunt iteself. The night before a morning of hunting, you absolutely need to get out to your area that you plan on hunting and spot the birds and their patterns of where they are feeding. Birds roost up for the night in pot holes or any body of water that is large enough to hold at least one flock of birds. As soon as the birds decide it's time to eat, they get up off the water and fly to a nearby field usually within a couple miles or so of the water they roosted up on. This is what you need to be watching for, ducks in the air and landing in a field or just plain looking for ducks in the field. Once you have spotted where ducks are going or where ducks are at, this is the place you want to be for your hunt. Once it get's dark the birds will fly back to their roosting area until feeding time the next morning which is right at sun up. Ok, so your back home now, the scouting is done. The next morning is going to be an early one, you need to get out to the field early enough to have time to set up your blinds and your spread of decoys. When you go to set up your decoys, you want to leave a pocket in front of you or behind you for the birds coming in to try to set up and land on. Remember, birds will always want to land into the wind so when you decide where your going to set up your decoys according to your blinds, take into account the wind dirrection and plan accordingly. Goose decoys should be spread on both sides of you and create an elongated U shape. Your blinds should be positioned at the bottom of the U. Put the ducks amidst the bottom of the U and around the blinds remembering to leave that pocket slightly infront of you and behind you open for incoming birds to set up on and come in for the kill. Now you're finally set up and ready to hunt. Hopefully you even finished with a little bit of time for a nap before that first bit of sun comes over the horizon and shooting time arrives. As soon as you begin hearing ducks, I like to let out a few cracks of the duck call here and there.
I hope that with this little bit of knowledge, I was succesful at passing on to anyone who reads this the ablity take this knowledge and use it for a successful hunt out in the field.
Lets get em' guys, stay classy!