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DigitalFisherman

Advise for a First Time Duck Hunter

13 posts in this topic

I discovered by accident that my 1yo golden is a freak in the water. I hunt grouse most of the time but took her to a pond just to see how she would react; within an hour she was doing doubles through cat tails and lily pads... needless to say I feel I owe it to her to take up waterfowling. I have the gear covered, have picked up a couple dozen deeks and have read a couple books but there is no substitute for experience so I have come to you folks.

I will likely be hunting from a canoe in the marshes and backwaters of a small river up north (I have seen lots of ducks in the area while fishing). What should I expect; what advise can you all offer.

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I would suggest practice calling; one of the lost arts in waterfowl hunting. Get some blind material to make your canoe blend in...

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So many things for a rookie! I was one a few years ago and now I'm pretty well set. I look through the Cabela's waterfowl issue and find I don't even need anything. My suggestions: grab a magazine or book to learn about the basics including decoy set-ups, positioning with the wind, etc. You've got the main things necessary: gun, dekes, willing dog...I assume you're getting the camo gear. For boat camo those burlaps work well, but nothing beats natural vegetation so bring a knife or archery saw to help blend in. Don't forget to let the dog have a view of the water so he can mark the birds and see them coming. Learning about calling is a big part, so get a good call (see another current post) and a tape or CD and practice in the car, house, wherever you can get away with it.

Any specific questions on gear and lots of people will chime in!

Good luck! Your dog's gonna love it!

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I think that I am in good shape with the boat; it's a sporting canoe and has a wetlands camo finish. I will also use (as suggested) some of the natural vegitation as blind material.

I do have a couple specific questions. Should the pup be in the canoe with me or would you recomend hanging a platform off of the side for her at the water level(it's a wide/stable canoe) also, do I need to worry about concealing the dog? I am not worried about her breaking or moving but will the sight of a dog deter ducks?

What would be the ideal type of river area to hunt? There are quite a few thick, marshy areas up river from a pond (aprox 50-75 acres) and I have seen ducks throughout the area; I have just never realy noticed where they like to fly into.

Thanks for the advise... I think that I'm going to like this game.

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I suggest getting some stabilizing poles that you attatch to your canoe so you can shoot standing up. And the dog will get excited and start bouncing your craft like a bobber getting attacked by a sunfish. Getting wet from falling in or overturning your canoe is the last thing you'll want to do and possibly the last thing you ever do!

I would also invest in one of those floatation jackets that fit just like a regular coat and are easy to shoot with.

Also get a good pair of neoprene 3-5mm waders as these will keep you warm and dry and allow you to wade.

Another thing that I see new waterfowl hunters do is they do what walleye fishermen do is go where they see other fishermen and figure that must be a good spot because there's someone else fishing, well that don't work that way in the duck slough as this is dangerous and at the least very uncourtious. Do your scouting to find the good spots and get up early as there are other hunters who also think that spot is good too! So, have a backup spot just in case, so you don't end up running all over the place looking for any place to setup.

I have been in too many situations where jonny-come-latelys try to get to my spot only to find my decoys there then try to get as close as possible to me only to hear me giving them boy's some effin-hiemers to get the L out of my gun range or you could get hit by shot when I am shooting ducks over decoys! And i'm not making this up as this has happened on a very popular public lake too may times!

So, take this advise with a grain of salt as I just like to get you started right and not make any enimies while you should be having fun!

Good Luck this season, and be safe! wink.gif

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1.Go out now before dark and see where they are flying into as the sun is going down.

2. Learn to shoot sitting down. If you are in shallow water with solid ground stand in the water.

3. Dog in the canoe, not on a side platform. Or on shore. The ducks aren't bothered by the dog as long as its not moving around.

4. Even though the canoe finish is camo if it is glossy it will reflect sunlight! Dull it with a light coat of flat paint.

5. Hip waders if you are in deep water over your head if you need to get in. You will drowned with chest waders in deep muck and weeds over your head. If you do use chest waders use the chest strap! Not just the suspenders.

6. Good call and practice. Early in the season if you are in a good area/spot little or no calling will be needed.

7. Dozen dekes are enough for a small slough. Look at the ducks on the water now. Set them up how they look now. Forget j's,v's or anything else for deke patterns.

8. Wind can be from any direction except blowing into you. Have 2 spots picked out for 2 differrent wind directions. They like to land into the wind but will land anyway they can.

8. Relax and enjoy the day.

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If your in a canoe you should also be wearing life jacket or even in a small jon boat. I flipped my small jon in 8ft of water with chest waders on the day before deer hunting opener and with out that chest strap I probly won't be listing this . I now put on the proper PFD when ever I'm in my duck boat traveling or setting deeks ,whether it s my canoe or it is my 18ft husky jon. Have a what if plan?? It could save your life.

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Here's a good one and I don't want to sound negitive... Have a back up plan, Sometimes the good spot's will be taken so check out a number of spots that the DUCK"S are using, Not just spot's that look good!!! Good Luck.. Strat

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Good advise guys, thanks.

I do have a few different spots in mind as back up; I will get to start scouting the different areas this weekend.

Fin, I understand exactly what you are saying. I have been fishing and hunting deer, geese and grouse long enough to have seen just what you are talking about. I would rather go home and hunt another day than have a negative impact on someone elses hunt.

Thanks again

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I'll add a strong second to Finlanders suggestion about stablizer poles ! I use two, one on each side of the canoe, when they're planted right, your canoe will be steady as a rock even when pup is jumping out to retrieve birds.

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Fin/Swede (I suddenly feel like we are at a UN meeting), how have you made your stabilizer poles or is that somthing that you buy?

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I've seen them for sale up at Gamefair but they're pretty easy to make. Round up a 1/2 or 3/4 inch electrical conduit bender (3/4 is much more durable but if you're careful 1/2 will last for several years) Buy 3 or 4 10' sticks of metal electrical conduit - trust me the first one or two you try will look real ugly, unless you're an electrician. Now bend up something that looks like an 8' ice auger handle _[-]___________ glue & screw a sharpened piece of dowel into the long end so that you can drill into the bottom easier. Paint in camo colors, use two 30" pieces of rope to tie the lower crank part to a cross brace on the canoe. I've found the best methode is two position one pole just behind the front seat and the other pole just in front of the back seat on the opposit side of the canoe.

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thick black rubber bungies work well also for tying up.

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  • Posts

    • BringAnExtension

      Posted

      Zach-

      I have been making annual ice fishing trips with friends for about 12 years ago.  We have tried LOTW, Mille Lacs, Red and one other lake that happened to be where we could use a free cabin for a weekend.  With that one exception for the free cabin, we have also rented sleepers.

      We have never made it to Devils Lake, but it is on my personal bucket list just because of the possibility of those monster perch.

      Six years ago, we ended up back on Red and no longer consider any other option.  Here's why:

      • This fishing is good.
      • The Petrowske family are wonderful hosts.
      • No other resort that we have used has come close to being wonderful hosts.  They just didn't put any effort into it.

      Now, I don't know how that you translate to your running portables, but I have never been disappointed with our trips to URL.

      Hope that helps.

    • CaptJohnWis

      Posted

      Headed UP NORTH.

      Leaving for Athabasca tomorrow. My trip of a lifetime was there about a decade ago. My buddy Herb and I caught many BIG lake trout about this same time of year. Sadly I could get nobody to go with me since it was a spur of the moment decision. A camping trip I was supposed to be on to Reindeer Lake got called off (not by me) at the last minute. I was bummed so started looking around for other far away big trout and pike lakes.

      Here are pictures from my best laker trip ever. Hopefully this one will be even better!

      Be back to Rainy around the 10th. Herb wants to try Mille Lacs for bass when I get back. Any tips for that lake in mid-October appreciated. Course it will be hard to pry me off Rainy now that the bass are starting to school up.

      30-LB.jpg

      38LB.jpg

    • Thanks FishinCT, makes me feel a bit better.....

    • fins_n'_feathers

      Posted

      Usually we skip the the river until later in the year but it was the cleanest water we found and the only place we caught any fish. Heading out now to give it another try.

    • curt quesnell

      Posted

      Close to home is possible, try those places first?  I will be out this weekend (if this cold doesnt kill me first)  Better luck next time fins

    • Ok so every year Try to get the guys from work on a fishing trip. Trying to decide on where to go we usually rent a cabin and run portables.

      I am thinking Devils lake, LOW, or Red

      Devils we would do the lodge ice house package because the deal is too good to mess with bringing a trailer and sled or wheelers with.

       

      what would you choose and any other suggestions Leech or Vermillion?

    • I plan on taking all my ice fishing equipment out of my shed this week I cant wait

    • fins_n'_feathers

      Posted

      any  reports from today? we pounded through the washing machine waves all day and got nothing! Lead core,jigging, spinners haha! Ended up getting all our keepers within a mile of home when it was all over! Who else was out there? Am I the only one that did poor today?

    • proguide

      Posted

      Cool nights and only a few warming hours each day have water temps coming down into the 50s this week.  This is actually pretty normal for the last week of September so there is nothing to odd here. 
       
      The catfish have slowed down over the past few days with this cool off.  They are still around to catch.  They are hanging near structure, usually on the drop off to the channel right next to it.  They are also on the softer side of the current in holes.  It seems that longer sit times are in order this week to allow the fish to come out, find and decide to eat the bait.
       

      Sucker seems to be the bait of choice right now.  Frogs just have not been getting any attention.

    • leech~~

      Posted

      26 minutes ago, DANR said:

      From the fall Pelican Lakes Association newsletter - DNR Fisheries Update:

      You may have heard about the 454 adult cormorantsthat were removed from Gooseberrry Island this May by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services Unit under a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  DNR staff looked at the stomach contents of 30 birds. Eleven of those birds had stomach contents including: 38 perch (mostly 4- inchers), 7 spot-tail shiners, 7 bluegills, 6 crappies, 1 rock bass, 1 pike, and zero walleyes.

      Thanks for the Update.  Hopefully they shoot 400 more next spring! :):)



  • Posts

    • BringAnExtension
      Zach- I have been making annual ice fishing trips with friends for about 12 years ago.  We have tried LOTW, Mille Lacs, Red and one other lake that happened to be where we could use a free cabin for a weekend.  With that one exception for the free cabin, we have also rented sleepers. We have never made it to Devils Lake, but it is on my personal bucket list just because of the possibility of those monster perch. Six years ago, we ended up back on Red and no longer consider any other option.  Here's why: This fishing is good. The Petrowske family are wonderful hosts. No other resort that we have used has come close to being wonderful hosts.  They just didn't put any effort into it. Now, I don't know how that you translate to your running portables, but I have never been disappointed with our trips to URL. Hope that helps.
    • CaptJohnWis
      Headed UP NORTH. Leaving for Athabasca tomorrow. My trip of a lifetime was there about a decade ago. My buddy Herb and I caught many BIG lake trout about this same time of year. Sadly I could get nobody to go with me since it was a spur of the moment decision. A camping trip I was supposed to be on to Reindeer Lake got called off (not by me) at the last minute. I was bummed so started looking around for other far away big trout and pike lakes. Here are pictures from my best laker trip ever. Hopefully this one will be even better! Be back to Rainy around the 10th. Herb wants to try Mille Lacs for bass when I get back. Any tips for that lake in mid-October appreciated. Course it will be hard to pry me off Rainy now that the bass are starting to school up.
    • PSU
      Thanks FishinCT, makes me feel a bit better.....
    • fins_n'_feathers
      Usually we skip the the river until later in the year but it was the cleanest water we found and the only place we caught any fish. Heading out now to give it another try.
    • curt quesnell
      Close to home is possible, try those places first?  I will be out this weekend (if this cold doesnt kill me first)  Better luck next time fins