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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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