How to Hunt Ducks Even If You Never Have Before
How in the world are you going to go duck hunting when you have never shot a gun? Where do you start in the process of how to hunt ducks? These are some of the questions every beginning duck hunter has asked themselves at one time or another. I was in this situation when I started on my quest to learn how to be a skilled duck hunter.
I love the challenge of duck hunting, and I hope to teach you here in this how-to article that you too can learn to duck hunt and become very skilled at it.
Items Needed to Learn How to Duck Hunt
- Classes for Shooting Firearms
- Social Etiquette for Duck Hunting
- Duck Hunting Basics
How to Duck Hunt from a Kayak
There is a popular alternative to the traditional duck hunting by foot method. Many hunters enjoy hunting by kayak instead of on foot. Hunting by Kayak involves purchasing a kayak and a paddle of course. You need to buy a PDF (one preferably with lots of front pockets to keep your rifle shells in) that has some padding but not so much padding it hinders your shooting.
You would be wise to check your local regulations for floating on a river to duck hunt. You may want to consider where are the legal rivers you can float down to hunt your waterfowl.
Be sure you choose a gently rolling stream that doesn’t have a lot of brutal rapids flowing down it. Your chances of tipping over greatly increase on a fast moving river. Remember you have a loaded shotgun in your kayak.
You may think about paddling upstream. So you can see how much work it’s going to take to paddle back upstream once you have floated downstream. While you are floating downstream look ahead for ducks and any obstacles that could be floating directly ahead in your path.
It has been suggested that kayak duck hunting is the best way for a beginner to get indoctrinated in the sport of duck hunting. I would prefer to hunt by foot with a good hunting dog. This way you have a better chance of recovering your duck before the water current carries the duck away.
Also, you may tip over in the kayak and possibly lose your rifle. I am sure that water may be freezing in early duck hunting season. You may cover more ground floating down river on a kayak, but when you hunt on foot you are much more mobile. Plus you can camouflage yourself much better in an environment where you are walking.
Taking the necessary Firearms Classes
Step 1 - Firearm Classes
The first thing you should consider in starting your duck hunting career is to get some firearms classes under your belt. You will learn safety regulations for firearms. You will be taught how to hold the gun in a safe manner whether you are shooting it, waiting for further instructions and loading or unloading the firearm.
I was taught in my firearms classes always to be thinking in a safe manner whether my firearm is loaded or unloaded. You must never assume a gun is not loaded under any circumstances. You will learn who is responsible for any shootings that may occur during the classes.
A safe instructor will read the safety rules verbatim to the class. This ensures the students have heard all the safety rules. You will learn how to shoot a firearm correctly. You may consider taking such firearm courses.Video taken from You Tube and the presenter was Lee Santo of Teexs
Step 2 - 270 Rifle Class
This class offered by Gun site Academy is a fundamental class every serious/beginning duck hunter should take. You may seriously consider taking this class. In the class, you will be taught how to safely handle your rifle and take care of your gun. The level of difficulty is “moderate” because you need to be able to get into and out of various kneeling, laying down and sitting positions.
I was taught how to shoot accurately from a range of 25-300 yards in various shooting positions (standing, offhand, kneeling, sitting and prone) with the main emphasis being out in the field.
These techniques will help you greatly when you are shooting for live waterfowl. I also went through realistic shooting scenarios in simulators duplicating field conditions which sharpened my skills when I venture out into real duck hunting environments.
Use Common Courtesy When Duck Hunting
Step 1 - Never Infringe on Another Hunter’s Space
One of the essential philosophies you may consider learning about when duck hunting is never violated another hunter’s field of hunting. In other words, if another hunter is working a blind next to you; you see him aiming at a flock of ducks flying within your range don’t take a shot at that group of ducks. He spotted the group first, so naturally, he has first rights to kill the ducks in that formation. How would you feel if another hunter started shooting at a group of ducks you spotted and called over? See what I mean?
After all, he tracked the birds in the first place. He may have even called them to his area. He could have taken the time to set up his duck decoys strategically to attract the squadron of ducks over his hunting area. You may want to consider all these points before you infringe on another hunter’s firing range. Besides, he may have a bad temper and not take kindly to you shooting at his group of ducks!
Step 2 - Leave Plenty of SPACE between You and Your Hunting Neighbor
This is a cardinal rule in duck hunting areas across the country. It is one of those invisible “No Trespassing” zones that separates every hunter(s) from each other. Leave ample room between your zone and their zone. Most duck hunting places in the country have regulations of how many yards hunting parties should be from one another. The minimal distance is about 50 yards apart. This rule Is the most violated one among duck hunters.
You get to your favorite hunting spot at 5:00 a.m. but to your surprise, someone has already set up in that spot. You may consider being courteous and moving to another spot. When the party leaves then go and claim that hotspot for yourself. The only time you should be close to another duck hunter is if you two are partners in the actual duck hunt.
Step 3 - Leave Your Temper at Your Front Door
Learning how to duck hunt doesn’t involve hunting other human beings. You definitely may consider leaving your temper at the front door of your home. Duck hunters are passionate about their hunting. In the heat of the hunt tempers can flare and disagreements can mushroom into tragedies.
One hunter could get shot over a minor squabble. It’s in everyone’s best interest to keep cool heads while duck hunting. Let’s face it would you want to argue with someone who is carrying a rifle like you are? There is no type of tactical advantage in these types of disagreements. I cannot stress you enough to leave your temper at home.
Duck Hunting Basics
Step 1 - Killing a Duck
You must decide if you have the inner strength to go out there and kill a duck. If you have the killer instinct, then you are on your way. If shooting the duck and possibly shooting off some of the body parts doesn’t bother you then you are ready to start your duck hunting endeavors.
If you do not mind these possibilities, then you will enjoy duck hunting. If these realities bother you then, please reconsider if duck hunting is for you.
Step 2 - Find a Fellow Duck Hunter
You may want to think seriously about going out with a hunting mentor your first few times out on the actual hunt. The seasoned duck hunter will share his experience with you. He can teach you where to hunt and how to finesse your duck calling skills. He will also show you how to set up for the part when you actually shoot to kill the ducks.
I went hunting my first few times with a seasoned hunting mentor. He was able to take years off the learning curve for me by teaching me the basics he had learned through years of experience.
Step 3 - You Need the Gear
You will want to get this duck hunting gear:
- Chest high waders to keep you dry even if you are chest high in water.
- You may want to purchase about a dozen ecumenical mallard duck decoys to start out.They can be used just about anywhere.
- Guns and Shells- Your best bet is to buy a 12 gauge chamber shotgun with 3-inch magnum steel bullets.
- Camo is a must for duck hunting. You want to buy clothing that will help you blend in with your surroundings. This should usually be brown clothing. You may want to cover your face as well.
Step 4 - The Hot Spot to Hunt
You should consider extensively where you are going to hunt. Search the internet and you will find all kinds of profitable places to hunt. If you decide to hunt at a hunting lodge or outfitters, you should make sure they are reputable. Above all else make sure that wherever you hunt you are allowed to, and it is in a safe area where other people and property will not be threatened.
My Final Thoughts
My intent in writing this article on “How to Duck Hunt” was to share my strong interest in duck hunting. I hope that if you are thinking about engaging in duck hunting for the first time that the information that I shared with you will help you to step over the line and try your hand at duck hunting.
Even if you have never shot a rifle before. I hope you will consider duck hunting as a relaxing diversion from your busy life. I hope you enjoyed this article. Please share it with your friends if you feel this article benefitted you. Thank you for reading it!