By Will Allen
As is the case with so many other pursuits, it is the little things that separate the best from the rest when it comes to waterfowl hunting. Fine tuning your equipment and your technique can put more birds in your bag than ever before. Here are a few tips that can help you become a better waterfowl hunter.
Move To The Birds
I was hunting a lake for the first time a few years ago. I set up on a point on the northwest end of this body of water and the wind was perfect for this point. I glassed dozens of ducks in the leeside bay the day before and figured this spot would be a perfect ambush point to put a few on the water. But for some reason, the ducks kept landing on the south end and then swam back into the bay. Based on the wind, it was a bad spot to set up. But based on what the birds were doing, it was perfect. I picked up my dekes at 8 AM and made a move. By 10:30, my limit was full and I was headed for the boat launch. Don’t be afraid to dump your original plan. Watch what the birds are doing and change accordingly.
Spread Out Your Goose Decoys
Just about everybody sets up their field spreads with decoys in family groups of four or five decoys. If you notice geese aren’t finishing to the decoys well, spread them out. Put about ten feet between each decoy and set them randomly. This will give a true feeding appearance to the decoy spread. Geese don’t eat in groups like people. They work throughout the field. Be sure your spread mimics that.
Get Real With Your Calling
If I didn’t know better, I would think some duck hunters want nothing more than to blow out the eardrums of their chosen quarry. Have you ever heard real ducks constantly throwing out nine and ten note hail calls to passing flocks? It doesn’t happen. As birds work past the blind, give them a four or five note call. If they’re interested, they’ll turn. At that point, switch to some feeder chatter or better yet, put down the call and get ready to shoot.
Mix Up Your Dekes
Many of the lakes I hunt are big bodies of water with hundreds, sometimes thousands of divers rafting among the waves. I’m a big believer in carrying high quality optics and I can’t tell you how many times I’ll see mallards hanging out with canvasbacks, redheads, bluebills, and coots. Yet most hunters only use mallard decoys. They’re cheap, easy to find, and they look like the ducks most people are interested in shooting. After getting shot at a few times, smart mallards tend to avoid decoy sets that look like common decoy spreads. Pick up a few dozen diver decoys the next time your in the market for some dekes. First off, divers are a lot of fun to shoot. Secondly, you won’t believe how many mallards will give those divers a close up look.