Duck hunting

Duck-hunting traditions are sometimes hit and miss

by The News Star  |  published on December 19, 2012

We’re lucky in Louisiana to enjoy the waterfowl hunting we do. Duck hunting is a steeped tradition here, and harvest is pretty impressive compared to other states. There’s nothing like making it to your spot in the dark, getting everything in place in time and anticipating what may happen. Who knows?

There are some duck hunting traditions that have developed that have been successful, but maybe less so after many years of duck hunting pressure. Here are some duck hunting suggestions that may break with tradition for you to consider. They have worked for me. Some of these may not be needed in traditional duck areas with lots of ducks, frequent duck movements and new ducks in the sky. But think about these and consider what may work for you.

Calls: After years of hunting pressure, I believe ducks are warier than they used to be. The more I go, the less I call. I’ve seen a lot of situations where the only ducks around were on the water outside an 80-yard radius around incessant duck callers. Now, I don’t use the mallard hail call as much as I used to, but limited lonesome hen, mallard drake and other calls such as gadwall. There’s no rule that says that you have to call before you shoot a duck.

Decoys: Also, I don’t always use decoys, or not very many. And if I do I try to put them in some cover where their lifelessness isn’t so obvious. Also, there’s a myriad of animated moving ones, such as flying, landing and swimming ones that add realism. But ducks see battery powered plastic ducks from Canada to the Gulf and catch on. Also decoys of other duck species or confidence decoys, such as coots can add realism.

Blinds: We’re social creatures and like to hunt with our friends in a blind where we can watch for ducks, drink coffee and share stories of past hunts in comfort. But many blinds don’t match their surroundings very well, are too conspicuous, and ducks avoid them. An effective strategy is to figure out where the ducks want to go, where they’ve been feeding, and get there. Catch them by surprise. That works for deer, turkeys and elk. And it does for ducks.

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