The Challenge for Duck Hunters is the Required 360-Degree Visual Field
If you have hunted waterfowl for any length of time, you have certainly found some things that work and some that don’t. There are very few absolutes in the world of duck and goose hunting, but these 5 tips will absolutely help you put more birds on your strap this year.
You are NOT HIDDEN. You go and cut some cane, brush or grass to help hide you and think you have more than enough in the dark. As soon as the early morning flight is over and the sun is up, birds won’t even come close. Upon further inspection….you realize you are standing next to a few blades of grass and some twigs. We always walk a delicate line between being well hidden and being able to see and shoot. Always err on the side of being concealed and keep yourself in the shad if possible with objects that are wider than yourself.
Lazy/Don’t Scout. All waterfowl are classified as migratory birds. They don’t have home ranges like deer and turkey. The hole you killed 6 limits out of last week, may not have a bird in it this week. It is easy to want to kick back and hunt on hope. But, the numbers are against you when it comes to consistently killing birds. Get out and put in the time to find where the birds are actively feeding, loafing and roosting and it will pay dividends in dead birds.
Get Still. When people see waterfowl approaching, they snatch up their gun and whip around to see where they are going only to see them climb for the stratosphere. When the wind is blowing you have a little bit more room for error here, but stay still and move in much slower, deliberate actions. Another issue here is paying attention. You will see more and more people are glued to their phones and not looking for ducks. I would wager very few birds will fly or swim between you and your phone!! Keep your eyes on the sky and try not to move faster than you have to.
Call too much/not enough. I grew up being taught to call at ducks’ wingtips and tail tips. Lots of days this old adage is true. But, other days the second you quit calling you lose them. Experiment and see what they respond to on a given day. Birds can change from day to day and will react differently to calling. Don’t get in your feelings when your buddy asks you to stop calling when it is flaring birds. But, if you notice when birds are approaching and lose interest, don’t be afraid to hit them with a heavy feed chuckle or some drag quacks to keep them coming. Mix up your calling and let the birds tell you what is best.
Poor Shooting. Let’s be brutally honest here….we have all witnessed horrible wing shooting and been a part of some as well. It should be an unspoken that the guy on the right, shoots the bird on the right and vice versa for the left. But, instead both gunners will draw down on the lowest bird in the flock that is 10 yards and back pedaling over the blocks!! Then you both start shooting wildly at the rest of the birds that are now barely in range. Sound familiar? Make your shots count and pick out a single bird…kill it…then swing to the next. Good shooting is what separates the guys with a few ducks still on the water and the guys with a limit smashing out some breakfast at the waffle house.
If you really think about these five basic tips, we all have been guilty of one or more of these mistakes. I know I certainly have. Over the years, we become more lax and it can make us lose sight of the simple things that help us kill more waterfowl. Take these five tips with you this season and I bet they help put more birds on your strap this season.