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  #1  
Old 11-26-2014, 9:02 AM
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Default Duck Hunting - A basic how to guide for rookies

This is all opinion written by myself and Jmonte35. We’re doing this to hopefully help those who are struggling to find competent mentors to take and teach them duck hunting. This document will be edited in the hopes that the finished product will be stickied. Feel free to ask questions as I may incorporate those into the OP.

Changes to these first two posts or updates will be in italics

PART 1

Location – This is probably #1 in waterfowling. If you are where the birds want to be you should kill birds. When you aren’t where they want to be and you can’t get them to come to your spot, pick up and move over to where they are landing. If you can’t move over you better learn to call and make everything else in your spread perfect. Ie: Decoys, cover up, bottom dump trailers full of barley, etc. (ok kidding about the baiting part).

Cover –

You will never kill ducks if they see you or your dog or whatever else. If you spend more time brushing your blind than doing anything else that will increase your chances of killing birds. When you get drawn for blinds on refuges be prepared to spend an hour plus brushing. Don’t take that nap in your car! Get out to your blind and get to work. I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH! Most important thing.

Vital. You want your blind to look like everything else around it. Basically it needs to be non-descript. You want to cover or brush up your blind so there is no exposed metal, concrete, etc. Rather than take off both blind covers when hunting with a buddy take them both off and hide one. Then turn the other blind cover sideways and place it between you and cover it with brush. This will close up the hole in the blind. When ducks are circling your spread they are looking at everything. Closing up that hole is a big help. Also that shiny mud around the blind due to everybody trampling what little cover there was is a big giveaway. Cover that with brush or grass. You can bring a pair of pruning shears or knife to cut grass. Fastgrass works great as well but you need to let it sit outside in the sun for a few months so it fades as it doesn’t really match the surrounding cover. If you don’t have time to fade it with the sun you can hit it with some swaths of flat brown/tan spray paint. Once again it needs to be the same color as the crap around it for maximum success opportunity.



Decoys –

Decoys really need to be broken up into categories because there’s always different routes you want to go. Budget being the biggest factor. The two theories are either have a bigger spread than anyone or have a the highest quality spread. And to be honest its situational. Obviously having access to the highest quality and a very large spread is the best of both worlds but sometimes that’s just not in the budget.

When I say decoys are situational…well see the first topic….location. If you are where the ducks want to be I like a small high quality spread to put the ducks right in my lap.

Here’s where it gets tricky….if you’re not on the “X” than I believe numbers is always better than quality. Numbers will draw birds in for a look. Usually it’s very hard to finish these birds and get them to “do it right”. But it doesn’t mean you can’t draw them in for reasonable pass shooting.

So here’s the deal….when I have a top 5 draw at a refuge I usually prefer quality because I know I will be in a good spot.

When we did a Grizzly Island freeroam we had runners to get a spot and then we would bring in the “herd”….we set anywhere from 100-150 decoys. We always did very very well and were consistently above the refuge average. Some in part because we knew the area some in part because we could draw birds in.

Motion Decoys-

Another very important part of duck hunting especially on calm days. Here’s the deal. A jerk string will outperform just about any motion decoy on the market. But I like motorized motion decoys and here’s how to use them.

Let’s face it…by the time birds get to California they’ve seen it all. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. I like water movement decoys…pulsators, wonder ducks, etc. You can use those at all times. There’s really no bad time to use them.

However spinning wing decoys (mojos) are a little trickier. First off they are illegal until Dec. 1 (except wind powered ones). Don’t forget that! Next is now-a-day the ducks are smart to them and everyone uses them. While I’ve had ducks try to land right on top of them I’ve seen them flare far more birds than finish. However, they do an excellent job bringing birds in for a look. So I like using 2-4 mojos and set them up WHERE I DON’T WANT THE BIRDS TO LAND. For example you might have a bunch of birds that work but always land on the edge. Use the mojos to push them over your blind or flare over your blind. I like to put my Mojos 50-60 yards from me upwind or to the side. This funnels the birds over your blind. This simply works. Try it. Also if you want to kill geese keep in mind they flare at Mojo’s.

Decoys are important but if you are right where the ducks want to be how good your decoys need to look is a heck of lot lower priority or you may just need 1 or 2 decoys. For purposes of this discussion let’s figure that you aren’t on a freshly cut and flooded corn field that the mallards are pouring into but rather some refuge marsh where the blind cover is smashed flat.

I want something realistic as this is what the birds will see first. The paint needs to be natural and not have an unnatural glare to it. I’m not a fan of super cheap decoys unless cost is an issue and you are broke. Considering how much you spend on gas, licenses, fees, getting up at 1am it’s not much more $ to buy decent decoys. For refuge hunting you aren’t buying 25 dozen decoys like a rice blind. At the same time you don’t need $300/dozen decoys as well. In my refuge spread I have some G&H Mallards, G&H Gadwalls, GHG pro-grade mallards and sprig, and some widgeon (Carrylight or flambeau).

If you are hunting puddle ducks a spread featuring mallard, sprig, widgeon, etc. will be fine. I like a lot of white in my spreads (bull sprig, drake spooney, etc.) as white shows up a long ways off. When you see a big ball of ducks out in the marsh or field the white is what stands out and gets your attention. The same principle applies to ducks. Thus I like the pro-grade sprig b/c they come with 4 bulls and 2 hens. Other brands work just fine as well.

Decoy placement – This is vital. A typical spread is decoys on both side of the blind leaving the “hole” or place where you want the birds to land in front of the blind or where you are to maximize your opportunities. There are countless diagrams online showing you some ideas. Such as the “X”, hook, etc. Don’t stuff the decoys in where you want the birds to land. Where you put the decoys can affect how the birds fly around your blind or more specifically where they will and won’t fly.


You also need to put the decoys where ducks will want to be given the conditions. In a big wind your puddle ducks aren’t going to be out in the middle of the pond bucking the wind, they will want to seek shelter behind the tules. However that doesn’t mean you can’t pull the birds to your decoys and shoot them before they figure out it’s too rough to sit there if they will come and that’s where you gotta hide due to restrictions.

Here is the placement I had last weekend when hunting with newbshooter and his daughter. There was a 15+mph south wind for most of the morning which eliminated the need for a jerk string but at the same time made the wind ducks (wind powered since it was before December 1st) usable. As described above I used the wind ducks and decoys to pull ducks through the slot where I wanted them. Thus we were presented with numerous 20 yard shots.
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Giving lewdogg21 advice on hunting. Thatís like David Hogg giving advice to the NRA.
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Disagree. Been trying to teach lewdogg21 how to hunt. It's like trying to teach Steve Wonder how to see. Not sure we're ever going to get there.

Last edited by lewdogg21; 12-01-2014 at 10:16 AM..
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Old 11-26-2014, 9:02 AM
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PART 2

Waders – Neoprene or breathable. This advice is based upon the Sacramento Valley down to SoCal.

I prefer breathable as I don’t like the sweatiness of neoprene and it’s like being in a plastic bag. However breathables aren’t nearly as hardy. I like boot foot, not stocking foot but that’s personal preference. Regardless a good pair of breathable socks helps keep you dry and warm. I will wear a pair of sweatpants or fleece pants under my breathables. If it’s sub freezing I will wear a good pair of long underwear under my fleece pants. As far as neoprene 3mm is fine. 5mm is like going to a sweatlodge unless you are hunting NE California or out of state where below freezing is the norm. When putting your waders on roll the legs down to the top of the boot so you can literally step right into the boot and then pull the wader up. Also bring a folding chair or use your tailgate to sit on or even sit in the back of your pickup while putting them on or taking them off. If you are a ninja like me you can do it standing up. However I have fallen over while doing the “stand on one leg like a stork trick” in the past few years as I’m a little bit older and fatter than my ninja youth.

If you hunt a lot in neoprene a boot dryer may be just what you need to ensure your waders aren't damp and clammy when you put them on or away. A poor mans boot dryer is to stuff newspaper into the boots and change it out every few hours until it's dry.


Calls – The best call is the call in your pocket….ever notice when your packing up decoys not a care in the world that pair of mallards locks up and comes in? There’s a reason. I like calls and I consider myself a good caller but on a California Refuge they’ve heard it before. If you have private land that’s where calling can help a ton. You’ll have the opportunity to work birds and they are more responsive. On a refuge I’ve rarely seen the call make a difference. It’s just something to pass time.

The most debated topic in America. “X calls work great but Y calls suck”. Think Ford Vs. Chevy. Nobody is born with a call in their mouth when they come out of the womb, not even the duck whisperer. There are plenty of lessons, info, lies, and other crap on the net about calls so I won’t go into it. However a wingsetter or other whistle that does widgeon, sprig, teal, etc. is pretty easy to learn and sometimes works better than any mallard call.

Good article with what sounds mean and sound files so you can hear how it's supposed to be.

http://www.ducks.org/hunting/duck-ca...er-must-master




UPDATE - A good little blurb on when to call/not to call. Keep in mind if you are on the "X" (where the birds want to be) you won't need to call or at least very sparingly. It all goes back to location. If you are where the birds don't want to be, that's when calling is extremely important imo.

http://www.cabelas.com/category/NF-T...&ctb=MAINFEAT3



Camo – if you are hidden well you can probably doing fine wearing earth tones. You need a camo ballcap and facemask/face paint. The bill on the ballcap help hides your forehead and face from the watchful eyes above. The skin tone on a person’s face is like a shining beacon when the sun is out.

Movement – People move around too much. Do you really think those ducks don’t notice that head swiveling back and forth? Keep your face close to the front of the blind and just peer above it with your eyes (with your head near or below ground level. Move your eyes not your head. Do not turn your head or especially body until the ducks have gone past you. They will catch you moving. If you want to consistently kill ducks sit down or keep at, near, or below ground level if you are in a pit blind. Yeah you can kill ducks standing up in the blind or taking a whiz and in fact I did it last weekend but your probability of success goes way up by being smart. Mature mallards don’t get that way dive bombing you while you are sitting on top of the blind.

Sound – LOWER YOUR VOICE. Sound travels great up or across the water. Talk quietly or not at all. Don’t talk the entire time. Don’t bang stuff together or clank stuff. Don’t yell out “HEY I SEE DUCKS”. Rather when you finally get in the blind before daylight establish which was is North/South/East West or use the hands of the clock. Nothing is more frustrating than “Ducks coming in” with no reference to the direction. This is also a great time to discuss safety while still in the dark before the hunting starts.

Safety – Duck hunting is probably about the most dangerous hunting as you are in a concrete or steel tank with loaded guns and another guy right next to you. It’s very easy to be careless and shoot over the top of someone thereby deafening them or worse. Also if you are hunting with someone’s dog you need to ALWAYS be aware where the dog is so you do not shoot the dog. Do not assume that the dog will never be in your line of fire. If there is any question do not shoot. I tell people that I’m hunting with that if they shoot my dog my wife will divorce me and that means I will be coming to live with you. I’m not joking when I say that either. If somebody is consistently unsafe do not hunt with them. It’s not worth it.

Guns and Shotshells – Anything can work. Just remember steel shot only for waterfowl. Find a shotgun that fits you great. What I mean by that is when you throw it up is your face is already aligned with the sights as you point a shotgun rather than aim it like a rifle. Sometimes you can’t hit your own *** with both hands but if your gun fits you good you can also be the high gunner in the blind. Don’t think about it too much when the birds are coming in. I had 3 widgeon on my side last weekend that came right in and I was thinking that I was going to triple. I didn’t kill a single one.

For shotshells the faster is better with steel. I like #3’s or #4’s for ducks but that’s b/c they pattern well. I shoot estate and have some estate and others over 10+ years old. They worked just fine last weekend. I also shoot Rio and black cloud. Just personal preference and b/c I have about 60-70 boxes of steel already. Find something that patterns well in your gun. Anything from #4-#2’s is fine for ducks. For geese I will sometimes use #2’s backed up by #BB’s or just all #BB’s if I’m just goose hunting. However I’ve killed geese with #3’s before.
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Giving lewdogg21 advice on hunting. Thatís like David Hogg giving advice to the NRA.
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Disagree. Been trying to teach lewdogg21 how to hunt. It's like trying to teach Steve Wonder how to see. Not sure we're ever going to get there.

Last edited by lewdogg21; 03-05-2018 at 9:48 AM..
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Old 11-26-2014, 9:20 AM
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Thanks a bunch for the info, much appreciated.

Any advice on blind selection for rufuges? Maybe regarding the wind and the rising suns location.
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Last edited by HighWildFree; 11-26-2014 at 9:36 AM..
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Old 11-26-2014, 9:26 AM
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Can you expand on decoy spreads and how to lay them out. ex: with the wind, against the wind, where to let the ducks attempt to land (hooks ect.)

How to effectively use a robo duck.

How water movement is helpful?

When NOT to call. When and how to lock em up with a feed chuckle.
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Old 11-26-2014, 9:29 AM
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Great post. A few things I might add to this is. If you haven't been working on your calling,don't wait until you get in the duck blind to practice.

I also want to mention sky busting. PLEASE DON'T!

When you hear/see someone working birds towards their blind, don't shoot at them when they get close to you.
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Old 11-26-2014, 9:31 AM
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Oger2,

The feed chuckle is mostly for show and not go. Many Champion callers will tell you this.
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Old 11-26-2014, 9:34 AM
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Oger2,

The feed chuckle is mostly for show and not go. Many Champion callers will tell you this.
Maybe for you and them but i lock em up with mine. My partners have seen me do this all the time. Whats a champion caller? (serious question) If you are talking on stage, then i dismiss your comment. Champion callers for real ducks in the field is a different thing completely.
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Old 11-26-2014, 9:38 AM
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Great post
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Old 11-26-2014, 9:55 AM
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Oger2,

I have been in the blind with some guys that have won titles "yes on stage" and they only use a Hail-ComeBack-short Quack-Greeting-High Ball and the whistle.

If it works for you then that is great and it shows you have put a lot of time into it, both from the skills side and also when to use it.

The topic is for newbies. That is one call that is hard to master from both sides.
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Old 11-26-2014, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
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Oger2,

I have been in the blind with some guys that have won titles "yes on stage" and they only use a Hail-ComeBack-short Quack-Greeting-High Ball and the whistle.

If it works for you then that is great and it shows you have put a lot of time into it, both from the skills side and also when to use it.

The topic is for newbies. That is one call that is hard to master from both sides.
Calling ducks is not like calling turkey. If you have a spread of decoys in front of you, you are trying to simulate that spread. In other words, if you have a 100 decoys in front of you, you want to sound like more than one bird is calling out. Thats why you flap your hand over the call and then remove it to sound like you are getting different angles and tones.

If you are hunting rice, you will hear feed cackles and other calls. You are looking for realism. NOT what someone sounds like on stage. Two different animals.

Its all part of duck hunting and is a big part of learning calls from a tape, in your car while you practice. (best place to practice)

Whether you are a rookie or an accomplished hunter, all phases of calling are fun and should be practiced from day one.

The worst thing you can do is either call to much or call at all if you are not good at it. (in comes the whistle)
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Old 11-26-2014, 11:25 AM
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The best call is the call in your pocket.

Great write up LewDogg. I'm definitely a new duck hunter but that is one thing I learned rather quickly watching some new shooters do. They'd get birds working and blow that call and boom.... flared ducks right away.

Again, great write up. I'll definitely be coming back to re-read many times I'm sure.
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Old 11-26-2014, 11:30 AM
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Awesome read, and very informative! Thanks!
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Old 11-26-2014, 12:10 PM
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Excellent info Lew, good job!
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Old 11-26-2014, 1:21 PM
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Feed chuckles work. But competition feed chuckes, not so much. I'll try to post a video later where you can hear the difference. A real feed chuckle is much slower. Competition feed chuckles sound like a speed competition for how fast you can resonate your chuckles.
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Old 11-26-2014, 2:37 PM
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Lots of good information on this thread.
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Old 11-26-2014, 2:59 PM
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I invited my pal Obama over to give an example of some feed chuckles. He's not the greatest duck caller as he will admit.

The first 1/3 of the video is the speed of a chuckle you want to aim for. Slow, up and down, occasional lonesome hen quacks in the middle.

The last 2/3 of the video Obama tried to chuckle as fast as possible and got crazy, like 99% of the refuge hunters out there. Doesn't work well. Birds will flare. Your friends will think you're a total badass.

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Old 11-26-2014, 3:07 PM
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LOL!
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Old 11-26-2014, 4:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTheGreek View Post
I invited my pal Obama over to give an example of some feed chuckles. He's not the greatest duck caller as he will admit.

The first 1/3 of the video is the speed of a chuckle you want to aim for. Slow, up and down, occasional lonesome hen quacks in the middle.

The last 2/3 of the video Obama tried to chuckle as fast as possible and got crazy, like 99% of the refuge hunters out there. Doesn't work well. Birds will flare. Your friends will think you're a total badass.



The president needs to get out more and take his suit off. His arms are a little pale.
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Old 11-26-2014, 5:15 PM
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Great info thanks , this is why i LOVE Calguns.net, spreading the knowledge
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Old 11-26-2014, 8:05 PM
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Pay dirt! That was an awesome write up! I am going to now kill more ducks! Thanks Lew!
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Old 11-26-2014, 8:46 PM
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Maybe for you and them but i lock em up with mine. My partners have seen me do this all the time. Whats a champion caller? (serious question) If you are talking on stage, then i dismiss your comment. Champion callers for real ducks in the field is a different thing completely.
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Feed chuckles work. But competition feed chuckes, not so much. I'll try to post a video later where you can hear the difference. A real feed chuckle is much slower. Competition feed chuckles sound like a speed competition for how fast you can resonate your chuckles.
Great write up Lewdog! You are a brave dawg!

As to the chuckle...

My experience is that the fast "ticka-tucka" is the sound mallards make in the morning as they fly over your deeks and try and call them off the water. I've seen them do this many times. It's the "hey, come with us and fly away to the rice fields" call. I don't use it as a real call, but rather as a warm up to clear my call and see how the air is running through the call.

The "clucks" and "quacks" are true feeding calls that happy mallards make as they move through the water feeding. Seen them do this too, only at parks and local ponds in the middle of the day. Never seen that on a refuge in the morning.

If you really want to have fun with a duck call, go out and call mallards during the spring and early summer. The ducks are all stupid, horny, and want to play "chase the *****." Find a couple of those and your average caller can have mallards on a string. It's like flying kites or remote control airplanes!! A total kick in the pants!
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Old 11-27-2014, 6:32 AM
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Lew for MVP!
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Old 11-27-2014, 7:40 AM
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Hi guys, I'm a newbie, but my buddy gave me this list. It was helpful to me.

Hunting license
Cal duck stamp
Fed duck stamp
Day pass
Notification Letter

Gun
Ammo

Cooler
Water / breakfast / lunch / snacks

Waders
Boots
Extra dry clothes
Long underwear
Sweatshirt
Sweatpants
Gloves
Camo hat
Camo jacket
Camo shirt
Camo facemask
Mosquito facemask
Extra shoelaces

Chair
Headlamp
Flashlight
Knife
Insect repellant
Sunscreen
Ear & eye protection
Camera
Toilet paper
Baby wipes
Mouthwash
Hand / feet warmers
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Old 11-27-2014, 9:14 AM
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Great write up Lew. I'd add a few things. One learn to read and estimate distances. No one likes a skybuster. Also learn your birds. Keep a duck guide in your bag. Even my hunting buddy who's been hunting waterfowl for over forty years gets tripped up on occasion. Don't be the guy who comes in the check-in station with a shoulder stap of seagulls claiming they were honkers.
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Old 11-27-2014, 10:16 AM
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Thanks man, I was going to take a nap and set up my alarm right before shooting time. Good advice.

QUESTION: The limit is 7 ducks per day but how we know about the ones that are not mention on THE DEPT OF F & G like Northern Shoveler, American Wigeon, etc. ?
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Old 11-27-2014, 10:42 AM
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Thanks man, I was going to take a nap and set up my alarm right before shooting time. Good advice.

QUESTION: The limit is 7 ducks per day but how we know about the ones that are not mention on THE DEPT OF F & G like Northern Shoveler, American Wigeon, etc. ?
DFW states what ducks are limited to a certain number if it is not listed then you can take up to 7 of them. In other words you can take up to 7 spoonies, or wigeon, or any species not listed.

7/day, which may include: 7 mallards
no more than 2 females, 2 pintail,
1 canvasback, 2 redheads, 3 scaup.

These change every year so be sure to check before each season. I recall some years ago canvasbacks were not allowed to be taken. Of course when I was in the field that's all I saw and the fact that I've never taken one made it that much more painful.
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Old 11-27-2014, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by bobcat View Post
Thanks man, I was going to take a nap and set up my alarm right before shooting time. Good advice.

QUESTION: The limit is 7 ducks per day but how we know about the ones that are not mention on THE DEPT OF F & G like Northern Shoveler, American Wigeon, etc. ?
you can shoot 7 shovlers of either sex IIRC and Widgeon the same. Mallards are two female limit and 5 drakes. 1 canvas back, 2 pintail of either sex. remember with pintail long neck oval body and the males have a nice tail coming off them if they are old enough. beautiful bird BTW.

one of my rules in when in doubt don't shoot. you cannot get into trouble if you don't shoot something you are not sure of.
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Old 11-27-2014, 11:30 AM
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Big Thanks to the OP for this thread. I have been hunting all my life, but never went duck hunting due to not having a mentor and understanding the skills needed.
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Old 11-27-2014, 11:37 AM
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I will do a mass quote and reply to answer questions but in chris' s post above to clarify you can shoot up to 2 hen mallards. There is no rule on drskes. Therefore you can shoot seven drake mallards. Duck ID is obviously important to keep you away from a ticket and to keep ducks from getting stomped in the mud.
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Giving lewdogg21 advice on hunting. Thatís like David Hogg giving advice to the NRA.
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Disagree. Been trying to teach lewdogg21 how to hunt. It's like trying to teach Steve Wonder how to see. Not sure we're ever going to get there.
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Old 11-27-2014, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Clee View Post
DFW states what ducks are limited to a certain number if it is not listed then you can take up to 7 of them. In other words you can take up to 7 spoonies, or wigeon, or any species not listed.

7/day, which may include: 7 mallards
no more than 2 females, 2 pintail,
1 canvasback, 2 redheads, 3 scaup.

These change every year so be sure to check before each season. I recall some years ago canvasbacks were not allowed to be taken. Of course when I was in the field that's all I saw and the fact that I've never taken one made it that much more painful.
Thanks man. learning new things every day.
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Old 11-27-2014, 12:45 PM
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you can shoot 7 shovlers of either sex IIRC and Widgeon the same. Mallards are two female limit and 5 drakes. 1 canvas back, 2 pintail of either sex. remember with pintail long neck oval body and the males have a nice tail coming off them if they are old enough. beautiful bird BTW.

one of my rules in when in doubt don't shoot. you cannot get into trouble if you don't shoot something you are not sure of.
Thanks man, I'm a rookie so I've a lots of questions.
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Old 11-27-2014, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by lewdogg21 View Post
I will do a mass quote and reply to answer questions but in chris' s post above to clarify you can shoot up to 2 hen mallards. There is no rule on drskes. Therefore you can shoot seven drake mallards. Duck ID is obviously important to keep you away from a ticket and to keep ducks from getting stomped in the mud.
Thanks man, you're a good mentor. keep it up!
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Old 11-28-2014, 7:02 AM
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One thing I'm curious of is Texas rigging vs standard decoy line with a keel grabber. I just set all of mine up with the keel grabbers and 5ish feet of line, but what are the advantages of each?
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Old 11-28-2014, 11:55 AM
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awesome article - thanks
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Old 11-30-2014, 2:10 PM
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Here's my analogy that anybody on calguns can understand:
Hunters = law abiding gun owners
Poachers = school shooters
See how big the difference is?
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Old 11-30-2014, 9:58 PM
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I can tell from my lifelong extended experienced of three or four weekend outings duckhunting, that what Lew has shared is very spot-on and most useful information
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Old 12-01-2014, 9:35 AM
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Originally Posted by HighWildFree View Post
Thanks a bunch for the info, much appreciated.

Any advice on blind selection for rufuges? Maybe regarding the wind and the rising suns location.
REALLY BASIC HERE. If the clozed zone is on the North side of the shooting zone and you have a stiff south wind hunt the northern most blinds. Flip flop for a North wind. If a blind is like 95% open water and it's going to blow 20mph that day I wouldn't take that blind b/c ducks want to get out of the wind, not buck white caps. In face on another forum the guy who had like #3 or #4 at Sac the day Newbshooter and I went didn't do very good b/c although the blind he choose is a good blind with good per bird averages the water was white capping all morning until mid-day.

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Originally Posted by Oger2 View Post
Can you expand on decoy spreads and how to lay them out. ex: with the wind, against the wind, where to let the ducks attempt to land (hooks ect.)

How to effectively use a robo duck.

How water movement is helpful?

When NOT to call. When and how to lock em up with a feed chuckle.
Like Jmonte and I outlined above I use decoy placement to pull ducks to my blind and block the places I don't want them to land. on my diagram above ideally I would have 2/3 of my decoys SOUTH of the blind so as to pull the ducks to fly over the blind while they are looking at where to land in the 2/3 of my dekes in front of them. Floating dekes ususally turn to face the wind so I'm not sure what you are asking there. In field goose spreads we use family groups and face them different ways but that's a different thread. I try to leave the hole either in front of the blind or as such so they will have their feet down as they fly right over the top of the blind. B/c I was hunting with people I hadn't before and my dog doesn't stay in her blind the whole time I didn't want the birds to land in front of the blind. Plus it gave for more shooting opportunities when they were 15-20 yards right above us. In that stiff breeze or when it's really windy you want to get them almost right above you so if your first shot misses (or even if you connect) you have the birds right there for a 2nd shot hopefully before they turn into the wind and are gone or before you sail them hundreds of yards and they are also gone.

Water movement is helpful b/c real ducks splash, tip up, play, etc. and move water. When it's dead calm ducks look for those ripples to find ducks. If your decoys aren't moving, well you can guess what the smarter ducks will do.

Robo's attact ducks but don't finish them like they did when they were new. I put them 30-40 yards from the blind on the upwind side. They don't pull the mature mallards like they used too either. Also they flare geese. Keep that in mind as you may want to use a remote setup if you want to try to kill geese as well.

When to call / when not to call is like a good way to get your PHD. Some days it don't work at all, some days it don't work until magically the duck internal clock says it's time to decoy. Reading body language, # of birds, if a bird is looking, it's wing beat pattern, etc. is all part of it. In the refuge less is more when it comes to calling as your neighbor doesn't want to hear it. Plus you don't need to call as loud when in a marsh vs. the big water of the rice. The feed chuckle is something I only hear when ducks fly over. I don't really think it does anything. I gave it up for probably 5-10 years b/c of this. I've tried using it again and I dunno, I don't see them dive bombing me when I do it and they are working. YMMV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by P345 View Post
Great post. A few things I might add to this is. If you haven't been working on your calling,don't wait until you get in the duck blind to practice.

I also want to mention sky busting. PLEASE DON'T!

When you hear/see someone working birds towards their blind, don't shoot at them when they get close to you.
With a 25 shotshell limit I had to be VERY selective on when I said take em for our group. That worked out good. If you aren't sure about distances put your furthest decoy at 40 yards. Sky busting sucks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clee View Post
Great write up Lew. I'd add a few things. One learn to read and estimate distances. No one likes a skybuster. Also learn your birds. Keep a duck guide in your bag. Even my hunting buddy who's been hunting waterfowl for over forty years gets tripped up on occasion. Don't be the guy who comes in the check-in station with a shoulder stap of seagulls claiming they were honkers.
DU or DFG used to publish a business size card pocket guide with pictures of birds, etc. If you aren't an expert in field ID get something that can ID them. Early in the year it can be very tough. We've shot greenheads with a single green feather in it's head, otherwise it looked like a hen mallard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobcat View Post
Thanks man, I was going to take a nap and set up my alarm right before shooting time. Good advice.

QUESTION: The limit is 7 ducks per day but how we know about the ones that are not mention on THE DEPT OF F & G like Northern Shoveler, American Wigeon, etc. ?
If they aren't listed the limit is seven of them. Restrictions include sexes (two hen mallards I believe), species (pintails, redheads, canvasback, scaup, etc. ) and species.

Quote:
Originally Posted by powderedtoastman View Post
One thing I'm curious of is Texas rigging vs standard decoy line with a keel grabber. I just set all of mine up with the keel grabbers and 5ish feet of line, but what are the advantages of each?
Never used texas. Makes sense if you have 6 or fewer decoys and are going to walk a long ways. Below are some photos of a couple of my decoys. Ideally I would use brass or metal fittings to crimp the decoy line. It lasts longer than a knot. Also green decoy line is the way to go. That cord stuff is tangle nation. I don't do diver spreads so I can't comment on whats best for those.

I rigged these so the weight can be slid up against the keel and then I wrap the decoy line 2x through the little slot on the keel. They stay real good that way. I use about a 4' overall length for line. I probably burn 6-8" or so with knots. This will be enough line to hold your decoys in any water that you can wade. Also if your place floods a 4' line should be long enough for them to hang up on a fence if you want any hope of recovering them. I use a 4 oz sinker for ducks and an 8 oz sinker for geese.

See the photos below for example.




Decoy rigging photos
Attached Images
File Type: jpg uploadfromtaptalk1417455258682.jpg (92.6 KB, 93 views)
File Type: jpg uploadfromtaptalk1417455272156.jpg (93.6 KB, 73 views)
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Giving lewdogg21 advice on hunting. Thatís like David Hogg giving advice to the NRA.
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Disagree. Been trying to teach lewdogg21 how to hunt. It's like trying to teach Steve Wonder how to see. Not sure we're ever going to get there.

Last edited by lewdogg21; 12-01-2014 at 9:55 AM..
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Old 12-01-2014, 11:01 AM
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great info here thanks for the hard work,helps us Duck newbs

few questions, I want to get my grandson into duck hunting, put in for all of dec and jan at san jac and will probably sweat it a few times also need everything for the both of us to get going, kinda looking for a guide to do it as cheap as possible for the rest of this year and can upgrade during next year, kinda late to the game

grandson is growing like a weed so are hip waders ok or should i go with a cheap set of waders for him, been checking for used with no results, i will probably get myself a decent pair as not have to buy twice for myself.but for him im sure he will outgrow them by next year...

for decoys im leaning towards starting with a 1/2 dozen mallards and 1/2 dozen spoonys, does that seem about right to start, question here is i see standard and premium decoys, are premium that much better..?

also hearing a jerk line is pretty much a must at sj, how many decoys do you prefer on a jerk line, youtube videos showed guys using 2 all the way up to a dozen

since i have never used a duck call we probably wont be using any, may just get a pintail whistle, which whistle is easiest for the beginner..

downloaded the ducks unlimited app a few weeks ago for duck id, and getting fairly confident about IDing ducks, by the way its a great app for any new guys

thanks again

Last edited by adchrome; 12-01-2014 at 11:08 AM..
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Old 12-01-2014, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by adchrome View Post
great info here thanks for the hard work,helps us Duck newbs

few questions, I want to get my grandson into duck hunting, put in for all of dec and jan at san jac and will probably sweat it a few times also need everything for the both of us to get going, kinda looking for a guide to do it as cheap as possible for the rest of this year and can upgrade during next year, kinda late to the game

grandson is growing like a weed so are hip waders ok or should i go with a cheap set of waders for him, been checking for used with no results, i will probably get myself a decent pair as not have to buy twice for myself.but for him im sure he will outgrow them by next year...
Join the forum duck hunting chat and possibly the Refuge forums. DHC is much more helpful than TRF as they are cranky over there. I would post about kid waders as I'm sure people have waders their kids have outgrown and then what do you do with them. Hiring a guide for your first time out is probably a very good idea. You also may find someone who is experienced and will take you guys or at least accompany you on a refuge hunt to show you the ropes. For kids I suggest regular waders since if they take a spill in hip boots the hunt is over and the day is ruined.

Quote:
for decoys im leaning towards starting with a 1/2 dozen mallards and 1/2 dozen spoonys, does that seem about right to start, question here is i see standard and premium decoys, are premium that much better..?
What specific brands/models are you looking at? A dozen can be plenty in a pothole situation. if you are where the ducks want to be you can get away with 2-4 sometimes.

Quote:
also hearing a jerk line is pretty much a must at sj, how many decoys do you prefer on a jerk line, youtube videos showed guys using 2 all the way up to a dozen
For a jerkstring setup you can do something as simple as tie some twine or fishing line around a decoy head and "jerk it" into the shore, except them you must toss it out again. A level wind reel works good for fishing line provided you aren't hunting with a dog. Be forewarned that a dog may (or person) drag it out into the water where it's gone. Dogs really do that well b/c they rocket out after the birds. Otherwise a jerkstring setup can be as simple as a #4 piece of rebar 3' long (or maybe a wood dowel that's stout) pounded into the mud with an elastic band (think of those physical therapy bands) or bungee cord tied to the stake and connected to the decoy on the other end. Tie your fishing line or cord to the front of the decoy. Pull/jerk enough so it moves towards you or at least makes ripples but not so hard that it rips the stake out of the mud. Walla that's a jerk string for cheap. No need to buy something.


Quote:
since i have never used a duck we probably wont be using any, may just get a pintail whistle, which whistle is easiest for the beginner..

thanks again
That's fine. those whistles do pintail, widgeon, and teal good. The main thing is have really good cover and don't move around in the blind when birds are working. Sit still.

Not sure if I said this above but instead of throwing the blind covers into the water put one of them between the two of you to close up the size of the hole in the blind. Ducks fly around looking in that hole and figure out that something isn't right. Cover it all with vegetation or make some out of fronds, burlap, spray paint, fast grass, etc.

Good luck and post how you guys do.
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Giving lewdogg21 advice on hunting. Thatís like David Hogg giving advice to the NRA.
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Disagree. Been trying to teach lewdogg21 how to hunt. It's like trying to teach Steve Wonder how to see. Not sure we're ever going to get there.
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Old 12-01-2014, 11:41 AM
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