Even though it’s still summer, the blazing hot weather has us looking forward to autumn and duck hunting season. A summer weekend’s the perfect time to ensure you’ve got all the gear you need to have a great first season of duck hunting. Add these items to your checklist and you’ll be well-prepared to have an exciting first experience.
You may wake up not-so-bright and early before the sun to head out for a hunt. A quality light source like a flashlight or headlamp lets you see what you’re doing as you prepare for the hunt and provides visibility during the hunt.
For maximum visibility, explore specialty hunting lights. These have useful features designed for keeping different hunting scenarios in mind. Hunting flashlights come with different light modes that prevent you from startling your game and have red light modes that protect your night vision. Some lights let you direct the beam up or down exactly where you want it.
Other than using the type of ammo your gun’s owner’s manual recommends, check to see what kind of ammo your state allows you to use while duck hunting. For example, in some states, you can only hunt ducks using steel shot load, but using lead or brass pellets is prohibited. States also have limits on the amount of ammo duck hunters can bring.
As you explore your ammo options, you’ll likely discover a generous range to choose from. Try not to become overwhelmed! Instead, lean into the many spread patterns and brands and try whatever strikes your interest. Over time, you’ll find the ammo that works best for you.
While you may have a charming personality, it takes more than that to attract ducks. Like shotgun ammo, there’s plenty to choose from with duck decoys. Rather than try out different kinds, start with inexpensive decoys for your first time. Spread out a dozen decoys and see how well that works. Also like shotgun ammo, try decoy spreads of different numbers and types until you find a combination that suits you.
Imagine finding the perfect spot to wait for a duck, bringing the right ammo, and having the perfect decoy set up only to miss your mark because the ducks spotted you while flying overhead. Become indiscernible from the natural environment by donning some camouflage.
Rather than wade through every piece of camo you see, stick with grass pattern camouflage. If you deer hunt, the camouflage you use for that may do just fine for duck hunting. Complete your look with a pair of camouflage waders.
The best duck call for a hunt depends on where and how you’re hunting. Common duck hunting environments include small ponds, open water, marsh swamps, and flooded timber, all of which may call for different duck calls.
Soft calls with tiny holes at the end of the exhaust tube and a double reed are great for flooded timber and ponds. Bigger call models with larger holes at the end of the exhaust tube and a single reed are better suited for open water hunts.
As a beginner, you may feel more comfortable using a double reed style for your first hunts. Double-reed style duck calls are easier to blow, smaller, and easier to use to mimic a duck’s call.
You’ll need a boat while hunting ducks on open water. Options range from canoes and kayaks to Jon boats.
While Jon boats are one of the most favorable options for duck hunting thanks to their overall performance and comfort, they’re also one of the more expensive boating options. You could save some money on one by checking out online sales and used boats.
Rather than beat the heat, work with it to get ready for a great duck-hunting season. Having the right gear truly makes all the difference.