Starting out

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andyg
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2011/08/15 19:35:24 (permalink)

Starting out

I want to get into duck hunting but don't really know where to start. My main problem is I don't know where to go. I don't have a dog or a suitable boat so I would guess that limits the possibilities. Any tips?
#1

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    psu_fish
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    RE: Starting out 2011/08/15 19:40:27 (permalink)
    Try to find some tucked away ponds or even a beaver dammed creek, those will usually hold some ducks. I dont have a dog, but where I can get the canoe in, I will use a 7 foot fishing pole and a heavier lure (even a leaded treble will work) and snag the dead ducks on the water of the pond. Or talk to some local farmers and see if there ponds or wetlands hold any ducks


    Depending on where you live, try some local creeks where you can wade safely and just stand still in the creek and shoot the ducks coming up or down the stream. A call is nice but dont have to spend a ton on one. I have a H.S. Black Ice call that works great.
    #2
    Outdoor Adventures
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    RE: Starting out 2011/08/16 01:27:29 (permalink)
    Get involved with local clubs and organizations. Also watch INTERNET forums in your area. As around at your local sportsman club. I'm sure someone will take you under their wing.
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    thunderpole
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    RE: Starting out 2011/08/16 03:20:52 (permalink)
    i started off when i was 14 wit my buddy 21 now but its a blast fast shooting and alot of action at times get a few buddies into it as well cuz its EXTREMELY ezpensive but i do have alot of stuff but i love it and yea get a call and blow it as often as possible to get use to it go to the waterfowl expos in your area if there are any idk where your from they can help ya out alot wit tips, ... get some movies to watch see how the pros do it, i dont have a dog, just got a boat to rig up but we often walk really far to some of our spots but its very often worth it and, dont get cheap waders they will rip and a frozen boot will ruin a good duck hunt real quick belive me plus your in alot of brush at times , and just plan look for them swamps,lakes, rivers in late season expeciely when every things froze over bever ponds to like he said cant kill them if they ant there
    #4
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    RE: Starting out 2011/08/16 09:10:02 (permalink)
    andyg, looks like you're from New Castle according to your user info.  You're not far from lots of swamps and little ponds in Mercer and Lawrence Counties, and pretty close to Moraine.  Neshannock and Slippery Rock Creeks also hold some ducks.
     
    If you've got some waders you can enjoy some duck hunting.  Like psu said, a stout fishing rod with some heavy line can be helpful to retrieve downed birds.
     
    Your best bet will be to get out and find some ducky looking areas.  Pretty heavy pressure on most public areas up your way during some parts of the seasons.  Knock on some doors.  Areas that are devoid of ducks right now could be filled with them when the migration is on.  If you can find some ducks now - lots of wood ducks and some teal in your area - all the better.  I hear a lot of waterfowl hunters say that it takes them several years to find their best spots - so be prepared for lots of trial and error and lots of scouting.  If you think deer hunters are bad about sharing their spots, duck hunters are even tighter lipped.  If you have friends that hunt ducks, ask to tag along sometime. 
     
    Couple of other things you'll need.  A Migratory Game Bird permit and Federal Duck stamp are required in addition to your regular licencse.  MGB permit can be bought anyplace that sells licenses.  FDS can be purchased at your local post office.  And you've got to use steel shot - no lead. 
     
    Be sure to familiarize yourself with the various duck and goose zones.  Seasons sometimes overlap across the state, but sometimes they don't.  The PGC website should have the waterfolw regs up sometime this week. 
     
    As far as decoys and calls, if you're after ducks, sometimes you don't even need 'em.  With some good scouting you can find little holes in swamps or on creeks that they like to frequent and you can just do some pass shooting.  The most action I ever had on a duck hunt was my very first one, where I just decided to give it a try at a nearby farm pond.  No calls, no decoy, no dog - just a canoe that the owner kept around.  I went through a lot of shells in just a few hours by being in the right place at the right time.  You can also scratch out some good hunts doing some jump shooting along creeks or little holes where no decoys are required. 
     
    If you want to get decoys, you can find them online at some of the big box retailers pretty cheap.  Get yourself a dozen mallards, some decoy cord and some weights, and a mallard call.  You can probably get all this for less than $75 if you want to as you decide if you like it.  Most puddle ducks will relate just fine to a mallard spread.  Divers are a different story, but if you're hunting little pockets in swamps, creeks and farm ponds, you probably won't see many divers anyway.  Decoys and calls are pretty important for geese, although there are times when you can find resident birds that go to the same spots in fields day after day in the early season. 
    #5
    Hummer82
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    RE: Starting out 2011/08/16 11:59:00 (permalink)
    Allot of good info on here.  If you find birds... chances are you wont have any problems finding experience waterfowerlers to show you the ropes.  Keep in mind their intentions though. 
     
    Scouting is very important. Not only finding the area, but exploring it in every manner to plan the next hunt is more important. 
     
    IMHO (NO Disrespect intended) if you resort to a fishing pole to retreive ducks- you should choose an area that would increase your bird in hand ratio.   Ducks and Geese get out of range of shotgun and fishing pole very quick when shot.  Quiick follow up shots are key to prevent wounded birds wandering off too far for retrieves.  
     
    #6
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    RE: Starting out 2011/08/16 12:35:25 (permalink)
    ORIGINAL: Hummer82


    IMHO (NO Disrespect intended) if you resort to a fishing pole to retreive ducks- you should choose an area that would increase your bird in hand ratio.   Ducks and Geese get out of range of shotgun and fishing pole very quick when shot.  Quiick follow up shots are key to prevent wounded birds wandering off too far for retrieves.  


     
    Absolutely.  If you're boatless or dogless, if that bird even twitches when it hits the water, shoot it again. 
     
    I lucked into a free black lab a few years after I started chasing ducks.  Before him, I limited myself to farm ponds where owners had canoes on the bank or areas I KNEW I could wade.  Don't guess on areas you could wade - try it now when the water's low and then consider that in the fall the water will be even deeper. 
     
    Your other option would be to try some field hunting after the corn has been picked.  In Western PA, I don't hear of too many guys that hunt ducks this way, but sometimes I do watch ducks pass by where I am to land in a picked corn field.  Put out some decoys, cover yourself with some camo burlap, add some ground cover to it, and sit back and see what happens. 
     
    Did anyone mention the importance of scouting?    That's gonna be your biggest, and most important, investment in becoming a successful duck hunter. 
    #7
    thunderpole
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    RE: Starting out 2011/08/16 13:42:42 (permalink)
    i hunted ducks once in a cut corn field as he mentioned one of my best hunts ever
    #8
    spg
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    RE: Starting out 2011/08/16 18:11:01 (permalink)
    Hunt the Shenango or Beaver river you'll see ducks.  Get there before the season and find a bend in the river.  The ducks will either fly up or down stream depending upon the time of the day.  They will usually fly over a bend but follow the river in a straight long stretch..  Watch where they fly, than the next day get closer to where they flew and the following day get under the flyway.  You will soon find a pattern.  I have a spot that took me 5 years to just get it right.  Early morning they used one side of a white oak and in the evening they use a tree about 40 yards away. Watch where the birds flew over the bend. They use the gaps in trees as roads.  Get under the gap and you will get some shots at birds. When you shoot a bird watch it and mark where it falls.  Get to it fast beause they can be lost by looking in the wrong spot.  Don't try to shoot 2 or 3 birds out of  flock.  Stay with one bird at a time.  It's better to kill one bird than miss 3 birds. 
    #9
    andyg
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    RE: Starting out 2011/08/16 21:27:43 (permalink)
    Thanks for all of the info... I have actually tried hunting in Neshannock Creek and in cut cornfields before without success, I guess I need to put more time scouting in though. Again thanks for all of the replies!
    #10
    psu_fish
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    RE: Starting out 2011/08/16 21:47:40 (permalink)

    ORIGINAL: Hummer82

    Allot of good info on here.  If you find birds... chances are you wont have any problems finding experience waterfowerlers to show you the ropes.  Keep in mind their intentions though. 

    Scouting is very important. Not only finding the area, but exploring it in every manner to plan the next hunt is more important. 

    IMHO (NO Disrespect intended) if you resort to a fishing pole to retreive ducks- you should choose an area that would increase your bird in hand ratio.   Ducks and Geese get out of range of shotgun and fishing pole very quick when shot.  Quiick follow up shots are key to prevent wounded birds wandering off too far for retrieves.  









    I have no problem shooting ducks off the water, that way if they are wounded chances are they will stay on the water for a follow-up shot.
    #11
    thunderpole
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    RE: Starting out 2011/08/17 03:17:48 (permalink)
    true that spg id rather shoot one and get it then shoot 7 find 3 bacause one thats the one double money banded chances are and 2 y kill it if you cant seek the reward of its delishish breasts one the grill
    #12
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