John's Journal...

Combo Hunt for Ducks and Whitetails and Other Animals

Stalk Hunting Ducks

Click to enlargeI’ve found major river systems with flooded timber, small creeks, sloughs and wood ponds created by flooding or winter rains the easiest places to combo duck and deer hunt. Many areas where you deer hunt will home river-bottom hardwoods that produce the mast that ducks eat.

Although I usually hunt private lands, you can discover productive combo-hunting sites on public lands too. However, check with your state game officials, if you plan to hunt WMAs for ducks during deer season about rules governing that hunting. Click to enlarge

Often when you stalk creek ducks, you’ll have as much success as when you hunt feeding or roosting ducks in flooded timber. If I plan to stalk down a creek, I’ll keep my backpack on my shoulder, my rifle across my shoulder on a sling and my shotgun in my hands at the ready. I usually can hear the ducks quacking or whistling before I get close-enough to spook them as I slip down a creek. If I take my time, moving slowly and keeping cover between me and the creek, the waterfowl won’t spot me. I generally can stalk in close enough to take a shot as the webfoots come off the water. If I hunt creeks, I know that even after the first volley, the ducks usually will circle and pass over a second time, only higher and faster. I’ll have to shoot quicker than I do when the ducks first come off the creek.

Although I enjoy stalking ducks down a creek bank, I really experience the essence of Click to enlargebackwater duck hunting when I stalk ducks in flooded timber. If the water still is rising in these regions, not only can you bag ducks, but you also may discover some of the best deer hunting on the property. Rising water in a hardwood region causes the acorns on the ground to come to the surface. The force of the water will push vast mats of acorns close to the bank that will resemble a bathtub ring around the edge of the water. Deer will feed along these edges on the acorns. I have taken a deer before within an hour of shooting ducks in about the same spot. Click to enlarge

To get close enough to take a shot as the birds jump off the water, I’ll have to move slowly and carefully. I don’t want to create any type of wake or leave any ringlets on the water for passing ducks to spot. Once I see ducks on the water, I try to keep standing timber between me and the ducks as I approach to prevent my spooking the scout ducks, ducks that will swim in the flooded timber away from the main flock, looking for danger. I always make sure a scout duck can’t see me when I move. I play the game to see just how close I actually can get to the ducks before I take the shot. Once I’ve made a successful stalk and gotten within range, only then will I think about the shot. If you prepare to shoot before you get close-enough to the ducks to shoot, you’ll think more about the shot you’ll take than about moving slowly, quietly and invisibly. Most likely you’ll spook more ducks than you’ll have the opportunity to shoot.

Tomorrow: Hunt Ducks in the Afternoon

Check back each day this week for more about "Combo Hunt for Ducks and Whitetails and Other Animals"

Day 1: Simplify Your Duck-Hunting Routine
Day 2: Stalk Hunting Ducks
Day 3: Hunt Ducks in the Afternoon
Day 4: Enjoy Midday Duck Hunting
Day 5: Take Bushytails and Webfoots


Entry 485, Day 2