John's Journal...

Ducks Made Easy

Why Not to Go Get Your Ducks Immediately

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: My friends and I for years have used our woodsmanship, stalking skills and stealth to jump-shoot pothole quacks, stream ducks and creek ducks.  If you conduct a poll today to learn how many hunters jump-shot ducks as opposed to those who set-up decoys, build blinds and own retrievers, bushwhackers probably will make up 20 to 40 percent of all those who hunt waterfowl.Click to enlarge

The size of the flock that you sneak up on often determines how many flocks you’ll need to hunt to get a limit. If you can pinpoint a large flock resting and feeding later in the morning, you may get your limit from that flock without having to hunt another group of ducks. Taking more than one or two ducks out of a flight that’s resting and feeding later in the morning depends on what you do after you shoot. Generally, when you step-out from behind the tree and flush the flock, only one or two ducks will spot you. The rest of the ducks in the flight will flush because the one or two ducks that have seen you will become alarmed and leave the water. Even at the reports of your shotgun, the ducks that leave the water won't know your position or from where the shots have come. If you take ducks when they flush, mark them down.  But, don't retrieve the ducks if you haven't finished your limit. Stay in position, reload quickly, and wait. Many times, especially with wood ducks and mallards, you’ll have ducks flying back over the jump site within 10 or 15 minutes.  You may can call these birds in and shoot them as they come back in to light. But even if you don't call the ducks, if you’ll hold your shot and let the ducks look over the feeding site for two or three passes, then most of the time, they’ll light again. Click to enlarge

I’ll also carry two or three blowup-type decoys in Click to enlargethe back of my hunting coat. After I’ve flushed the ducks and shot, I often will place three or four decoys in front of the tree where I'm hiding. I’ve discovered that after the flush, when the ducks return, a small group of decoys will pull the turning ducks down to the water better than calling will. By hunting feeding sites later in the morning, you’ll locate new ducks working in and out of that feeding site, even if none of the ducks you’ve flushed have returned to feed. Hunting duck-feeding sites from about 8:00 am until about 2:00 pm doesn’t interfere with my deer hunting. If you’ve scouted, and you know where the ducks usually hold and feed in the middle of the day, you often can take your limit quickly. You’ll still have time to hunt deer if you live in a state like my home state of Alabama, where deer season runs concurrently with duck season. You can hunt deer from daylight until about 8:00 or 9:00 am, climb-out of your tree stand, get your back pack, shotgun and duck-hunting equipment and hunt ducks through the middle of the day and then return to your tree stand for an afternoon deer hunt.

Tomorrow: What Equipment You Need to Bushwhack Ducks

Check back each day this week for more about "Ducks Made Easy"

Day 1: What a Bushwhacker Needs to Know to Take Ducks
Day 2: When I Enjoyed Bushwhacking At Its Best
Day 3: Why Not to Go Get Your Ducks Immediately
Day 4: What Equipment You Need to Bushwhack Ducks
Day 5: Why Bang Banks


Entry 539, Day 3