John's Journal...

Ducks Made Easy

What Equipment You Need to Bushwhack Ducks

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

Duck hunters know ducks move early and late. But, the best-informed duck hunters also understand where the ducks will fly in to feed at daylight, and where the ducks will come in to roost at dark. Always wear an accurate wristwatch, so you’ll recognize official sunrise and sunset times. I won't hunt early or late without wearing SOSpenders Personal Flotation Device (PFD).  Remember creeks and branches create backwater sloughs and little ponds in the woods away from the main river channel. When you wade around to retrieve your ducks, you may step into one of those creek channels and go under water. Having those lightweight, SOSpenders on not only will save your life, but also make getting back to a solid bottom much easier and quicker.  Often I take a belly boat with me to float deeper areas and bushwhack ducks.

Why Carry A GPS When You Bushwhack:Click to enlarge
Having a hand-held Global Positioning System (GPS) today when you duck hunt will spell success on the water, just as it will when you hunt for deer and turkey. With a GPS, you can mark the location where you find the ducks as a waypoint to enable you to return to that spot. Too, Click to enlargeyou can mark the route to take to where you want to hunt on your hand-held GPS. Then you can use that route before daylight or return to your vehicle after dark. Reaching the site you want to hunt before the ducks arrive in the morning to feed or finding your way out of the woods after dark after you’ve hunted the roost will make your duck hunt more successful. Because I generally hunt in a flood plain where beavers control the water level, I have a good chance of inadvertently stepping into a beaver run or an old stump hole, tripping over a log or somehow winding up face first in the water when I head to my site, pick up my ducks and/or leave the water. Often, I’ll become disoriented and won’t remember which way I need to travel.  That’s when my GPS saves the day. Using a hand-held GPS drastically can cut down on your scouting time. I know some bushwhackers who have rented a private plane before they duck hunt and fly over the areas they want to hunt. Once they locate the places where the ducks hold, they mark those spots as waypoints on their GPS receivers and also designate the access roads they’ll have to use to get close to the ducks as waypoints. Then, when on the ground, they know where to park their vehicles and what paths to travel to take the ducks.

Tomorrow: Why Bang Banks

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 4