John's Journal...

Where Ducks Hide with Outdoor Writer John E. Phillips

Day 1: Hunting Ducks on Small Bodies of Water

Editor’s Note: If you’re tired of the competition and expenses involved when hunting on the big reservoirs and well-known duck marshes, here’s a surefire way to locate good duck hunting not too far from home by hunting smaller waters like potholes, beaver ponds and swamps.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewThe morning was crisp and clear, and ducks already had started flying to the beaver pond from a nearby roosting area. Camouflaged from head to toe, I listened to the singing wings of the wood ducks dodging the dead trees that stood in the water. Several big splashes and quite a bit of quacking also told me that a flight of mallards had stopped-off at my beaver pond for acorns and cypress seeds floating on the water. I looked at my watch. Sure enough, legal shooting time had come. “Fifteen minutes of shooting,” I told myself. “That’s all you’ve got.”

The birds were treetop high and pouring into the little pothole like juice from a sorghum mill. Firing in all directions, I felt like an anti-aircraft gunner firing at attacking enemy planes. Ducks fell, and I marked them for later retrieval after the end of the shooting. Then, as quickly as the action had begun, it stopped. The sun appeared, and the ducks stopped coming to my pond. Generally beaver pond or pothole shooting for ducks lasts only 10 to 30 minutes in the early morning and again in the late afternoon. However, on rare occasions, I have seen ducks coming in to a dead lake, beaver pond, backwater slough or mudhole all day long, if plenty of food is available.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewDuck shooting on small bodies of water can be very productive, if you can locate a good spot or two. Quite often, there’s very-little competition from other hunters in these out-of-the-way places, and that makes for quality shooting. Often I have wondered what makes certain small bodies of water much-more productive than others. If I can find out, I’ll probably be able to locate good spots more easily. Some of these hidden hotspots are excellent early-morning spots, or they are hot in the afternoon but usually not both times. Many of these small bodies of water only attract wood ducks, while others draw ducks of different kinds.

AmazonTo get John E. and Denise Phillips’ Kindle eBook, “The Best Wild Game & Seafood Cookbook Ever: 350 Southern Recipes for Deer, Turkey, Fish, Seafood Small Game and Birds,” click here. Or, go to, type in the names of the books, and download them to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.


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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: Knowing Ducks: What They Do and Why and Where to Locate Them

Check back each day this week for more about Where Ducks Hide with Outdoor Writer John E. Phillips"

Day 1: Hunting Ducks on Small Bodies of Water
Day 2: Knowing Ducks: What They Do and Why, and Where to Locate Them
Day 3: Knowing the Best Shooting Times to Take Ducks
Day 4: Using Aerial Maps and Topo Maps to Locate Duck Hot Spots
Day 5: Impacting Your Hunting Land’s Duck Potential and Types of Duck Hunting

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Entry 747, Day 1