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Waterfowling Expert Denny Pitman Tells Us Mistakes Hunters Make

Denny Pitman Names Other Mistakes That Keep Hunters From Taking More Ducks

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Denny Pitman of Old Monroe, Missouri, a professional waterfowler and videographer for Hunter’s Specialties, hunts almost every day of duck season for ducks and geese, as he has for the past 16 years. Pitman enjoys hunting all across the nation, including Canada to South Dakota, to Missouri, to Arkansas, to Alabama and all points in-between. Pitman’s job description means that he must find ducks and geese and film new and better techniques for hunting duck, while promoting Hunter’s Specialties’ duck videos, duck and goose calls and waterfowling accessories. Although on the spot every day of waterfowl season to locate and take ducks and geese, Pitman loves his job. We asked Pitman to name the most-common mistakes that duck hunters make each year.

Question: O.k., Denny, tell us some more things we want to avoid to be better duck hunters.Click to enlarge
Pitman: Some hunters make the mistakes of: 1) using poor equipment, particularly calls. I’ve seen a duck hunter spend $1200- $1500 for a shotgun, $300 - $400 for a layout blind and even more on a boat blind, $250 for a pair of quality waders and then want to spend only $15 on a duck call. However, if you want to take more ducks, invest money in a good acrylic or a wooden duck call like those made by Hunter’s Specialties. These calls have better sounds and will work better for you than any $15 call will. A quality acrylic duck call will cost you about $125. I use the Hunter’s Specialties’ Ringer 2 because I believe it’s the most-versatile call out on the market. With it, you can blow a ringing hail call in big, open water or large field situations. Or, you can bring the volume down and get low and nasty, if you’re hunting birds in timber or just trying to finish off the birds.

2) using way-too-many decoys of the same kind. Often serious duck hunters will have from 6-10 dozen mallard decoys and will put them all out on the water every time they hunt.Click to enlarge Instead I prefer to mix the species of my decoys. For instance, if there’s pintails in the region, I’ll place pintail decoys close to my landing hole to give the ducks confidence that there’s other ducks in the spread and a different-colored duck decoy to look at as they come in to the spread. I also use wigeons, wood duck, teal and other types of duck decoys in my spread to give the birds different ducks to look at other than just mallards. Also, you need to work your decoys. When you finish hunting, pull your decoys so that you don’t have ducks swimming in your decoys when you’re not hunting. If ducks drop into a decoy spread and swim around in those decoys, they don’t have to spend too much time there to recognize a plastic duck. Lazy hunters take fewer ducks than the watermen do who work their decoys. Putting out and taking in decoys frequently (before and after each hunt) drastically will increase the number of ducks you take.

3) not patterning their guns with the loads they intend to shClick to enlargeoot. Buy or make a target with a 30-inch circle in its middle. Back off 30 yards, and shoot for the center of the circle with BBs, No. 2s, No. 4s and No. 6s. Then you’ll understand which pattern your gun delivers with each of those shot sizes. If you’re hunting ducks, use the choke and the size of shot you’ll be shooting in the duck blind. If you’re hunting geese, use the choke and the size of shot with which you plan to hunt geese. If you’re hunting geese and ducks at the same time, choose the choke and the shot that will give you the best pattern with the greatest knock-down power. I shoot a Benelli M1 Super 90 with a Hunter’s Specialties’ Undertaker Choke. I don’t need a 3-1/2-inch gun, and I’ve never shot one. I feel that if I can’t take a duck at less than 30 yards, then I haven’t done my job as a caller. I don’t feel that I deserve the opportunity to take that shot. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I won’t shoot a duck unless it’s decoying and locked-up into my spread. I like the Winchester Supreme High-Velocity No. 2 shells for duck hunting. This size shot patterns well in my gun. Then when I shoot a duck with this shot, the duck won’t be swimming around when it hits the water. I shoot geese with the Winchester Supreme High Velocity No. 2s also, because this shot is big enough, hits hard enough and patterns well enough to take either ducks or geese with it. If I get the goose within 30 yards, No.2s will drop that goose just as quickly as BBs.

Tomorrow: Pitman Names 5 Mistakes Goose Hunters Make

Check back each day this week for more about "Waterfowling Expert Denny Pitman Tells Us Mistakes Hunters Make"

Day 1: Some Common Duck-Hunting Mistakes
Day 2: More Tips for Taking Ducks from Denny Pitman
Day 3: Denny Pitman Names Other Mistakes That Keep Hunters From Taking More Ducks
Day 4: Pitman Names 5 Mistakes Goose Hunters Make
Day 5: More Mistakes Goose Hunters Make



Entry 383, Day 3