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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looks like I might be a bit late this year but if anything, it will be a jump start for next year. I’m looking at getting into duck hunting and someone to mentor/show me the ropes.

A little bit about me:

-Reside in Columbia County
-Big game hunter the last several years
-Hard-worker, willing to do the grunt work
-I handle firearms in a safe manner

I’m not on Ifish a ton but frequent Rokslide and NorthwestFireams often. Same handle.

Sounding board/ideas for public/private/club/other options? and proper gear are probably my main questions.

thanks,
 

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Start at Sauvies public.

You will learn the basics without having to pay for a club or buy a boat.

Keep it simple.

Scout. Hide good. It's worth repeating....Scout. Hide good. Notice how I never spoke of choke tubes, magic shotgun shells, cutdown duck calls, or flocked decoys. For the most part, gear doesn't matter much (It is a gear intensive game. Just don't get sucked into the weeds on nifty widgets, and take your eyes off the important stuff) What you do with said gear is important. But the Ford Vs Chevy thing doesn't matter much.

If you can't scout, listen to whatever advice the DFW folks at check stations have, and hunt where they suggest.

Get some rest. You are gonna need it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Start at Sauvies public.

You will learn the basics without having to pay for a club or buy a boat.

Keep it simple.

Scout. Hide good. It's worth repeating....Scout. Hide good. Notice how I never spoke of choke tubes, magic shotgun shells, cutdown duck calls, or flocked decoys. For the most part, gear doesn't matter much (It is a gear intensive game. Just don't get sucked into the weeds on nifty widgets, and take your eyes off the important stuff) What you do with said gear is important. But the Ford Vs Chevy thing doesn't matter much.

If you can't scout, listen to whatever advice the DFW folks at check stations have, and hunt where they suggest.

Get some rest. You are gonna need it.
Thank you for the advice. I appreciate it.
 

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Flatfish's advice is great. I hunt Sauvie a lot and just got serious about it a couple years ago. Here's what I've learned:
  • A beginner's guide to waterfowl hunting on Sauvie Island: Introduction | Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife This guide will get you the basics
  • The best way to learn new spots is to get out there and explore. Sauvie hunts on approximately every other day (dates are listed in the Wildlife Area Reservation Hunts section of the bird regs). If you go midday on a hunt day and talk to the check station folks, there are usually some openings. Take some time to explore the spots that have an open spot. Don't expect birds every time, but use it as a learning experience for the various roam units and blinds.
  • Apply for a blind in every draw period that you can. If you draw a good one then there will be lots of people happy to accompany you who can help show you the ropes. The draws are over for this year. The application dates are listed in the regulations.
  • There's a facebook group for Sauvie Island Waterfowl where people occasionally ask for partners to draw chips with on the west side
  • Learn how to hide. Some of the blinds are well-brushed, other times you can hide pretty well in the roam unit corn fields. Often you will have to put in some effort to hide yourself.
  • Let the ducks get close. I see so much shooting on the island where the birds are circling and going to give someone a good shot, only for one rambunctious blind to shoot from 100 yards away and scare the ducks off, depriving everyone of a chance.
  • You can get started with only a handful of decoys. I bought some used ones from a fellow ifisher a while back that served me well. No need to spend $1000 on fancy brand new decoys when you are still learning.
  • The time to learn to call is in the offseason, not in the duck blind
  • Lean on the ODFW staff for advice when you are getting started. I owe a lot of my success to their helpfulness. I have no boat and no dog so I am a little restricted to where I can realistically retrieve birds. Many spots on the island are find with just wading though.
Some legal stuff:
  • Two important parts of the duck regulations: you need to use nontoxic ammo (I use #2 steel for ducks the majority of the time) and you need to buy a federal waterfowl stamp ($25, you can buy at sporting goods stores, USPS offices, or through a few game and fish departments online).
  • Work on your bird ID. Around here I've bumped up on my hen mallard (2 per person/day) and pintail limits (1 per person/day) most often. One of my last times out my first three ducks were a pin and two hen mallards. That made the rest of the day way more difficult.
  • There is a whole extra system you have to go through for geese. The goose seasons do not always align with duck season. You cannot shoot dark geese on Sauvie except in the September goose season.
Good luck!
 

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All good advice.

A tip on bird ID if you are new. Install this app below on your phone. Use it to study your kill. I see post after post online of people that have no idea what they shot. After a few seasons you should get good at identifying birds as they fly. Learn to identify flying pintails first as it is the most restrictive bird every year. Identifying flying hen mallards (AKA Susie's) also important after you have shot two.

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Flatfish's advice is great. I hunt Sauvie a lot and just got serious about it a couple years ago. Here's what I've learned:
  • A beginner's guide to waterfowl hunting on Sauvie Island: Introduction | Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife This guide will get you the basics
  • The best way to learn new spots is to get out there and explore. Sauvie hunts on approximately every other day (dates are listed in the Wildlife Area Reservation Hunts section of the bird regs). If you go midday on a hunt day and talk to the check station folks, there are usually some openings. Take some time to explore the spots that have an open spot. Don't expect birds every time, but use it as a learning experience for the various roam units and blinds.
  • Apply for a blind in every draw period that you can. If you draw a good one then there will be lots of people happy to accompany you who can help show you the ropes. The draws are over for this year. The application dates are listed in the regulations.
  • There's a facebook group for Sauvie Island Waterfowl where people occasionally ask for partners to draw chips with on the west side
  • Learn how to hide. Some of the blinds are well-brushed, other times you can hide pretty well in the roam unit corn fields. Often you will have to put in some effort to hide yourself.
  • Let the ducks get close. I see so much shooting on the island where the birds are circling and going to give someone a good shot, only for one rambunctious blind to shoot from 100 yards away and scare the ducks off, depriving everyone of a chance.
  • You can get started with only a handful of decoys. I bought some used ones from a fellow ifisher a while back that served me well. No need to spend $1000 on fancy brand new decoys when you are still learning.
  • The time to learn to call is in the offseason, not in the duck blind
  • Lean on the ODFW staff for advice when you are getting started. I owe a lot of my success to their helpfulness. I have no boat and no dog so I am a little restricted to where I can realistically retrieve birds. Many spots on the island are find with just wading though.
Some legal stuff:
  • Two important parts of the duck regulations: you need to use nontoxic ammo (I use #2 steel for ducks the majority of the time) and you need to buy a federal waterfowl stamp ($25, you can buy at sporting goods stores, USPS offices, or through a few game and fish departments online).
  • Work on your bird ID. Around here I've bumped up on my hen mallard (2 per person/day) and pintail limits (1 per person/day) most often. One of my last times out my first three ducks were a pin and two hen mallards. That made the rest of the day way more difficult.
  • There is a whole extra system you have to go through for geese. The goose seasons do not always align with duck season. You cannot shoot dark geese on Sauvie except in the September goose season.
Good luck!
Thank you for that lot of information. I appreciate you taking your time to write that up. It seems that it will be super helpful.
 

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Go out to sauvies during the daylight and just watch. There’s an observation/covered deck over looking the “hunt” unit. You can hear and see pretty much everything going on. Get a widgeon/pintail whistle, learn to use it. There much easier to learn than a mallard call . Speaking of mallard calls, calling ducks is probably my favorite aspect of duck hunting. Learn on a single reed. I got handed a single reed duck call and never liked it. I bought a double reed and now I can’t for the life of me blow a single reed call.

There’s so much more, I could go on for hours. And once you get hooked, there’s no turning back.
 

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Gear...Just remember you will evolve over time...spend your money wisely.

waders - breathable seem to be the popular option these days...

Good waterproof jacket - Drake makes an affordable jacket

Headlamp on Amazon for $20.

Handwarmers and or gloves! I always forget these...

Cheap face cover

widgeon/pintail/teal whistle...can also be used as mallard drake call.

Shotgun w/ the chokes it came with....non-lead ammo of your choice.

Delta waterfowl makes a good backpack...amazon.

A jerk rig with 3 decoys would be a good addition as well...

Use your eyes to look around, not your head.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Go out to sauvies during the daylight and just watch. There’s an observation/covered deck over looking the “hunt” unit. You can hear and see pretty much everything going on. Get a widgeon/pintail whistle, learn to use it. There much easier to learn than a mallard call . Speaking of mallard calls, calling ducks is probably my favorite aspect of duck hunting. Learn on a single reed. I got handed a single reed duck call and never liked it. I bought a double reed and now I can’t for the life of me blow a single reed call.

There’s so much more, I could go on for hours. And once you get hooked, there’s no turning back.
Thank you for all the info. I’ll look into the calls for sure. I didn’t know there was an observation deck. That’s cool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
There are two dozen decoys for sale on the Hunting Classifieds
I saw that and it has definitely peaked my interest. I’m talking to a gentleman on Rokslide and he might sell me some stuff. Mix of Avian-X and a few GHG all rigged with 4 oz strap weights and in a carrying bag. Just don’t know quantity or price yet.
 

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I saw that and it has definitely peaked my interest. I’m talking to a gentleman on Rokslide and he might sell me some stuff. Mix of Avian-X and a few GHG all rigged with 4 oz strap weights and in a carrying bag. Just don’t know quantity or price yet.
I agree within the other poster that you don’t need to spend a more on the newest trendy decoys. If you have the extra cash then go for it but it you are on a budget you can do just fine with average, older dekes.
 

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I agree within the other poster that you don’t need to spend a more on the newest trendy decoys. If you have the extra cash then go for it but it you are on a budget you can do just fine with average, older dekes.
This. The guy that taught us how to hunt killed thousands of ducks over clapped out flambeau decoys missing half there paint. I’d venture to say he could out hunt most folks. That being said I have the latest and greatest flocked decoys because I can afford them. Not because there necessarily more effective at killing birds.
 

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Lots of good advice here.
I'll add: Go to a park in the off season and listen to the birds. It's a great way to learn to imitate ducks.
Another thing I like to do a few times during the season is to just let some ducks land. Don't shoot. Listen to them.
You may even get a chance to "talk to them" with your call. It's fun and educational.
Someone once said we learn a lot more from the critters we don't shoot than from the ones we do.

I'm going to go against the grain here a bit and say that a few good decoys (6 - 12, not necessarily the most expensive) are better than a bunch of junk.

Good luck, have fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Lots of good advice here.
I'll add: Go to a park in the off season and listen to the birds. It's a great way to learn to imitate ducks.
Another thing I like to do a few times during the season is to just let some ducks land. Don't shoot. Listen to them.
You may even get a chance to "talk to them" with your call. It's fun and educational.
Someone once said we learn a lot more from the critters we don't shoot than from the ones we do.

I'm going to go against the grain here a bit and say that a few good decoys (6 - 12, not necessarily the most expensive) are better than a bunch of junk.

Good luck, have fun.
Thank you, I will have to do that in the off season.
 

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you don't need the best decoys on the market to kill birds. what you do need to do, is know how to imitate birds on the water in a natural way with your decoys. i own a large variety of duck decoys, 11 species in total. when you scout, look at how the birds are situated when they are comfortable. what species are around, what birds are resting with other birds. are they standing on shore, are they feeding. imitate nature. sometimes its better to have 100 decoys, sometimes its better to have 5. there are a lot of variables that go into setting a decoy spread.
 

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You got some great advice so far but I'll add a couple things.

I'll repeat the advice to get a good whistler call. After the season has been open a while it'll outperform the quacker. Quackers are good for getting their attention when they're way out there but you need to back off when the birds are heading your way. When they look serious about working your decoys, stop calling so they don't pinpoint your location which will not be where your decoys are. After they pass overhead, you can resume calling as they're going away. When they swing back, shut up. It's not how much you call, it's how well you call, your technique.

Decoys: White is very visible, you want it brilliant so ducks can pick it up way out there. Repainting parts of new or old decoys is needed. A drake Mallard should be much lighter on the back than many of them come new out of the box. As the season progresses it's more important to have decoys that look like live, active ducks, than huge numbers. 5 or 6 will get the job done if they have actual duck movement. I built a pulley system to get real swimmers. Calling wasn't necessary with that setup once I had the ducks attention. They wouldn't even circle. For every hen mallard, have two drakes because that's usually how it is in the wild. Drakes are more visible as well. Those spinning wing decoys work for uneducated ducks but there aren't a lot of uneducated ducks after the season has been open a couple of weeks. Ducks want open water to land in. Don't have you blind on top of your decoys if you're using a lot of decoys. If something isn't working, birds flaring, not committing, something is wrong, fix it. Could be something not associated with your decoy setup like foreign objects in the water or on shore. Camo face and hands and keep movement to a minimum. Don't look up at the birds as they pass overhead. You know they're there, don't need to look at them till it's time to shoot. A lot of times it's location, ducks just don't want to be where you're set up. Moving just a short distance can make a huge difference. Read the birds.

Blind: Natural materials. Learn how to hide in the open. Ducks figure out there's danger in heavy cover or big boxy blinds that stick our like a sore thumb. Be picky about your camo gear, a lot of it is too dark.

Another trick. If there's a lot of water, throw out some decoys that look like decoys where you don't want the birds to land. They'll home in on you setup if it looks real.
 
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