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A lot of great advice here. I’ll add my two cents. I own a lot of decoys…way too many! I’ve had great success by only using 3-4 decoys when hunting heavy pressured ducks on public land. And I don’t call at all…public land ducks can be real call shy.
 

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A lot of great advice here. I’ll add my two cents. I own a lot of decoys…way too many! I’ve had great success by only using 3-4 decoys when hunting heavy pressures ducks on public land. And I don’t call at all…public land ducks can be real call shy.
last year I never brought a call with me and we brought home loaded tailgates home almost every trip. This year we are calling a little bit because we are frustrated with our results. One day the whistle worked like magic, one day the spinning wing worked like magic. Tough year for us and we are set in our ways hoping for another good day. Good luck and have fun. Hopefully you don't spend as much money as I have.
 

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I feel for newbies in the internet age. So much info is electronic these days. So much marketing/hot air. So little help.

See my original comments about losing focus on what's important, because of marketing/excuses and blaming equipment in post # 3

Go out in the field. Pay attention.

The best hunters I know never talk about decoys or calls (Unless they sell decoys, or are Pro Staff for decoy or call companies).

Learn what your target is interested in (Hint....food is more important than flocked decoys. So look for bugs/larvae/eggs, slugs, acorns, seeds, plants, clams, and fish. What kind of plants were growing there last summer.). A quiet place late in the season where they are unmolested. Even if the spot lacks food, if it has traffic, you can make a great hunt (or several great hunts). Just because you have plants doesn't mean you have good food sources. Canary grass is everywhere, and has little calories for birds. I saw a new one last week on the island. Red stuff. Invasive species if my google skills are correct.....not good.

The best hunters run their equipment well. They sound good on their personal calls. That's not to say that only 1 call works. Just that person has mastered their equipment. They focus on the birds, and not the gadgets.....which is why they kill a lotta ducks. A true professional never blames the tools for a poor job.

If you REALLY want to be a great duck caller practice a lot. Like every day in the front of your pickup when you drive to work/home. All year long. Once you learn a reasonable level of proficiency, you have no excuses. The trick to calling ducks isn't what you are running, but how the birds react, and your ability to read their reaction. That's duck calling.

Learn about ducks. Wigeon have different diets than mallards. If you see a big group of wigeon, start looking at available food sources. If you study their beak, you will see not all ducks are created the same. Once you learn what kinda foods attract what kind of ducks, you are beginning to be a student of the target. After a while, you will start to see a particular plant, and you will understand it will likely draw in particular ducks better.

Even if you are in a spot with little/no food, you can have great success if there's enough traffic working. Roost spots are a big deal to ducks. They may only eat a short period every day (Maybe a couple hours). But they gotta roost somewhere for the other 22 hours.
 

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Since it hasn’t been mentioned and your resume only lists big game hunting, I’m going to suggest spending some time on the skeet range and developing a degree of basic wingshooting competency.
 

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Public water, esp the fuge...3 decoys on a jerk cord or 10 dozen. The birds know what 36 or 48 motionless decoys are and what it means. That's what your typical guy packs.

You are way late, I only have a few hunts left this year.

Like you are trying to do, I learned as an adult, and most of my hunting partners these came off this site. For me the trick is finding guys who like to hunt like you do. Many different styles/levels of effort involved and generally you can go through quite a few partners before you find one that matches yours. I know guys that will drive 10 hours, sleep in their car, walk 10 miles, wait in sweat lines, drag 12 dozen decoys around, etc. I know other guys that go to their spot, throw the same spread every time, and either shoot ducks or don't. I am somewhere in-between these two.

Good luck, I am sure you will get some invitations if you post on open seats next year.
 

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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:
  • 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.
Some legal stuff:
  • 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
Good luck!
Great post!

You should be commended for what you've learned and a solid list of great examples. "Letting ducks get close" and "Bird ID" go hand in hand. If you let them get close, you don't have to worry about shooting the limited birds. Does anyone REALLY need to kill a hen spring anyhow?

I disagree about the decoys, but I like looking at realistic decoys. Ugly decoys make me cringe :) That said, a guy can find some good-looking decoys at a great price if you're aggressive.

PS, shoot me a message, where in MT did you come from? I made the same move once....
 

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I would like to add a question on here;

I've been having a hard time find a pair of gloves that are waterproof, warm and not to bulky on the trigger, I was looking at Sitka gloves but the reviews are less than impressive for the cost of these gloves. Any recommendations ?
 

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I would like to add a question on here;

I've been having a hard time find a pair of gloves that are waterproof, warm and not to bulky on the trigger, I was looking at Sitka gloves but the reviews are less than impressive for the cost of these gloves. Any recommendations ?
I use to pursue the perfect trigger glove. I gave up looking. I prefer to go gloveless and take a heater.

I just bought these and used them last week for picking up the decoys and for the cold boat ride. They are awesome!

 

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I would like to add a question on here;

I've been having a hard time find a pair of gloves that are waterproof, warm and not to bulky on the trigger, I was looking at Sitka gloves but the reviews are less than impressive for the cost of these gloves. Any recommendations ?

Black rubber gloves I wear for fishing. Bring extras. Use them to set/retrieve decoys. Or anytime hands will get wet. Never let your hands get wet for long.

6-8 Handwarmers in shell belt/handwarmers thing.

I have broken 3 world records for coldest hands ever. This is the answer.
 

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I would like to add a question on here;

I've been having a hard time find a pair of gloves that are waterproof, warm and not to bulky on the trigger, I was looking at Sitka gloves but the reviews are less than impressive for the cost of these gloves. Any recommendations ?
The glove you're looking for doesn't exist, or I can't find them. Here's a three part solution:
  1. Decoy gloves for setting and retrieving
  2. Pockets or a handwarmer muff to keep hands warm between birds.
  3. Cotton hand towels in ziploc bags to dry hands off when they do get wet.
On the coldest days I wear a thin pair of merino gloves, like these from First Lite. Have an extra set in case they get wet.
 

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I would like to add a question on here;

I've been having a hard time find a pair of gloves that are waterproof, warm and not to bulky on the trigger, I was looking at Sitka gloves but the reviews are less than impressive for the cost of these gloves. Any recommendations ?
What I did this season was I bought a pair of acid rubber gloves then put a pair of light gloves inside, doesn’t sound that appealing but it works..
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
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.
Thank you for the info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
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.
Thank you. I ordered waders last night. Still looking to slowly gather some of the items you have mentioned. Some I already have. I appreciate the list.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
I feel for newbies in the internet age. So much info is electronic these days. So much marketing/hot air. So little help.

See my original comments about losing focus on what's important, because of marketing/excuses and blaming equipment in post # 3

Go out in the field. Pay attention.

The best hunters I know never talk about decoys or calls (Unless they sell decoys, or are Pro Staff for decoy or call companies).

Learn what your target is interested in (Hint....food is more important than flocked decoys. So look for bugs/larvae/eggs, slugs, acorns, seeds, plants, clams, and fish. What kind of plants were growing there last summer.). A quiet place late in the season where they are unmolested. Even if the spot lacks food, if it has traffic, you can make a great hunt (or several great hunts). Just because you have plants doesn't mean you have good food sources. Canary grass is everywhere, and has little calories for birds. I saw a new one last week on the island. Red stuff. Invasive species if my google skills are correct.....not good.

The best hunters run their equipment well. They sound good on their personal calls. That's not to say that only 1 call works. Just that person has mastered their equipment. They focus on the birds, and not the gadgets.....which is why they kill a lotta ducks. A true professional never blames the tools for a poor job.

If you REALLY want to be a great duck caller practice a lot. Like every day in the front of your pickup when you drive to work/home. All year long. Once you learn a reasonable level of proficiency, you have no excuses. The trick to calling ducks isn't what you are running, but how the birds react, and your ability to read their reaction. That's duck calling.

Learn about ducks. Wigeon have different diets than mallards. If you see a big group of wigeon, start looking at available food sources. If you study their beak, you will see not all ducks are created the same. Once you learn what kinda foods attract what kind of ducks, you are beginning to be a student of the target. After a while, you will start to see a particular plant, and you will understand it will likely draw in particular ducks better.

Even if you are in a spot with little/no food, you can have great success if there's enough traffic working. Roost spots are a big deal to ducks. They may only eat a short period every day (Maybe a couple hours). But they gotta roost somewhere for the other 22 hours.

Thank you. Sounds somewhat similar to Archery Elk hunting. Love practicing calls to/from work and seeing others reactions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Since it hasn’t been mentioned and your resume only lists big game hunting, I’m going to suggest spending some time on the skeet range and developing a degree of basic wingshooting competency.
Thank you and good advice. I have done very littke skeet shooting but understand the concept. Definitely need to shake off the rust.
 
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