While it’s always fun to go duck hunting with a group of friends, sometimes it is necessary to hire a guide to show you a new area or if you want to go hunting by yourself. Hunting with a guide can be a great experience, but finding a good one can be a challenging.
It may sound overly simplistic, but the number one tip to duck hunting is to go where the ducks are. One thing many hunting guide’s skip is how conditions for duck hunting quickly changes after the season starts. There may be hundreds of ducks one day one of hunting season in a popular marsh or lake, but only three or four by day three. Duck’s quickly catch-on that conditions are dangerous, so the number one tip is, to go where there are few hunters.
If this means smaller ponds of water, difficult hikes to get to them, waiting patiently after the sun rises for ducks to return after feeding, and going absolutely camo with face pace, reed-covered hats, and keeping radio silence when hunting, so be it. This is the price if you want to be successful, week after week.
There are other hunting guide tips:
- Go sideways rather than with the wind behind you
Most hunters hunt duck’s with the wind at their back. However, this means that as mallards fly above you, they may quickly spot movement. In addition, after a shot, if you miss, they may quickly fly into the wind to escape. Consider setting up a blind crosswind, which makes your movement harder to detect, and when ducks turn into the wind to escape, it gives you a second or third shot.
- Shoot from a boat
Ducks quickly learn to fear the edges of ponds where hunters may lie in pray. Consider as an alternative, hunting from a boat. Cover it with reeds, camo paint, and cattails,
and you have a better chance of catching ducks off-guard.
- Mix your decoys
Most people use mallard decoys, as mallards are the number one duck to hunt. However, a small flock of wood ducks, seeing a bunch of mallard decoys may consider the pond unfriendly. At the very least, mix your decoys up.
- Chop ice
Ducks love to stop at an open place on the ide providing it looks real and inviting.
Chop some holes, then use a net to drag the ice out of the water. The bigger the hole, the more inviting it is as a place for ducks to stop.
- Follow the weather
If bad weather is coming, that could be good news for you getting your limit of mallards. Ducks, sensing cold and windy weather, will frequently fly away the day before it happens. And a lot of ducks flying means a lot of targets.
- Aim for the trailing duck
Ducks fly in formation and the lead duck, which often is the fastest alpha animal, get shot at a lot. However, if a formation of five ducks flies overhead, go for the trailing duck. You’ll have more time to react and go for a steady, controlled shot.