Ducks are funny creatures. From the way the waddle to the noises they make. They sure can be fun to hunt though. From the frenzied mallards circling a corn field to the slippery teal juking it’s way across a slough, you can have a good time trying to put a bead on ’em.
Much like a decoying wood duck will dip and dive, the success of the waterfowl hunter can ebb and flow. So far this season, I’ve gone from double digits days to being skunked. That’s the way hunting goes. How do you avoid that? There are a couple ways to increase the odds, but you can never guarantee a limit.
Scouting is your biggest asset. Finding where the birds are is usually one way to ensure you’ll pull the trigger. But that isn’t always the case. We scouted hard a couple of nights ago and found a good number of ducks using a public slough. It was a 25 minute drive so we wanted to make sure we found a good spot if we were going to travel that far. The next morning we loaded up two vehicles full of gear: 3 Beavertail Phantom boats, 4 dogs and 5 hunters.
We shot 0 ducks. There were a few winging through the area, but nothing that came close enough to aim at.
During our drive home, we scouted a few other locations including a nearby slough that held blue-wing teal, wood ducks and mallards. This would be our pond the next morning.
The alarm clock sounded and we struggled out of bed. A short drive and a quick set up followed and we waited for legal shooting time. In the 20 minutes we sat in anticipation, the slough quickly filled up with ducks. When legal shooting time arrived, we unloaded and knocked down a teal here and there, but the majority of the bunch escaped unharmed. Unfortunately, that was about the extent of our ducks for that morning.
That’s the way it goes.
A similar scenario played out this morning, albeit with better results. We had a short drive to a different slough with a different crew. I’d be hunting with Pete Anderson and Darrin Caspers, with wood ducks being our main target. A large contingent had been seen here the day before, along with a few teal and mallards. We ended up with our limit of wood ducks, including 7 nice drakes with 3 bonus teal and a brownish drake mallard. The colors had clearly come earlier for the woodies than the mallards.
By 7:30, most of our shooting was done and it was time for pictures and clean up. We didn’t shoot a limit of ducks, but we got what we came for-including one for the wall courtesy of Turtle Farm Taxidermy.