biggest factors in attracting ducks to a certain area are food and
refuge. Water levels that are slowly rising are continually exposing new
food and often attract numerous waterfowl. Once you find these
conditions, your next concern is how to hunt them. The duck boat system
offers flexibility to hunt in many different situations.
first consideration of mine, when hunting a new area, is to be close to the
center of the marsh. If you have had time to scout, of course it is best to go
where the ducks want to be. The next considerations are wind, sun, water
depth and surrounding vegetation. In most instances, I want the wind at
my back, so ducks are coming straight at me for the easiest shot. If you
have a sunny day with a north wind and set up with the wind at your back, you
will be looking at the sun all day. On those days, I set up to hunt a
cross wind. My favorite days are a south wind with sun. If the
ducks are working well, it is the perfect opportunity to shoot a black duck
(they're rare in my part of the country) or a banded duck, because you can see
every detail when ducks are in range.
there is not much wind, you need to find a place where the decoys will catch
the slightest breeze and create movement. Conversely, on windy days, you may
want to find some sheltered area to set up. These situational rules are
not hard and fast. Many days I have set out of the wind and watched ducks
land in the chop in the open.
open water lets decoys catch the slightest breeze.
vegetation is important as it relates to cover for the blind and open water to
allow the decoys to move. When
you find this situation together and it is oriented to predicted winds for the
day, you have found a spot to hunt. Pay
particular attention to your blind on cloudy days. I carry a machete in
my boat to chop surrounding vegetation to supplement my blind.
side by side
also consider water depth when selecting a place to hunt. This is
especially important when waterfowl are feeding in the area you are
hunting. Optimum feeding water depth for mallards is less than 6
inches. If you are hunting flooded corn, of course the water level must
be where the ducks can reach the ears.
that you have found a place to hunt, you need to set out your decoys. An
important advantage to using duck boats is that you don't have to get out of
the boat to set your decoys. I
start upwind and throw the blocks out as I drift. Every duck hunter has
their own system and reasons for their set. My sets are simple, they are
random. My only concession to outdoor writers and how-to books is to have
an area with a light concentration of decoys where I want the ducks to land.
The rest of the spread is random concentrations with most of the decoys
in gun range. This is how you see ducks on the water. I generally
use lots of decoys because I can. They are easy to carry in the
boat. I may use a hundred decoys when hunting by myself.
I hunt with buddies who have duck boats. We place the boats side by side so we
can talk and pass food back and forth. In most instances the wind is at
our back. Some adjustments are made so you donít have to look directly into the
sun. I think you blind better when
the boats are together. If everyone shoots right handed, the boat on the
immediate left should be 18 inches behind a boat on the right. This will
allow the field of fire for the hunter on the right to extend across the nose
of his neighbor's boat to the left. Put left handed shooters all the way
to the right end. As in any hunting situation, you need to visualize your
shots before you take them and evaluate their safety.
icking up the decoys can be accomplished without wading in the water. By
poling upwind of the spread, you can turn the boat sideways and drift through.
As decoys stack up against the boat, the boat slows down, allowing you
to retrieve your blocks. This takes a little bit of practice, but is not
difficult. Usually, I wait until I get to dry ground to bag decoys,
because I will have some of my hunting partners decoys in my boat.
duck boat system is effective and comfortable. If you don't get in the
water you won't get wet.
Plans can be ordered from:
KARA Enterprises, 310 W. 8th St., Carrollton MO 64633.
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