Waterfowl hunters are a passionate group of people. Passion levels can generally be measured by the amount of time an individual waterfowler spends preparing for the upcoming season. If you want to increase your passion for waterfowl hunting and improve your success rate at the same time, follow these preparation tips.
1. Basics Count
"Every waterfowl hunter needs to remember the basics, especially on opening day," said JD Driskill, owner of Dirty Rice Outfitters in Gobler, Missouri. "Too often hunters allow opening day to sneak up on them. That is a recipe for failure. Guns need to be checked, including chokes. Showing up with a wrong choke can ruin your shooting effectiveness. Decoys need cleaned and lines repaired. A tangled mess is not what a duck or goose hunter wants to deal with when the sun is coming up on opening day."
2. Prep Machines
"Machines are an important part of waterfowl hunting," said long time duck hunter Russ Nanni of Paducah, Kentucky. "Boats, motors, ATVs, UTVs, motorized decoys and pumps that provide water for hunting spots are all key factors in the success of hunts. To neglect them is to guarantee that you will have problems. They are all pieces of mechanical equipment and they will break at some point in time. Regular maintenance is good insurance, but checking them all out before opening day is absolutely necessary to the quality of the hunt."
3. Scout Early
"Knowing where the birds are is just plain smart," stated retired school teacher Orville Tharp, of Cuba, Missouri. "Duck hunting days are limited and I don't like to waste them searching for birds." Visiting public hunting areas in mid- to late-summer allows Tharp to see first hand what crops area managers have planted to attract migrating waterfowl. Too, he talks with area managers to find out what they have planned for the upcoming season. "Pools can be closed down, pumps can break, storms can cause damage. Every one of those items will have an effect on your season. Knowing what is going on at your favorite spot is important."
4. Conceal Blinds
"Ducks have great eyesight," said Diamond Dunn, a 16-year-old guide from Corning, Arkansas. "All duck hunters, and goose hunters, too, should take a close look a there blinds before the season starts. All holes should be filled. New vegetation should be added to give the blind some depth and relief. Matching the blind to the cover you hunt in is important, too. If you hunt in corn, add corn stalks to your blind."
5. Practice the Five-Note Greeting Call
"Competition calling is not necessary in the duck blind," explained waterfowl calling expert Perry May of Dexter, Missouri. "I like to blow a call as much as the next guy, but come opening day, I use the five note greeting call a lot. It is one of the first calls beginning duck hunters learn and it can be blown on any mallard call. Ducks, particularly young ducks coming down the flyways are very familiar with the greeting call. Practice the greeting call well before the season and come opening day, your odds for success will soar."