Looking for Regional Information?

The Basics Of Duck Hunting

By Charles Hopkins Published 12/9/2013 | Hunting

Of all the game fowls that can be hunted, ducks are the most popular. They’re gentle little creatures that fly straight to the air when startled. The objective in duck hunting is not to shoot at ducks per se, but to aim at ducks when they’re in flight. Duck hunting is not about the thrill of the kill. It’s about marksmanship. It’s about precision. And most importantly, it’s about class.

This is why the term “sitting duck” was coined. Hunters should not shoot at a sitting duck. They’re not considered as fair game. Duck hunting is a sport. It’s not supposed to be a massacre.

Shotguns are the weapons of choice for duck hunting. Self-loaders, pump actions, and steel shots are the most popular variety of duck hunting guns in the market. Each of them has its own level of efficiency as well as its own quirks in handling and reloading. It’s really up to you to determine which type you could familiarize yourself with.

Attracting ducks that are in flight to come closer within firing range is accomplished through the use of decoys. Decoys are manmade patterns, usually made out of dried branches and leaves over calm water, that conceal another essential tool in duck hunting: blinds. Blinds are vital for the sport. Ducks are very wary of traps. It seems like they have developed a sixty sense for them, as they can smell traps a mile away. Blinds would help cover you as you sit or lie in wait as they approach. Blinds are made of branches, stems and leaves over a tent-like structure where you could comfortably stay while waiting for a flock to come within your sight.

It is recommended that you add a feature to your decoys to make them move from time to time. A cord attached to a decorated bottle for example, can easily be pulled to create such a movement. The reason for this is simple. Ducks have sharp eyes. And their greed is quite great. Decoys can be mistaken as food, and even when the ducks are in flight, once they spot the seemingly harmless movement, they’ll swoop down to give it a closer look.

Another way of attracting the attention of ducks is by calling. This is done by mastering the blowing of a duck call. It is advised, however, that if you have not mastered this art, you should not dare try it. You might end up scaring the ducks away instead of inviting them towards where you sit or lie in wait.

When shooting at a fleeing flock, aim for the tail end of the formation. Why? Because if you aim at the front end, or the middle of the lock, you’ll break down the group and they’ll scatter. You’ll have a harder time gunning them down. Whereas if you aim for the tail end, you won’t break up the flock as the duck you will initially hit would fall and lag behind.

Again, it is taboo in duck hunting to shoot a sitting duck, that is, a duck that is peacefully on the water. The only time such an act is acceptable is if the duck is wounded, in which case, you could put an end to its unnecessary misery by shooting it.

Duck hunting is a very addictive sport. It combines manual dexterity, physical agility and a sharp mind. Because of these requisites, some people have come to label it as the ultimate test of the human will. Indeed, all the faculties of our bodies will be exercised, and our minds will get a much needed practice as well. Duck hunting is also a relaxing and invigorating pastime. Do give it a try, and chances are, you won’t regret the experience.