TIMBERRR FOR DUCKS   Leave a comment

Incoming 01

Perhaps one of the more interesting ways to hunt ducks is in flooded timber. It can be cold for the unprepared as often the water temperature is slightly above freezing and often you have to break surface ice.  But, one quickly forgets the cold when a flock of mallards appears out of no here to zigzag through the trees and sets down in a pool in front of you.

Beginning in late summer, far to the north in the breeding grounds, a feeding frenzy begins as ducks step up their food intake. They need the fat for sustaining energy during the annual migration.  The rest of the year ducks use carbohydrates to build their energy.  Muscle tissue used in migration requires fat reserves.  As the migration progresses, they use up the fat and have to go on another feeding frenzy to rebuild it before continuing.  They pig out and then take off again.

With water tending to be about 1 or 2 feet deep it requires boots or chest waders for hunting. On public land site specific rules do not allow permanent blinds.  Hunters usually get into the area at least an hour before sunrise.  Each hunting party should have at least one dozen decoys.  Hunters carry decoys into the area in bags attached to backpack frames.  Regulars have this down to a science and often carry more than a dozen dekes.  Hunter success is usually better with more decoys.

Due to the wide variety of duck species frequenting such areas hunters need to know how to identify huntable species

Being able to call ducks is important in all duck hunting. In timber hunting or other heavy cover hunting it is vital.  By calling the hunter is able to convince them that his area is the best one.  In a public hunting area competition is heavy for the available ducks.  If another hunter is a better caller, chances are he will also get more shooting.

Call the ducks right up until the time one starts shooting. Reduce the volume, as the birds get closer.  Another advantage of calling right up until shooing is in the heavy cover of timber shooting it is possible that another flock you did not see will come in ahead of the one you did see.

In waterfowl hunting it is important to stay dry to avoid hypothermia (a sudden loss of body temperature that can be fatal) a good pair of insulated waders are a must. Waders tend to be better than hip boots because you never know when you might trip or step into a hole.  Waders keep you dry when boots might get you wet.  Warmer than usual clothing is also a good idea.  Standing in 35-degree water for long periods is a lot colder than standing on dry land in the same weather.

The best kind of weather for duck hunting is any kind that is available. Go any time you can.  There are those who prefer overcast days considered traditional duck hunting weather.  Others maintain that the best weather for timber hunting is on bright days.  The idea of the second theory is that birds partially blinded by reflection of the sun off the water look for shaded timber for safety.


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