Are you a newcomer to the group of duck and geese hunting enthusiasts? Don’t worry, even the best hunters were beginners at some point. In fact, we can help you become an expert more quickly!
Although experience is always the best teacher, a little advice could go a long way! So we gathered some essential information for you to learn how to hunt ducks and geese.
When to Hunt
It’s best to go waterfowl hunting when the weather conditions are poor. That’s because the wind and rain will leave the birds with no choice but to seek shelter and fly lower. Generally, fall duck and goose seasons open on the same day in October and run through the middle to late January, with some closed days in between. In some areas, there is a so-called Canada Goose season every September.
Learn How to Identify Ducks
Do your research by looking at images of different duck and geese species to prepare you for hunts. However, note that it’s much harder to identify their species on the field than it is on the computer.
Try getting binoculars and heading to a local marsh that has birds whipping around it early in the morning or later in the evening. Then, go identify the types of waterfowl you see. In time, if you hunt enough, you will be able to determine species, by the way, the bird’s fly.
Expand Your Circle
You need to have friends who know how to hunt geese and ducks because it will be difficult to train on your own. You’ll want the help of more experienced hunters who can show you the ropes. Why not try joining a local Delta Waterfowl or Ducks Unlimited chapter? Those in the West Coast also have the chance to join California Waterfowl Association.
They can give you answers to your questions, and some can even provide mentorship programs! Start to contact the site manager and ask if they know anyone who can help you get started.
Expanding your circle also means you get to attend waterfowl weekends at a regional or national retailer. You can discuss with trusted manufacturers about their products!
The three basic ways to hunt geese and ducks include:
- hunting over decoys. This is the most popular way to hunt waterfowl. This is done by using decoys in a spot likely to be used by them. Hide in there and try to entice passing birds to within shotgun range. The rule of thumb is to use at least six decoys, hide in whatever nearby vegetation is available, and may not try to call the birds at all. Moreover, decoys should be no farther than 40 yards away from the blind for you to judge distance and make good shots on approaching birds.
- jump-shooting. This refers to sneaking within shotgun range of feeding or resting waterfowl. Then, the birds are flushed and the hunter selects one as a target. This is great when you are visiting small ponds or walking along a small stream or irrigation canal. Two forms of jump-shooting you can also try include float hunts and skull boat shoots. You can float a river in a canoe or kayak and try to shoot unsuspecting birds.
- pass-shooting. Here, the hunters attempt to go to areas where ducks or geese are flying over as they go between feeding and resting areas. This is a great tip to follow when it’s windy days when they are forced to fly low. But this technique is ineffective on fair weather days since birds tend to fly higher.