Effective Strategies for Bagging Ducks in the Early Season

In the early season of waterfowl hunting, it is crucial to follow effective strategies as a way to be more successful in bagging ducks. This includes hunting from the center of the lake, camouflaging duck blinds, and using instinct instead of concentration for figuring out the lead.

Hunting in the Center of the Lake

waterfowl huntingAnytime new ducks approach a new area during the early season, they traditionally land in the center of the marsh or lake. Experienced hunters often scout promising marshes and lakes during the afternoon. If they witness any ducks working they will often return to the same spot the next morning before dawn to begin hunting.

There is typically some location around the marsh or lake that will allow for perfect shooting. It might be an island, or long point off the shore that provides the best location for successful kill shots.

Camouflage with Overhanging Limbs

One of the successful strategies for bagging ducks during the early season is to use a boat blind and camouflage it with overhanging limbs. Whenever possible, try and position the boat blind as close as possible to a tree trunk. This way it can be tied in a way to stabilize the platform for shooting.

Equipping the boat with a cover is an ideal solution for completely concealing it. The cover should be fabricated with as much natural material as possible to totally conceal the blind and the hunters.

Use Instinct When Figuring the Lead

Successful wing-shooting is all about having the proper lead. However, this is often a difficult thing to teach another individual. It usually takes a high level of instinct to learn successful leading. This is because every shot will be different in terms of the speed and angle of the target. Additionally, some shots will be required to be taken head-on while others when the bird is going away. There will even be some that will be required to take at a 45° or 90° angle.

If the hunters have to take the time to consciously calculate the exact distance to lead the bird they are more than likely going to miss. Alternatively, successful wing shooters simply let their instincts take over the process. They instead alter their concentration to focus on the available target and then follow it using the shotgun. With enough practice, the brain will automatically calculate the exact amount of lead. When the hunter spends enough time focusing on effective shooting fundamentals, the brain will automatically take care of the lead.

Avoid the Most Obvious Duck

Unless the hunter is out shooting on his or her own, he or she needs to take aim on a duck that is not so obvious in the flock. The reason for this is apparent. Whenever a flight of ducks is pitching into the decoys, nearly all of the inexperienced hunters in the group will set their sights on the easiest bird, which is usually the closest one in the flock.

As a result, usually two or more shooters are taking aim and firing on the identical bird. As a practical solution, the hunter should consider aiming at a trailing duck, especially on the first shot. It is often one that is much higher in the flock than the lead bird that is aiming toward the decoys. That way, the hunter minimizes competition. In addition, the hunter’s gun is usually on the right plane to aim at any flaring birds for both the second and the third shot.

These effective strategies can help maximize the success rate during the early duck season.


About the Author: Cameron Lair is an outdoorsmen who grew up in Houston and created TopFlightLeather.com with his best friend. Aside from hunting, he enjoys creating fine leather accessories from hunting dog collars to duck and quail carriers.

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