Newbie tactics for a cheapskate (aka no decoys)

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SonofUlam
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Newbie tactics for a cheapskate (aka no decoys)

Postby SonofUlam » Fri Aug 12, 2016 3:45 am

I'm thinking of trying duck hunting this fall/winter. Never done it before. In my immediate area we don't have much open water (this immediate area seems to have been skipped when the 10,000 lakes were being handed out). I realize Incould travel a bit-but I prefer to stay closer if I can.

What we do have are a LOT of corn fields. A couple of them I can recall often seeing ducks and geese flying into on a somewhat regular basis. The other thing we have are lots of streams and creeks (most of which are walkable with chest waders and some deep enough to canoe).

Question 1- how realistic is it to think that if I scout some ducks in a field the night before the next am I can get set up in the dark (with no decoys) and hope to see some ducks come in again that morning? I'm also assuming I can get permission.

Question 2- how hard is it to jump hunt (is that the right term? When you walk an area to jump ducks and shoot em as they take off?) on foot and/or canoe in smallish creeks and streams? Is that a realistic beginner tactic or not really?

Any other ideas or tips are greatly welcome!

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[glow=green]1 Chronicles 8:40, "The sons of Ulam were brave warriors who could handle the bow..."[/glow]
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Re: Newbie tactics for a cheapskate (aka no decoys)

Postby Lockdown » Fri Aug 12, 2016 5:45 am

Setting up in a field is going to be a tough go without dekes. That said I have heard of people killing ducks in fields and slews with nothing more than one robo duck. You're almost better off putting the sneak on a field full and catching a few as they come in to land or leave. I have had luck pass shooting in road ditches and drainages when you'vs got birds on both sides of a road/drainage.

Puddle jumping can be a lot of fun. Slews with small pockets would be your best bet but a big open body of water can work too. Wait on a windy day and they'll be tight up against the up wind (calm) side. The more wind the better. Rain too.

Rivers can be awesome. Once again the windier the better. You can either sneak the shore line on land or in the water and glass for them up ahead and around corners. Once you spot them make a game plan and the sneak is on. You can canoe/kayak too, just get out at strategic spots, glass, and get back in to float those long birdless stretches.

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Re: Newbie tactics for a cheapskate (aka no decoys)

Postby oldrank » Fri Aug 12, 2016 6:19 am

Usually ducks and geese use the river as their fly way. If you can find a high ridge where you are up above the river the ducks will come through right at eye level. Jump shooting em is fun too.

As for field hunting it will be a tough time getting em where u want without dekes. Honestly if you have an ounce of artistic ability you can make up a dozen silhouettes out of plywood or even cardboard for cheap. If they r in a field they will keep coming back till all the foods gone or they r pushed out.

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Re: Newbie tactics for a cheapskate (aka no decoys)

Postby matt1336 » Fri Aug 12, 2016 8:20 am

I hunt ducks a lot like you want too. Rivers, ponds, marshes. I typically jump or pass shoot. I do have some dekes that I got at rummage sales and through scouting deer.....they were trapped in a beaver dam on a river. The dekes help when I'm sitting on the river bank or in a small pond. I do minimal calling cuz im not very good at it.
I just got into duck hunting and have spent very little on my start up. Yet I do very well compared to my buddies have have thousands invested. I limited out on mallards opening day last season. It's all about effort and simply being a hunter. A lot of guys simply won't kneel down in the middle of a cattail slough with muck nuts deep waiting for ducks or still hunt while wading in a creek of river. They want to sit in a boat overlooking a bunch of dekes. Well I shoot the birds that they miss or that want stay off the bigger water. I'm slowly beginning to really like waterfowln.

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Re: Newbie tactics for a cheapskate (aka no decoys)

Postby SonofUlam » Fri Aug 12, 2016 9:30 am

That's all some really solid and good advice- thanks guys!

Anything else you guys have, I'd love to read it! I have a BIG learning curve in a short amount of time.
[glow=green]1 Chronicles 8:40, "The sons of Ulam were brave warriors who could handle the bow..."[/glow]
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Re: Newbie tactics for a cheapskate (aka no decoys)

Postby matt1336 » Fri Aug 12, 2016 9:41 am

Spend your cash on good ammo. That stuff carries a lot better than the old steel shot. Imo

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Re: Newbie tactics for a cheapskate (aka no decoys)

Postby Redman232 » Fri Aug 12, 2016 3:34 pm

Old rank made a good point, you can kill them in crop fields without Dekes, I've done it several times. They'll keep coming back to the same spots until they're forced to leave, if they are there one evening there is a good chance they will be there the next evening too, especially geese.

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Re: Newbie tactics for a cheapskate (aka no decoys)

Postby Rich M » Sun Aug 14, 2016 2:38 pm

I used to jump shoot teal, woodies, mallards, blacks, and geese on sloughs, ponds, and rivers/creeks.

You need to spot the bird(s) and then plan an approach where they can't see you until you are right on top of them, then jump up with gun blazing. I wasn't beyond shooting some on the water if I could line up a few goose heads.

Blind jump shooting is also fun but not as much to me - I prefer the spot & stalk method. You sneak around the creeks, ponds, sloughs, etc. and have the birds bust up from under your feet sometimes. Will catch your breath when they go up under your nose. Take your time shooting or you'll throw 3 shells and not hit a thing. Then another duck or two will jump up after the others have left.

Remember to reload the instant you have a chance, if you fire 1, 2, or 3 shots, reload immediately. You might need that extra shell or two to shoot a cripple before he hits thick cover or deep water, or for the dumb duck that had his head under water when his 6 friends left...

One of the tricks I learned about ponds (and some creeks) is that they have a given flight path in and out, and will use it when spooked or coming in to roost. We used to hunt twin ponds with a 50 yard long creek between them. The ducks would sit on the NE corner of the pond most days and fly over the creek when leaving. We would go to intercept geese coming to roost on cloudy & rainy days. I got to drag a boat down and as soon as I'd see the flash of duck wings, I'd grab my 12 ga and run like wild for the creek, loading on the fly. Shot more than a few crossing at that creek.

The geese would usually come in from the SE and had 2 flight paths out - the creek and a dip in a ridge on the SE of the pond, almost the same path they came in on. It was always last minute kind of hunting and the local game warden used to come and time us - had to have the guns unloaded by sundown. He was a nice guy - would check our licenses and guns once, then just drive in and leave once he knew we were packing up and heading out.

I also do some jump shooting down here in FL - we hunt big marshes and sometimes the big ducks will skip the decoys land on the other side of some brush/cattails/reeds, etc. Sneak over without a lot of splashing, keep the cover in between you and the birds, and pay attention to wind as that is the direction they will try to go when you bust 'em. Last time I did this I shot a drake pintail out of a flock of about 30 hens and juveniles. It is fun, satisfying, and a good way to get some ducks.

Decoying birds is cool because if you go with the right guy, he'll teach you how to make the birds land where you want them. That's the challenge there. To make a duck, or 100 ducks land in the open space you want them to land it. FUN STUFF!

Last point for your - mark your birds where they fall! You pick two marks or features - one where the bird fell and one in the distance. Say I drop a bird by the third bush left of the tree and line that up with the tall pine 200 yards out. I can walk straight over there. If I need to cross a creek or such, I will create a new line, then find a crossing point and return to my new line. These techniques are good out to 1/2 mile which is about as far as you can see a duck drop. If you stay on your line and the bird is dead, you will find it. I can tell stories of finding my dad's pintail in a mudflat using this technique and only 1 inch of that duck's tail sticking up outta the mud.

Guys I hunt with won't listen and lose birds - irritates me as they are dead when they go down most of the time. Then they whine but won't take the effort to mark the bird, too busy trying to shoot more...
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Re: Newbie tactics for a cheapskate (aka no decoys)

Postby Rich M » Sun Aug 14, 2016 2:38 pm

I used to jump shoot teal, woodies, mallards, blacks, and geese on sloughs, ponds, and rivers/creeks.

You need to spot the bird(s) and then plan an approach where they can't see you until you are right on top of them, then jump up with gun blazing. I wasn't beyond shooting some on the water if I could line up a few goose heads.

Blind jump shooting is also fun but not as much to me - I prefer the spot & stalk method. You sneak around the creeks, ponds, sloughs, etc. and have the birds bust up from under your feet sometimes. Will catch your breath when they go up under your nose. Take your time shooting or you'll throw 3 shells and not hit a thing. Then another duck or two will jump up after the others have left.

Remember to reload the instant you have a chance, if you fire 1, 2, or 3 shots, reload immediately. You might need that extra shell or two to shoot a cripple before he hits thick cover or deep water, or for the dumb duck that had his head under water when his 6 friends left...

One of the tricks I learned about ponds (and some creeks) is that they have a given flight path in and out, and will use it when spooked or coming in to roost. We used to hunt twin ponds with a 50 yard long creek between them. The ducks would sit on the NE corner of the pond most days and fly over the creek when leaving. We would go to intercept geese coming to roost on cloudy & rainy days. I got to drag a boat down and as soon as I'd see the flash of duck wings, I'd grab my 12 ga and run like wild for the creek, loading on the fly. Shot more than a few crossing at that creek.

The geese would usually come in from the SE and had 2 flight paths out - the creek and a dip in a ridge on the SE of the pond, almost the same path they came in on. It was always last minute kind of hunting and the local game warden used to come and time us - had to have the guns unloaded by 1/2 hr after sundown. He was a nice guy - would check our licenses and guns once, then just drive in and leave once he knew we were packing up and heading out.

I also do some jump shooting down here in FL - we hunt big marshes and sometimes the big ducks will skip the decoys land on the other side of some brush/cattails/reeds, etc. Sneak over without a lot of splashing, keep the cover in between you and the birds, and pay attention to wind as that is the direction they will try to go when you bust 'em. Last time I did this I shot a drake pintail out of a flock of about 30 hens and juveniles. It is fun, satisfying, and a good way to get some ducks.

Decoying birds is cool because if you go with the right guy, he'll teach you how to make the birds land where you want them. That's the challenge there. To make a duck, or 100 ducks land in the open space you want them to land it. FUN STUFF!

Last point for your - mark your birds where they fall! You pick two marks or features - one where the bird fell and one in the distance. Say I drop a bird by the third bush left of the tree and line that up with the tall pine 200 yards out. I can walk straight over there. If I need to cross a creek or such, I will create a new line, then find a crossing point and return to my new line. These techniques are good out to 1/2 mile which is about as far as you can see a duck drop. If you stay on your line and the bird is dead, you will find it. I can tell stories of finding my dad's pintail in a mudflat using this technique and only 1 inch of that duck's tail sticking up outta the mud.

Guys I hunt with won't listen and lose birds - irritates me as they are dead when they go down most of the time. Then they whine but won't take the effort to mark the bird, too busy trying to shoot more...
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Re: Newbie tactics for a cheapskate (aka no decoys)

Postby nater » Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:49 pm

In MN you can legally float and wade in small creeks even if everything surrounding those bodies of water is private. You can also legally retrieve downed game on private property unless it's legally posted. SO--if you can find a small windy creek or even a ditch with sharp turns and legal access at a bridge, you can easily get the sneak on birds on some water that otherwise goes unhunted, boat or no boat. A lot of woodies early season can be shot this way. I'd give you some tips on spots down your way but there would be no fun in that.
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Re: Newbie tactics for a cheapskate (aka no decoys)

Postby matt1336 » Wed Aug 24, 2016 7:26 pm

Reading the replies reminded me that if you're hunting a wooded area....The ducks and geese will use breaks in the trees to access the water. I've found this true on ponds and rivers. Just look at the trees and were there's a gap the birds will fly there. Be sure to have the ability to shoot that gap. It's almost too obvious when you think about it.

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