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Old 02-21-2019, 04:52 PM
browningv308 browningv308 is offline
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Default Duck hunting without a boat or dog



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Can it be done? I want to get into some different hunting next season and want to try some duck hunting by myself without paying a guide service an arm and a leg.
How do I get started? I ask everybody I can around my area but can't really fins anyone that duck hunts. Around here we have the James River and a few large but heavily populated lakes. The Virginia Coast is around 2 hours for me but can't find anything but outfitters and guide services.
How do you get into duck hunting by yourself on public land?
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Old 02-21-2019, 05:13 PM
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I don't like the taste of duck. On smaller ponds you can shoot them over land. A buddy made a remote control boat with a wire hook. He drives it out and snags them with the hook and drags them back.

I have seen geese hunted in fields with decoys using a call. Might work for ducks.

Go to the gun stores and ask around, maybe post a note looking for people and places.
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Old 02-21-2019, 08:11 PM
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Waders and shallow water. Never hunted ducks with a dog and not always used a boat.
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Old 02-22-2019, 04:59 AM
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Waders and a fishing rod is the easy part-Trying to I.D. incoming ducks is the hard part.
Books and youtube help,but no substitute for years of experience.
Federally protected,and mistakes can cost a lot more than a few guided trips.
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Old 02-22-2019, 06:43 AM
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If you can find a place where the water is shallow waders will allow you to use decoys and retrieve your kills. But public land like that will be popular with other hunters if duck hunting is popular in your area. Check out the National Wildlife Refuges in your area. Most days the ducks will fly from dawn to 9:00 or so when you just as well go home. Try to hunt with your back to the rising sun to make IDing the birds a lot easier.

I would get one of the little kiaks you see in stores these days. Light and cartopable. You have to use steel shot. #2 or #3 shot works good. Use a much more open choke than you would for lead shot, modified or improved cylinder.

Puddle ducks are edible, diving ducks and coots aren't for the most part. I pulled the skin back from the breast and filleted the breast meat off the bone. Also took the legs. Mallards are king for eating. I boiled them and threw the water away a couple of times and then the meat was much like any other.
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Old 02-22-2019, 03:12 PM
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Was in the outer banks while back and a guy next to the house we were renting gave me his ducks, said he only hunted to kill and not to eat, went home with 5 of some kind of duck. They were a little different tasting but cooked over charcoal and brushed with olive oil and herbs not bad.
Closest wildlife area around here is on the James River I know people do duck/goose hunt the area but they do it out of a boat, the water is fast moving so from land I think the bird would be gone if it hit the water. We have lots of small ponds on the NF around here and I have seen the ducks around but getting them out of the water would be hard and they do not allow boats of any kind.
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Old 02-22-2019, 07:55 PM
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If I were to do it:

Find some places where the river has cut off oxbows. No current and the ducks will like to land there. You can also recover what you shoot. You will likely have to walk a long ways and be willing to hump some weight to hunt like this.

For the best eating duck you want to soak it overnight in kosher/canning salt water. This will help pull out the blood and reduce any "liver" taste. Rinse it off and cook. Ducks/goose are fowl and can be cooked like beef. They don't need to be cooked to the temperature that poultry does. This is where most people go wrong. Cook it to medium or less and I swear it will taste like beef (assuming you shoot something like a mallard, wood duck, gadwall, etc). If you cook fowl too long it gets tough and can begin to taste like liver.
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Old 02-22-2019, 09:04 PM
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You mean something like using a layout blind in a harvested corn field?

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Old 02-23-2019, 12:56 AM
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When I was a kid we used to walk up on the farmers drainage/irrigation canals and jump ducks, you had to be quick because you'd get about 3 or 4 feet from the bank when the flushed. We'd hit a couple ponds then the ditches then back to the ponds and we always got some.
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Old 02-24-2019, 05:16 PM
Snyper708 Snyper708 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by browningv308 View Post
Can it be done? I want to get into some different hunting next season and want to try some duck hunting by myself without paying a guide service an arm and a leg.
How do I get started? I ask everybody I can around my area but can't really fins anyone that duck hunts. Around here we have the James River and a few large but heavily populated lakes. The Virginia Coast is around 2 hours for me but can't find anything but outfitters and guide services.
How do you get into duck hunting by yourself on public land?
I've done it but it's a lot easier to at least have a boat of some type.

It largely depends on precisely where you hunt.

Around here there are swamps full of Wood Ducks and Teal that can be accessed without boats.

There are also situations where they are feeding in flooded (or sometimes not) crop fields that allow shooting without a boat.

Pass shooting in areas near larger bodies of water can work, but again it all comes down to precise location.

The one thing I've learned is if you don't have a boat, the ducks will always fall in water that is 2" deeper than the top of your boots or waders.
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Old 03-10-2019, 03:31 PM
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I used an inner-tube with a canvas wrap around cover that had the seat built into it one time.
Borrowed it from a buddy.
Scouted the afternoon before I was going and found a bunch of puddle ducks using an old ox-bow pond along a river ... heavily wooded with cypress and tupelo but open along the middle.
I jumped what looked like about a jillion birds late afternoon and was back in the water at the same place the next morning with about a half-dozen decoys around me.
When they started coming in they would come over the tops of the trees and just parachute down to me.
I got a limit pretty quick and spent the balance of the morning calling them in and enjoying watching them cup into my decoys.

Those canvas tube set-ups are pretty inexpensive, are lightweight and easy to hunt out of ... not to mention you will have a really low profile and can easily hide.
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Old 03-11-2019, 08:13 AM
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I'm a boat guy so am partial,but I see these little kyaks for sale for very little at places like Wal-mart and think how cool they would have been back when I was fill of pi** and vinagar. When I was in Alaska the natives built tiny boats to hunt muskrats.They just drug them from one little pond to the next, it was easy, and the boats didn't suffer much. Easy to transport, easy to store, inexpensive. What's not to like. Plus there is always fishing season too.
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Old 03-11-2019, 12:34 PM
minimaleast minimaleast is offline
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Check the small rivers and sloughs that come into the James. That's where the best hunting is likely to be. You can jump shoot or get a kayak or canoe and float hunt. It wouldn't cost much to do it. If you can find a small backwater area you don't even need many decoys. Here's some more tips for river hunting.
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Old 03-11-2019, 12:55 PM
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I used to creep in on my belly before the sun started coming up. Very slowly. Quietly. No light. No sound. It's a tall order but can be done. When the sun breaches the horizon fire at the sleeping ducks. Then getting them is hard. There's a few options. Wade out if it's shallow enough and you have hip waders on. Or use a long piece of wood. Or use a fishing pole and line and hook them. Very annoying.

Worth it though. Delicious.
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Old 03-11-2019, 09:17 PM
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Look for the types of spots as described in earlier posts. Some other possibilities are to make a PVC pipe raft (a safe one), or a two-liter soda bottle raft or kayak. (Again, a safe one.)

A remote control boat with recovery hooks. A very good drone. These might be as expensive as a boat, though.

My father and I used to hunt both ducks and geese without a boat or dog most of the time. We did have a boat part of the time that allowed us to get to some very good, remote, no-blinds-around hunting spots. The number of blinds in the migratory bird route area in southeast Missouri was unbelievable. There could be a string of ten or more, side-by-side.

Some of them were large enough to hold six to ten shooters. And some were done up like some of the ice-fishing-houses on the northern lakes. Heaters, fridges or huge coolers, chairs, chemical toilets, cooking facilities, and sinks with running water.

And it was almost as bad as water-rights situations. People burned others' blinds, shot at each other, would shoot to scare away ducks that were going to land near a different blind rather than theirs, have duck and goose call battles. It was crazy.

But, back on topic. One of the things we did when we had a low water year and every good spot had a group of blinds around it, was to take some pretty large clear or whitish plastic sheet with us to a harvested field or natural clearing.

We cut or folded the plastic so there were no straight edges and staked it out on the ground, oriented so it would be attractive to duck and/or the geese in terms of location, cover, and such. Dump some water here and there, set out the decoys properly, and then get in the edge of the woods if there were any, or sit down on a pad on the ground under a one-person-sized soft blind.

There were many times when the birds would come down and get too close before they realized it was not actually water, and not be able to keep flying and get away. We often were able to get two or three on the wing coming in, and often going out, of those that realized the plastic was not water or were diverted when we started to fire. But there were more than a few that landed hard, plopped being a good word, into the ground. And the ground was often frozen.

They were often stunned and were, to coin a phrase, sitting ducks. Which were legal to take at the time and place. Not sure what the laws are now.

For a time back then it was legal to bait with corn and a couple of other things. Which helped, of course, though the right set of decoys, placed properly, and good calling were the main things to bring in ducks, and especially geese. Geese are stupid, but still smarter than most ducks. Some of those Mallard drakes though... I swear they had built in radar; motion, audio, and IR sensors.

We saw more than one V heading down, but still up a hundred feet or more when the lead, which was usually a drake during those landing situations, veer off with the whole V following, climbing fast and curving away.

As for the taste of wild duck, it could be dry and 'gamey'. The gamey was often from the fact that adrenalin was in the bloodstream from them flying. And more if they were not killed instantly.

I learned very early how to cook them so they were moist and tender, and as long as they were a quick kill, not much, if any, gamey taste. Cleaned well and allowed to bleed out completely. Plucked well. Then I would rub the duck down well with butter (real butter), salt very lightly. Sometimes pepper because that was the way my father preferred it. Salt alone was fine for me.

Then I would wrap the duck in aluminum foil. Actually, sometimes I would mix up Cornbread Stove Top Stuffing and stuff the duck. Usually though, I did prepare it separately. Anyway, after wrapping the duck in the foil I put it in the old standard original crockpot and turned it on. I did not add any liquid to the crockpot. I used enough butter that it was not needed, and with a good double fold seam in the aluminum foil none leaked out.

The first couple of times I was a bit short on the time. Intentionally, since I did not want to overcook it. I just put it back in for a while longer. By the third one I had the timing down pretty good and the ducks came out moist as could be, and with a great flavor. Even one of my sisters, whom I finally got to try it prepared that way, that absolutely had game meat, especially duck, said it was actually pretty good. I almost had a heart attack. Geez, she hated duck.

I do not know if this will be any help or not, but that was what my dad and I used to do.

Just my opinion.
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Old 08-15-2019, 01:45 PM
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Hit up the small rivers and creeks. Wade in and stay within the OHWM. Shot many woodducks doing it this ways.

Here's a few tips to look for: Hunting Ducks on Small Rivers
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Old 08-29-2019, 09:07 PM
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Training my dog is half the fun of duck hunting though!
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Old 08-29-2019, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beaner View Post
Waders and shallow water. Never hunted ducks with a dog and not always used a boat.
I didn't have waders my first time. That water was cold.
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