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Duck Hunting Tips & Tricks

When going duck hunting, knowing some tips & tricks can be a real advantage, and it can also help you improve your hunting techniques and avoid some important mistakes.

Patterns of weather as well as water levels can deflect major flights off their typical migratory routes. A hotspot of the last year can be an empty hole if ducks are in the opposite part of the state. Moreover, ducks travel ahead of ruthless storms and cold air fronts. Be smart and hunt on a running away day and you will notice a sky that's full of new ducks incoming from the north. They will certainly be unfamiliar with the new surroundings, eagerly wanting to land and relax with other ducks.
When you first spot pond ducks at a distance you should use a piercing, long hail or a high ball call (decrescendo) so as to get their attention along and also let them know where you are. You should furthermore make use of loud, long calls on those windy days, as in this situation ducks won't be able to hear very well, mainly if they're upwind - this also applies when you're hunting on flooded river bottoms, places where the sound doesn't carry that far. Whilst you are calling you should watch the birds at all times. If they do respond to your call then keep it up. However, if they do not respond to it try something else instead: a piercing decrescendo, a malleable decrescendo, a long and drawn out decrescendo, a sequence of short quacks, whatever it takes to get their attention.

When you call ducks, always think of what you're trying to do there. At first you are trying to catch their attention, but also to let them know that there are some other ducks in that area, and where exactly they are. If ducks are not coming towards you, you should attempt to make them change their route and come a little closer. While the ducks are getting closer you must try to persuade them there are extra ducks on water, that it would be safe to land there, and that the spot is good for resting and feeding in safety. Nevertheless, the calls you're carrying out aren't used by ducks for those rationales. They're used to declare willingness to mate, exclusively used in courtship behavior. Therefore, what you must do is use the exact calls that ducks use, but be sure to use them in such way that will make the birds do what you want.

You may use a certain series of quacks or chuckles to prove to the birds that the decoys you're using are real and raise no suspicions. Although the provocative call is a peril and certainly not a feeding call it's used by the birds in feeding situations. You may use chuckles or diver growls to convince the incoming ducks that there are some drakes distressing the hens. In order to add further realism to the calling you may use the group contact calls of drakes and sounds of other duck or goose species which might be found in the area.

In the prairie, ducks can be quite predictable. They leave the roost place in the morning hours and head for their feeding meadows. Approximately half of the time they'll head directly for the fields in order to feed and the other half they will momentarily stop in a neighboring pothole to regroup. These are definitely the areas all hunters should target.

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