Duck Hunting: Take It Easy
Duck hunting is often thought of as an arduous, labor intensive endeavor that involves rising at an insanely early hour, lugging dozens of decoys and enduring inclement weather. But it needn’t be there are some alternative tactics that allow you to hunt smart, not hard for web-footed, winged prey this fall.
Whether it’s after or instead of the traditional morning shoot over decoys, jump shooting offers an opportunity to hunt waterfowl “up in the day.” Rather than rising long before the crack of dawn you can wait until 8, 9 even 10 a.m. to begin your efforts. Simply stroll from pothole to pothole, farm pond to farm pond or astride prairie creeks flushing birds from their mid-morning hideouts. It’s fairly casual, but there is an even less labor intensive means.
All you have to do is drop a canoe or kayak in the local stream and float along with the current. Go slowly and quietly and hang tight to the inside bank when rounding corners to give you the element of surprise.
This method - used mostly for geese - still requires rising early, but without all the decoys, boats and other paraphernalia. It also takes a little advance scouting. Find out where the birds roost at night and which way they fly out to feed. Set up along their flight path and intercept them as they leave.
Once ducks are done with their morning feed they’ll often stage up on big water. If you know where, you can have some fairly consistent action throughout the day. It does require some effort setting out a large spread of decoys, but once that labor is done you can recline in a layout boat and let the dogs do the rest of the work.