By Steve Hickoff
Tired of reading about standard waterfowl strategies? Check out these oddball waterfowl tactics.
HUNT LATER: Sleep in. Hunt loafing midday small water ducks and even geese. That’s right. During the late-season stretch, you might find birds that have fed nearby that morning now resting in the warm sun the way we might after a big holiday meal. Jump-shooting is an option here. Approach slow eddies and cuts in the stream flow. Note ripples in the water as you slink in to the pond or marsh. Peek over the concealing cover to confirm species and number. Step up. Get ready for fast-action on flushing birds.
HUNT WITHOUT DECOYS OR CALLS: Find a spot where ducks and geese are hitting a food source pretty hard. Ignore the option of putting out a big spread. Some birds have seen it all by now. They may be decoy-shy at this late date. Instead use your Yamaha ATV or Side-by-Side to go the distance while scouting or hunting. Study preferred habitats by glassing ducks and geese as they feed the afternoon before your hunt. Be there early the next morning. Use a layout blind to position yourself in the “X” where field birds want to be. Sit on river bends and in marshes where birds fly by for fast pass-shooting action. Since you’re not using decoys most definitely don’t call. Bring shells and your reliable shotgun.
HUNT SUBURBAN BIRDS: Many huntable locations within a short distance of towns and even cities hold good numbers of migrating ducks and geese. Study all law book information twice for your state, including Federal regulations as well. Pay particular attention to the legal shooting distance between you and an occupied dwelling. Follow it to the letter of the law. Make an extra effort to contact landowners nearby to explain what you’re doing — and that you’re doing so legally. Talk about your membership affiliation with pro-hunting conservation organizations such as Ducks Unlimited. Waterfowl others ignore may be unpressured and yours for the hunting.
Try the first tactic to catch up on much needed late-season rest. Opt for the second to lighten your gear load and work in a four-wheeler flash hunt. Incorporate the last strategy to target unpressured birds.