Duck hunting can be a rewarding experience, especially if you have the right gear. There’s a great deal of joy behind getting off the computer and enjoying the great outdoors. However, knowing what duck hunting gear to bring with you is key, and finding the best duck hunting gear is even more important. Fortunately, our friends at Ducks Unlimited have compiled a duck hunting gear list for the novice hunter.
This is a question that needs to be asked by every first-time duck hunter. (Remember, preparation is key.) Here are a few basic odds and ends you might want to look into, according to Ducks Unlimited:
Guns and ammunition – Obviously, these should be included in your duck hunting gear list. A 12-gauge shotgun is ideal for duck or goose hunting; many hunters use a pump action shotgun. Also, a heavier gun can assist with recoil. When it comes to ammunition, remember not to use lead shot. Instead, use non-toxic ones such as tungsten, bismuth, or steel. Bring plenty of ammo. Leave some in the car or boat, just in case. Women and younger hunters may use a lighter gun; that means using lighter ammo as well.
Licenses and inspections – Make sure you have a hunting license and that you are hunting in season. If you’re going to use a boat, make sure the license on the boat and boat trailer are up-to-date. Check if the boat is running properly, so you don’t run into any surprises. Check the battery, oil, and gas supply before hitting the pond. And lastly, inspect your gun. Make sure it’s sighted in, well-oiled and in excellent condition.
Calls and decoys – Having a well-practiced call and a thought-out decoy spread are two important aspects of duck hunting. When it comes to calls, you want to make the duck call that matches your hunt. Electronic calls are handy but may be prohibited in some areas. Basic calls that you need to know are the following: quack, feed call, mating call and the comeback call. They differ in tone and length, so it’s important to get them right before the actual hunt.
Duck hunting decoys are excellent tools for attracting birds to your hunting spot. They come in different sizes, colors, and variations. A large-size decoy will be visible to birds flying from further away. If possible, go for hollow or molded plastic decoys. The decoy spread you will use is also crucial to luring ducks out of the air. Choose a decoy spread native to the area.
Blinds – Whether you choose a layout blind or chair blind, it’s important to incorporate local foliage to get a good camouflage. The duck blind can be noticeable to incoming birds, so as much as possible, it should match the native terrain.
A layout blind is easy to deploy. However, your range of motion is somewhat limited. Meanwhile, a chair blind provides more room and a good view of the surroundings. It is lightweight and has enough room to accommodate your hunting dog.
Waterproof apparel – Hunting ducks means you’re going to get into the water and get wet. Therefore, it is important to have the appropriate waterfowl gear. Waders, waterproof jacket and gloves will make your duck hunting more comfortable. Wear something warm and dress in layers when hunting in cold weather. Hunters usually bring extra clothes with them to make sure they go home dry after a hunt.
Blind bag – A blind bag should contain all the things you will need for a day of duck hunting. It should have the items in your duck hunting gear list such as shotgun shells, binoculars, sunglasses, earplugs, face mask, insect repellent, hand warmers, decoy gloves, dog whistle, duck strap, flashlight, spare batteries, multi-tool, choke tubes and wrench, zip ties, bottled water, snacks, cell phone, and more.
Duck shears – Bring duck shears and gutting gloves with you. The shears will help de-feather the birds you successfully hunted. The gutting gloves will help keep your hand’s clean while field dressing the birds. Full-length gloves are ideal, but any type of gloves can do the trick. Although some hunters prefer not to use gloves, it is recommended that you use gloves to reduce the risk of contact with bacteria or catching a virus.
Plastic bags, freezer paper, and tape – Once you’ve dressed the birds, put them in a plastic bag. Wrap with freezer paper and tape. Put them in a cooler with ice. These will keep the birds sealed and preserved until you can place them in a freezer until they are ready to be cooked.
Many of these items in this duck hunting gear list can be purchased at your local sporting goods store. But it may also be worth checking stores like Wal-Mart or K-Mart, as they may also have these items at discount prices. You can find used boats for sale for cheap on many websites such as Craigslist or eBay. Finally, look for a few hunting supply stores in your area to help get the rest of the items that you may be missing.
When duck hunting, it’s always best to be prepared. Having this hunting equipment in your duck hunting gear list will go a long way in making sure an enjoyable day does not turn into a stressful nightmare. The next time the marsh calls you, you can prepare yourself to answer that call without the headache of having to return home because you forgot something. Lost time means lost opportunities. Finally, duck hunting season and regulations may vary from state to state. To make sure you’re complying with all applicable laws and regulations, click here.