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The Ultimate Duck Hunting Gear List

10 Duck Hunting Items You Should Never Leave Home Without

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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.

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What Do I Need to Bring With Me?

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:

  • Global Positioning System (GPS) – A handheld GPS is a useful tool for keeping track of duck sightings and can help you find your way back to your vehicle when chasing ducks over great distances. More advanced systems will even have the locations of local ranger stations where you can get help if needed.
  • Property Map – In sparsely populated areas, it’s very easy to mistakenly wander onto privately owned land without even realizing it. Many state game agencies post property maps, also called plat maps, that identify property lines so you don’t accidentally end up hunting on someone else’s land. Normally, there will be a document with a list of names and phone numbers of the people who own these lands with the map. Beware that it is a crime to hunt on private land without the permission of the landowner. If you do get permission, you must be able to prove that you have obtained permission. So it would be wise to have the landowner put it in writing. However, rural landowners are typically very friendly people, and they will very likely grant you permission as long as you ask and your hunting doesn’t interfere with them in any way.
  • Hiking boots – When walking long distances, you need comfortable footwear. Waterfowl, especially ducks, can cover quite a distance in a short amount of time. It’s easy to get lost while chasing your quarry, so make sure your boots are durable for the long endeavor in front of you.
  • Tow strap – It’s always a good idea to bring a tow strap with you for every vehicle in your group. Getting your vehicle stuck in the mud without a tow strap to pull it out is an extremely frustrating experience, especially if you’re out in the middle of nowhere. Without a tow strap, you may have a long walk ahead of you!
  • Garden tools – This might seem strange, but garden tools are quite handy to have when you want to camouflage yourself from any ducks in the area. For example, you could create a makeshift blind by cutting a few willows with pruning shears, then cover that blind with crop stubble to shield the blind from view.
  • Scouting vehicle – Scouting vehicles have the important task of scouting areas for large groups of ducks. Preferably, the scouting vehicle should be a light vehicle with as high gas mileage as possible. Hours of searching for ducks inside gas-guzzling SUVs and other heavy vehicles will take a toll on your finances.
  • ATV – An all-terrain vehicle is important for transporting your duck hunting gear across long distances from your vehicle to your favorite hunting spot. Although not required, it is highly suggested for your personal convenience.
  • Car top boat and sled – Boats and sleds are useful for carrying heavy supplies long distances so you don’t have to carry them on your back.
  • Thank you notes – Not only is it good manners, but it’s also considered common courtesy to thank the landowner for granting permission to hunt on their land. Though most people prefer personal contact, you can also leave a little thank you card on their door with your contact information if the landowner isn’t at home. Who knows – you might just get a new hunting buddy out of the deal!
  • Travel-size cooking station – There’s nothing better than enjoying the fruits of your hunt with family and friends. Pack up a few plates, forks, knives, some spices, and a small barbecue grill or travel oven for your next hunting trip. Very often, you can find these items for cheap. And believe it, you will want to taste what you worked hard to get!
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Other Essential Items to Include in Your Duck Hunting Gear List

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.

Where Do I Get These Items?

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.

Final Thoughts on Duck Hunting Gear List

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.

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