10 Duck Hunting Items You Should Never Leave Home Without
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.
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!
Where Do I Get These Items?
Many of these items 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. Purchasing these few odds and ends will go a long way to making sure an enjoyable day of hunting 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.