Duck Hunting Essentials for Beginners

duck hunting essentials for beginners

Duck hunting is an intensive, gear-supported outdoor activity, that requires both skills and experience. The first step to a successful duck hunting trip is finding the right equipment, but shopping for hunting gear can be intimidating for those who have little to no knowledge about the sport. If you’re just starting out as a duck hunter, you’re probably wondering what you actually need to get started in your new hobby.

Luckily, getting ready for a hunting trip and finding the right equipment isn’t difficult. As long as you cover the basics, you’ll most likely have a successful trip. Whether you’re looking for hunting gifts ideas for your hunting buddies, or simply want to start your own duck hunting hobby, there are some items you just can’t skip out on.

1. Shot Gun

The first item you’ll need to go duck hunting is your gun of choice, with the most effective choice being a shot gun. When shopping for a shot gun, get one that is easy to use and conforms to the guidelines on your area. The weight, size, and overall feel of a shot gun will differ from one unit to another, so be sure to look for one that you’re comfortable using.

Shooting a gun may be a new experience for a hunting newbie, so the best thing to do is to practice before you go out in the wild. Remember that, even though you’ll be within the hunting grounds, it’s still vital that you know how to handle a gun properly to avoid unnecessary accidents. After all, you are not the only hunter out looking for ducks, so you need to have good gun etiquette and safety in order to keep you and anyone else around you safe.

2. Shotgun shells

Of course, you can’t have an empty shot gun. After you have your gun, the next thing on the list is getting shotgun shells. Getting the appropriate shotgun shells is actually easy. Most shotgun shells go with most gun models, so you don’t need to think too hard about which ones to get.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that there could be shotguns that work better with certain types of shellsm so be sure to ask for assistance prior to your purchase.

3. Chokes

If you want to increase the efficiency of your gun when duck hunting, then it’s important to bring some chokes with you in the field. This hunting essential helps create a tight shot pattern for a long-range shot and an even spread for a closer shot.

With a variety of chokes available in the market, you should choose the one that suits your hunting needs. For example, if you’re targeting a duck 30–40 yards away, using a modified choke may be the best option. However, if you’re aiming for the head, you should use a cylindrical choke for better results.

4. Camouflage Suit

Another item you need for duck hunting is a camouflage suit. Ducks can be very elusive, especially if you’re out in the open. Camo will help disguise yourself from the animal, increasing your chances of successfully catching one.

Camouflage would also work not just as a disguise but also as a protection from the weather during duck hunting. It’s not unlikely that you’ll be in a wet and cold situation while you are hunting and that you’ll be there for a while, so it’s best to be as comfortable as you can be.

5. Decoy

Hunting ducks is possible even without the use of a decoy—however, in some situations, the best course of action when hunting is to lure ducks with a bait.

There are a number of decoys available and which one you’ll get will depend on the type of hunting you’re going to do. There are floating duck decoys, full body fields, windsock, silhouette, and shell decoys. The one you’ll purchase will depend on your budget, storage space, and your style of hunting.

6. Waders

Waders are like overalls that you can wear to protect your body and keep it dry when you go in deep spots of water. Usually, duck hunters will wear this when they need to place decoys around puddles or mud spots within the hunting grounds.

Since you will be staying in the hunting grounds for quite a while, might as well be warm and cozy. There may be cases when your entire hunting trip will require you to stand for long hours on wet spots, or stand in water and wait for ducks to appear, so best to be equipped with the right apparel to avoid getting chills or catching a cold.

7. Duck Call

A duck call is a tool you use to call ducks to come close enough for shooting. Some ducks may lurk just on the edge of your hunting ground, but still not close enough to catch them. A duck call can help seize their interest and make them come to your area.

Just like any other hunting equipment, different types of duck calls are available on the market. The price can indicate better sound or range so be smart about your choice. The best course of action when getting a duck call is going to a store that will allow you to test the item so you know what you’re getting.

8. Floatable Blind Bag

Another necessary item that beginner hunters should have when hunting is a floatable blind bag. A quality bag can help protect all your things against mud and moisture. Typically, most of these bags are made up of absorbant cell foam which makes it perfect for keeping your stuff dry and floating in the water.

Thus, when you’re hunting ducks in the water, you should use a floatable blind bag for protection. With it by your side, you can make your hunt less messy and wet. However, if you’re looking for something that can accommodate all your items, you may consider purchasing a bag that is large enough and is made up of high-quality materials.

9. Anchor Weights and Cord

Floating a decoy means you have to anchor it or else it’ll float away. This means you should bring anchor weights and a cord to make your hunting experience much easier and faster. With a specialized anchor and a cord, you can capture a duck while avoiding getting tangled in the decoy bag. This is extremely important if you want to hunt without any hassle.

10. Headlamps

Depending on your location, you should start hunting ducks an hour before the sun rises. This means you’ll have to place your duck decoys in the dark. However, doing such thing in the dark can be difficult. This is where headlamps come to the rescue.

Using headlamps is beneficial because they don’t only provide a source of light but they can also help keep your hands free so you’ll be able to run properly when the waterfowls start flying.

Other Duck Hunting Essentials You Should Have

Typically, the list of duck hunting essentials presented above is what you exactly need to make your experience more enjoyable. However, there are several other items you shouldn’t forget because they’re designed to provide hunting comfort, convenience, and effectiveness. These can include:

  • Neoprene gloves – If you’re hunting during the cold months, bringing a pair of neoprene gloves can protect you from the coldness of the water and keep you more comfortable throughout the hunt. This is actually beneficial when doing decoy work.
  • Game strap – Since you’re outside to hunt some water fowl, then you need a duck strap for the hauling procedure.
  • Headnet – While camouflage is essential in duck hunting, it’s best to use a headnet to both protect yourself from bugs and still have a view of your surroundings.
  • Marsh pole – When targeting a duck, balance is something that you should take seriously. This is one of the reasons why you should bring a marsh pole to help you keep your balance during the hunt. With this item in place, you’ll have something to lean on.
  • Hand warmers – You may need these things if you’re planning to hunt water fowl during cold evenings.
  • Sunscreen and mosquito repellent – If you’re hunting during the daylight, you may need to bring these items to protect your skin from UV rays.
  • Hunting permits – Along with other essentials, hunting permits are also critical to the success of your hunting experience. Before you go out there and target ducks, you should know the local laws and the permits required to proceed with the hunting. Once you have the permits, you can legally run after the ducks in the open.

Final Thoughts

Duck hunting is a fun activity that you can enjoy when hunting season arrives. But, if you’re a beginner, you may find this activity a bit challenging. Luckily, you have nothing to worry about because there are ways to improve and become a professional. With the right gear and the right knowledge, you’ll most likely end your hunting trip with a few catches in the bag.


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