I can’t think of a single duck hunter that ever said, hey it’s going to be 75 degrees tomorrow, let’s take off work and go duck hunting!!
Weather plays a big part in waterfowl migration and our hunting habits as well. Every duck hunter dreams of a big cold front blowing down from the Dakotas or Canada that will send Waterfowl south riding cool north winds. However, in the past several years these conditions have been few and far between.
So, what do you do to combat these warm weather trends and south winds that keep the barometer hovering well above average? You had better change things up a bit and don’t just sit on the sidelines because you need mosquito spray. Duck season is way too short to sleep in or go play golf due to warm weather.
Ducks and Geese still need to feed even though they are sweating and putting on sunscreen.
These birds will typically feed early and loaf the rest of the day until they go to roost. If you can find the roost and follow them to feeding and loafing areas you are way ahead of the game. I try to find isolated sloughs or potholes that offer food and loafing opportunities.
Typically warm weather means very little wind. Which all waterfowlers know- “Wind is you friend.” If you do happen to get some wind, it will usually be a slight south wind to boot. So, make sure you incorporate some motion in your spread. I like to use wonder ducks, mallard machines or a jerk string rig to bring my spread to life when water looks like glass and your decoys look mummified. I also like to put my decoys out in smaller groups that are a bit more spread out. If possible, I will deploy a few full body decoys as well to show birds that are loafing around and catching a nap.
As for calling, I will keep it to a minimum. Most of these birds are stale and local birds. These are not flight birds that are ready and willing to commit to your spread and calling with reckless abandon. If you do need to call, try and use shorter more content calls and quacks and feed chuckle.
When it comes to your gear on these muggy warm spells, make sure you can adapt to what mother nature throws at you. If possible, dress in layers. The boat ride in will still be a bit cool, so you may need a hoodie or what not. Then if you are planning on walking and sweating some, wear a base layer of moisture wicking clothing. A very important thing to consider is stay hydrated! If you are walking in to your hole, walking in the mud putting out your blocks and retrieving birds, you will need to be drinking fluids. Don’t forget your bug spray or Thermacell. Biting bugs will come out in full force when it warms for a few days.
Most serious hunters are already low grade Meteorologists and pay close attention to the weather. The next time you see a south wind and the mercury rising, try some of these tips to put a few more birds on your strap.
You will see in the picture we are in long sleeve shirts and nothing else and still killed birds. Notice all the Lily Pads are still up and green and the leaves are on the trees, and we still were able to kill our limit of Mallards and Pintails. Pay attention to details and keep your head on a swivel to find these warm weather waterfowl. One thing is for sure, you won’t kill um at the house. Get out there and change it up a bit to kill those stale warm weather waterfowl.