Early Season Ducks-Avoiding the Crowds

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Well, duck season is finally here and Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  We have waited and waited for the season to open only to be met by 50 rigs at the boat ramp and people at every spot you want to go.  What is a man to do?

The answer is to adapt and overcome.

Semper Gumbi– Always Flexible

Everyone else has been waiting for duck season to open as well and have just as much right to be there as you do.  If you don’t wanna rub elbows with the guys next to you and carry some ducks home, then keep reading.

  • Sleep in and hunt mid-morning through the afternoon. I know that may sound crazy, but with all the boat traffic people will be stirring the ducks up and create a lot of shooting opportunities for people who are still in the field. Quite often mid-morning ducks will decoy far better than early in the morning birds.
  • Set out a MEGA spread. In the world of everything is bigger in Texas, go with it.  If you usually run 3 doz blocks, triple that if you have them.  If you are forced to hunt in a less than desirable location, put out as many decoys as you can carry for shear drawing power.  You are trying to run traffic and get the birds to simply come your way based on the mass of fake birds you have out.
  • Call a lot. If you are not getting the shooting action as your neighbors are, try calling louder and faster than normal. Now, hear me out.  Once the birds break your way, tone it back to a more normal routine.  BUT, if you start to lose them, sit back down on them like a bus seat.  Besides, you have nothing to lose.  Remember you are not sitting on the X and you just want them to give you look and hopefully a shot opportunity.
  • Motion Spread. If you normally use a jerk cord with 4 decoys, put 12 on it instead. If the guys next to you have out 1 spinner, put out 4 and 2 wonderducks.  Keep your spread as full of motion as possible and don’t be afraid to over-do it.  You are not in your favorite spot, so put some flash and splash in the blocks to see if they give it a look.  If not, try something else.

In the world of duck hunting there are very few absolutes.  A crowded boat ramp on opening weekend, is certainly one of them.  With more technology than ever, your top secret spot is very easily spotted on google earth and hunting apps.

If you get beat to your claim early this duck season, give some of these ideas a shake and see if you can’t kill some birds that weren’t coming to the X.

Shane Smith

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