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Mike Giles waits for more ducks to come into range while hunting flooded timber by simply hiding behind trees.

Wanna Kill More Ducks?  Scout Better

It is so easy to go to the same blind, same set of trees or same field you went to last week and killed a limit of birds.  This may yield you some results from time to time, but is a highly unreliable way of consistently killing birds.

I hunt 90% of the time on public grounds.  Scouting for me is paramount.  Hunting pressure is at an all-time high and ducks are getting harder and harder to kill.  The best way to offset this is to scout-a lot.

Mike Giles waits for more ducks to come into range while hunting flooded timber by simply hiding behind trees.

  • Get some good binoculars. Resist the urge to get the cheaper pair at the hardware store and get you a high quality pair of binoculars.  They don’t have a shelf life and will be with you for years to come.
  • Find the Roost. If you can find where birds are roosting then you are way ahead of the game.  Birds will typically leave the roost in small flocks as the morning rocks on.  If it is extremely cold, birds will usually fly a bit later than normal.  Watch the birds leave if possible and glass them as you try and locate the feeding areas.
  • Look for feeds within 15 miles of the roost. Most birds will try and feed fairly close to the roost.  They typically don’t want to fly 50 miles to feed then fly back to roost.  Either get in your truck or boat and locate high percentage feeding areas close to the roost.
  • Run Traffic. If you have found the roost and the feeding area and don’t have permission to hunt the property, find an area where you can run traffic.  Get in between the roost and feed where the birds are flying past you and you can possibly pull them in on their way to or from.
  • Get on your phone. Google Earth is your best friend.  It will show you exactly where the birds are in a given field or body of water.  You can scout areas and never even set foot on the property.
  • Look for vegetation. Not all bodies of water are created equal.  Look for ducks preferred food sources such as duck weed, wild rice, smart weed, millet, hydrilla and coontail grasses.  If you find birds in an area loaded with smart weed, you know you can scout other areas that look similar to find a food source the ducks are actively feeding on.
  • Look in the corners. If the birds are not in the usual haunts, look in the harder to reach corners that require more walking or boating.  The easy to access spots may have already been picked over.  Be prepared to put in a bit more work than the next guy if the birds are tough or stale.
  • Don’t jump um up. People love to walk up to a field or hole and jump up the birds just to see how many are in there.  Resist this urge and let them be.  It will be far more likely that they will come back if you don’t jump them up.
  • Don’t hunt too close to a roost. If you shoot birds too close to a roost, it will all be over very soon.  They will find another area to roost and leave you high and dry.  Set up a minimum of a mile from the roost.  You don’t want your first volley to jump up all the birds off the roost and head elsewhere.

There are more and more people out there duck hunting and ducks are feeling the pressure.  Scouting is your best bet to put the odds in your favor to fill out your limit the next time you go out.

Shane Smith

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