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Duck season is winding down and the ducks have been hunted since September. They start getting shot at in Canada, and through every other state along the central flyway. If you are still using the same calling routine and decoy spread that you were in November, it may be costing you a full limit on your duck strap. Let’s go over a few tips, tricks and strategies to help you kill more birds this January.
- Tone Down the Calling. By this time of year, most ducks can tell if you are blowing an RNT, Echo or Zink duck call. If you are blowing a greeting call at every flock of ducks you see, and get less than favorable results, tone it down a notch. Start hitting them with some contented quacks, aggressive feed chuckles or lonesome hens to let them hear something a bit different. OR try not to call at all. We have all been sitting there not calling and suddenly hear the splash of a duck in the decoys. Sometimes the best call, is a no call.
- Go BIG on your decoy spread. If you are routinely using 2-4 dozen dekes, try using 6-8 dozen in a very spread out and loose formation. If possible mix in some Canada geese in your spread. What if I don’t have geese in my area you say? It doesn’t matter, ducks see geese all the way from Canada and they will add a much larger presence in your spread.
- Go small on your decoy spread. Yes, Yes I know I just said go BIG on your decoy spread, but hear me out. But just as I said earlier, if you are using 2-4 dozen typically drop down to a dozen with all mallard drakes with a few pintails, wigeon or Canada geese mixed in. If you are hunting smaller holes or sloughs, sometimes downsizing your spread can be more effective than a larger one. Especially if the birds are already wanting to be in your claim.
- Turn off the Spinners. With more and more pressure, birds are seeing a lot of wing spinners as they fly over a lake or field. Now that the season is more than halfway over, I kill a lot more birds in the decoys by not using spinners. I will still try and utilize water motion such as Higdon Pulsators, Wonderducks and the Ole Faithful jerk cord.
- Re-Brush your blind. By this time of year your buddies have broken down the brush in front of them in order to have a clear shooting lane at their feet and have left your blind in shambles. Get out and cut some willows, cypress, Johnson grass or whatever you use for your blind and get way more than you think you need. Ducks can be very weary as the season draws to a close and your hide has never been more critical. Get your blind re-brushed and I promise it will pay dividends with more birds on your strap.
Duck season is only 60 or so days long and then we have to wait 300 more days to chase after them again. They are a very adaptive creature and we need to be as well. Try to mix things up and give these tips a try to see if they don’t help you fill a few more limits this year.