TTAG commentator Puyallup Devil_Doc writes:
As a duck hunting addict, let me just warn you away from it now. Don’t do it. Seriously. You’ll start off saying, “I’ll just go shoot some ducks, have a little fun… No big deal”. But it will become an obsession. Every time you see a lake, you’ll be looking for ducks. Every time you see a bird, you’ll be double checking to see if it’s a duck. Every time you see a duck, you’ll be checking to see where it lands, and bugging landowners for permission to hunt . . .
You’ll spend the entire duck season getting up at 4am, slogging through the most gawd-awful swamps and sloughs imaginable. You’ll be cold, wet, miserable, covered in mud.. It’s only a matter of time until you take a header into swamp water while you’re lugging your gun, your calls, your shells, a giant bag full of decoys, your blind. You’ll sit for hours waiting for ducks that won’t land, or dueling calls with a clever hen that just won’t come in range.
You’ll probably learn where the expression “lucky duck” came from when you pepper some tiny little teal, and it just shrugs it off and flies away. You might even catch yourself stuffing chemical hand warmers down your waders to keep warm (it works), or scraping the ice off your shotgun with a duck call (doesn’t work).
You’re going to spend hours watching videos and reading articles, trying to learn how to use your calls, how to set up your decoys, and how to pattern duck behavior. You’re going to get caught in the never ending cycle of buying the next best duck call, or decoy, or clever gadget, or a shell that is just guaranteed to schwack a duck at 80 yards.
But, like any addict, you’ll get your fix when you need it the most. A flock of fat mallards, wings cupped, slowing down to land in your decoys. A handful of teal screaming over your spread like blue-green bullet trains on meth. A hundred geese honking as they circle you, looking for a spot to land. And best of all, that perfect moment when the pain and preparation all comes together, you pull the trigger on that beautiful drake mallard, and it cartwheels into the water. Dinner is on the table…
A few thoughts. Cheap duck calls kinda suck. Spend at least $50-60, I personally like my duck commander. Go online to the Audobon Society site, and listen to their recordings of ducks to learn how to call. Pattern shells for long shots and close shots. If you’re going to be hunting big open water like in those pics, you’re going to want long range oomph. I absolutely love Remington Hypersonic #2 3inch (I hate 3 1/2 in shells).
But if you’re hunting close in swampy stuff, you’ll want a little lighter load that will open up better, like a #4. Missing shots really sucks, so spend some time shooting clays. Corrosion X is great stuff, and good lube is a necessity when you abuse your shotgun (and you will). I dropped my shotgun in Puget Sound with this stuff on it, shook the salt water off, and went through 2 more boxes of shells without a hiccup.
Good luck to you. 🙂