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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. 🙂

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  1. Not ducks. CA dove season opens monday. Cottontail season is ongoing. Going to hunt both monday.

    It’s awsome being a hunter in CA. We get such support from the state and warm fuzzies from the people.

    • (Hunting in California) “Support from the state”… “warm fuzzies from the people…”

      In California???

      Whatever you’re smoking, can I have some from your bag?

      • I do believe his is sarcasming. (/new word)
        Also, I hit a duck with a pebble before. It fell and crash landed. Does that count as a hit? (/derp)

  2. Doc,
    I swore off the stuff after my first and only duck hunt.
    The rain was slanting in, wind howling, was about 35 degrees. My buddy and I slogging through marsh to get to Tillamook bay.
    I stepped over a log and onto a pile of human poop.
    After a couple miles of slogging, the trees stopped.
    There! Sitting on the water, 10 yards from shore, two drake mallards.
    I blasted both of them, watched as the wind blew them to shore.
    I picked them up and hiked back to the truck, (dodging the ‘natural toilet’). I was so miserable, I haven’t been back.
    Cooked one. Yup, tastes like 10 day old underwear. Gave the other one to my buddy.
    Then I went to upland bird hunting…..

    • Ha ha I had the same experience, minus the human poo, the first and last time I went duck hunting.

      I think duck hunters will be happy to know its not for everyone.

    • Duck is absolutely delicious, but it has to be cooked properly. You don’t just shove it in the oven like you do a supermarket chicken. It needs to be hung for a few days, and when cooking, you need to render out the fat slowly before cooking it proper. And if you’re smart, you’ll save that rendered fat to cook other things in.

  3. Personally I love waterfowl hunting. To each their own, but the type of hunting I’m used to is nothing like Tom experienced, and I’m a much better chef so everything that hits my table is a highly desirable meal.

  4. Mr. Farago,
    wait until you get involved with buying duck boats, and then travel for hunting, then dogs…will make your significant other (and your bank account) wish for the days of a simple hobby like guns and ammo.
    Waterfowl hunting is a wonderful obsession of which I am happy to discover you share. If you are ever up VT way, send me an email and you can jump in.

    • You may address your comment to Mr. Farago but the article was written by “TTAG commentator Puyallup Devil_Doc.”

  5. Duck hunting must be addictive. That Dopey Duck Commander Phil Robertson abandoned a potentially short and dismal career as a third-string pro quarterback to start up and run a $50 million business. Thufferin’ thuckotash, what a maroon!

  6. I live in Stuttgart, Arkansas (if you have to ask where that is you are not a real duck hunter). A few things i’ve learned: 1) never lend anyone your good waders, 2) if you wear hip boots you’ll dip ’em and if you wear waders some idiot is gonna shoot while you are out shagging some killed ducks and you will dip ’em, 3) everyone in the boat will claim the banded duck (if you are hunting with your boss hand it to him and praise his superior skill), 4) skillfully frisk any Newby’s as they will always have some lead in their borrowed gear, 5) if someone asks to borrow your waders do the right thing and lend them the leaky ones so they won’t ask again.

  7. I almost duck hunted once, by mistake.

    I was out for fall turkey on this perfect hill about 2 miles from the Delaware river: 50x50yrd open field surrounded by trees on all four sides.
    At daybreak, as I’m sitting in my blind waiting for a turkey and hearing the waterfowlers blasting away down at the river, a flock of ducks flew right across the field straight at me, about 75 feet above ground. I pointed my shotgun and seriously thought about taking a few shots but I let them pass (didn’t have the right stamp).
    Over the next hour another 3 flocks flew by the same way.
    I’m going to go back there this year and see of I can’t bring home some tasty ducks without needing a boat, dog, decoys and without getting wet.

  8. My #4 son and I were at a church work party today. We
    about broke our necks trying to echo-locate a black
    bellied whistling duck that flew over our heads. We
    had earlier commented on a raft of mottled ducks
    in a neighborhood retention pond. The fever is
    heating up.



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