BRIAN JOHNSON ON OUTDOORS — Tips to help you bag more ducks this season

Published 12:06 am Tuesday, November 19, 2019

With duck season looking better than it has in years, here are a few basic tips to help you bag more birds:

Keep the wind at your back. This is just the opposite of what we have been taught with big game hunting where scent control is imperative. However, ducks always land into the wind, so by keeping it at your back you will have nice shots right out front.

Make your decoys species appropriate. If you are hunting mallards, use mallard decoys. If you are hunting pintail, use pintail decoys.  If you are after divers, it is always good to have some blue bills and canvasbacks.  In colder weather try bunching the decoys a little closer together. I also recommend mixing in a lot of coot decoys for late season.

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Only call at their butts. If a duck is already headed your way, keep silent on the duck call. Excessive calling always does more harm than good. Only call when they are headed away from you. If he’s coming towards you resist the urge to coax him any more.

Wear camouflage. Ducks are not colorblind like some of the other animals that we hunt. In fact they have amazing eyesight. Be sure to wear camouflage that matches your environment and don’t forget to wear gloves and a facemask.  Pick up anything that may be reflective around the blind and cover your shell boxes and thermos.  The later the season gets, the more skittish ducks become.

Be still. Ducks key on movement. If you or your hunting buddies are moving around in the blind, the ducks will see you and flare. Once you spot ducks in the sky try to remain motionless with your face down.  Many duck hunts have been ruined by hunters who can’t be still.

While these may seem like super simple tips, they are foundational for duck hunting success. Follow these rules and you can at least be sure you have the basics covered.

Remember that the more time you spend hunting, the better you will get at it and the luckier you will become.  Pay attention to how the ducks are acting and don’t be afraid to make adjustments or even move your location completely. May your autumn skies be full of whistling wings and the sound of ducks falling into the decoys, and may God bless you this hunting season.

Brian Johnson, originally of Port Neches, is pastor of First Baptist Church of Winnie, owner of and outdoors writer for The News.