Successful duck hunting even in the late season

Hunting waterfowl during the early parts of the season is relatively easy even for a budding duck hunter. However, hunting late season ducks is an entirely different matter. These ducks have been around for months. They have seen all types of blinds. They survived shotgun fire for months. These are the grizzled, experienced survivor ducks that make duck hunting a new challenge.

Waterfowl hunters need modified hunting tactics to enjoy hunting ducks and harvesting a limit. The survivors have learned to be more cautious than normal when approaching a decoy field and stay out of range and spook at the slightest hint that something might be wrong. Many have now paired up. The pairs tend to separate themselves in some secluded area away from other drakes.

What are some of the modified tactics experienced late season duck hunters are using?

  • Change the look of your spread of decoys

New birds, if any, are primarily interested in resting. Imitate a float of resting birds. Add a few ‘paired’ ducks.

  • Motion decoys can attract even wary ducks

Provided you use them sparingly. They still work but within limits. Control the motion manually. Less is often more this late in the season.

  • Reduce calling and know when to stop

These birds heard it all. It is better to call loudly and intensely and to stop when you notice that the ducks are listening. Silence speaks a thousand words – even in duck calling.

  • Hunt the thaw on frozen fields

Ducks and other migrating waterfowl know that corn kernels, soybeans and other grains on harvested fields thaw in the warmth of the midday sun. They visit the fields to feed. Schedule your duck hunt for the middle of the day.

Hunters willing to adjust their hunting tactics to the increased wariness of their game will continue to be successful.