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hey everyone, first post here... as well as first duck season. i've been wanting to get into waterfowl hunting for years now, and my year has finally come. haven't made it out much, but me and my year-old chocolate lab Coyer did manage to knock down our first duck, a mallard hen, last week. what a thrill! anyways, i'm obviously a newbie at the sport, but i'm eager to learn the tips and tricks to success. don't get me wrong, i've been in the field and/or hunting other game in michigan since i was able to walk, so i know all the "sportsmanlike" conduct and safety practices and such, but have never put non-tox in the gun! :) but i've had these questions in my head all season, and finally came across this forum. so here goes:

1. when is the "peak" of duck season in michigan? i sat out opening weekend and sweat my... well, i sweat alot. seemed early for the migration to me? (from my small knowledge of the phenomonen!)

2. is wind/rain really prime weather to hunt? from what i've read so far, that seems like the case.

3. speaking of wind, do you "play" it at all, as in say, deer hunting? like decoy placement, where you sit, etc etc...

4. is there a certain time of day you face a particular direction (i'm thinking more like facing the sun or not)?

5. is my dozen decoys sufficient? i only hunt ponds so far (<20 acre).

6. when is a good time to start hunting corn fields?

7. any other things that will make or break my hunts?

i'm sure i'll think of more and be back with them! please forgive me if this is totally the -wrong- place to put this post... you guys seem to know what your doing judging by what i have read so far! thanks a ton...

-Brandon and Coyer
 

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1. peak is weather dependant i.e. cold weather up north brings ducks down. Michigan raises alot of birds(locals) so for the first few weeks of the season thats what we are hunting.
2. Wind/rain is good, not always necessary. rain= lowlight conditions
wind is nice to stir them up off the bigger water, they fly lower, plus lets you decide where/how to set up.
3. Wind dictates EVERYTHING about that days hunt.
4. Wind at your back as much as possible. This morning started clear with a west wind, so I faced south to have a crossing shot, but I hate the sun in my face. remember anything over 10mph ducks NORMALLY land into the wind.
5. 12 is more than enough
6. hunt corn as soon as birds start using it. i will not hunt a field unless i have seen birds in it. if you only have one field, try it. you may start a trend.
7. Dont call, dont call, dont move, wear paint/mask for face
good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
sprigdog said:
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7. Dont call, dont call...
ah yes, another question i forgot.

i'm assuming from your above post the answer to the following will be no... but do you call during "downtime"... i.e. no birds in sight?
 

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call in your house, in your truck, when you dont see any birds.....when you think you sound good, try it on live birds. calling is VERY OVERRATED for the beginner. I kill just as many birds by looking up and saying "where did they come from" as their landing in the decoys, as I do calling them in.
 

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Bad calling is worst thatn no calling. I'd stick with no calling. Couple other tips. Pace out 35yds that way you can judge distance better. Maybe place one decoy there. Don't shoot over 35 yds. Get out before dark, with plenty of time to go to another spot (if someone happens to be there) in addition to setup. NOthing I hate more than someone coming out 10 minutes AFTER shooting time looking for a spot and then blasting at birds 60 yds up in the air.

Hope this helps,

KEvlar
 

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1) Peak migration is always the week after duck season closes:evilsmile I'm not kidding though
2) typically the worse the weather the better the hunting
3) set up for the wind so the birds have to come into you, not away from you
4) I like to stay out of the sun re: am hunt, east side, pm hunt, west side
5) dozen dekes are plenty (for puddlers). i use about the same...many, many more in the garage and basement though
6) the best time to hunt fields are when the birds are using them
7) never: set up too close to other hunters, down wind of other hunters, sky bust, paddle out in your bright red canoe during prime am opening hour or prime closing hour and always retrieve what you shoot, even if its during the best time to hunt

just my 2 cents ;) Good luck and be safe!
 

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Welcome to the sport

Quick helpful hint - get yourself a jerk string. Great first impression on the birds

Recepie: Pop can filled with concrete as an anchor, 10' of small bungee cord, 60-70' of string. Tie the bungee to the anchor and tie a few decoys to the string - 5-10' apart. When you pull on the string they swim towards you - let go and they swim back. (you can get the bungee cord at a fabric store) I keep the string/bungee stretched tight all the time, and when I see birds overhead just let go of the string, that way they do not see your movement.


Great way to add movement and in my opinion better than calling.

Good Luck and be safe!!:)

BR
 

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Tell us what you've been doing, hard to give specific pointers, otherwise.

Are you walking to the edge of the water?
Do you have a boat/canoe?
What are you using for camo/blind?
Do you have mallard dekes?
What kinda gun do you have?

Concealment is probably the biggest key, in my book. You can't beat a good brush/ground blind on the edge of the water. If you're in a boat you gotta have some type of camo in front of you and your dog. If you're hunting a small pond, you're most likely gonna see mallards, teal, woodies, so don't put out a dozen bluebills or canvasbacks. And your gun,,, lots of older guns were not made to shot steel, get the model number and check with the manufacturer. 99% of the birds will land "into the wind". Personally, I set up so the birds will land "crossing" in front of me. I HATE having the ducks looking directly at me while their trying to land.
 

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my starter kit for newbie would include.

canoe and paddle (optional if you can walk in)
6-12 mallard decoys
gun
waders
shells
camo
if ya got a call make a quack once an while when you see a bird close (75 yrds). #1 newbie mistake is calling everything viewable :yikes:

find a hole (or field) walk in, throw the decoys upwind, sit down wind or at point of where birds should land.

when in doubt of decoy pattern, there is always 1 that will work in almost any wind unless its 20+mph. 2 pockets of decoys with wind as shown below but not always necessary cuz ducks will do the last second adjustment to swing into pocket.

B D D D D
L DD
I ---->wind
N DD
D D D D D

oh and another mistake made is people don't hide there transportation (boat) upwind so the ducks don't fly over it on approach.
 

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THE NUMBER ONE THING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DUCKS, and I'm surprised no one came right out and said it...if you did, I skipped by it. PUDDLE DUCKS WILL ALWAYS TRY TO LAND INTO THE WIND. Think of an airplane landing into the wind...same concept. That's why so many have given you the same tip on decoy placement. If you look back at Shiawassee Kid's diagram, the wind is coming from the blind straight out. Therefore, if all goes well, the birds will come directly at you to land. Puddle ducks will rarely come screaming downwind and just set down without turning into the wind to slow down first. The exception I can think of is a flock of dumb young teal....you never quite know what those suckers will do :yikes:
 

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Have fun, kill a few park ducks and when you get bored, get somebody to take you layout hunting for divers....then you will really know what duck hunting is all about.

Enjoy....the sport, and this board.
 

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lwingwatcher said:
Have fun, kill a few park ducks and when you get bored, get somebody to take you layout hunting for divers....then you will really know what duck hunting is all about.

Enjoy....the sport, and this board.
i wondered how long it would take til one of the tug boaters would try to convert you to the big water! :lol:
 

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I'm no master duck killer, but I've always had my best days over 8-10 mallard decoys. Seems like after being pressured by lots of hunters with big spreads, they look for liitle pockets of buddies. Also a whole easier to pick up the decoys in rotten (the best) weather.
 

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yeah - you might be better off going after divers -
get up at say 9am.
eat some sausage and pancakes
watch the news
read the paper
drink a cup of coffee
suit up in your gray rain coat and hitch up the boat and head out to the ramp about 10:30
drive around until you see birds or smell fish
make several perfectly straight lines of decoys
drink some more coffee (you're tired from getting up so early)
wait for birds to fly by and shoot them on the water.
no calling necessary

if you're lucky you'll end up w/ some grizzly fish ducks to feed your dog
:evil::lol:


i know i know...i'm an a$$:help:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
William H Bonney said:
Tell us what you've been doing, hard to give specific pointers, otherwise.

a. Are you walking to the edge of the water?
b. Do you have a boat/canoe?
c. What are you using for camo/blind?
d. Do you have mallard dekes?
e. What kinda gun do you have?
a. yup, where i can be right on the water but still have decent cover
b. not this year.
c. waders are camo, as is my top layer. usually make twig/grass blind as necessary
d. yes, 12 of 'em
e. winchester 1300. brand new, shoots steel just fine
 
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