So, You Want to Start Duck Hunting? (Part 3)

This is part three of a three part series on how to get started in duck hunting. In the prior post (part 2) we discussed shotguns and ammo.

Okay, now that you’re licensed and you’ve got your shotgun and ammo you’re almost done…NOT! Now you need to get the rest of the gear that will turn you in to a full-fledged waterfowler.

Next on your list should be waders. There are basically three types of waders, neoprene, rubber/canvas, and breathables. When I say waders I’m talking about full chest high waders, not hip boots. There may be a few ponds that you can get away with wearing hip boots but they are few and far between so you should get full on chest high waders. Even if a pond is only a foot and a half deep you can have problems with hip boots as, if you hit a soft spot on the bottom, you can sink a foot or so in the mud and once the water comes over the top of the hip boots you’re wet and (depending on the weather) cold for the rest of the day. I have had all three types of waders in my time. I have developed a preference for stocking foot waders as you can then tightly lace a pair of wading boots to them and you have no problem with the mud pulling the boot off your foot as I have always had in boot-foot waders. Lately I have leaned towards the breathables as, being I’m in Southern California, it usually isn’t cold enough to require the neoprene and its sometimes way to hot to be comfortable in the neoprene, especially if you have to walk any distance at all. With the breathables you can just wear long underwear and pants under them if you expect it to be cold. Expect to pay around $75 at least for a decent pair of chest high stocking foot waders (either neoprene or breathables) and an additional $40 or so for wading boots. If you prefer boot foot waders you might be able to find a decent pair for around $75 or so and not have to buy the wading boots.

Next is clothing. You should have the following, all in some type of camo pattern:

A long sleeve t-shirt, a sweatshirt, a jacket, some type of rain jacket (this can be a full on insulated rain jacket or a rain shell to just cover your other clothes to keep the rain off) a hat, a stocking cap and gloves. I tend to try and keep my camo patterns on the brownish side rather then the greenish side as most of the vegetation in the marsh tends to be on the brownish side of the spectrum. Check off season sales on this type of camo clothing, especially with some of the big on-line retailers. You can sometimes get some great deals if you hit the ads right. Expect to spend around $150 to $300 for this clothing depending on which sales you manage to get in on.

Now on to decoys. Decoys can be a controversial subject. There are many that think the more the merrier and then there are some that think less is more. For a start I’d say get at least a dozen. You can sometimes find good sales in the off season also. A good combo pack is the Avery Greenhead Gear puddler pack which gives you a nice variety of ducks for your decoy spread. Each puddler pack gives you 2 Pintails, 2 American Wigeons, 2 Green Winged Teal and cost about $35. Two puddler packs are enough to get you started and they’re great looking decoys. All you’ll need then is a little fishing line and a dozen 3 or 4 ounce weights (which, if you’ve ever fished, you might already have in the garage). The only other thing you’d need would be a decoy bag to transport the decoys in. You should be able to find one of those for about $10 or so. One tip on the bag. Take an empty water bottle and zip tie it to the bag. That way, if you drop the bag in the water it won’t sink and you won’t loose it.

Now on to calls. I wrote a post on calls a while back so I’ll just refer you to that. I’m not a big fan of calls unless you’re real good at it and it really takes a talent. Check this link for further on calls:

Seating is the next subject. Unless you want to stand up all day you’ll usually need something to sit on. There are some blinds that actually have seats in them already but, for the most part, you’ll need a seat to sit on. This can be anything from a 5 gallon bucket painted camo to a dove seat to a folding director’s chair in camo. Whatever you choose be sure it is either camo colored or some flat greenish or brownish colors. A decent dove seat goes for around $20. A bucket you might be able to find for $6 or $8 and then add some paint.

Lastly, what to carry all this stuff in/with? When you’re just starting out you can probably just carry the stuff in your hands and on our back. The bucket or dove chair (which usually has a pouch beneath it) can carry your loose items such as shells, calls, lunch and other assorted small stuff. The decoy bag can usually be carried on your back like a backpack and the shotgun can be carried in hand or with a sling over your back. The waders and clothing you’ll be wearing out to the blind. Later, when you fully caught the addiction and have accumulated all kinds of gear you’ll want to take out to the blind, you might want to invest in a cart for your equipment. One of the best I’ve seen is the Ducks & Bucks Cart Blind. I also did a review on the D & B cart a while back so I’ll refer you to that link if you’re interested:–-ducks-bucks-cart-blind/

So there you have it. The basics to get you started in duck hunting. Hopefully it will lead to a lifelong addiction, as it has with me, and I’ll see you out at the refuge from time to time.

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