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New to duck hunting #8705965 10/11/22 01:59 AM
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erathar Offline OP
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If you couldn’t tell, I’m going to try and tackle some duck hunting this year for the first time. I’ve got a WMA within 10 miles to hunt in the morning after I I get off of working nights. I’ve done quite a bit of research, but looking for real world advice. Mainly, how many decoys, what a good call to carry, and any must have accessories? Thanks for any help. FYI, it’s more than likely not anywhere close to where you guys hunt, so I won’t be stealing your spots.

Re: New to duck hunting [Re: erathar] #8705987 10/11/22 02:27 AM
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Are you in corpus?


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Re: New to duck hunting [Re: erathar] #8706036 10/11/22 04:36 AM
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SherpaPhil Offline
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Could you generally describe the spot? Coastal or panhandle? Stock tank or large lake?

Re: New to duck hunting [Re: erathar] #8706045 10/11/22 06:29 AM
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Not to hi jack someone else's thread but I'm in a similar situation (never hunted waterfowl) and I will be hunting a playa in north Texas in late January. It appears to be pretty barren grassland, probably with minimal cover and I assume it'll be damn cold. So if anyone can make suggestions on this type of terrain too, and the gear I will need for it, I would also appreciate it.

Re: New to duck hunting [Re: erathar] #8706216 10/11/22 02:15 PM
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Figure out where the birds want to be. If you are on the "x" you could hunt without decoys or over minimal decoys and be successful. My preferred spread is a dozen or so floaters and one to two mojos. I use cheap ugly decoys with no real thought put into layout and the birds do not care what they look like when you are in the spot they want to be. I have been told about decoy strategies for stale birds but I have yet to find one that works consistently. Fresh migrators typically will at least come give you a look with a half decent spread.

As far as gear goes, it pays dividends to be comfortable so I would make sure to have a good warm duck hunting coat and good waders. When you body gets fatigued, your mind gets fatigued and you quit quicker. You don't need to go buy expensive sitka gear right off the bat until you figure out if this is something you want to do long term. A great starter package would be frogg togg waders and an old school duxbak jacket with dryfit baselayers.

Leave the duck call at home. The duck call in a novice's hands is the greatest waterfowl conservation tool known to man.

Re: New to duck hunting [Re: erathar] #8706344 10/11/22 04:30 PM
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Are there any guides in your area that hunt the same type of terrain? If so I would think about going with them for one hunt at least and most of you questions would then be answered. Play close attention to how they use the call, the cadence, and when. Then practice learning the basic calls at home before you try it in the field.

Re: New to duck hunting [Re: erathar] #8706390 10/11/22 05:17 PM
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erathar Offline OP
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It’s marsh land off of the coast just outside of Tivoli. Thank you for the input thus far.

Re: New to duck hunting [Re: erathar] #8706423 10/11/22 05:54 PM
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Scouting is going to be the biggest thing for that kind of area. There are going to be spots that the birds are just naturally drawn to. If you are 200 yards away with the perfect decoy setup, perfect concealment, and great calling, you could probably get a few birds. It is a whole lot easier to just figure out the right spot and then not screw it up. Spend a bunch of time out there figuring out where the birds want to be. Once you have the right spot, you should be able to throw out a dozen decoys to get their attention, hide really well, and have a great hunt. Don't carry a call this year, it will do more harm than good. Start practicing now for next year.

Re: New to duck hunting [Re: erathar] #8706444 10/11/22 06:25 PM
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SherpaPhil is spot on with his advice if you chose not to go with a guide as I suggested. One thing you had better take for sure is a large can of Cutter for the mosquito's. Used to hunt Anahuac and Surfside and I have never seen them as bad as those two spots. If you have dog take a can for it also. You can thank me later.

Last edited by spacejunkie; 10/11/22 06:25 PM.
Re: New to duck hunting [Re: erathar] #8706496 10/11/22 07:46 PM
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Decoys - redheads, bluebills, pintails, wigeon, bwt, gwt, spoonies
Calls - whistle for teal, pintail and wigeon, and teal hen call

As mentioned scout and find the birds and setup where they are.

Expect to make mistakes, its part of the learning curve. Don't believe all that you see on social media, shooting piles of ducks doesn't always happen. Shooting limits on public land takes alot of work and some luck.


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Re: New to duck hunting [Re: erathar] #8706544 10/11/22 08:33 PM
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I'm pretty sure I know where you are talking about. Check the regs on which days you are allowed in there and what time you need to be out. Depending on where you go, I hope you are in decent shape. If its the area I think you're speaking about, it can be down right brutal walking in. Some spots are easier than others. A couple of wading sticks wouldn't be a bad investment. It's gotten tough as far as numbers go in that neck of the woods. Too many hunters and not enough birds. Pinnies and teal is what we run for decoys and between 4-8dz dekes. You will be limited to what you can carry. I would go in lite the first time and figure it out. Leave the call at home if you bought it this year, you most likely can't run it. A whistle would be best but used sparingly. That place can be frustrating and typically is. There are no magic bullets. Just take the essentials - gun, limited shells (don't sky blast), chair, decoys and bug spray. The grass is already turning brown and way shorter than years past. Maybe a low profile chair or sit still as a church mouse when they are coming in. Maybe a sled depending if you are in low ground with water around. Use it to drag your stuff in and then use it to keep blind bag or gun out of the water. I know a lot of guys don't like hunting with a sling, but I would in this scenario. One last thing - a pair of breathable waders, with decent boots. Dress in layers. I typically hunt the coast, I don't think I've ever been cold during a hunt. Neoprene after walking in will having you sweating like a pig.

Re: New to duck hunting [Re: erathar] #8706583 10/11/22 09:28 PM
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here's how to put out your decoys, it is irrelevant what type you use.

[Linked Image]

Re: New to duck hunting [Re: erathar] #8706903 10/12/22 05:25 AM
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Also, focus much more than you think you need to on concealment. Ducks have great eyes and color vision, unlike most game we hunt. Work your concealment in layers. Obviously, wear camo clothes, but make sure you wear gloves and a facemask, too. White (playing the odds here) faces and hands can really flare ducks. I like the mesh camo face masks and they should help with mosquitos, too. Face paint works and makes it easier to call, but is a pain. Next, make sure you are somewhere with natural cover. Hiding is much, much easier if you can tuck into some tall reeds or a downed tree. Finally, do something to breakup your outline. It could be natural vegetation, or a ghillIe tarp, or a layout blind, but anything makes a huge difference. many new duck hunters don't focus enough on not being seen.

If you can find the spot where the birds want to be, and hide well, you could have a respectable hunt even without calls or decoys.

Re: New to duck hunting [Re: booskay] #8711642 10/18/22 12:10 PM
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erathar Offline OP
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Originally Posted by booskay
here's how to put out your decoys, it is irrelevant what type you use.

[Linked Image]


Is that decoy set up in order to try and funnel the birds into your shooting lane?

Re: New to duck hunting [Re: erathar] #8712093 10/18/22 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by erathar
Is that decoy set up in order to try and funnel the birds into your shooting lane?


Yes. (not trying to step on booskay's toes. I was just here and answered).

An alternative is to place the blind parallel with the wind so birds on final approach are not looking directly at the blind. This has worked for me in the past when concealment was an issue.


Last edited by jnd59; 10/18/22 08:14 PM.

No matter how high a duck flies a hammer still breaks a window.
Re: New to duck hunting [Re: erathar] #8712099 10/18/22 08:23 PM
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I suspect there is just a ton of "duck hunting 101" info out there on youtub. Unless someone on this forum posts a good video, I would look for videos from reputable companies/organizations like duck unlimited.

Re: New to duck hunting [Re: jnd59] #8712193 10/18/22 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by jnd59
Originally Posted by erathar
Is that decoy set up in order to try and funnel the birds into your shooting lane?


Yes. (not trying to step on booskay's toes. I was just here and answered).

An alternative is to place the blind parallel with the wind so birds on final approach are not looking directly at the blind. This has worked for me in the past when concealment was an issue.



With a cross wind I would use a "J" hook pattern for the decoys. May take more decoys but I have found it a good pattern for coastal hunting.

Re: New to duck hunting [Re: erathar] #8728082 11/07/22 03:31 AM
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Thing to remember is that the best caller in the world with a giant spread can't pull ducks from the spot they want to land on. Scout in the evening to find the spots they land on naturally and hunt those spots. If you want to call buy a whistle. Three or four quick nips on a whistle is as powerful as a good duck call for getting their attention. A regular duck call is like a musical instrument that takes years of practice to play correctly. Until you are good with it you will scare away ducks.

Re: New to duck hunting [Re: erathar] #8729055 11/08/22 12:43 PM
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Love this thread, I’m new to duck hunting. First hunt scheduled for January. Going with a local guy to try and learn the ropes. If anyone in the north Texas area knows any good guides I’d love to give them some business to get all the practice I can. Deer and Elk hunted my whole life so duck hunting is very different for me.

Re: New to duck hunting [Re: erathar] #8729096 11/08/22 01:57 PM
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Welcome Kemcar. I don't know any guides in the NTX area but I'm sure someone will chime in.


No matter how high a duck flies a hammer still breaks a window.
Re: New to duck hunting [Re: jnd59] #8729403 11/08/22 07:00 PM
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Thank you! And that’s what I’m hoping for.

Re: New to duck hunting [Re: Kemcar] #8744278 11/28/22 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Kemcar
Thank you! And that’s what I’m hoping for.



Any update on how your season is going @kemcar?

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