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mabr

FirstTime in 35 years

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Its been 35 years sense i duck hunted. With only 1 deer allowed this year I needed another option so ducks it is and boy am i excited. Except the $$ its costing me. So to save a little $$ im looking for opinions.

Just bought a new shotgun so i'm good there (SX3) and love it. Have all the camo i need Or at least think i do. Its not waterfowl camo but based on conditions I'll be hunting in early season im not concerned.I'm a hunter and have learned how to hide pretty good IMO

I do need waders. In an effort to save $$$ (wife is starting to question if im getting carried away)I see i can buy brown neoprene cheaper than camo. Is it necessary to have camo waders? Ill be in cattails, knee deep water or in a blind. I just don't see the need or am i wrong? Im thinking Ill have a coat over them so why worry about brown.

I also see some recommend the breathable waders vs. neoprene. Is the reason more to do with getting heated up or is there some other reason? The $$$ for this type is quite a bit more than the neoprene. I know you get what you pay for but I was looking on e--- and i seen you can buy a pair of fishing breathable waders for again way cheaper than cabelas type breathable camo waders. Thoughts?

Decoys, why the huge difference in price between some? I see the $3-$5 decoys at Ff and wonder why spend more for the other brands. Is it gonna matter to the ducks? Im thinking if i have a dozen mallards a couple geese i should be good for a beginner?

My mentor would be taking me on opener but they have a traditional family hunt so ill be on my own for Saturday. I had him out on Wednesday and take a ride with me to look at my top 4 places, he was drooling. He wished he could cancel his hunt. smile

Im sure im gonna have alot more questions, so this is just a start.

Oh aslo why does it matter where you hook your weight line to on the bottom of the decoys?

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Iv'e got the Cabelas, 3 years old, this year they had a leak in the crotch sent them back last tuesday had a new pair on my door step Wed. No charge..

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mabr- In regards to decoys do the expensive ones look better? Of course! With that being said, if you do the scouting and find where the birds want to be cheap ones will do the trip. I'm sure many will agree that scouting is the key, I hunt only public land and have found that if it is easy hunt others will be there. My best hunts have been the ones that have been tough, long canoe paddles, dragging through muck and such. If you have private access life will be much easier.

In regards to where you tie off the line on your decoys, I tie them to the front and use keel grabber weights, I find them worth the cost. Have fun with it!

Happy hunting

Kettle

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Count your lucky stars , Mabr. I am in the same boat as Kettle. Public water only. Close to cities. Midnight or earlier at the boat ramp to get the best spots. Only to have some clown come wreck it for you coming out DURING sunrise !! All in all I still love it and try to get out a minimum of 40 days during the season. I started tying a few decoys to the back eyelet last year so not every single one was facing wind. More natural ? Sounds like you could use black bleach bottles in your spots. Best of luck this season . Enjoy !

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Does it matter if you purchase olive green waders vs. camo? Absolutely not! Should they breath? Well, I may not be an expert at wader materials, but it seems to me that if the waders breath one way, it's more then likely they'll probably breath the other way as well!

If you're only going to hunt waterfowl a few times a year, and you're not going to spend countless hours in your waders, just get the mid-priced ones and you'll be just fine.

With a decent call you can get away with chunks of black Styrofoam tied to anchors in your pond. Ducks are not terribly bright creatures. Get em' in for a close look is all you need. Late season birds will likely need a bit more coaxing, and prolly a real sharp spread of decoys, but early season birds are usually pretty easy to bring in. The low-end, to middle-end ($25-$40/dozen) decoys are plenty good for your needs. 2 dozen floaters should run you about $60-$100. Ask around your neighborhood and you can prolly buy a couple dozen old duck decoys off a retired neighbor for $20.00, and you'll be good to go.

It's usually best to tie your dec's to the front attachment of the keel. Most ducks will be gently paddling into the wind while loafing in a pond, but you can certainly hook a few to the rear end of the keel just to have a little variety. I wouldn't be concerned about it either way.

Buy yourself a decent duck call...maybe $15-$30 bucks, then sit down and listen to some ducks chattering at your local park. Practice making a typical quack, perhaps a hail call (the drawn out wail...waaaa, waaa, waa, waa, waa, wa), and master the feeding call (tick a tick a tick a tick a....). That outta get you a few ducks to come over for a look see.

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Waders: I had a pair of cabelas neoprene waders that lasted me 10 years. Two years ago they got a hole so I bought top of the line cabelas breathable waders. Big mistake! Went through 3 pairs last year, all leaked straight out of the box. Finally, the 3rd pair, still leaked, I decided to use them through the end of the season and returned them for a full refund. This year I've decided to go back to the neoprene. Tested them twice this year with no leaks.

Decoys: Cheap is fine. Never bought the expensive decoys and we out-shoot everyone in the swamp. A motorized decoy is worth the money though.

Keys to duck hunting:

1. Location

2. Movement

3. Concealment

Good luck! Can't wait for the 27th grin

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Thanks for the reply's guys,so the keel attachment is for direction of the decoy, got it.

Any preference for wind driven spinners. My mentor said his motorized ones have made the biggest difference for him in bringing in ducks, he admits hes not the best caller. should I just wait until were allowed motorized? he says opening weekend it not needed as much, people are moving them all day.

I drive alot so I've already got lots of practice with the call in the truck. The CD has been great and i can hear im getting better. But i think for where I'm hunting Ill be able to be quite for the first morning the ducks are already there . I'm hunting all private land.

Oh that brings another ? any worries about scaring them up in the AM? Its a short walk and i can be pretty quite but I feel like throwing out decoys will spoke some right? any worries about that?

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The biggest thing is being where the birds want to be, and not being seen, I hunt alone alot and always use a ghelle suit, I use it in the spring for shooting photo's and in the fall for hunting,

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Spooking birds off their roost in the morning is a touchy subject.

If the birds are patterned to the place, and haven't been pressured, you can probably spook them off while setting up in the morning, and they'll come back fairly quickly.

If they've been pressured and shot at a bit, they'll likely blow outta there and not come back. Particularly if they have many options for other places to roost.

Sometimes, depending on the size of the water you're hunting, you don't have any choice but to spook them out in the morning. You just simply cannot get set up without everything in the pond knowing you're there. You gotta do, what you gotta do. Just don't "shoot" them out! Fire a gun and you can pretty much guarantee they won't be coming back.

You're asking good questions, and it's good to hear you're practicing your calling.

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Just don't "shoot" them out! Fire a gun and you can pretty much guarantee they won't be coming back.

^^ Agree

In my experience ducks will usually come back as long as you do not fire a shot. There are a lot of deer, coons, ect that scare ducks off the roost all the time. If you don't fire a shot, you should be ok. Geese on the other hand, is a crapshoot.

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Re: waders - I use stocking feet waders with wading boots. A bit longer to put on (you have to tie them!) but you have great ankle support, and when you walk through sucky your heels don't rise from boots. Will never use boot foot again unless putting in docks, or if I for sure don't have to walk more than about 20 yards.

Had a pair of Cabelas cheapy (still only $60) stocking foot for about 10 years, worked great before they shrunk on me wink and the barbed wire holes go to many to keep fixing. Then got some Gander brand ($100+) and they were horrible. Never could find the leaks. Now tried the Cabelas premium breathable ($120 on sale I think, camo not needed), and only used once taking docks out, but done dry (right up to the top), comfortable and seem like they should be tough enough. We shall see. Also the Cabelas best wading boots ($40 on sale, $70 regular) are awesome, had them for about 3 years now, way better than cheap ones. Get them 1-2 sizes larger than foot size.

Decoys - if less than 4' deep water, Texas rig them. If deeper, I like the old Herters/MN wrap method (discussed here before - figure 8 around the body) with strap weights tied perfectly to wrap around the neck. Easiest ways to set dekes if you are talking less than 3 dozen.

FWIW, about 90% of MN hunters have 2 dozen mallards and a few geese in their spread wink I would rather have more geese and few ducks. Ducks do come into geese and rarely do you/ducks see a decoy spread with more than 4 floating geese. Hint, paint some mallards up. Size doesn't matter. We use 3 dozen geese, a few mallards. At times 6 dozen divers. But going lite, I would even go one dozen geese and 3 mallards, personally. YMMV

Good luck, have a great time!

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Mabr -

About the only thing I have to add is wader info. Try the bargain cave at the C store if you're close enough and have time. I just picked up a pair of breathable waders for half of new before my points kicked in. It made them worth the gamble.

Gamble? No returns on merch from the cave and these were the waders with the waterproof zipper. Discontinued item. Figured I could permanently seal the zipper if it does leak.

I've had neoprene chest waders since they first came on the market and always thought they were the only way to go. I've had these breathables on 4 times now including the swimming pool test and love them. Comfy, easy on/off, warm boot (haven't felt the water temp yet), pretty light and easier to walk in. Bigger plus is I don't overheat in them.

full-17997-49367-image.jpg

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Hey mabr where ya been? To bad you didn't post this last spring I just sold it all. Deks, motoducks, boat, waders, camo, boxes of shells, the whole 9 yards! Hope you do well back in the game! wink

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Hey Leech, Ive been a lurker lately. Ive got most everything with the exception of geese decoys. Man they are spendy compared to ducks.

Ended up getting camo neoprene waders after all. Dozen ducks, anchors bag etc etc. Ill see how it goes after Saturday morning then decide what i need to add. I'll be where the ducks want to be based on scouting so it should be a fun first hunt..

I have noticed i don't see alot of mallards around right now. Mostly woodies and teal. Is that normal? Im west of Alexandria. Also, hardly any geese flying outside of the city limits. Think the pockets that are outside will get moved around on opener?

See people prefer different ways to rig decoys. I can't decide on Texas rigging them or wrapping the weights around the neck. If you texas rig do you just leave them loose attached to the caribiner and not put in a bag?

Is 4 ft to long for the line?

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Mabr, line length depends on your water depth. The shorter the easier to work with, but limits the depth you can use them. 4 ft is not to long, unless you're in 4.5 feet of water... Lol. Very normal to not be seeing a lot of mallards. There will be some local ones around but expect to see more woodies, teal, and maybe some ringers around when opener hits with other species thrown in.

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You should be fine with a dozen decoys. I hunt most of the time with 4 to 9 decoys. If you want to buy more decoys in the future look around for old ones. I hunt over carrylites from the 70's and I shoot more birds than allot of "prostaffers". The whole realism thing is a ploy to sell expensive decoys.

If you're going to hunt water forget about the spinning wing decoy. You'll shoot more birds without it. Instead buy a jerk rig and put anywhere from 2-4 decoys on it.

If you have multiple spots full of birds scout them and figure out if they are roosts. If the birds are present in the morning before shooting time it's a roost. If the birds are coming into it right at dusk it's a roost. If it's a feeding pond there will be very few if no birds on it before shooting time and they'll start bombing into it at shooting time. If it's a loaf they will start coming in around 9am.

If your first option is a roost I would avoid it and hunt the second or third option. You'll still kill your limit. You can then save the roost for later in the season. To hunt it properly wait until all the birds leave then set up and wait for them too come back. Set out 7 decoys and shoot singles, doubles, and small flocks. Hopefully you can limit out and get out of there before allot of them come back. If a big flock comes in you don't shoot, pick up, and leave. Good luck!

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Thanks Rooster, thats the kind of info im looking for.

Researched the jerk rig and im gonna do that this coming weekend.

Who uses bags anymore? I see everyone says use texas rigs. Seams if you put the decs in a bag that way they would get tangled.

Why not shoot a big flock?

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Texas rigging is quicker, but because the decoys bang around more the paint chips easier, especially on cheap decoys. It's a convenience and time thing. I am on a college budget so I don't feel like repainting and replacing dekes after texas rigging, but if you want speed and ease it the way to go. I use bags and strap weights and have yet to get a severe tangle in 4 years of hunting.

As far as shooting into a big flock, all it does is "educate" birds. Most would rather shoot at smaller groups and have 2 or 3 birds get away and smarter than shoot at a big group and have 15-20 get away and get smarter.

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I would disagree with rooster that you will kill less birds with a spinning decoy. Ducks try to slide in right behind it more often than not. Especially on public land, bigger spreads help. And a wind spinner only adds realism to the spread. Spinners DO flare geese though, for some reason they don't seem to like the spinners, wind or motorized. Just my opinion.

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If a big flock comes in you don't shoot, pick up, and leave. Good luck!

With all due respect, we are talking about "duck hunting" here. Again, no disrespect intended, if you choose not to shoot and pick 2-3 birds out of a large flock, that's certainly your prerogative.

Personally, if I go to the trouble of buying a license, and all the gear, and shells, and invest my time getting up early, and setting up a spread in the dark....if I've got birds coming in, big flock or small, I'm pulling on the big drakes. If you let them land in the pond, and simply scare them out while picking up your spread, there's a very real possibility they will not return as well. I guess I see no real reasoning behind choosing to shoot at smaller bunches of birds vs. not shooting at larger bunches of birds? As a new, or returning hunter, I would disregard this advice. But that's just me.

If you go fishing, and you can see lots and lots of fish in the water, do you not throw in your line so you can save more fish for next time? grin

This is Migratory Bird hunting. There is no guarantee they will still be here tomorrow. wink

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There are something's to spend top dollar on...decoys and waders are not two of them. I got garage sale and cheap fleet farm decoys that work great. Bought a pair of waders 10 years ago, cheapest I could find that work awesome.I save my money for good rain gear and shells. Also, don't go crazy on a good call,a double nasty ll is great.

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With all due respect, we are talking about "duck hunting" here. Again, no disrespect intended, if you choose not to shoot and pick 2-3 birds out of a large flock, that's certainly your prerogative.

Personally, if I go to the trouble of buying a license, and all the gear, and shells, and invest my time getting up early, and setting up a spread in the dark....if I've got birds coming in, big flock or small, I'm pulling on the big drakes. If you let them land in the pond, and simply scare them out while picking up your spread, there's a very real possibility they will not return as well. I guess I see no real reasoning behind choosing to shoot at smaller bunches of birds vs. not shooting at larger bunches of birds? As a new, or returning hunter, I would disregard this advice. But that's just me.

If you go fishing, and you can see lots and lots of fish in the water, do you not throw in your line so you can save more fish for next time? grin

This is Migratory Bird hunting. There is no guarantee they will still be here tomorrow. wink

That advice is only useful if your hunting a roost. If you're hunting a feeding pond go ahead and shoot into the big flock. If you're hunting a roost and you shoot into a big flock you bust them out and they don't come back. If I'm hunting a roost I shoot the singles and small flocks then when a big flock comes in I don't shoot. I don't call and hopefully they land at the other end of the area and I can pick up and leave without spooking them. If they land in my decoys I send my dog out too flush them. I've hunted roosts 2-3 times a week for a month without burning them out with this technique.

If you're hunting water you'll shoot more birds without a spinning wing decoy. I've duck hunted 30-40 days a year for the last 8 years. I started hunting with a spinner 12 years ago when they were new. They don't work very well over WATER anymore. If you disagree please keep using them. More birds for me. laugh

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If you're hunting water you'll shoot more birds without a spinning wing decoy. I've duck hunted 30-40 days a year for the last 8 years. I started hunting with a spinner 12 years ago when they were new. They don't work very well over WATER anymore. If you disagree please keep using them. More birds for me. laugh

I did notice last year the mallards, in general, were leery all year. It wasn't just our spread but everyone in the area was having trouble getting mallards to commit. I may attempt to pull the spinner this year if I notice the same thing.

They have always worked great for us and are a must-have if you're on public land competing with others. I hunt over water 99.99% of the time about 30 days a year.

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if you find a roost spot on public land and decide to sneak out to preserve it for later you can bet someone else will notice the birds in there and they will not hesitate to fill there bag.

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