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6 Duck Hunting Strategies for Early Season

Try these duck hunting strategies for the early season and take home a limit.


Few days are more exciting than the opening day of waterfowl season.

Whether it’s early teal season in the Southeast, or late snow goose season in the Midwest, every hunter can do things to become better prepared for the first day.

The following list is by no means exhaustive, but the strategies will help prepare you for opening day success.

Check out the slideshow to see the ideal approach to early season ducks.

Do you have your own tips or secrets that you’d like to share? Leave your comments below!


Image via Wikimedia

1. Scout, Scout, Scout (and then scout some more)

This is perhaps the cardinal rule when it comes to achieving success in the field. I have experienced hunts on the same property when ducks will be visible and active one afternoon, and gone the next morning without a trace.

Instead of relying on hunches, look for the evidence. If you visit a particular location multiple times a week and notice ducks every time then you should definitely mark that spot as a potential keeper.

Be sure to investigate the food source. As you’re scouting for a prime locale, be on the lookout for things ducks naturally gravitate towards.

2. Inspect Your Gear

Waiting until the night before your big hunt is not the best time to patch your waders, locate your choke tubes, and freshen up your decoys. Take the time you need to organize your hunting gear, charge your boat battery, blow your calls, and replace decoy lines. The old adage ‘An ounce of prevention’ rings truer than ever in this situation. So get out all your tools, gear, and camouflage for a proper evaluation. Leaky waders aren’t much good, especially when a 10 minute patch would have kept you dry.

3. Familiarize Yourself with Hunting Regulations

Daily bag and possession limits, shooting hours, WMA regulations and the like can all have variations from season to season. It’s not enough to look up the beginning and ending days for the hunting season.

RELATED: Prepping for Duck Season? Use This Checklist. [VIDEO]

Every hunter is responsible for keeping tabs on these laws to ensure his own safety as well as the safety of all others.

4. Hit the Shooting Range

Practicing your shooting skills is essential to bagging a limit of ducks. There are techniques every waterfowl shooter should be familiar with, such as reloading quickly to maximize the likelihood every shot is a quality one. The shooting range is also the perfect place to test out different varieties of shells and to see how each shot performs.

5. Fine Tune Fido

Let’s face it, man’s best friend all too often spends the summer curled up on a cushion enjoying the air conditioning. Your retriever needs a tune up. Start by getting your dog out in the back yard, or in the park for some fetch. This is a great method to get your dog familiar with listening to your commands again. Then move on to more advanced ground training strategies that will reinforce your dog’s instinct to safely, efficiently retrieve downed birds.

RELATED: Shotgun Shells Worth Shooting This Duck Season

6. Have Fun

These strategies, combined with hard work and a little luck, are designed to help produce increased success in the field. Even still, there will be early mornings when the boat motor won’t crank, when your gun jams, or the birds don’t fly. There is no sure-fire way to guarantee a bag limit. That is why it’s called hunting.

The point, though, is get out there and enjoy the outdoors. Regardless of the number of bag limits you hit, it is all about having fun while doing it.

The ducks are icing on the cake.

Check out more duck hunting slideshows

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6 Duck Hunting Strategies for Early Season