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Thread: Tips for duck hunting newbs from a duck hunting newb

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Squamish
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    Tips for duck hunting newbs from a duck hunting newb

    I've had a few PMs lately asking for tips on duck hunting in the Ladner Marsh. I probably invited someone to send me a message a while back but I can't find the old thread. I've had a few good phone calls with nice people but I might as well just relay my info in this post for others to read.

    First off, I'm no expert. I'm a complete amateur, self taught, that has managed to kill a few ducks and have a lot of fun doing so. I started by exploring near Squamish, finding plenty of good duck terrain but very few ducks. I learned if you aren't on a flyway, you aren't going to see very many ducks. Then I went further afield, hunting up around Merritt. I never saw another duck hunter, partly because I wasn't in prime territory, but moreso because I didn't want to be that guy that had no idea what he was doing, surrounded by frustrated people that knew what they were doing. It was a lot of driving and a few ducks but in that time I figured out how to launch and retrieve my boat, how to camouflage my boat, how to set and retrieve my decoys and (sort of) how to call.

    Backing up a bit, when I decided I wanted to get into duck hunting I did a bit of reading and had a sense of what I needed to do. I went to Wal-mart in Bellingham and bought a couple dozen decoys with line and weights and a couple of their cheap calls. US Wal-mart takes hunting seriously and I found they had a really good assortment of stuff. I bought a Mojo robo-duck from a store in Vancouver. I bought a camo blind bag and a few other things that weren't completely necessary, but I recall I didn't spend very much money at all. The Mojo was the most expensive thing.

    When I felt like I had an inkling of how to govern myself, I decided to head down to Ladner. I went mid-week, in the early afternoon so I could see where I was going. It felt like I'd landed in paradise. Ducks everywhere, slow water, an unbelievable amount of territory to hunt from. My son and I did a bit of exploring, then set up a spread and waited for the ducks that had left to eat in the nearby fields started to return to the safety of the marsh for the night. Well, that was at or near high tide and I learned my first marsh lesson that day. Tides come and go and what feels like an optimal spot at high tide might just leave you stranded when the tide goes out. We managed a few ducks that afternoon, but had a hell of a time getting the boat back to the truck. Pulling a loaded boat through marsh mud is nasty.

    I came back again in daylight when the tide was much lower and found a spot that retained enough water at low tide to get the boat home without dragging but the lesson I came away with is to avoid low tide. I've now hunted on both ebb and flow tides and both are workable, but when the tide is out the marsh is a tough place to navigate.

    OK, enough storytelling, here are a few tips for newbs from a newb:
    1. Do a bit of research. This site isn't overflowing with info, but there are lots of other sites that go into techniques and etiquette.
    2. Buy cheap stuff. Wal-mart is great.
    3. Download a duck calling app and practise, practise, practise. Easy to do while driving. I learned how to quack, and sort of do a hail and a comeback. I know I suck but I've fooled a few ducks.
    4. Find a marsh. I went to Ladner because I'm familiar with the area but Pitt sounds excellent too. Find an area big enough to get your decoys spaced apart and park your back to the sun. My 'spot' is about 20 yards by 20 yards in the middle of the tide cycle, bigger at high tide, smaller at low. If I was going to pick an ideal tide cycle I'd arrive in the middle of tide coming in, set up and hunt as the tide rose and started to ebb, then leave again as the tide was going out. I go mid-week to avoid congestion and dealing with a bunch of other hunters. Go during the day the first time so you can see your way around. I was going to GPS mark my spot but it turns out I'm only a few hundred yards from the boat launch and I can find it in the pitch black.
    5. Conceal yourself well. I bought some expensive marsh grass camo for my jon boat but I built the blind structure myself. Ducks are very wary and much smarter than I thought. If they are shying away after starting to come in you are likely not well concealed.
    6. Like any form of hunting, don't set up on top of someone else. The marsh is big and there is a lot of terrain to share. As the new guy you are probably going to hunt the less desirable areas for a while anyway.
    7. Respect the laws, don't sky-blast and make every effort to quickly kill and retrieve ducks you hit. Be prepared for a search... if you shoot a duck and it lands in the grass it will be very hard to find. Way better to shoot them directly over your spread so they land in the water.
    8. If you are going to shoot a wounded bird in the water you will almost invariably hit a decoy or two at the same time.
    9. Ducks that have been eating rotten fish taste like rotten fish. Ducks that have been eating grain taste really good. Ducks that have been eating fish look exactly like ducks that have been eating grain.

    There, I think that is pretty much all I know about duck hunting. Hopefully some of the experienced guys will chime in with corrections or additions.
    Is Justin Competent, or just incompetent?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    268

    Re: Tips for duck hunting newbs from a duck hunting newb

    good post! I dabble in that area! need some money to get a mojo

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
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    Re: Tips for duck hunting newbs from a duck hunting newb

    Thanks albravo! Appreciate the help

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Squamish
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    Re: Tips for duck hunting newbs from a duck hunting newb

    Quote Originally Posted by silveragent View Post
    I dabble in that area!
    LOL, nice pun.

    I hope to hear from some of the experts. There is zero chance I got it right figuring it out by myself.
    Is Justin Competent, or just incompetent?

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    2,303

    Re: Tips for duck hunting newbs from a duck hunting newb

    Is the boat launch you mentioned the one at Wellington?

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
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    13

    Re: Tips for duck hunting newbs from a duck hunting newb

    Thanks for the tips, I was hoping to find something like this.

    Looking at getting into duck hunting this fall with my dad but I need to get a shotgun first. I was looking at the Maverick 88 12 gauge, any suggestions against it? Going to have to do some scouting as neither of us have done much hunting in the lower mainland but looking forward to the challenge!

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    2,303

    Re: Tips for duck hunting newbs from a duck hunting newb

    The mavericks are ok to get you out, I’ve got one haven’t cleaned it for 5 years or so and hasn’t failed me, I went to a semi auto last season, personally I’d look into a wingmaster or something if you were going to go for a pump action.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Posts
    268

    Re: Tips for duck hunting newbs from a duck hunting newb

    Winchester SXP is good value. Solid pump and very light for the hike through the swamp.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    williams lake
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    Re: Tips for duck hunting newbs from a duck hunting newb

    Ah ha ha ha... a duck that's been eating fish looks exactly like a duck that's been eating grain.

    As this is mostly true... the fishy ones have their legs set towards the back of the body.
    Quote Originally Posted by 180grainer View Post
    Late goats can mean icyconditions and very steep drop offs......That's why sheep hunters are gay.
    Quote Originally Posted by 180grainer View Post
    It's all skirts and high heels until late October when the prime billies are ready. Sheep hunter is an Orwellian term.
    "Pedo goats must not stink as bad" - NorBC

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lower Mainland
    Posts
    63

    Re: Tips for duck hunting newbs from a duck hunting newb

    Bring them in close wait til you can see there feet then shoot....closer retrieves, less cripples and less educated birds...
    jerk rigs....movement in the water is a killer

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