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Duck Hunting in North America

Updated on October 22, 2014

North American Duck Hunting

This page explores duck hunting, including hunting guides, private land hunts, leased properties and public land and other options.

North American duck hunters harvest a variety of wild game using specialized boats, blinds, hunting dogs, decoys and other tools.

In addition harvesting ducks, many hunters also enjoy goose hunting and other types of waterfowl hunting trips.

Duck Hunting Trips

Duck hunting can take many forms. Some hunters will choose to hunt public lands while others own land or can find a private landowner which allows hunting.

Other hunting options include hunting clubs that can pool resources and obtain hunting rights thru leases, land purchases or other means.

Hunting guides are another great option. Hunting guides handle access issues, know the layout and are familiar with regulations and local hunting patterns.

Waterfowl Hunting Boating Safety

The following information from Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission offers tips for staying safe while duck hunting by boat:

Wear a lifejacket or float coat. Lifejackets are available in various price ranges and some are made specifically for hunters and allow room to shoulder a gun, but still offer protection from cold water. A lifejacket can make a difference between life and death for a hunter or trapper who falls into coldwater. Camouflage models are available as well as float coats that meet U.S. Coast Guard requirements.

Keep an eye on the weather. Don’t let blue skies at the start of a hunting trip affect your judgment, and be sure to get an up-to-date weather forecast.

Don't overload the boat. Overloading can result in swamping and capsizing. Modern outboard boats have a capacity plate that indicates the maximum motor horsepower as well as the carrying capacity of the boat. This is a good way to determine whether or not your boat is large enough for the gear you wish to transport.

Stay near shore and avoid crossing large expanses of open water, especially in bad weather. Hunting boats are typically small flat-bottom boats which are particularly unstable in rough water. In addition, make sure you have enough fuel. Decoys, traps, and dogs weigh more than fishing rods and tackle boxes, and will demand more power (and fuel) from your motor.

If your boat does capsize or swamp, stay with it. Even when filled with water, it will provide some flotation and is easier to see by potential rescuers. Since water conducts heat 25 times faster than air of the same temperature, it is important to keep as much of your body out of the water as possible. If you unexpectedly enter cold water (any water less than 70 degrees is considered cold), immediately attempt to re-enter the boat. This will minimize the effects of hypothermia, and greatly increase your chance for survival.

Bring your cell phone along in a waterproof bag or case.

Have a Float Plan. Always tell someone where you are going and when to expect your return.

Duck Hunting Feedback

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      jaken5 5 years ago

      Pretty nice lens. Good and thorough.