Being an avid bow hunter, I wanted to expand my opportunities to hunt other species and learn to be a well-rounded hunter but archery would not be the best option. In order to do this, I had to hang up the ol’ stick & string (for just a little while) and take up my old trusty Remington 870 Express 12 gauge shotgun.
I was invited to go duck hunting which is something that I always wanted to do, but didn’t know the first thing about it, what I needed, or what I should bring. After consulting with a couple of Chasin’Whitetails Media Staff and many hours looking through articles, I finally grasped what I was getting into. Boy, this changed everything on how I looked at duck hunting.
The first item that I needed which I already possessed, a shotgun. Next, the more important item was a pair of waders. Knowing that I needed this, let the shopping begin. After many hours of comparing and finding something in my area to try on, I finally settled for a 5 mil, 1000gram insulate pair of camo waders. Let me tell you, these were a lifesaver especially in cold waters of the Outer Banks, NC.
My next items were just as critical, a good pair of neoprene gloves, a really good wind/water resistant jacket, a fleece hat, and a facemask or face paint. This all meant a trip to BassPro (my wife’s worst nightmare)! After a few hundred dollars later, I had everything I need including the ammo. I was off to go meet up with everyone and make a game plan.
We decided to do a public hunt on some flats. Not very productive the first morning out, but I learned a ton from my teenage guide. Yes, I said a teenager. This kid new more about duck hunting then I could have ever thought of. I was not at all embarrassed about not knowing as I didn’t grow up around duck hunting or guns for that matter. This was a great opportunity to help this teenager with questions about life, while he helped me with what to look for when duck hunting.
I learned so much that first morning that I was almost overwhelmed but the hook was set and there was no turning back now. We decided to change locations in the middle of the day and went to the Sound to hunt the shore. It is a different way of hunting but it was more productive. Learned how to layout decoys, learned the different names and types of ducks, what not to shoot, and learned that they don’t mess around in N. Carolina with the game wardens checking up on you. I have never been checked so many times in one day than I had that day. The day ended without any ducks killed, but I was not about to let that stop me.
The next day out, we left extremely early to get to the Sound to hunt the shore. The tide was in and the winds were blowing at a nice 20-35 mph. It was miserable in the morning but knowing that it was going to calm down after a few hours I decided to stick it out. The other hunters in the party took off around 10am, but I decided to stay with the teenagers and hunt the entire day. Boy, was I happy with that decision. I was able to bag my first duck, a Bufflehead! The toughest bird I think there is. They are small, fast, and very resilient. The 3 of us shot a total of 5 Buffleheads and 2 nice Mergansers that day. We also had the pleasure of watching some Dolphins playing in the Sound in the middle of the day to take up some of the down time.
I can honestly say that duck hunting was a blast (no pun intended). When someone says that you will be hooked once you do it, they are 100% right. I can’t seem to get enough of it. Now I can say that I am starting to become that well-rounded hunter after this. Yes, I know I have a lot more to accomplish but you have to start somewhere. Hunting is not just a hobby for me, but a lifestyle that I embrace on a daily basis. Just can’t enough of it.
If you have never been duck hunting or are considering it, please just do it. You will not regret it and it will really open up new ways to hunt. It is nice not to have to sit still for hours on end, not have to worry too much about being quiet, or what you smell like. Just go out and enjoy yourselves. Camo is very important. Know your surroundings and get ready to watch the birds hit the water.