Hunting Northern East Coast Big Water
Hunting the Northern reaches of the United States is very different from Southern states. Whether it be temperatures, types of ducks, terrain, and water, it is all both very different but very exciting nonetheless.
I had the privilege of being part of a four man hunting group to hunt sea ducks in one of the Northern United States. I won’t disclose the location or the state because this is a honey hole I choose to keep within my hunting partners. However, what I can tell you, is the trip was an absolute blast; literally and figuratively. I was amazed, that even though I know a great deal about duck hunting, this trip would not only educate me more on duck hunting, but would use some of my previous knowledge to help bag a two day limit for four hunters.
The trip started out leaving my home state of Maryland through the night and arriving at the boat ramp just before sunrise. One difference in the Northern states from the Southern is instead of having to battle sand and grass in the water, we had to deal with rocks. The ocean floor is not only covered with rocks, but large island size rocks had to be navigated on our way to our hunting spot. This means, if you decide you would like to hunt the Northern United States, I would only hunt using an aluminum boat. If you have a carbon fiber boat…forget about it or buy/borrow a metal boat. Running into any of these rocks without a metal boat will most certainly cause your boat to sink and possibly injury or death.
We used an aluminum jon boat to reach our hunting destination and then used a layout boat. We used long lines of Scoter and Eider decoys stretched in straight lines and curves to replicate rafting ducks. Each day (two days) we would set up just adjacent to a rock island where the ocean was calmest for the layout boat. We would then have the wind direction in a right to left fashion so the ducks would land in such a way where our guns would be swinging right to left, in our natural motion.
I did not expect to see such clear ocean water. The water was a bright bluish green where you could see a good 10 feet down. Seals would emerge regularly and say hi. Ducks were flying by all day with stretches of lull where nothing was happening. These down times called for a take in of the fresh ocean air, stunning landscape beauty and just the overall contentment of hunting with friends.
Ducks would come in by the singles and by the quads. We shot Common Scoters, Eiders, and even caught a white wing Scoter and a Surf Scoter. The four man team ended the trip with a two day limit of 40 birds. If you haven’t yet thought about hunting the Northern United States, I would definitely consider it. If you can arrange it in your schedule, everyone should try. If you don’t know where to go or think the task is too daunting, you’re more than welcome to get a hold of me and I can steer you the right direction.
Until then, good hunting and be safe.