Waterfowl Hunting Tactics

3 Spreads Duck Hunters Don’t Use Often Enough

Waterfowl

3 Spreads Duck Hunters Don’t Use Often Enough

We all have that waterfowling buddy who moves the duck decoys incessantly, always looking for something to tweak. It might not even be legal shooting light yet but they’ve rearranged the spread five times. If you don’t have that friend, you probably are that friend. But since the goal is convincing...
Sean Weaver Aug 18, 2021
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What You Need to Know About Duck Decoy Spreads

Waterfowl

What You Need to Know About Duck Decoy Spreads

Waterfowl decoys are visual aids that serve to attract ducks and geese and convince them that an area is safe for landing. The placement and number of decoys that one uses is highly situational, but wind direction is always a major factor. Like airplanes, ducks and geese approach their landing areas...
Steven Rinella Sep 15, 2018
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How to Scout for Ducks and Geese

Waterfowl

How to Scout for Ducks and Geese

For waterfowl hunters, scouting often means hours of windshield time scanning skies, fields, and marshes. It also means hard work, devising a plan, and a bit of luck. Without scouting, a waterfowl hunter’s chances for success go down the drain. But to say that scouting just boils down to driving...
John Pollmann Sep 30, 2020
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How to Kill Ducks at Midday

Waterfowl

How to Kill Ducks at Midday

The half hour before sunrise is the favorite time of the day for most duck hunters, and for good reason: there’s a flurry of activity as the marsh wakes up and many birds move from their roost to their feed. But that quick action is commonly followed by a long lull, sending many duck hunters packing...
Sean Weaver Oct 27, 2021
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3 Reasons You Suck at Calling Ducks

Waterfowl

3 Reasons You Suck at Calling Ducks

It’s time to be honest with yourself. Your buddy sounds way better on a call, everyone in the blind tells you to “take it easy” when you so much as quack, your sole job in the blind is running the spinner remote, and every time you try a new duck call, it just doesn’t sound like the guy that sold it...
Sean Weaver Dec 15, 2021
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The Best Waterholes That Duck Hunters Ignore

Waterfowl

The Best Waterholes That Duck Hunters Ignore

Whether in a field or on a lake, it’s hard not to love the sight of thousands of birds. But big numbers don’t always mean successful hunts, and oftentimes some of the best hunting can be on small water with low numbers of birds. One of the best examples of small water is the standard cattle pond...
Sean Weaver Sep 15, 2021
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Waterfowl Gear

The Best Waterfowl Shotgun

Waterfowl

The Best Waterfowl Shotgun

Waterfowl hunting is a gear-intensive sport, but there probably isn’t a single piece of equipment more important than a shotgun. Choosing the right firearm for the job requires some planning. Here are a few thoughts on how to make the right choice. 12 vs. 20 When steel shot became the law of the...
John Pollmann Oct 28, 2020
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The 3 Duck Calls Every Hunter Should Own

Waterfowl

The 3 Duck Calls Every Hunter Should Own

Working for a lawn care company as a teen, I learned the hard way that more isn’t necessarily better when it comes to fertilizer. Thankfully the homeowner and my boss were forgiving, but I cringed with embarrassment every time I drove by the lawn that turned a shade of brown I’d never seen. And...
John Pollmann Sep 11, 2020
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4 Waterfowl Shotguns That Have Stood the Test of Time

Waterfowl

4 Waterfowl Shotguns That Have Stood the Test of Time

Our parents and grandparents hunted ducks and geese with walnut-stocked,  fixed-choke shotguns without complaint. Those old guns keep you in touch with waterfowling’s past in a way that a plastic-stocked, camo gun never can. Hunting with older guns is like hunting with hand-carved decoys—it’s a...
Phil Bourjaily Feb 8, 2021
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10 Tools Every Waterfowler Should Own

Waterfowl

10 Tools Every Waterfowler Should Own

Waterfowl hunters are notorious for pushing their gear to the limits in extreme weather—while simultaneously expecting it to never fail. But when you’re 20 miles up a frozen river or chasing feeds down gravel roads, stuff is going to break. While this list of gear would be useful for all sorts of...
Sean Weaver Oct 12, 2021
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4 Easy Ways to Improve Your Old Waterfowl Decoys

Waterfowl

4 Easy Ways to Improve Your Old Waterfowl Decoys

Despite the best of intentions, your gear doesn’t always get the attention and respect it fully deserves. Sure, you cleaned your gun and sharpened your knife at the end of last season, but have you touched your decoys since that final hunt? Despite the number of times it’s happened, I’m always a...
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How to Build an Inexpensive A-Frame Duck Blind

Waterfowl

How to Build an Inexpensive A-Frame Duck Blind

After my first time hunting mallards from an A-frame blind, I knew I wanted one. It was easy to shoot from, there was space for storage, and it was just damn comfortable. And the most important part: The ducks had no idea we were there. A-frames are the choice for duck hunting parties that don’t...
John Pollmann Jul 14, 2020
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Waterfowl Blinds and Camouflage

Ducks

Waterfowl Blinds and Camouflage

Camouflage clothing is essential for waterfowl hunting unless you’ve got a good blind that keeps you entirely hidden. Wear clothes and waders that match the vegetation or ground cover where you hunt. But camouflage can’t work miracles, you also need to use employ some tactics of stealth when trying...
Steven Rinella Aug 15, 2018
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Duck Dogs

3 Drills Every Duck Dog Should Master

Waterfowl

3 Drills Every Duck Dog Should Master

For waterfowl hunters it almost never fails: Your high hopes are dashed on the first hunt of the year when your retriever shows you his or her actual skillset. A seemingly rock-solid backyard gun dog can let you down as soon as the first woodies circle and the shotguns come up. This can be partly...
Tony J. Peterson Jul 24, 2020
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Underrated Bird Dog Breeds You Should Consider

Waterfowl

Underrated Bird Dog Breeds You Should Consider

Check out the American Kennel Club’s rankings for the most popular dog breeds from year to year and you’ll see what you probably already knew: Labrador retrievers dominate. Going on nearly three decades now, the Lab has proven to be the most registered AKC breed out there. Golden retrievers and...
Tony J. Peterson May 15, 2020
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How to Introduce Your Puppy to Gunfire

Waterfowl

How to Introduce Your Puppy to Gunfire

The good thing about gun dogs is that they will forgive you for most of your training mistakes. You can flub your way through handling duties and eventually use a few  mulligans to do things the right way—except when it comes to gunfire introduction. If you screw up this step, the odds are not in...
Tony J. Peterson Jul 20, 2019
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The Real Difference Between American and British Labs

Ducks

The Real Difference Between American and British Labs

The hunting dog world is full of stereotypes and generalizations—none more entrenched in the bird hunters’ zeitgeist than the perceived differences between British and American Labrador retrievers. It’s commonly believed that British (or English) Labs are smaller, stockier, quieter, more easily...
Tony J. Peterson Oct 18, 2019
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Should I Adopt My Next Hunting Dog?

Waterfowl

Should I Adopt My Next Hunting Dog?

For all the promise and anticipation wrapped up in a new puppy, there exists a certain charm in restoring the shine on a second-hand bird dog. Tailgate legend has a long chapter devoted entirely to these pups. Their stories feature washed-out trial dogs that just needed more time to blossom or the...
Dr. Seth Bynum Aug 10, 2021
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Is a Raw Diet the Right Choice for Your Dog?

Waterfowl

Is a Raw Diet the Right Choice for Your Dog?

Few things will turn south an otherwise civil conversation about dogs faster than the topic of what to feed them. As a practicing veterinarian and bird hunter who spends a great deal of time engaged in tailgate banter, I’ve both received and dished out my share of subtle eyerolls and outright looks...
Dr. Seth Bynum Jun 10, 2021
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Species & Habitats

The Truth About Duck Vision

Waterfowl

The Truth About Duck Vision

If you spend a single day out hunting waterfowl, you’ll quickly learn that their eyesight is almost second to none. They can pick out even the most hidden blinds, they’ll flare off the simplest of movements, and they have an uncanny ability to see and land with a lone real duck instead of your...
Sean Weaver Oct 19, 2021
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The Truth About the Molt Migration

Waterfowl

The Truth About the Molt Migration

Every summer, waterfowl across North America have to figure out where they’ll go to molt. The where, why, and who have been misunderstood by hunters for years, but knowing how the molt migration works is valuable and important. What is the Molt Migration? Every year, geese (and all waterfowl) lose...
Sean Weaver Sep 1, 2021
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Are Flooded Cornfields Altering Duck Migrations?

Waterfowl

Are Flooded Cornfields Altering Duck Migrations?

The worst season ever? If you skim through various waterfowl hunting forums and social media pages, you’d certainly think last duck season was a bust. Many hunters across the country spent more time griping about the lack of ducks than they did shooting ducks. In some circles, intentionally flooded...
David Hart Jun 4, 2019
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A Species Profile on Mallards

Ducks

A Species Profile on Mallards

Duck hunting in North America usually means that mallards are the target species.  A big flock of greenheads flying into a decoy spread instills excitement into the hearts of even the most seasoned duck hunters. Mallards are the most common North American duck species, and the most commonly hunted...
Steven Rinella Jul 9, 2018
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4 Plants Every Duck Hunter Should Know

Ducks

4 Plants Every Duck Hunter Should Know

Most ducks are opportunistic omnivores, feeding on a wide variety of plants, insects, invertebrates, and fish. From sunflower seeds to gizzard shad, I’ve seen them eat just about anything they can get down their gullet. The plants listed below are the crème de la crème. These cornerstones of duck...
Sean Weaver Jun 15, 2021
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Wood Duck Profile

Ducks

Wood Duck Profile

Regarded by most hunters as the most beautiful species of North American waterfowl, wood duck males, or drakes, are colorful enough to be mistaken for some exotic jungle species. The places that wood ducks call home are equally pretty. They prefer small, heavily wooded bodies of water such as beaver...
Steven Rinella Jul 15, 2018
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The Language of Ducks by Sam Terrell

Ducks

The Language of Ducks by Sam Terrell

Words by Sam Terrell The first difficult word I ever learned was gregarious. It’s an adjective with two definitions. The first is in reference to people being fond of company, and the second is in relation to animals living in flocks or loosely organized communities. As a duck hunter coming from a...
MeatEater Staff Aug 3, 2018
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Duck Camp Dinners

S1-E01: Land Meets Bayou

S1-E01: Land Meets Bayou

Similar to any good Cajun dish, a successful duck camp requires preparation. The last day on dry land is filled with essential stops to get ready for 5 days on the Bayou. Whether making sure we have the right ingredients for our favorite meals, or getting the boats brushed up and ready for action...
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S1-E02: Cajun Grocery Run

S1-E02: Cajun Grocery Run

Tune in as Jean-Paul and the crew share their first day full day at duck camp with a morning in the duck blind and catfish on the jug line. At the end of the day they put their Cajun grocery goods together for an epic duck camp meal.
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S1-E03: Roots Run Deep

S1-E03: Roots Run Deep

After a morning on the Bayou, the Duck Camp Dinners crew enjoy a fresh cooked dinner while discussing the changing coastal wetlands of Louisiana. Jean-Paul gets to finally a hunt an area he had only heard about as a young man, and takes in the beauty of the live cypress trees this camp is known for.
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S1-E04: This Roux's for You

S1-E04: This Roux's for You

After a late night of good times, venison chili, and some old school roux the crew heads out for another day of hunting ducks. Adaptability is critical, and after a couple of quick adjustments the team finds themselves back in the ducks.
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S1-E05: Beaux Beauxs at the Hobo Hilton

S1-E05: Beaux Beauxs at the Hobo Hilton

Whether you call them Pouldeau, American Coot, or Water Chickens, chances are you don’t consider them a delicacy. However, Jean-Paul is out to prove that these abundant birds have a place at the dinner table. Tune in as thew crew makes some incredible gumbo while preparing for their last hunt at...
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S1-E06: Bayou Meets Land

S1-E06: Bayou Meets Land

It's the final day at Duck Camp for Jean-Paul and the guys. They finish up their trip with a morning of hunting followed by an afternoon filled with crawfish and catfish. The trip ends on dry land and the crew reflects on what makes the duck camp so special.
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Waterfowl Recipes

Steve’s Special Roasted Duck

Recipes

Steve’s Special Roasted Duck

In the world of ducks, there are divers and puddlers. Divers often eat more animal matter, such as fish and aquatic invertebrates, and can have an oily and off-putting taste; puddlers tend to have a more vegetarian diet and therefore a more pleasing flavor. Because of its simplicity-there’s nothing...
Steven Rinella Feb 7, 2018
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Steakhouse Goose

Recipes

Steakhouse Goose

If I had a signature dish, this steakhouse goose recipe would probably be it. This is the same method I mentioned on a MeatEater Podcast episode, and a recipe I get a lot of requests to share. The 2018 conservation hunts left me with a freezer full of snow geese, so I cook this dish regularly. When...
Danielle Prewett Dec 5, 2019
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Whole Smoked Duck

Recipes

Whole Smoked Duck

Smoking whole might be the most versatile thing you can do with a duck. It can be served warm straight off the smoker, cooled for a charcuterie board, or incorporated into some other dish like duck ravioli. This also uses the entire animal, which the MeatEater crew always tries to do. Even after you...
Rick Matney Jan 30, 2020
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Seared Duck Breast with Apple Sage Chutney

Recipes

Seared Duck Breast with Apple Sage Chutney

A lot of hunters are intimidated by cooking wild duck. If you are, you should not be. Steven Rinella shares the perfect way to prepare wild duck. There are many different duck recipes out there, this one is simple and is a sure way to make you enjoy cooking and eating wild ducks. Brought to you by...
MeatEater Staff Dec 19, 2017
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Duck Rueben Sandwich

Recipes

Duck Rueben Sandwich

I like to follow the mantra "set it and forget it" with this recipe. We're all busy, right? And the two most important steps to making these delicious sandwiches involve waiting. Pop the duck breasts in the brine, tuck them in the back of the fridge, and remove the meat in a few days, then toss them...
Lukas Leaf Dec 16, 2021
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Duck à l'Orange

Recipes

Duck à l'Orange

This recipe comes from Episode 2 of Duck Camp Dinners featuring professional chef and hunter Jean-Paul Bourgeois. You can catch every episode of Duck Camp Dinners here. This pot of Franco-Cajun goodness is a duck camp favorite at the Hobo Hilton. It's been said that if it grows together it goes...
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News & Stories

The Legend of the Million-Dollar Duck Band

Waterfowl

The Legend of the Million-Dollar Duck Band

For over a decade, I’ve heard tales of a very special banding project. The rumor holds that there’s $1 million in reward money for the lucky hunter who claims such a band. But the details were always fuzzy. Some versions of this story involve a $250,000 band in each of the four North American...
Sean Weaver Aug 4, 2021
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Sportsmen Rally to Preserve Duck Hunting in Florida

Waterfowl

Sportsmen Rally to Preserve Duck Hunting in Florida

Florida is home to 21.6 million people on 65,758 square miles of land. That’s a little over 400 people per square mile. With about 900 people moving into the Sunshine State every day, conflict over public land use is escalating. Residential development and sprawling retirement communities are...
Maggie Hudlow Sep 20, 2021
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3 Best DIY Waterfowl States for 2020

Waterfowl

3 Best DIY Waterfowl States for 2020

Waterfowl hunters are no strangers to working the road. While Canada offers some of the best waterfowling on the continent, COVID travel restrictions will likely keep hunters from visiting our neighbors to the north this season. Thankfully, there are plenty of great DIY opportunities south of the...
John Pollmann Aug 12, 2020
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MeatEater Welcomes Sean Weaver to the Crew

Waterfowl

MeatEater Welcomes Sean Weaver to the Crew

I grew up smack dab in the middle of Iowa, arguably one of the worst places in the country to be a waterfowl hunter. Most of the marshes were drained or tilled long ago. Living in a place with limited habitat sure makes you capitalize on the opportunities you have. But my father went to college at...
Sean Weaver Jun 21, 2021
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Reelfoot Lake Double Homicide Suspect David Vowell Found Dead

Waterfowl

Reelfoot Lake Double Homicide Suspect David Vowell Found Dead

On Jan. 30, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced they recovered the body of David Vowell in Reelfoot Lake. According to the Tennessee River Valley News, Vowell was discovered by a hunting guide in an area locals refer to as Grassy Island. The 70-year-old suspect was accused of killing...
Spencer Neuharth Feb 1, 2021
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New Details Emerge on Reelfoot Lake Double Homicide

Waterfowl

New Details Emerge on Reelfoot Lake Double Homicide

Earlier this week we reported on the death of Zach Grooms, 25, and Chance Black, 26. They were fatally shot by 70-year-old David Vowell while duck hunting on Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee. New details emerged yesterday surrounding the incident. Jeffrey Crabtree, who was in the duck blind with Grooms...
Spencer Neuharth Jan 28, 2021
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Best Hunting Gimmicks Ever: Seasoned Shotgun Shells

Waterfowl

Best Hunting Gimmicks Ever: Seasoned Shotgun Shells

A common angling refrain holds that some lures are better designed to catch fishermen than fish. Hunters are no less guilty. In this series, I’m going to highlight the greatest hunting gimmicks of all time. Some might make you feel nostalgic. Others might make you nauseous. My hope is that all of...
Spencer Neuharth Feb 25, 2021
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