Help me get started

Discussion in 'Ohio Waterfowl Hunting' started by BeechNut, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. I know sometimes duck hunters can be more secretive and inclusive than deer bow hunters but everyone here is usually great at helping each other. I recently went waterfowl hunting for the first time and had a freaking blast! I’ve been out twice now and even though neither hunts were very successful I still had a great time. I’m looking for advice on shells, calls, decoys...

    I’ve got some friends that are helping to introduce me to waterfowl hunting so I’ve got some other input but looking for more opinions.

    I’ve got a decent set of waders for the time being so won’t need to upgrade just yet.
    I recently bought the DC triple threat, uncle Si and 6in1 whistle calls. I feel I’m doing good practicing with the whistle and getting decent with the triple threat with greeting and hail calls, can’t do feeder calls yet. I absolutely suck with the Uncle Si call, I don’t feel comfortable at all yet to use it while hunting.
    What’s an easy call that will get me started and confident and be easy to do the feeder call?
    Do I need calls for more duck species this soon? I have a goose call somewhere that I haven’t found yet.

    I just ordered some Hardcore brand mallard decoys that were on sale. What’s a good brand that won’t break the bank but does work? I was told by my friends to get some goose decoys but I haven’t found any under $80 (I’m trying to slowly break my wife in on my new addiction).

    I bought some Winchester steel shells that were on sale just to get me started. Are the high dollar shells worth the extra $6-$15 a box?

    Thanks for your input, looking forward to talking waterfowl with everyone here.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  2. It's so addicting it makes it hard to be patient and acquire gear over time and not melt the wallet. For now just use the call you're most comfortable with. Keep it on you. Practice while driving to work, in the garage etc. As far as shells. I pattern well with your run of the mill Winchester xpert #2. It's all about the patterns, and knowing your range. I've found #2 to be the go to size for all waterfowl in my comfortable range. But that's me, with my firearm. It's either a clean kill, or a clean miss. I'm a budget Hunter, a DIY guy. The dozen decoys I got on sale, I rigged with 80 lb. Mono and 4. Oz. Sinkers I had. I use my canoe anchor for a jerk rig. All In all, take your time dropping the mulah. YouTube and pod casts over time has given enough me alot of insight, as i really don't have friends that are into or want to get into the waterfowl scene. The first year I used up all my wife's craft paint, extra clothes hangers, and card board to make silhouettes, and made a goose call out of an Advil bottle LOL. Good luck, they don't have Narcan for this addiction!

  3. Duck Commander makes good TV , terrible duck calls. But I digress. #2 shot is a good all around shot size. I shoot Kent Fasteel #1's almost exclusively in both 3.5" and 3" in my Beretta A350. I've got all the paraphernalia. Multiple layout blinds, goose field shells, duck floaters, duck full body field decoys, calls, lanyards, waders, head lamps, duck straps, Mojo's, etc etc.

    Best advice I can give is learn the basics of calling and the cadence. People get too caught up in wanting to be a speed demon. The "feed call" is actually not a feed call. Ducks make that sound when they are flying and the air is moving through them at high speed. When they are on the ground feeding they make more of a tick-tick ;tick-tick-tick; tick-tick-tick-tick; tick-tick sound. Master the 5 to 7 note quack of a hen mallard and you will kill.

    For goose hunting master the basic honk and cluck sounds. Every other goose sound will be a variation of these two sounds. Have Fun and be safe!!!

    I'll give you the same advice my friend who got me into waterfowl hunting some 8 years ago,
    Get a drug habit, it's much cheaper! Hahahahaha
    jrose likes this.
  4. For inexpensive calls look at the Zink poly models and the Lynch Mob blue collar series. I am a call addict so I have many and lots of $ invested. On my lanyard right now I've got a Zink COD, Gander Valley PCS, Gander Valley Homewrecker, Lynch Mob Stranglehold. I carry two duck calls and two goose calls. All are acrylic minus the stranglehold , which I think is delrin.

    Waterfowl hunting is a great sport, I enjoy it as much as any deer hunt. I've been to west TN duck hunting and it's like heaven on earth. When that occasion happens and your duck hole fills up with water and it's late season and the birds are flying, it's pure magic.
    wing shooter and Kyle13 like this.
  5. I like Kent fast steel in #2 shot 3.5" for all around waterfowl. I like green head gear decoys if you're trying to keep costs down. Toker were you hunting public land in TN?
  6. Thanks for the input. What’s the best way to learn how to identify ducks? I’ve been watching videos and looking at pictures. Starting to get better but need more time hunting with someone to help teach me.
    I’m running into the issue now that I want to go hunting but have to wait for my mentors to invite me. I hope by the end of the season I can be confident enough to go on my own if I have to next year.
    I’ve found that I spend a lot more time driving by the rivers, ponds and reservoirs when I have no intention of fishing them this time of year just to look for ducks and geese.
  7. In my area of Ohio we mostly see Wood ducks, mallards, black ducks, teal and gadwalls. The woodies are mostly in the early October split, by the second split it's mostly mallards, black ducks and gadwalls. Learn the difference between a hen mallards and a drake (green head) mallard. You will see these the most. Shoot the green heads! Ohio only permits one mallard hen per person. The other ducks have no bag limit by sex other than the mallards. We try to pick out the drakes and kill them. Every once in a while a suzy gets in the way.
    Tritonman likes this.
  8. The second half of the season is getting ready to start. This in my opinion is when the season really starts. Cold weather and migrating ducks and geese go together. Your scouting will change. Water will freeze and birds will change patterns overnight. Field hunting is usually a go to this time of year and open water (Typically moving) will hold most of the birds. You will spend more time scouting than hunting but this is part of the fun!!
    wildohio22, Kyle13 and R. Toker like this.
  9. What are you hunting? Big open water, fields, rivers. Double reeds are easier to blow and softer, I use a single reed on Erie and in windy days. Short reed goose calls are great. Can make a lot of different sounds but takes a lot of practice. Quack head calls I have found are the best cheap calls. Lot of call makers out there that make a quality call, I have a few from C&S customs, zink, echo. They all serve a purpose. Learn how to identify ducks while flying and to read their body language. Decoy set up and camo is probably the most important part of waterfowl hunting.
    R. Toker likes this.
  10. And......don’t forget scouting. With things bout ready to lock up scouting putting miles on your gas guzzler is the best thing you can be doing. Watch for birds and see where they roost and where they are flying too. You won’t need a call if you are where they want to be!!!!!!! If your fortunate to have a nice spring in a swamp or such or open water then you will kill ducks without any effort. Just make sure your bolt doesn’t freeze up. This information comes from the forecasted cold weather.
    wing shooter likes this.
  11. I’ll be hunting mostly marshes and upground reservoirs.
  12. Find a good size Creek that won’t freeze and cruise right down it. No calls or decoys needed. Best way to start, but zink was mentioned above and I agree. I had only had cheap calls, got one and it’s night and day!
  13. I second the Kent fast steel. Kent silver steel I really like but it's a few more bucks. I try to keep shots 35 yards and in usually using a modified or improved modified for ducks. Shot size 1-3. Usually 1 starting now until the end of the season. Ducks just seem fatter and tougher from up north. Geese I use B-F shot. Improved modified to full. This combination has helped bring down the number of cripples for us.

    In my opinion G&H makes the best plastic decoy. Get a spinner for attracting passing ducks, you can make a jerk cord yourself, great for marsh hunting where your dekes may not have a lot of movement. Cover your face! I love duck hunting, and it can be very rewarding if you put in the work, but it is hard work. The worse the weather is, the better the hunting!

    Good luck!
    wing shooter likes this.
  14. I've been duck hunting for over 25 years now and I would say it is my #1 obsession. Here's my 2 cents....calling is over rated for ducks. It can be effective at times to get birds attention at a distance but the following are the most important:
    1. being on the "x" (exactly where birds want to be)
    2. Complete concealment (I feel ducks eyes are just as good as an old gobblers)
    3. The most realistic decoys you can afford (later in the season, less is more).
    4. If you are going to become a serious waterfowl hunter, then you need a well trained retriever. You owe it to the birds to effectively recover them. Respect the birds and the waterfowl gods will smile upon you!
    I agree on #2 shot in 3" 1 1/4oz being your best all around shot size. I recommend shooting an improved cylinder choke as well. Don't get hung up on super tight "long range" chokes bc standard steel shot loses effectiveness in making a clean kill at about 45 yards (sure you may hit the bird but will most likely not be recovered). The idea is to finish birds hanging over your decoys with feet down, not passing shooting at them.
    Good luck and welcome to the most addictive sport in the world!
    wing shooter, jrose and R. Toker like this.
  15. Does anyone have experience with the Redhead brand F.L.D. Decoys? I bought a dozen mallards for $40 from BPS. They look realistic to me and they are rubbery instead of hard plastic. The price was right for me. Couldn’t figure out why they were so much cheaper when they look like good quality.
  16. What does everyone recommend for weights and line rigging? Easier to just buy the pre-made or is it worth saving money and making my own? I was told to get 6oz 54”
  17. Don’t have any BPS decoys so I couldn’t tell you. As for line and anchors we use rig em rights Texas rig. Bought them on sale. No tangles! Period! Very easy to use with gloves on and a dream compared to the last 20 years. To add my brother makes all his own. Very easy to do.
  18. Thanks for the recommendation on Texas rigs. I ordered Rig Em Right. I couldn’t find anywhere cheap to buy the lead weights, until I can find someone who makes them it will be cheaper to just buy the pre-made rigs.
    I picked a bad time of the year to start a new hobby that requires online ordering, everything I’ve ordered online has still not shipped and delivery date is late next week!
  19. Find a local park/preserve that holds a lot of ducks and no listen to them. I learned more about calling watching ducks migrate back north in the spring then I ever have on any video.
    DuckSlayer83 likes this.