Duck Hunt ?’s



What are the stamps that I’ll need?  Texas Migratory Bird Stamp ($7) and Federal Duck Stamp ($27).  Both are available at Academy, Walmart, etc.

Is the ammo steel shot?  Do you need specific chokes rated for steel or do chokes usually handle steel shot without issue?  Non-lead (toxic) shot is required.  Steel shot is the cheapest and is adequate for ducks.  You can buy chokes that are designed for steel shot or use regular ones.  If you do the latter, know that your choke will behave as a tighter choke (e.g., improved cylinder will behave as a modified).

I wear a size medium shirt (and a 40L suit), would you suggest large waders?  I suggest that you get boot-foot waders (with a built in boot) rather than stockingfoot waders that requires a shoe be worn over the stockingfoot, as your feet will get a lot colder with stockingfoot waders, plus it’s hard to find stockingfoot waders in camo.  Boot-foot waders are sized by shoe size; however, you can get them in regular and stout.  For boot-foot waders either get breathable or neoprene.  Don’t get rubber or canvas.  I wear my breathable ones when it’s not cold.  I wear my neoprene ones when it’s colder.  Wearing neoprene waders when it’s not cold outside will result in you being too warm and sweating a lot, which will make you cold.  So, if you only buy one pair of waders get breathable ones, as you can always put more clothes under them.  Here is a pair that Academy sells – https://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/magellan-outdoors-mens-tredlite-400-breathable-wader#repChildCatid=4783074.  Be aware that they only have 400 grams of Thinsulate in the boots, so you might need to wear two pairs of hunting socks if it’s cold.  Regarding socks, use a silk, nylon, or polyester (synthetic materials) liner sock that wicks away sweat and cover it with a wool or similar sock.

In terms of camo hunting clothes, besides a vest and hat, are you suggesting camo pants and camo shirt and/or camo sweatshirt as well? Do jeans and a normal shirt/sweatshirt not work?  Whatever you are wearing that the ducks can see needs to be camo or the game is over.  Here is what I typically wear – http://fcs-texas.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/121915_Coastal-duck-hunt_1.jpg.  Here are more pictures – http://fcs-texas.org/photo-gallery/hunts-duck/ (some of the guys are wearing jeans or shorts but those pictures were taken after the hunts).  I wear wading pants and/or sweats under my waders.  You can wear jeans, but you’ll need ankle gaiters to keep them from rolling up on you.

I don’t have a camo gun (I have a wood stock, black alloy frame).  Is that an issue, or is a specific camo-patterned shotgun required for duck hunting?  Camo is best.  I hunted with a wood stocked/blued barrel shotgun for years but had some issues with the saltwater (when hunting at the coast) making the bluing fade and become splotchy.  This required the barrel to be re-done (I got a matt finish), but the saltwater still started to corrode it (even with immediate cleaning the gun after each hunt).  Fresh water is not nearly as hard on guns as saltwater is.

Do I need a sling for my shotgun or a waterproof floating gun case? A sling is very helpful for carrying your gun.  You can get the hardware at Blackjack Gunsmith and they’ll install it for you.  You can get the same slings that BlackJack sells at Academy or similar for cheaper.  A sling with a neoprene or nylon outer shell, such as a Claw or a Yukon are designed to keep your gun from slipping off your shoulder.  You won’t need a floating case unless you’re getting on a boat.  The same applies to a floating blind bag.  Neither will keep your gun, ammo, etc. dry if they fall in the water, but they’ll keep them from sinking.

How many ducks do hunters (e.g. beginner like me) usually get (and what is the limit)?  As we often can’t tell who shot which duck we usually take the ducks harvested and divide them by the number of hunters.  The exception is when only one hunter shoots at and kills a duck, as it is inarguable who bagged that duck.  Often, if six hunters kill 24 ducks everyone will bring home four.  The limit is six ducks/hunter/day.  Specific species have specific limits.  For example, redheads have a two duck per day limit per hunter.  If hunting with a guide, the guide will keep track of which species have been killed and will let the group know how many of each species can still be shot.

Guided hunts

How much do guided duck hunts cost, typically and how long do they last (what hours/are they overnight trips)?  $125 – $175 for the guides that we have been using the last few seasons, not including tip (usually 15 – 20%).  They’re morning hunts.  We sometimes stay in a motel (double occupancy) the night before (about $50), depending on how far we must drive.

How much ammo does one need to bring?  No more than three boxes for ducks.  If you can’t kill six ducks with 75 shells you need to spend more time at a sporting clays or 5-stand range.

Is there someone in FCS you could point me to as a good hunting buddy, given that I’m a beginner?  Or is that not necessary for these hunts?  The hunt leader or I will team you up with someone.  For example, if you hunt with Rayce Jenkins you’ll either be hunting from a pit blind (a hole dug in the ground with a metal box put in it) or a panel blind.  You’ll be shoulder to shoulder with other hunters.  They’ll show you the ropes.  With Ricky Ethridge we sit on buckets/stools behind a welded wire fence that has been brushed in.  The guides will tell you when to shoot.

Self-guided hunts

What is the duck hunt rotation?  See How the Rotations work and Duck Hunt (Inland) Rotation – Self-guided.

For more information see the Duck Hunt (Inland) Rotation – Self-guided web page.  It has lots of information, including which shells to buys, which chokes to use, etc.

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 September 2022