Duck Hunting Questions


What are the stamps that I’ll need?  A Texas Migratory Bird Endorsement (aka Stamp) ($7 if you buy it separately; it’s included in the Super Combo hunting license) and a Federal Duck Stamp ($27).  Both are available at Academy, Walmart, and other merchants where licenses are sold.

Is the ammo steel shot?  Do you need specific chokes rated for steel or do chokes usually handle steel shot without issue?  Non-lead shot is required.  Steel shot is the cheapest of the options 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 and 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 khaki (if sitting in reeds) 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 under my waders.  Sweats are the next best.  You can wear jeans, but you’ll need ankle gaiters to keep them from rolling up your legs.

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.  Black synthetic with a matte finish is the next best.  I hunted with a wood stock/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 matte 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)?  How many ducks beginners get will depend on their skill level and how many ducks come within shotgun range.  For self-guided hunts, that’s often not very many.  The exception is when only one hunter shoots at and kills a duck, as it is inarguable who bagged that duck.  For guided hunts from a blind, as we often can’t tell who shot which duck, the guide takes the ducks killed and divides them by the number of hunters.  For example, 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.  For self-guided hunts the group must keep track of how many of each species has been killed and how many can still be shot.

How much do guided duck hunts cost, typically and how long do they last (what hours/are they overnight trips)?  $225 – $250 for the guides that we have been using the last few seasons, not including tip (usually 20%).  They’re morning hunts – we’re generally done by 10:00 AM.  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 put you by experienced hunters.  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 an above-ground panel blind.  You’ll be shoulder to shoulder with other hunters, most of whom will be experienced and will happily show you the ropes.  The guides will tell you when to shoot.  If you go with me on one of my self-guided hunts I’ll happily show you the ropes.

For more information see the Self-guided Inland Duck/Teal Hunts web page.  It has lots of information, including which shells to buys, which chokes to use, etc.  If you have any questions, contact Randy Rowley, FCS president, at randywrowley@gmail.com (his preference) or 512-922-2484.

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Today’s Devotionals and Blogs

Kent Crockett’s blog – www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Mark Dillow’s blog – http://noclearline.blogspot.com/

Bible Verse of the Day

A little that a righteous man has Is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, But the LORD upholds the righteous.