Duck Hunting on a Budget

By Harrison Hoegh

Getting started duck hunting can seem like an major task. Duck hunting has a huge marketing campaign behind it to paint your face and load up on expensive gear. I haven’t invested a great deal of money in duck hunting, and I still enjoy calling in and shooting ducks each season. If you want to give duck hunting a go, but don’t know what to buy, and what to let sit on the shelf, here is a list of what I have found to be worthwhile.

What you’ll need

Waders 90 bucks: Herter’s® Men’s 3mm Hunting Waders If you have plans of standing in flooded timber in the northern part of the country buying nice waders might be worth your money. But for most of us who only need them for picking up decoys or are hunting in warmer climates a ninety dollar pair of chest waders is fine.

Call 25 bucks: Primos Wench  I used a 30 dollar call for the first few years I duck hunted. I was still able to pull ducks away from the high dollar ten mojo spreads. I will say that if you have the money a nice call makes sounding like a duck a lot easier. But it’s not a necessity if you keep your calling limited and have motion in your decoys you can expect ducks.

12 Decoys 40 buck: RedHead Big Spread mallard decoys buying expensive goose decoys may be worth your money, but duck decoys quality does not improve much as the price increases. Plus stirring up the water with a jerk cord is more important for realism than buying one hundred and sixty dollar decoys. If you are hunting smaller water or you are near hunters who use big spreads with ten mojo decoys, a spread of twelve decoys may be what ducks feel more comfortable approaching.

What you Don’t Need From the Hunting Store

Mojo decoys: The effectiveness of the mojo decoy is debated each year. Some hunters swear by them and others say they only work in the early season. What I do know is that you can call in ducks without them. People were hunting ducks effectively long before the remote-controlled decoy came along.

Anchors: Grabbing some fishing sinkers and string from walmart can serve just as well anchors

Duck dog: If you have a friend who is gung-ho to go duck hunting he will not mind wading out to pick up a duck. Try to hunt shallow water, but most days you can use a pole or stick to reach out to ducks that have fallen too far out.

Duck camo: Duck camo is one of the most expensive parts of duck hunting. Most locations I duck hunt don’t have a uniform bank. This enables me to find cover and a backdrop that I will blend in with rather than hunting reeds each time.

Anything that looks like you could make it: If you see gear in the duck hunting section and think you could make it, you’re probably right. Also if it looks like something that is sold at a hardware store and painted camouflage and had a sticker placed on it, it’s a good idea to check the local hardware store before buying it. You can always paint your gear camouflage later.

Next week I will dig into more complex hunting approaches for ducks for now I am still focusing on deer hunting as I get ready for duck, goose, and coyote prime time. Thanks for reading, and good luck this week. If you have any thoughts such as things you have made for duck hunting comment below.

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