Do you know how to duck hunt without a dog?
Undoubtedly, dog and man have had a special relationship.
The dog provides company and security while at the same time supporting hunting ventures.
But what if you don’t have a dog? Will you give up your duck hunting dreams?
You don’t have to because hunting without a dog is possible though it might be cumbersome and time-consuming.
In this article, we will discuss several options on how to duck hunt without a dog. But first, what tools do you need?
Duck Hunting Gear And Equipment
- A good pair of duck hunting gloves with hand warmers
- Woolen pair of socks (to provide warmth)
- Headgear (face mask with woolen hat) for camouflage
- Matching hip boots
- Decoys with a weight system to keep them down
- A calling device)
- A good shotgun with ammunition
- A waterproof bag to carry your equipment
- Game strap to haul your catch back home
- A pole and headlamp to maneuver strange waters
- And of course, lots of duck calls!
How To Duck Hunt Without A Dog: 4 Options
Shallow Pond Hunting
This is an easy method to duck hunt without a dog.
All you need is to locate a shallow pond that is not more than 4 feet deep and acquire a set of quality waders to enable you to get into the pond and pick your catch.
Chest wanders allow you to go into 4 or fewer feet deep pond and retrieve ducks without getting excessively wet. Ensure that you get a set of waders that properly fit.
However, sometimes it may be difficult to locate a pond that has an equal depth of water in every area.
So, what should you do if your duck falls on a deeper area of the pond?
It is easy! Look for a branch of a tree that can keep you floating in the water to avoid the ice-cold water.
Make slow moves towards the deeper area and retrieve your duck.
Hunt With A Boat
A quality boat allows you to hunt in deep bodies of water with ease.
When you know that you will be hunting in deep waters without a dog, a boat becomes a necessity.
Before buying a particular type of boat, it is important to consider the type of ducks that you plan to hunt and the place you will be duck hunting.
For example, if you plan to duck hunt in shallow waters or near the shorelines, a small Johnboat will help you retrieve the ducks if they happen to fall in deep waters and too far that you cannot reach using your waders.
Similarly, when you choose to hunt in deep water bodies too far from the shorelines, anchor the boat and pull the duck inside.
Compared to using a dog, this is, however, hectic and time-consuming.
The large boat will also take you to the middle of a lake, and you can also use it as a blinder.
Once you are in your favorite spot pull up the anchor and approach the ducks.
Duck Hunt From Fields
Duck hunting from fields is another exciting way of hunting ducks without the aid of your dog.
You observe the ducks from a distance as they approach the decoy that you have carefully set.
In field hunting, it is important to select open fields with thick bushes and tall grasses for a decoy.
In addition, the terrain of the field needs to be relatively flat with minimal hills and valleys to allow you to run with ease to collect your ducks before they run away wounded.
The best field to duck hunt without a dog are rice, wheat, and corn plantations, and any other fields that are situated near water bodies and where ducks like to feed and rest.
Ducks, like any other birds, are always afraid of people for obvious reasons. They tend to fly away once they spot you.
Chameleon tactics save you much time and enable you to hunt unnoticed.
Use a blind layout or locate parts of the field with a natural covering like weed lines to avoid being seen by the ducks.
Duck Decoy Spreads
To increase the probability of attracting ducks while in the field, use decoy spreads.
However, keep in mind they won’t assist you in retrieving the fallen ducks.
You can start by purchasing cheaper decoys and placing them in places where the ducks are many and well distributed and not competing over the feeding area.
They work pretty well especially when the ducks are few. Duck hunt using low-cost decoy until you master the art and then invest in regular size decoys.
You can buy cheaper duck decoys from your local garage sales.
These are second-hand decoys, and they can work well. Remember to inspect the decoys and ensure that they are working well and that they can be repaired in case of damage.
There are various types of duck decoy spreads set up. The best for beginners is the “U” set up. It is very easy to set up.
However, the size of the “U” set up depends on the number of decoys. The higher the number of decoys, the large, thicker, and longer the set up will be.
“U” set up work on a simple principle. Ducks land into the wind and in such situations, they are channeled towards the entry of the
“U”. This principle makes the “U’ set up applicable when duck hunting in both land and water on times when the direction of the wind is consistent.
It also works well for single or many duck hunters.
You can use decoys in shallow areas, and this will work well if you do not have a dog.
Consider Hunting Different Areas
Different duck species have different habitats with varying requirements.
Some ducks such as the puddle prefer shallow water feeding and, therefore, you will find them flock to shallow rivers, marshes, swamps, lake shorelines, river backwaters, and temporary wetlands.
If you can not bring a dog with you to retrieve ducks, consider going after different duck breeds that tend to stay in slightly more accessible areas.
The Time For Duck Hunting
Early mornings and evenings provide ideal hunting time as they move from roosting areas or feeding.
A half-hour before sunrise extending to two hours after sunrise and the final hour before sunset would be excellent.
Weather is equally important. Ducks are active in cold and windy weather conditions.
The Bottom Line
Duck hunting without a dog is possible. You should not miss out on the joy of hunting because you do not have a furry companion.
Hopefully, you have enjoyed this guide on how to duck hunt without a dog.
Try the above duck hunting methods and determine the one that works best for you.
Huge fan of hiking with my dog, camping in the great outdoors, biking, and writing about all of it. Staff Writer at ATO.