My must have items for Duck hunters
Of the many items a duck hunter will have in his boat/ blind I have a few that I consider must have items.
A good decoy spread is a essential part of duck hunting. Typically I prefer 2 to 3 dozen decoys. The combination of species changes every hunt depending on my location. Any motion decoy will increase the realism of your spread however a moving wing decoy can flare birds on rare occasion.
A life jacket is a must for any duck hunter. One thing working Search and Rescue has taught me is to view my life jacket as a survival vest as well. I keep a high intensity LED Flashlight , a pea-less whistle, survival knife, and flare kit in the pockets of my lifejacket. In the event I need assistance I have every tool I need on my body at all times while operating my boat or wading away from it. Also not pictured I keep a Uniden Atlantis waterproof 16 channel VHF radio clipped to my waders or life vest at all times
Walkers Game Ears are one of my favorite items. They amplify surrounding noises and have a Sound Activated Compression (SAC) circuit that protects hearing from both loud or sustained sounds. The only downside the game ears have is it amplifies my duck calls, which distorts them so I have to turn down the ears to call. The benefits of the game ears outweigh the call distortion because I can hear the whistling of ducks much better and can hear woodies from a mile a way
Last but not least is a tool/parts bag. My bag contains everything from a grease gun with grease canisters for my boat trailer, to spare batteries for electronics. If I have learned one thing from a lifetime of being on the water is that if something can break, it will break at the worst time and its good to have the parts and tools to fix it. My main spare part is an extra prop for my motor.
Thank you for reading and come back for future posts.
A often overlooked aspect of duck hunting is the hazards involved and safety items that are must have for any serious duck hunter who operates boats in periods of darkness. During any break in the season spend some time to inventory and inspect the safety equipment on your vessel.
#1 WEARING YOUR LIFE JACKET WHEN OPERATING THE BOAT!
When operating your boat you should always where a life jacket of some type, one misplaced stump or awkward wave and you could end up in the drink wearing waders which is a situation most duck hunters don’t even want to think about.
#2 HAVE A FLOAT PLAN WITH A FAMILY MEMBER OR FRIEND!
Have a detailed plan of the area you will be hunting and what time to expect you back. In case you don’t return in a reasonable time that individual can contact the Coast Guard or local emergency services to initiate a search or at least tell friends where to look for you.
#3 HAVE A EMERGENCY KIT ON YOUR BOAT!
Have a kit with food rations, flares, space blankets, first aid, hand warmers …etc. It might not be you that needs them, coming across a hunter in trouble/distress isn’t a everyday event but we are all out there together and you never know when someone might need your help.
#4 KNOW YOUR BOATS LIMITS, AND DON’T PUSH THEM.
Manufacturer information located on plates on the stern of most boats aren’t there for decoration. Manufacturers thoroughly test your boats safe operating limits and just because you have done it once with nothing bad happened doesn’t mean the next time in different conditions will be as fortunate. When hunting stretches of open water on calm days keep in mind winter weather can change very quickly and turn a river or bay from glass to a nightmare very quickly. And besides, most waterfowl hunters see bad weather days as a good day to be hunting migrating birds, increasing the chance for something to go wrong.
In conclusion it is always better to be prepared and have the right safety equipment than need it and not have it ready or in good condition. Using a life jacket properly will save your life when needed. Be safe and have fun.