Late sea­son tac­tics

The last half of the duck sea­son can be a chal­lenge and Mark Lit­tle writes that as ducks change their be­hav­iour, hunters need to adapt their tac­tics.

Field and Game - - LATE SEASON TACTICS -

Im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing duck open­ing and es­pe­cially post-easter, ducks be­come very wary. They have been shot at from ev­ery type of hide, over ev­ery de­coy spread in­vented and have heard ev­ery duck call imag­in­able.

To be able to at­tract ducks into shooting range at these times, try the fol­low­ing tac­tics, and be pa­tient.

Ex­cept on large open wa­ter­ways like Cul­lens and Tuchewop, leave most of your de­coys at home. When ducks are timid, in­stead of a mas­sive de­coy spread, I typ­i­cally use only a Jerk Rig with four Mag­num Black Ducks at­tached (for mo­tion), three Fool-em Wood duck de­coys (for con­fi­dence), and a pair of Fool-em Moun­tain duck De­coys (as at­trac­tors).

If I add a spin­ning wing de­coy, I only use the Ozhunter Black Duck Spin­ner with a re­mote con­trol. As soon as I see that the ducks have no­ticed my de­coys, I im­me­di­ately turn off the spin­ner via the re­mote con­trol. There have been huge num­bers of spin­ners sold (be­cause they work!) but ducks can be­come sus­pi­cious later in the sea­son with the con­tin­ual flap­ping.

Later in the sea­son, I find that call­ing to gain the duck’s at­ten­tion then ceas­ing to blow the duck call im­me­di­ately, works best to at­tract signs of in­ter­est. While I have wit­nessed hunters like Ja­cob Wade, Rick Bil­ney and Keith Far­ru­gia ‘talk’ ducks right into the de­coy spread, I be­lieve that the av­er­age hunter/caller is much more likely to have suc­cess by be­ing more con­ser­va­tive with their call­ing, es­pe­cially when birds are timid.

That magnificent camo hide that worked so well on Open­ing Day can be a li­a­bil­ity when birds be­come ‘blind shy’.

It is far bet­ter to utilise a lay­out blind on open wa­ters or use nat­u­ral cover at other times. Typ­i­cally, I will seek a large patch of cum­bungi, a shady tree or fallen tim­ber to hide my­self at these times — the large de­coy tub is left at home and all my gear is in a shoul­der bag.

My only con­tri­bu­tion to com­fort is an Avery Marsh Seat (av­ery­out­, to rest tired old bones — they are an awe­some in­ven­tion.

I hope these tips help you bag a few more ducks as the hunt­ing gets tougher. Re­mem­ber that wild, windy and rainy days will make the ducks a bit less cau­tious and al­ways avoid hav­ing the wind blow­ing di­rectly to­wards you.

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