Scouting from home
Rob Treble is an avid waterfowl hunter who ventures out 30 times a year. Over nearly four decades he’s learnt that a little scouting from home can put you where the ducks are.
Weather plays a critical role in my success as a hunter. There are days when waterfowl will be disturbed and move for a variety of reasons; a savvy hunter can take advantage of that movement.
I am largely reliant on the weather, namely strong winds and overcast conditions. Because the weather conditions play an important part in my hunting, during the season I utilise a number of apps and forecasts from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) daily to decide where to plan to hunt.
If the weather is ideal for a particular hunting location, I will change my plan, even on the morning of the hunt.
From experience, I know the weather is a key driver of waterfowl behaviour at specific locations. With the right conditions, a given spot will produce a number of hunting options and you can go with the confidence you will successfully bag some birds.
When there is no wind and clear skies I resign myself to mowing the lawns and doing the domestic chores. So, what is ideal duck weather? Based on experience, it is when the wind is blowing 20 to 30 km per hour by 9 am and I can set up with it at my back.
These weather conditions are generally enough to disturb waterfowl, they move and seek shelter from the conditions. Over time you can gather intelligence from favourite wetlands so you know where the birds will be (or where they will want to move to) whichever direction the wind blows.
The trick is to be set up the night before or early that morning as the wind will build as the sun rises — essentially, you want to get there before the ducks do.
The hunting is usual steady until midmorning and with the aid of some decoys, it can be spectacular with ducks decoying confidently and well within effective range.
You do need to exercise some caution when hunting on windy days. Rough weather, particularly on large bodies of water, can be very dangerous. If you are boating make sure you have all the appropriate vessel and safety gear; a duck punt is not going to cut it on somewhere like Lake Wellington in Gippsland. Always make sure someone knows where you are and what time you will be back.
Enjoy the breeze, a wind day makes for great hunting experiences.
Until next time, hunt often, hunt safely.