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Banding Together for Waterfowl

7 Tactics for Hunting Public Ducks

The author shares his secrets for hunting public waterfowling areas
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6. Hunt in Favorable Weather

Waterfowlers who time their hunts to coincide with favorable weather conditions can stack the odds in their favor. Frontal passages, heavy rain, snow, cold snaps, rapid thaws, fog, high winds, and other weather conditions can cause ducks and geese to move and be more eager to work to decoys and calls.

You should always keep an eye on the weather and plan to hunt when new birds are likely to arrive, or when "local" birds are more prone to move around. On classic waterfowling days, the migration is in full swing and new arrivals often work with reckless abandon. Exceptional gunning can also be had when a weather change causes ducks that are already in the area to become more active.

Here's a good example. A friend of mine hunted on a WMA in Missouri a few years back. Nighttime temperatures froze the flooded cornfields where ducks had been feeding, but by midmorning the temperatures rose into the 40s and melted the ice. The ducks responded by feeding later in the morning. My friend observed this pattern and began hunting between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. By then, other hunters were giving up and heading in, but my buddy was ready when the ducks showed up for brunch. He took a full limit of greenheads several days in a row.

Public waterfowling can go from slow to red hot when weather changes move the birds. Hunters who understand this and adapt accordingly can increase their chances for a banner shoot.

7. Remain Flexible

Finally, if the ducks aren't coming your way, try something different. Change locations, calling styles, decoy strategies, and so on. Keep your options open, and remain adaptable and mobile. 

When hunting public areas, it's crucial to prepare for several options so you can quickly switch to a backup plan if you need to. If plan A isn't working, go to plan B, and then to plan C.

When it comes to public waterfowl hunting, dealing with other duck hunters can be just as important as dealing with the ducks. The Golden Rule should always apply. If hunters would be considerate of each other and treat others the way they'd like to be treated, hunting on public areas would be a lot more enjoyable and productive for everybody. That's a fact that's as true as it is simple.

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