by Will Brantley
A duck boat can open up a whole new world of hunting opportunities for waterfowlers. But buying a fully equipped boat can be a significant financial investment, so it’s important to make a good decision on every aspect of your purchase. Evaluate your hunting style and where you hunt. , how far you’ll be running, how many people you will hunt with, the amount of gear you’ll carry, and any other uses you may have for the boat (like fishing) before writing the big check.
V-bottom boats are designed for crossing big water like the Great Lakes and major estuaries. Typically constructed of aluminum or fiberglass, these sturdy craft are preferred by many diving duck gunners, especially for use as tender boats in layout hunting. V-bottoms are heavy and stable with sharp keels to part waves and high gunwales and transoms to keep water from spilling over the sides.
Semi-V or modified-V bottom boats are popular among waterfowl hunters for their versatility. They have a pointed bow and mild keel that will part waves, but they also have a flat bottom for shallow-water utility. Many of these boats are marketed specifically for waterfowl hunting and can easily be outfitted with a boat-blind.
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Flat-bottom johnboats excel in shallow waters, especially when paired with a mud motor. They are also wide and stable, making them ideal platforms for a boat-blind. On the downside, they have a square bow that slaps the tops of waves, providing a rough ride in choppy water.