by Wade Bourne
Hunting from a boat is a great way to utilize North America's public lakes, rivers, marshes, and swamps. A boat outfitted with a blind and the proper equipment will allow hunters to follow ducks that move as water or feeding conditions change. My personal rig is a 16-foot Go-Devil boat and motor with an Avery Quick-Set blind. This is no big-water outfit. I use it mostly in backwaters when the Mississippi and Ohio rivers and their tributaries are flooding. This boat-blind has provided me with many wonderful hunts in the past 15 years.
One key to success in this style of hunting is carrying the right gear. My boat has a spacious dry locker, and I stock it with items that facilitate my hunting efforts in different situations.
Following is a list of what I carry on board my duck boat. Other hunters might add or subtract from this list according to the special needs of where and how they hunt.
The U.S. Coast Guard requires the following items aboard boats 16 feet to less than 26 feet in length:
- a Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each passenger
- a throwable Type IV flotation device
- a sound-producing device such as a whistle or air horn
- a visual signaling device (flares and flare gun)
- a fire extinguisher
The boat must also be properly registered and numbered, and the navigation lights must be operable for running in the dark. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadrons offer free boat inspections, and hunters can set up an appointment for a safety check by logging on to safetyseal.net.