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Strategies for Duck Hunting on Public Land

Public hunting areas can provide top quality shooting

3.  Go the First Morning After a Rest Period 

 Many public areas are hunted over weekends, then they are rested a couple of days to limit hunting pressure. Then, when an area reopens after a rest, birds are usually more plentiful and more willing to work. Harvest figures show the day following rest days provide better shooting on public areas.

4.  Go During Weekdays

This is self-explanatory. Hunter pressure is almost always lighter during the week than on weekends, and the birds work better. Go after a heavy rain. Heavy rains and subsequent rising water flood new areas that attract swarms of new ducks. Find such a hotspot, and shooting can be phenomenal.

5.  Go After a Frontal Passage

Cold fronts bring fresh ducks that aren’t decoy and call-shy. Watch the weather forecast, and plan a public land hunt on the morning during or after a front passes, regardless of how slight it might be. If the wind is from the north, chances are new birds might show up.

6.  Go Later in the Season

The early season typically draws big crowds on public areas, but the hubbub dies down a few weeks into the season, and hunter pressure usually subsides. 

7.  Hunt “Different”

Change hunting tactics to be different from what other hunters are using. Reduce your decoy spread to a small number. “Hide” your decoys around the edge of a hole instead of placing them in the middle. Use a jerk string and minimal calling. Experiment with different tricks to see what will fool pressure-educated ducks.

8.  Stay Mobile

Use boats, 4-wheelers, foot power or other available and legal means to move toward ducks and away from other hunters. Learn how to access hard-to-reach areas. Devise a decoy strategy to match your mobility. Scout continuously, and be quick to move if ducks are working someplace else. 


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