1. In very cold weather, don’t haphazardly throw out your decoys. They will get splashed with water that will freeze. When the sun comes out, the ice on the decoys will shine, spooking circling ducks. Therefore, carefully place your decoys on the water when it’s bitter cold.
2. If you’ve forgotten your choke tube wrench, a quarter makes an effective emergency 12-gauge wrench. And a dime can loosen or tighten a 20-gauge choke tube.
3. By occasionally feeding your retriever small snacks – especially during cold, wet and heavy work periods – your dog will stay warmer and happier, and consequently, will perform better during the hunt.
4. Don’t place your decoys immediately upwind of your blind. Instead, place them slightly off to one side, so the movements of dogs and hunters won’t be as noticeable when ducks are circling the decoys.
5. Late in the season when ducks get gun and blind shy, don’t overlook scouting small, isolated bodies of water such as farm ponds and irrigation ditches. Ducks will often spend the day on these honey holes and return to a marsh to roost after sunset.
6. When hunting a narrow body of water 50 or 60 yards wide, put your decoys on the far side of the slough. Ducks will naturally land on the outside edge of the decoys, closer to your blind.
7. It’s a good idea to keep your hunting license, wallet and small digital camera in a sealable plastic bag inside your waders. Should you swamp, at least these items won’t get wet or lost.
8. When hunting in cold weather, don’t forget to wear your neoprene waders – even if you’re not going to be standing in water. Neoprene will keep you toasty warm during the nastiest conditions.
9. Keep your feeder decoys pointed into the wind and your sentinel decoys facing out on the edge of your spread when hunting geese on fields.
10. It’s good to know how to call, decoy and shoot ducks. But the best way to be successful is to go often and stay out as long as possible.