By Bill Buckley

Being a gear-intensive endeavor, waterfowling naturally evokes impassioned discussions about the various tools we use in pursuit of ducks and geese. Like every waterfowler, I can tell you why I love my shotgun and calls, or decoys and camouflage, but most of us have a favorite piece of gear. For me, I can honestly say its a FoodSaver vacuum sealer. I dont shoot what I wont eat, and vacuum sealers keep waterfowl from getting that horrible freezer taste I used to dread.

These are the waterfowling tools that experts from around the country say they couldnt do without.

Jim Ronquest, RNT-V

My biggest game changer? The onX Hunt App. Its phenomenal for scouting and navigating vast tracts of public land. I can speed-scout areas where Ive never been, pinpoint ducky water holes, even share directions from the boat ramp. My other go-to is the tried-and-true jerk cord. I cant tell you how many tough hunts have been saved by a cobbled-together jerk cord. Its way more effective than a spinner for turning wary birds.

Bill Saunders, Bill Saunders Calls

The advancements in calls and decoys have made all the difference for me. Here in southern Washington we primarily hunt small Canada geese and cacklers, which have high-pitched calls. Short-reed goose calls with shorter mouthpieces and inserts have made it possible to mimic these birds versus just sounding like a honker. This is much more effective, and it also strengthens that connection with the birds that every caller seeks. I also like realistic decoys. I use Dave Smith decoys, which, while expensive, are so realistic I can hunt over fewer decoys than before. Im also amazed at some of the less expensive decoys, like those made by Avian-X. Theyre super realistic and affordable for any hunter.

Brian Hauptman, hunter and guide

I hunt 60 to 75 days a season, and here in western Nebraska it can get darned cold. Mobile upright blinds like the A-frame by Avian-X have made hunting much more enjoyable. Not only can I heat them, but old and young hunters alike have a far easier time getting into shooting position in these blinds. I also really like todays premium ammo; not only am I getting cleaner kills, the Boss shotshells Im using allow me to hunt with older and smaller-gauge guns. Even the lighter loads are deadly on close-range honkers.

Field Hudnall, Field Proven Calls

Last season my brother, Clay, and I talked about improvements in loads more than anything else. There are many phenomenal loads out there: tungsten-steel blends and high-density Tungsten Super Shot (TSS). Weve been using Apex TSS with devastating results. Its noticeably better at producing clean kills than steel loads. Also, I know this isnt gear-related, but what has influenced and enriched my hunting experience more than anything recently is learning how to cook waterfowl well. Now Id rather eat ducks than just about anything else.

Kelley Powers, Final Flight Outfitters

Im a call maker, but my most important tools are things that add motion to a spread. I wouldnt goose hunt without a flagits as important as a call for attracting distant birds. For duck hunting, Higdons Pulsator decoy is phenomenal. It creates lifelike ripples when theres no wind. Ill use seven or eight for large, permanent spreads, and in small timber holes Ill sometimes hunt with a couple of Pulsators and nothing else. Theyre easy to use, and that makes hunting more enjoyable right there.

Rusty Creasey, Coca-Cola Woods Duck Club

Single-reed duck calls and breathable waders. With a double reed I could call ducks, but I pretty much sounded like one old hen. After I was taught how to blow an Echo Breaker single reed, I became far more effective because I can sound like three or four different ducks. Breathable waders have made hunting so much more enjoyable because I stay drier, warmer, and more comfortable than in the old neoprene-wader days. And if youre not enjoying yourself, whats the point?