Waterfowling 101: Things to Pack When Going Duck Hunting
When you’re headed out to the water in search of fowl, there are a lot of things you could fill your bag with. With limited storage space, however, you’ll want to make sure that you are using it wisely, packing items that will provide the most utility. Here are a few things to think about:
Ammunition: When on the water, you may encounter many different shooting situations that can be affected by the size of the birds, the range that you are shooting at, and the way the birds are decoying at any given time. It can be helpful to pack a variety of shells so that you can perform the best in all situations. Also, many states have certain ammunition requirements (no lead, nontoxic, etc.), so make sure that whatever you’re bringing along complies with state regulations. In our neck of the woods, you’re not allowed to take waterfowl while possessing shot other than approved nontoxic shot.
Clothing: Let one thing be known: Duck hunting is cold! As the season takes place during the winter months, cold temperatures should be expected. We have been on duck as cold as twenty-below-zero, and when you’re on the water, the air will be carrying a lot of moisture, which, with a breeze behind it, can cut through layers of clothing. Long underwear is always a great option to help you stay warm. In addition, brands like Sitka Gear make lines of coats, vests, bibs, and waders that are specially designed for hunting waterfowl, which are both lightweight and will keep you extremely warm. Socks and gloves are also important. Packing a few different pairs of gloves, ranging from heavier pairs to lighter ones, is a good idea. And, a nice pair of thick wool socks will go a long way towards keeping your feet warm.
Equipment: Before we get into gear and equipment, remember: it’s always a good idea to bring a knife along. You will always need a knife at some point. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, the first item we’d recommend is a good case and cloth for your shotgun. Out on the water, there’s a lot of moisture in the air, which will condense on the metal components of your firearm. Storing it properly can help prevent any damage. Before you even put it away, though, it’s a smart idea to wipe it down with a rag or cloth. This will help get any moisture off of the barrel, out of the action, or anywhere else it may end up on your gun. Other items that may be quite nice to have on hand would include hand and foot warmers, a compass, binoculars, earplugs, and protective eyewear.
So, fellow waterfowlers, on that note… stay safe, and happy hunting!
If you’d like to see the list of items we tell folks to bring on Fish & Fowl hunting charters, you’ll find it on our Hunting Charters page.