10. Your own shotgun. This could have been #1 on the list, but I wanted to get it out of the way immediately. Do not borrow a gun as a routine. You need to know your gun, how it shoots, and very importantly, where the safety is and how to know (by feel and by sight) whether the safety is on or off.
You need to understand how your gun fits you (even if it fits poorly, take that into consideration when you are preparing to shoulder it and take a wing shot, and after the season’s over, take it to the gunsmith to be fitted to you – small money well spent). Another tip you should know – not all guns shoot all types of ammo the same way. You’ll want to find out which loads (what we call duck ammunition) work with which choke in which gun. It takes time…and it can’t start without you buying your own gun.
9. Gun oil. And not WD-40. If you don’t own gun oil, you don’t take your gun, or your hunting, seriously. Buy some. Even the expensive oil costs just $19.00. Clean that damn gun. Especially if it’s a cheap gun. WD-40 is not gun oil. Real gun oil either says “Gun Oil” or contains the word “gun/firearm” PLUS the acronym “CLP” (clean, lubricate, protect).
8. A good folding knife. This does not mean a $300 knife. Your knife will need to serve many purposes – dressing birds, working as a screwdriver, use for gun repair, cutting brush, and cutting decoy line. Some will get dull, others will break, others will chip. I don’t have 3000 hours to spend researching the perfect blend of steel alloys for a hunting knife, and you probably don’t either. Spend $35-60 on a decent knife.
7. A serviceable duck or goose call. A $20 duck and/or goose call will get you farther than you think, although like all bird calls, they can cause a lot of problems too. You will be humbled on the day that your well-practiced call sequence causes decoying birds to literally stop and fly in the opposite direction….away from you. You’re not going to call in a flock of 60 birds with a $20 Primos call, but on a foggy morning, you absolutely might earn a return visit from a single, lost bird who just flew past your spread and only needs to get five yards closer to be within range.
6. Camo, brown or black PFD. If you hunt in a boat in more than three feet of water, you need to leave your PFD on at all times. And if you buy a colorful PFD, you are going to convince yourself not to wear it because ducks will see it.
5. 6-10 decoys. Know your area. Know what ducks or geese are really there. And – for now – buy only as many decoys as you can reasonably, quietly carry to your hunting spot.
4. Smart phone / emergency radio / 2-way radio. Choice is up to you on this one, but having been out on the water in a sudden white-out in late January, it’s more than just “helpful” to have access to weather and marine forecasts or to be able to broadcast your location to “someone” on the other end of the airwaves. How wrong you can afford to be (and how much you should spend) depends on whether you’re hunting on a farm pond 1000′ from a hard road, or on an island 4 miles from fast land. Cost: Up to you.
3. Flashlight / headlamp. Hunters have a wide range of opinions on what’s best for the job, and the range is almost comical. Some hunters prefer $5 clip-on LED lamps that fit on a ball cap brim (a great place to start), while others want a 65 million candlepower hand-held light to make sure the boat doesn’t hit a stump at 15mph.
2. Bird and wing identification book or pamphlet. Can’t overemphasize this one. If you haven’t been around ducks on the wing, the learning curve can be difficult, and a hunter using strong ethics will avoid taking shots on birds that he or she has not identified prior to shooting. This is especially tough outside of the best hunting areas, because the majority of shots will be in low light conditions. Hold your fire, let them land, and figure out what they are. Hopefully the first flock will help decoy in a few more.
1. Waterproof waders or boots. It would take a phenomenal idiot to attempt waterfowl hunting, even in a winter corn field, without waterproof boots. Yet, it happens every year. No matter what boots or waders I wear to a hunt, I usually end up pushing them to their maximum depth or other tolerance either due to standing in water to repair boats, setting and retrieving decoys, and retrieving downed birds when the dogs refuse to do it. A lot of times, cheap is good. But being cold, or possibly losing a toe to frostbite, doesn’t pay well either.
I hope you, the new hunter, has found this list to be helpful. Get out there and try it!
Article by : Kirk River Mud