Waterfowl hunting has been around for longer than most people realize, dating back to the 1800s. The birds were hunted for food, feathers and down.
There are over 170 species of waterfowl but the most common to us are geese, cranes and ducks. They can be hunted in places they like to feed like crop fields and of course, near bodies of water such as ponds, lakes, rivers and even along ocean coastlines.
Waterfowl hunting has a few different techniques to which hunters use. We usually wear camouflage clothing to blend in with our surroundings as well as set ourselves up in a blind. A hunting blind is a cover device to reduce the chance for the waterfowl to detect them. Blinds can be simple. Sometimes we like hiding behind a piece of canvas and other times we use the local vegetation. Sometimes blinds can also be advanced like an elevated building or a structure in a tree, similar to a fort in your backyard.
Hunters can hunt from their blinds, they can stand in the water or sit in a boat. Shotguns are primarily used because the spray of the buckshot gives them a greater chance to hit their target. They also employ decoys to lure the birds within range and the blind hides the hunter. Decoys are replicas of real waterfowl that float in the water close to where you want to hunt them.
When the bird nears the blind, the hunter emerges and quickly shoots it. If a hunter is in their blind and sees some waterfowl, they can use a duck or goose call to attract the birds, Some bird calls can simulated to convince them that there is no danger. Hunters can also use man’s best friend to aid them in the hunt, dogs! The dog can retrieve downed birds and frees the hunter from completely leaving the blind. Golden or Labrador retrievers are most commonly used on waterfowl hunts — they are great swimmers and can easily retrieve the bird in cold water. Quickly capturing wounded birds and using their keen sense of smell greatly ensures a successful hunt.
Waterfowl hunting is exhilarating when you combine the thrill of the hunt with the majestic beauty of mother nature. You’re outside and all is quiet, all is serene. You surveil your environment – what you see, what you hear – the sun reflecting off the water and the wind brushing through the trees. Waterfowl hunting is truly a magnificent adventure and hopefully, everyone gets a chance to take it!