Part 1 – Getting Started with Duck Hunting
By Bernie Barringer
Jump shooting ducks is an exciting way to bags ducks without the expense of a lot of duck hunting equipment. My first experience with duck hunting was pretty much an accident. My buddy Bob and I were just out of high school and running a trapline on a local river. Using a small aluminum boat and a 5-horsepower outboard, we drove up and down the small, winding river as we checked traps.
Several times we came around a bend and a flock of mallards or wood ducks would blast off the water in front of us. This happened two days in a row before we decided to do something about it.
Our mothers didn’t raise any idiots, and we knew we were onto something good. Bob and I went out and bought our state and federal waterfowl permits and stamps, and split the cost of a box of shotgun shells. The following day on the river was something we will remember for a long time.
We were smart enough to check the regulations and discover that we could not shoot ducks when we were under power, so we had to shut off the motor before shooting. Plus for the sake of safety, we decided that only the guy in the front of the boat would do the shooting and we would take turns.
A cold front had moved into the area and we unloaded the boat onto skim ice along the shorelines of the river that morning. The cold weather had moved ducks onto the river like crazy. We had so much fun shooting ducks and before we were done checking traps, we already had our limits of mallards, teal and woodies in the bottom of the boat along with some mink, raccoon and muskrats.
We didn’t know it at the time, but we had found an ideal situation. The ponds and marshes of the area had frozen during the night, and the flowing water of the river was the only open water around. The ducks were piling into it. We learned to look for that situation in the future, and you should too. It’s a situation that creates one of the best shooting opportunities you will find. And you do not have to own a boat and motor to capitalize on great jump shooting opportunities. In fact, you do not have to own anything but a shotgun and a pair of hip boots!
Jump shooting worked so well for Bob and me despite the fact that we didn’t have a duck blind, a duck boat, a bag of decoys or a dog. That’s the beauty of jump shooting: anyone, with any budget, can participate. There are three primary kinds of jump shooting in which I have participated and had success: motoring, paddling and walking.
Next Post: Motoring To The Ducks
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