Waterfowl Hunting really has become one of the most popular ways to hunt, and that is mostly due to the challenge and variety that it offers. It doesn’t matter if you are hunting turkeys or you are hunting one of the smaller game birds, you are going to find something that you like out of it. It can be hard learning what to do in certain situations and training yourself to be ready for each scenario, but with a few tips and a little practice you should be ready in no time at all.
Practice Waterfowl Hunting In the Preseason
Clay pigeons are a great way to get some practice in before you actually get in to hunting season, and is a method of training used by many hunters. It really will give you the best practice with your shotgun, and will teach you where to shoot each bird and how you can improve whether it is a falling bird or a rising bird. Not only will you be working on your shot, but you will also be working on things like reloading and speeding up your process. It is basically going to be as close as you can get to the real thing and offers the best chance at improvement.
Scouting In the Preseason
One of the first major things you should be tackling before you hunt is the information about the bird that you are going to be hunting. Find out everything you can about them. Things like what they eat, where they are hiding, and when they might be in a particular area. If you know where a bird is most likely going to be, it is going to make things a lot easier when it comes time to hunt. Then you can scout that area and look for places that you can hide yourself and be ready for when the birds do come out during hunting season.
A Good Hunting Dog
Having a well-trained dog working with you is going to make things a lot easier on you. Often times birds will just stay hidden and try and wait out the hunter, but when you have a dog that is trained to flush them out the bird no longer has that option. The dog can also be a good option for the retrieval of birds that have been downed, as they really have a keen sense of smell and will be able to track the bird quickly.
Clothing & Decoys
The clothing that you wear on the day that you go hunting is also going to play a big role in the success that you have. You need something that has you blend in with your surroundings, since the birds will be able to spot you otherwise while they are in the air. If you are one of those hunters that uses decoys, you want to make sure that your decoy is set up correctly and that it plays its part as well. They have to look natural to be successful.
The Right Shotgun for Waterfowl Hunting
Being able to know which shotgun is going to work for which birds is a good place to start. There may be situations that call for the 12 gauge, or situations that call for the 20 gauge, or one of the other less common choices. Then you want to work on shooting, which should take one motion to swing your shotgun towards the game and then mount in on your shoulder. You want the muzzle to be below the flight line that the birds are going to take, that way it won’t ruin your view of the birds.
Be aware that shotguns do have a pattern that spreads, which means you will have some room for error, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still take your time and focus. You may also have hit a bird that is still flying and that is why it is important to watch the birds as long as you can. Sometimes birds that get hit will still be able to fly off for a while and then finally come down. A lot of hunters aren’t patient and lose the bird because they simply weren’t watching.