Duck and Goose hunting, as well as other waterfowl, is a unique style of hunting. It involves water, and marshes, so the hunting gear is in a class all in it’s own. Continue reading below for techniques, gear, and recipes for all your waterfowl hunting needs.
What are the rules for waterfowl hunting?
The rules and regulations for duck, geese, and other waterfowl hunting are different for each state. Check your state fish and wildlife agency website for your specific rules. You should also check for local rules for the specific area or body of water that you will be hunting. Some areas with any state could have tighter restrictions.
What Gear Do I Need For Waterfowl Hunting
Many hunters that really get into waterfowl hunting, especially for ducks and geese, train their hunting buddy, their dog, to retrieve the ducks and geese out in the water after they fire the shot. But, you don’t have to do that to get started hunting waterfowl. Some of the top gear to get started with is a good pair of hunting waders, some game calls for what you will be hunting, some camo, a hunting blind, and some decoys.
Waterfowl Hunting Decoys
Canadian Geese Hunting Decoys
A great way to get started hunting a new type of waterfowl is to buy a bulk pack of decoys. The Avian-X AXP Full-Body Lesser Canada Goose Decoy Outfitter Packwill give you what you need to get started at the best price. These geese decoys are highly detailed and lifelike, and includes 12 full body lessers in different varieties and positions to entice those canadian geese that fly over to come to you for the picking. Their rugged one piece construction will ensure many seasons of use, providing a great long term value. The Outfitter Pack includes 12 decoys with stakes, and a 12 slot bag for easy transport and storage. This is a really nice full set that you will love.
Duck Hunting Decoys
Another great full set pack, the Avian-X® AXP Outfitter Full-Body MallardDuck Decoys has true to life postures, with super realistic paint designs that allow for visibility from greater distances in a greater variety of weather conditions. The duck decoy bodies have been molded with durable long lasting rubber so you can be comfortable in knowing that these decoys will work for you season after season and is a great investment.
Waterfowl Hunting Game Calls
Canadian Geese Goose Hunting Call
The perfect addition to your Canadian Goose Hunting gear is the Rich-N-Tone Bocote Canada Goose Call and DVD Combo. This goose call is made from beautifully turned cocobolo wood, and has a polymer insert. It features a short reed core for an amazing goose sound to bring the geese in close to give you the perfect shot placement. The kit also includes a 30 minute instructional video to teach you the basics of short reed goose calling. Comes with the goose call, the DVD, and a lanyard.
Goose and Duck Hunting Call
Be ready for hunting both ducks and geese with this Buck Gardner Honk and Quack Goose and Duck Call Pack. The kit comes with a Gander Hammer Canada goose call and a Mallard Hammer duck call. This multi pack ensures that you are prepared for a mixed bag on your next waterfowl hunt. The polycarbonate Gander Hammer is hand tuned to reach those long distance calls you need in order to have a successful hunt. It also has enough punch at the low end to produce moans and clucks to coax those timid geese in within shooting range. The Mallard Hammer gives you the perfect tone to bring in those far away ducks.
Duck Hunting Waders
The best type of waders for waterfowl hunting is a versatile all season wader that you can wear no matter what the weather does. The Guardian Elite™ Front Zip Breathable Chest Waders has a tear away insulated liner for added comfort. These hunting waders are 100% waterproof, windproof, and breathable. They have a level of comfort that is unlike any other hunting waders on the market. The liner design features 125 gram LokDown insulation in the front and 200 gram LokDown insulation in the back to keep you warm. These waterproof hunting waders feature reinforced taped seams throughout, and heavy duty HD2 material over high wear areas in the seat, knees, and lower legs for durability and ensure they will last season after season.
Waterfowl Hunting Camo
Whether you are looking for a new camo waterfowl hunting jacket like this Drake Waterfowl LST Refuge Jacket, or camo shirts, pants, boots, there is a large selection available at this link. Camo gives you that extra edge of not being seen to bring those ducks and geese in up close. An absolute must for any waterfowl hunter. Canadian geese have great eyesight. You will want to be covered in woody patterns and whites to match the ground. Consider what it looks like overhead to the waterfowl and pick a pattern that matches so that you will be able to blend in and remain concealed.
Duck Hunting Blind
Another piece of hunting gear that is good to add to your hunting tool kit is a good waterfowl hunting blind so that you can stay comfortably hidden at any angle from those waterfowl that are easy to scare away. Our favorite is the Avian-X® G-Blind Field Hunting Blind. This portable blind gives up to 4 hunters concealment from birds flying overhead as well as protecting you from bad weather. This waterfowl hunting blind is made of a sturdy aluminum, and is super easy to assemble. You and your hunting buddies will have enough room to hunt sitting down or standing up. The perfect waterfowl hunting blind all the way around.
What Type of Gun Do You Use For Waterfowl Hunting?
Ducks and Geese are fairly tough animals that can be difficult to take down if you are not using a powerful enough gun. A pump action or semi automatic 12 gauge shotgun is the gun of choice for most waterfowl hunters. Many states have a maximum limit of three shells for hunting waterfowl. In California, as an example, duck hunters are only allowed to use a shotgun, 10 gauge or smaller, that holds no more than three shells at a time. If your shotgun can hold more than three shells, you are required to “plug” the gun so that only three shots can be fired before reloading. For shotguns, the larger the number on the gauge, the smaller the gun is. So when they say 10 gauge, a 12 gauge is smaller than a 10 gauge. Our top choice is the Browning A5 Wicked Wing Semi Automatic Shotgun because it is versatile, fast cycling, and recoil operated. It comes in a nice Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades camo pattern, with a dura touch coating. The front sight is fiber optic, which is very nice for those cloudy days.This gun is the perfect shotgun for all of your waterfowl hunting needs.
What Type of Shells Do You Use For Waterfowl Hunting?
You will need to use steel shot for any kind of waterfowl hunting because lead shot is not legal to hunt with in most areas. Your best bet is to use a 3 ½ inch steel shot marked between 2, 1, or BB. The 2 shot is a fairly good all around shot for both ducks and geese. It’s important to new the regulations, as well as what your shotgun can handle as far as size of shells. The wrong size shells can damage your gun. Our top choice is the Browning BXD Waterfowl Extra Distance shotgun shells. These shells are launched at super high velocities utilizing an optimized long range wad and plated round steel shot to give you a lethal combination of energy retention, penetration and pattern density.
Where Should I Hunt Waterfowl?
The best places to hunt for ducks, geese, or other waterfowl is around ponds, lakes, rivers, grain fields, and fresh and saltwater marshes that the waterfowl will frequent on their migratory paths. The ducks and geese will start to sense that the weather is getting cold, and their food sources begin to get scarce, and they will start their migration. Find a spot you can hunt year after year, where the waterfowl hold up in along the way of their migration. Put out your hunting decoys, sit back in your hunting blind, call them in, and you are ready for your successful waterfowl hunt.
How Do I Clean Waterfowl?
Field care for waterfowl is an important step that will ensure you have the best tasting meat. Whether your duck or goose will taste good depends a lot on the type of waterfowl, how old it is, and what it has been eating. The most important thing that you can do to ensure it does taste good is to take good care of your harvested birds. If you target younger birds, you will end up with meat that is tender and mild. Don’t leave your birds lying in the sun, keep the birds in the shade. Don’t place your birds in a pile, because that traps heat and over time can sour the meat. You should lay your birds breast up to dissipate the heat. If you gut your birds it will accelerate the cooling process, and is a good idea if your shot pellets have penetrated their abdomen. If the temp is somewhere between the high 30s and high 40s you can hang your waterfowl on a strap for a few days in your garage or shed and they will be perfectly tender and flavorful. In warmer temperatures, like where I hunt, you should clean your birds as soon as you can.
Should I Pluck Or Skin My Waterfowl
The fastest way to process your bird is to skin them, but the skin and fat are some of the best parts of the bird. Fat adds flavor to the meat, and the skin keeps the meat moist while cooking. Plucking birds is a tedious and time consuming process. Teal should be plucked whole, but for other ducks you can just pluck the breast, flank, and legs. Then you can fillet the meat off each side. You will want to keep the breast and leg attached. For Geese I like to cook them in parts, with a plucked breast being the best barbecuing on a hot pellet grill. I like to skin the legs and put them in for a slow cooking. To process your birds you will want to use a flexible knife with a thin blade. Thoroughly rinse your meat in cold water as you remove the features and bloodshot.
Brining and Freezing Waterfowl
Brining your meat helps to draw out the blood and give you a milder and less gamey taste. Once you have the meat cleaned, put it in a large bowl. Fill it up with enough water to cover the meat and add a cup of coarse salt for each gallon of water. Shake the water a bit to dissolve the salt. Cover and refrigerate for twelve to twenty four hours. Once complete, drain and rinse. If you are going to cook the meat soon, you can pat the meat dry with a paper towel and let it air dry on an open rack in the refrigerator for a few hours which will enhance the browning during the cooking process. If you are going to cook it later, you can vacuum seal the meat to be able to freeze and store the meat for over a year. Don’t forget to label your freezer bags with the date and what’s in the bag so that you will know what it is in the future.
Waterfowl Hunting Recipes
How Do I cook Waterfowl? One of the best ways to cook any type of waterfowl is using a pellet grill. Roasting duck and other waterfowl on your pellet grill will bring out their deep savory delicious flavors, and will give the skin a little crisp golden brown edge for superb taste and texture.
Roasted Duck Recipe
Ingredients1 - 5 to 6 Pound Duck Poultry Spice Rub1 Onion Peeled and Quartered 1 Quartered Orange Poultry Spice Rub Ingredients ¼ Cup of Brown Sugar 3 Tablespoons of Paprika2 Tablespoons of Mustard Powder2 Tablespoons of Onion Powder2 Tablespoons of Black Pepper2 Tablespoon of Coarse Salt¼ Cup of Granulated Garlic 2 Teaspoons of Ground Cumin 2 Tablespoon of Cayenne Pepper2 Tablespoons of Dried Thyme 1 Teaspoon of Sage1 Teaspoon of Rosemary Spritzer or Basting Ingredients¼ Cup of Soy Sauce ¼ Cup of Balsamic Vinaigrette Orange Sauce Ingredients 1 Tablespoon of Grated Orange Peel 2 Tablespoons of Butter 4 Cups of Orange Juice 1 Cup of Sugar 2 Tablespoon of Corn Starch 2 Tablespoons of Honey 1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce 1 Teaspoon of Ginger Remove and discard the duck giblets, and wing tips. Trim any loose skin on the neck of the duck and remove all of the excess fat from around the main cavity. Rinse your duck under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Take a fork and prick the skin all over, without piercing the meat, to help render the fat and give the skin that crisp texture you are looking for. Season the duck inside and out with the Poultry Rub. Place the onion and orange quarters up inside the cavity of the duck, and tie the ducks legs together with butcher's twine. Preheat your pellet grill (or other grill) to 225°F. Once your grill is heated up to 225°F, insert your meat temperature probes horizontally into the thickest part of the duck’s thighs and place the duck on the grill and close the lid. Grill the duck until the skin is brown and crispy and the internal temperature reaches 160°F to 165°F, basting or spritzing with the soy sauce and vinaigrette mixture. every half hour. It will typically take two and a half to three hours. If the skin doesn’t brown to what you like you can increase the grill temperature to 375°F and grill into you get the skin browned to your liking, typically another ten to fifteen minutes will do the trick. Remove the duck from the grill, and wrap it loosely with foil. Let it rest for 30 minutes to get the juices to soak back in and settle. After resting your duck you can remove the twine and carve your duck, and prepare to be impressed. Now it’s time to make the orange sauce. Place your saucepan over medium heat. Add orange juice, soy sauce, ginger, cornstarch, honey, grated orange peel, and sugar into the pan. Cook the mixture for about six minutes until it thickens up, stirring continuously. Turn off the burner, and add butter. The orange sauce can be spooned onto each plate separate from the duck meat, or on the duck meat, or in a small side dish for each person. This recipe is brought to you by the Mendenhall Outdoors team. We highlight products and services that you might find interesting. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test, and this does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. If you click a link on this page, then go on to make a purchase, we might receive a small commission at no extra cost to you, and this does not impact the purchase price of any products that you may purchase. About The Author Mike Mendenhall is the the founder of Mendenhall Outdoors. This website is an extension of the Mendenhall family’s lifestyle and passion for the great outdoors. Everything that they learn, and experience, along the way that they find may be valuable to our website visitors is on the site for you to enjoy. We highlight products and services that you might find interesting. We frequently receive free products from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. If you click a link on this page, then go on to make a purchase, we might receive a commission – at no extra cost to you, and does not impact the purchase price of any products that you may purchase. Delicious duck, from hunting, to cleaning, to cooking with this fabulous recipe!