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field hunting

6010 Views 14 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  GooseBuster3
Hey guys I was just wondering your opinions of some better parts of the state for field hunting mallards?? This past year we did some but it was mainly out of one field and we had a lot of trouble locating other hot fields, so we did a lot of water hunting. This year we want to focus a little more in the fields for mallards and was wondering if certain areas are better for this. We hunted around Harvey this past year and did find one field the mallards were pounding but that was it, so we fell back into the water hunting. I would appreciate any info. :beer:
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Any area of ND will hold larger feeding flocks of mallards. An area of ND that receives hail or heavy late summer rain will tend to hold more birds than areas that are relatively dry. Tail end of the migration seems to provide more separate fields than early season.

Scouting is the key to finding mallard fields. Scout hard that last hour of the day.

Need to look off the beaten path - hard to do for some these days. While I have hunted mallards in barley in view of major ND highways most good fields are found where some would say the earth ends if it were flat.

Weather (wind and low clouds) will keep 'em flying nearly all day.
praire hunter, thanks for the info. We came up last year Oct 7-13 and did very well, but we were thinking about trying it opening weekend for non residents. Do you think this is a better week considering the birds will be less shy?? We think this might be better because I don't think there were any new birds coming in when we were there last fall, we were just hunting more educated locals. Also, how do you feel about hunting wheat fields without any blinds. A couple of us do and some don't because they dont think they will need them. Do you think its way harder to kill good numbers without blinds??
For field hunting ducks, I would head up to the northern part of the state. There are usually bigger concentrations of ducks, which means finding a feeding field is a little easier. They still hit the fields in southern ND, but it seems like you really have to log a lot of windshield time to find them.
The need for field blinds really depends on how educated the ducks are. If you are in the field the ducks have been feeding in and they feel comfortable, blinds are usually not needed. I have personally shot lots of limits without a blind. However when the birds do get a little more educated it is a good choice to go with a blind. If you are hunting wheat fields then it is easy to transport a blind and set it up. Hunting season is three months of the year. Lets say that you get to hunt maybe 20-25 days a season. A one time $300 investment is well worth it in my opinion. Figure out the cost over the course of your hunting career. It's pretty insignificant insurance.
Decoyer, We stayed and hunted around Harvey last fall. Do you think we should even try north of there??
Harvey is a good area to shoot ducks in fields, there is alot of big water for the birds to roost on.
There should be some pretty big concentrations of birds around there. The thing that you have to remember is that there is a lot of water for the birds to roost on, and you really have to cover a lot of ground to find that mother load.
thanks for the info guys. Also, I was just curious, how many dekes do you boys normally put out field hunting mallards??
If I remember right,Goosebuster3 did pretty well with 6 goose silouettes and a spinner.I had them comming into a couple dozen goose decoys and a spinner really well last fall.If you are on the X it probably doesnt matter that much.
The decoy spread depends all on the how hard the birds have been hunted, the reason I used 6 silly's and the spinner was that I knew the birds had not been hunted. But when you hunt areas where the birds are getting hit hard you will want to use the bigger spreads. Like maybe 4 to 8 doz canada dekes and duck field shells.Also you might have to pull the spinner, due to the birds seeing them so much.
Usually the more decoys is better, but I agree that if you are on the X it really doesn't matter all that much, the ducks will come. It is just a matter of if you are concealed. That is the biggest mistake that a lot of new comers to ND make from what I have seen. They just don't take concealment seriously enough, or else they think because you are in the field that had birds the night before, you are automaticly going to have them in the decoys and don't concentrate on setting up right on the X. They will set up next to a fence row or a rock pile because they aren't equipped to conceal themselves in the middle of stubble field, maybe 600-700 yards from the X. This is just as bad in being in the wrong field in my opinion. the place you want to be is right where those birds were the night before.

As far as decoy numbers go, like I said if you are on the X it really doesn't matter all that much to me. My best field duck hunt last year was over 3 dozen honkers and a dozen field duck decoys. My personal opinion is that the robo duck is twice as effective over a field than over a slough, so for me using a robo in the field is a given. A remote is nice, but not needed. A lot of guys will tell you that you don't need to have duck decoys out, but what I have noticed is that the ducks finish a lot nicer with them out. While having them out, ducks almost always try and land right on the duck decoys. For me it makes the difference between opening your blind with ducks 20 yards up or opening the blind and having ducks at 20 feet. Not a big deal I guess, but I like to get them as close as I can before I shoot.

And one last tip. While field hunting if you really get into the ducks resist the temptation to shoot into those flocks of 300-1000 birds. All you are doing is educating that many ducks to the robo and scaring them out of the field. Usually those smaller flocks of 10-20 birds finish a lot nicer anyways, and it also makes it a lot easier to pick out the greenheads. Also, if a duck is scared out of a field without gunfire, the chances of them returning is much greater. This means if you are really selective on the shots you take, you could potentially have a hot field for a few days in a row. Something that some of my buddies do when they come up to ND duck hunting is find 2 good fields, and rotate them day to day using the tactics of not shooting big flocks and they have good hunting continuously the whole week they are here.

Sorry this post got a little long winded, but as anyone who knows me well will tell you that once I get on a waterfowling subject, I don't shut up. Thanks for your time and I hope this helps you out.
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thanks for all the info, I really appreciate it. Where do you do most of your hunting at and is there a certain place in the northern part of the state you reccomend us to stay this fall for the good field action? I know the area right around devils lake was hot last year around lakota, but I'm not sure how easy it is to get permission so I was just curious if you had any other ideas on an area.
I pretty much go wherever the ducks are. Your right, Lakota was hot last year, but next year it could be Gackle, or west of Devils Lake, or somewhere in the middle of nowhere. You just have to pay attention to the water indexs in the spring and read the scouting reports from the guys on this site.
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