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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my first post, but I have been reading on this site quite a bit over thelast few days. Why is hunting ducks on the water looked down on so much on this site. Why would one hunt ducks in a field when there is perfectly good water to hunt them on?
 

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It's not water hunting in general, but water hunting a roost and moving the birds out of the area. Do a search on roost hunting and read those posts and it should answer your questions. Not all water hunting is bad...just try not too roost bust.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
How is it easier, I have done it before and it seems like every time you setup the darn ducks/geese land about 100 yards from where you see them the night before, or they seem to go to the water surrounding the fields. What is wrong with finding a pond full of ducks and seting up on it. One of the best mallard hunts I ever had was when I saw 1000's of mallards sitting on a pond about mid morning. I walked down to the pond and the all got up. We shot 6 shots and knocked down 7 ducks. Then set out decoys and got the rest of our 2 man limit.
 

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My impression is a majority of the posters on this form are young pups who were not brought up on hunting water. They are also used to hunting waterfowl that are currently way above the 100 year average. When I started hunting about the only field hunting you saw in this area was for geese. Both duck and goose numbers were a shadow of what they are today. While in the goose decoys you might get a crack at two or three ducks that would check out your spread but if you wanted to hunt ducks you pretty much had to go where the numbers were and that was NOT in the fields. I'm not saying they didn't feed in the fields, they just didn't seem to flock to the fields like they do now. I think that is the status of many states with low duck numbers and why hunters from those states stick to water. Now duck numbers are up making field hunting more productive. Water hunting is taboo particularly on larger water because it is thought to and in many cases does, push birds off the roosts and move them out of the area. I think another factor may be the work involved. It's much easier to set a spread in a field, even if it is wet than to slog through 75 yards of cattail, slog through water to set up your decoys, slog through water to retrieve your birds and slog through water to pick up your decoys. Some guys just don't want to do it. Still another factor may be time. It seems like todays hunters want to fill out within an hour and move on to something else. Often hunting over water is slower paced and more of an all day affair. Something that many non-residents are used to but residents find unappealing.

There is no doubt the dynamic of waterfowl hunting in ND has changed over the last 30 years. When I started hunting there were a lot less birds yet they remained in the area longer even under pretty good pressure. At that time it was not unusual to have hunters in every 3rd or 4th slough yet there were always plenty of birds around. A lot of guys are already complaining about the lack of birds this year. The last few decoy (goose) sets I did very few ducks even took a look.

There is nothing wrong with hunting water if you are hunting the "right" water. Try not hunt the roosts. Hunt the smaller transitional waters between the roost and feeding fields where the birds don't necessarily gather in numbers but the traffic is steady.

I enjoy doing both and am not afraid to mix it up now and then. I assure you if I find a slough with tall intermittent grass and few cattails I'm gonna throw some decoys into that duck magnet.
 

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The ducks and geese land 100 yards away if they don't like what they see... there are a ton of different factors that most people dont think of when things dont go their way in a field... And when there are 1000's of ducks on a small pond, there is a good chance it could be a roost, then you shoot them, maybe they all don't leave but there is less, then less the next day, then they are in another state..
 

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h20hunter said:
How is it easier, I have done it before and it seems like every time you setup the darn ducks/geese land about 100 yards from where you see them the night before, or they seem to go to the water surrounding the fields. What is wrong with finding a pond full of ducks and seting up on it. One of the best mallard hunts I ever had was when I saw 1000's of mallards sitting on a pond about mid morning. I walked down to the pond and the all got up. We shot 6 shots and knocked down 7 ducks. Then set out decoys and got the rest of our 2 man limit.
So jumping ducks is the best hunt you have ever had? I will say that sometimes birds will shortstop the spread in a field, but I would try to do a field setup before going for the water, unless its a transition area where the birds are stopping for a quick drin or something. Not saying water hunting is all wrong, but if its a roost pond and you decided to go down and hammer on them you will get frowned at to say the least, in ND anyways. I have had thousands of birds pour into a slough 200 yds from my field spread only to hop up and dump right into the decoys 10 minutes later. To each his own I guess, Where do you do most of your hunting may I ask, what State..... just wondering becuase maybe there are not as many options where you are at.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The best hunting came when they came back to the pond, it may of not been the best idea to shoot when they got up. I hunt both MN and ND. When in ND I usually find a pond that is a transitional pond. Empty in the AM and PM but has birds stopping by during the day.
 

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I am not a young pup and the gray in my hair and beard attest to this fact. I do both field and water hunting and both are productive but as has been pointed out earlier it is about preserving roosting areas. This year in particular when birds are not staying in one area for long any pressure on a roost hastens their departure.

That reduces opportunity for both water and field hunters alike. As a kid I grew up jump shooting ponds. We would sneak into shooting range blast away and move on. Later on I started hunting over decoys in water and found we did better. Then we started hunting snow geese and found that hunting them in the fields provided more opportunity and that the birds stayed in the area longer. We also started finding that we where shooting as many if not more ducks in the field with the snow decoys.

I still hunt water and like it, especially with kids because they are not as coordinated with a gun at an early age. Finding and getting on target from a standing position is easier for them.

So I do not feel that it is accurate to deem people here as being anti water hunters. What most are is anti roost hunting!

Thursday morning we set up in a field that had 5000+ ducks feeding in it the night before. We where about a mile and a half from the roost. A group of other hunters where set up on a transition wetland a half mile from us. The day before they did well and where excited about another good morning hunt.

Four minutes after legal shooting time in the fog, we heard a volley of shots from the roost area and then the sounds of waterfowl on the wing both ducks and geese.

We shot four ducks in the field the other hunters shot 3 in the slough. About noon we left the field and drove by the roost area. Two guys where walking out. I spoke with them and found out they where the ones who had shot the roost. Their take, three ducks and one goose and where surprised that no birds came back to the water!

Moral of the story is that they screwed hunting in that area for not only others but themselves as well. No birds had returned to that area by Sat night and in speaking with the farmer late yesterday still no birds.

I know this subject gets beat to death, but in a year like this with no corn off to hold the birds, leaving roosts alone is more important than other years. My guess is that hunters coming this week and next are going to see very few birds as most unprotected roosts are being busted.
 

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I actually prefer hunting water for ducks, because there is more of a variety of ducks on the water. Teal, spoonbills, gadwall, ringnecks, redheads, divers, wigeon, and ruddy ducks. But if your going to hunt water be smart about it. If birds are on their at night or very early in the morning don't hunt it. Good luck with it.
 

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blhunter3 said:
I actually prefer hunting water for ducks, because there is more of a variety of ducks on the water. Teal, spoonbills, gadwall, ringnecks, redheads, divers, wigeon, and ruddy ducks. But if your going to hunt water be smart about it. If birds are on their at night or very early in the morning don't hunt it. Good luck with it.
Dont you also claim to be able to hunt a roost without busting it out? :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

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Yes, it is very possible to hunt a roost without busting it, but it takes alot more scouting then one day to figure out when and how. If you don't believe me, there are still the same birds on the roost that I hunted in the early goose season.
 

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Yes, I know that new birds have moved in. But the landowner lives quite close to it, and he was mad beacuse we didn't scare the birds out of it when we hunted it.
 

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I love hunting water i've killed more geese on water with duck decoys then in a field with over a 100 goose decoys. Heres one hunt on a small pond. We were 1 goose short of limit, the other 2 guys can't shot to well :-? and we did shoot a limit of ducks but lost some in the weeds :evil:
 

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Hunting water isnt bad if you treat it like a bow stand. Get in and get out and leave it for a week.. It is the constant bombardment of hunters day after day on the water that makes them leave.

That is why any water that I ever hunt is on private land that I can control the amount of pressure it gets. This way if I ever need a spot to go hunt I always have one and the birds stay in the area much longer and learn to not shy from certain boddies of water!
 

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I grew up water hunting and now primarily field hunt. I think the biggest reason why is the invention of the "Robo" Duck. The way the greenies pile in a field with a robo is a sight to be seen if never have. It just got so easy to drive out to a field and throw your dekes out of your pickup or trailer and stick mojo out, park truck and walk back. No fighting with waders, no getting wet, no slogging around in water etc. It is a shame I don't do this very often anymore because you do shoot more a variety and I believe it is the way waterfowl hunting is meant to be and how it was invented. But the latter is just too easy and I think we can thank Robos for that. Good or bad
 

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About 2 weeks ago, we found about 80 acres of sheet water that was LOADED with ducks, Canadas and Specklebellies. There were about 12,000 birds using this place. It was not posted. We decided NOT to hunt it because;
A. It was too big
B. It was a roost.

We set up about a mile away and killed limits of mallards for 4-5 days in fields that we scouted the night before. Some idiots hunted it the last morning we were in the area... :eyeroll: they pulled across the field with their big assed trailer of crap, leaving deep ruts for the farmer. They set up a haybale blind on the water and shot a FEW times before moving ALL the birds out of the area to the refuge.

I rode by that sheet water for several more days and never saw more than a handful of birds using it.

Sure, you can hunt water, but you mostly screw yourself and all other hunters by doing so unless you know what you are doing - most hunters don't... :eyeroll:
 
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