5 ways to prepare for duck hunting season

by admin on 08-19-2013 in Hunting

Prepare for duck hunting

Duck hunting season is almost upon us, and without the right tools, you significantly lower your chance of success. Hunting season doesn’t start until opening day but the legwork begins weeks before. Any hunter worth his salt will tell you prep work is the key to a good outing.

1. Research the Regulations

Each state has its own rules when it comes to hunting, especially for waterfowl. This includes specific season dates and permit requirements. For example, the State of South Dakota has rules regarding daily bag limits for each species of bird. Certain states require you to fill out an application to hunt waterfowl before the season starts.

It may take time to get the prerequisite licensing and permits processed, so start early. Collect any documentation the state offers including maps with open season dates and Q&A brochures.

2. Take a Hunter’s Education Course

In some states, such as Alabama, North Carolina and Texas, Hunter’s Education is a requirement for licensure. An online hunter safety course teaches you the basics and tests your knowledge. The goal is awareness, so that hunters work together instead of getting in each other’s way. At the end of the course, you get a card to present when applying for a game license.

3. Buy the Necessary Tags and Stamps

Each type of hunting comes with its own set of the documents. When tracking waterfowl, you need to obtain a federal migratory bird stamp and state validation, according to Answers.USA.gov. Upland bird hunters, those after pheasants or grouse for example, might only need a small game license. It varies in each region.

Review the research material you obtain closely to ensure you get the right stamps and licenses. This is especially critical if planning on hunting more than one type of bird. Ignorance is not a popular excuse with rangers and other law enforcement agencies, so do your research before planning the first hunt. And only rely on authoritative sources like your state government and the National Parks Service.

4. Scout the Area

Scouting an area, either on foot or online, means less time wandering around trying to find the best hunting grounds or path. Buy a proper map to take with you and spend time learning how to use it. If moving around to different areas, buy a large map that covers the county or state and another one specific to each of your hunting area. Check to make sure the ponds on the map are still active, too.

Research private lands in the region you want to hunt, as well. Some will be open to anyone with the proper licensing while others will require you to have written permission before crossing onto the property. It will save you time and frustration if you know the rules and the lay of the land beforehand.

5. Get in Shape

It is easy to forget how much hunting takes out of you. You can improve your stamina by training throughout the summer. Start walking and climbing stairs to prepare your body for the long days of hiking. If taking a dog with you, spend time getting your hunting companion ready. Add some hours at the shooting range to your plans, as well.

Cover photo from Flickr user finchlake2000.

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