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I have been interested in duck and eventually goose hunting for quite a while. I live in the Portland, OR area, and you have to take a test proving you can identify the 6 different types of canada geese in the area first, before you can hunt geese. So, I think duck hunting would be a good place to start. I've hunted deer and elk. And I've trained to hunt two legged prey. But I have never hunted for water fowl, but I do have the desire to learn.

I don't know any body that duck hunts, so it's kind of hard to tag along with someone. I figured that this would be the perfect time of year to ask, giving me plenty of time to get what I need to and so on. I know I need a shotgun, calls, and probably some decoys. But how much and what kind to get started with, I have no idea. For a shotgun, I figure probably an 870 pump is a safe bet, but how long of a barrel? I've seen 26, 28 and 30 inch barrels. Which one is recommended. I figure I'll probably need waders (no boat), but what else.

Next question, where to hunt. Now I know this is more specific to guys that live around this area, but I'm not sure where you can and can't hunt around here. I'm not sure who to call or talk to find out about where or how.

Now, I've had some people tell me "you don't want to eat wild duck, they all taste like mud, or worse, why I had this one that my brother-in-law got and....". Now, I know that this can't be completely true, otherwise people would have quit hunting them a long time ago. I'm really not worried about it, I'm an old jar head (OK, not that old) that lived off of MRE's for months at a time, and liked them. I guess I'm a bit of a food whore. It's all good to me. But I'll have to convince my wife and boys. So what's the truth or at least half truth.

I know there is alot of things I need to learn and get, so I guess I'm relying on you to help educate me. Any and all information and advice will be appreciated.
 

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I've got no idea where to hunt in Oregon, but in general when i'm in a new area I get to an area at sunrise and just look around. Don't plan on setting up the first time, just drive, walk, or boat around and figure out what the ducks are doing.

870 is a great duck gun, maybe the best. I like 26 and 28" barrels, either would be fine. 30's are mostly on old guns and I wouldn't think you'd want to go that route. There are other threads here about the difference between 26-28 but in reality they are almost the same.

I'm not a huge fan of eating ducks and I give away as many as possible every year. That being said, puddle ducks are fine in any number of ways. The ducks that smell like fish (and taste like mud) are the divers. That's bluebills, mergansers, buffleheads, ringnecks, etc...

I'll do 6 mallard breasts in a crockpot with onions for 6 hours. Afterwards I shred the meat with my hands and add BBQ sauce. Makes great sandwich meat. I also grill them, sometimes fresh, sometimes marinated in something (usually italian salad dressing). Picked ducks can be baked, smoked, or whatever else you can do with a chicken or turkey. I like them smoked and usually end up getting all my picked ducks smoked. Unfortunately picking ducks takes a while and several places I hunt don't have a local picker. I end up breasting about 75% of all the ducks I kill.

The biggest difference between a good and bad duck hunter is the ability to call. Find a tape or CD and practice while you're driving. Also, if possible figure out where your local competitions are held and go listen. To me the biggest help in learning to call is hearing good callers that you can try to compare to.

If you have specific questions PM me. Also check out this link:
http://www.refugeforums.com/refuge/index.php
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info and the link. That will keep me busy for a while.
 

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The "FUGE" rocks!

Lots of good local hunting info for you there. May even find someone close to go with to get started
 

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Welcome to duck hunting! I started when my neigbor kid begged me to take him out on a youth hunt. I didn't have clue about duck hunting and neither did he. Twelve years later I think we both have started to get the hang of it. Whole lotta trial by error. Couple of suggestions
-practice at the range a whole bunch
-buy a waterproof jacket that is warmer than you think you will ever need, really
-same thing for boots
-visit small local sporting goods stores, a wealth of info
-take a tip to meet some farmers, private land is like gold but if you're polite you can sometimes find a nice spot for free, start asking now and keep in contact with someone who says yes, give'm a gift on opening day.
-Head out before the season starts and watch the ducks
-get a good book at the library, try for a local author
Lastly, I turn all my ducks into jerky, most people think it's beef
Good Luck!
 

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Mallards and wood ducks can be breasted out then cut the breasts into strips and bread them in Shore lunch breading mix. Pan fry and you'll be hooked on the ducks.

Nixter

Ps. hang out at local sports shops or gun clubs and find a fellow waterfowler to show you the ropes. You mentioned being an old Jarhead, any of your old buddies hunt? If not go to the VFW an ask around. Use your military contacts... By the way thanks for your service.
 

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This thread is over a month old but maybe he will still read it.

In regards to calling. Buy a call thats easy to blow ie: Haydels Variable tone mallard and listen to the accompanying tape and practice. Also record yourself calling and listen to it back.

you can't imagine how bad some people sound in the marsh and they don't realize it.

Granted the sound and tone is not as important as the cadence. If your out in the rice or marsh and listening to ducks on the water they make all kinds of god awful sounding quacks (I'm speaking generally of mallards here. Same thing applies to geese). A friend of my dads sounds terrible when he calls but his cadence is right on so ducks fall for it.


I love waterfowl season. :)
 

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Duck/goose hunting is one of the most exspensive and most enjoyable hunting sports. I live in Maine and the hunting is spotty at best.. some years it just plain SU^&s. They are migatory birds.. Just read your state and federal stamp.. One year, you might be on the fly way and have a great time.. The next year they are few and far between and the weather just seems colder. alot colder.. Last year I just gave up in November.. You should always hunt in pairs. Never go alone.. Things can happen.. I have been stuck over my wast in my waders in muck from ****... If I was alone.. I would be fish food. You kinda need a dog.. not absolutly necessayy though.. But you need a way to retrive you downed game.. "That is the LAW."You can swimm if you want.. But a Lab will enjoy it.. You wont.. State stamp?federal stamp,, resriction on type of fowl and bag limits.. a good gun... steel shot.. lots of practice with gun.. Decoys.. 6-60 good dog or canoe or swim(Brrr..).. duck calls.( training and practice.. learn the feeding chatter and come back.. minium. studing where they are living,, where they are flying.. **** it gets real complicated.. good luck.. it is fun.. It is cold.. It is awesome ,, it is depressing..
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the info gents. I am always checking in to see what other knowledge others have left here. I have already found someone who has offerd to take me duck hunting, we'll see how that goes. I have gotten a tape and have been practicing on my drive to and from work. You ought to see some of the looks I get. Of course, everyone that meets me now thinks I'm a U of O fan (they're the ducks) when in reality, I'm an OSU fan (the beavers) and I can't stand the U of O. Conversation usually goes like this:

Idiot: You must really be into the ducks

Me (or as my wife thinks, idiot #2): Not yet, but I'm learning

Idiot now with confused look on his/her face: So when the weekend comes around, do you get all dressed up?

Me: Yep, plan on getting all decked out, may even get some waders

Idiot now really confused, but his/her stupidity continues: So, do you tailgate?

Me: Well I guess so, if that's what you want to call it, you need some place to toss the dead ducks when you get back to the truck.

At this point, they usually are running away. Oh, to be politically incorrect in a politically stupid area. :-D
 
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