Duck Hunting Tips – A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

When it’s duck hunting season, you want to make the most of it. But you don’t gain mastery over duck hunting overnight. It takes tons of practice and some helpful tips from professionals.

This article is in charge of the latter part. To give you a few useful and productive tips for duck hunting. Consider this your ultimate comprehensive guide for beginners.

In this article, you’re going to get acquainted with a few basics. Moving forward, you’ll know how to begin duck hunting. Finding the spot, shooting, and telling ducks apart. Perhaps the most difficult thing about duck hunting is the beginning. So let this informative duck hunting article guide you.

What to Buy

The first thing you need is the right gear. Without the proper equipment, you’re destined to fail at duck hunting. To avoid making serious blunders or missing your shot, take this into consideration.

Before you head out, you have to make sure you have all these tips in mind. Part of becoming a proficient duck hunter is knowledge. What is the best technique? What is the best gear for duck hunting? And where to begin from?

This article covers every aspect of duck hunting for beginners. And there’s a special something waiting for you at the end of the line!

Duck Decoys


Duck decoys were the first one of the more expensive hunting equipment. But now, their prices have reduced significantly due to high demand.

The most standard and sought-after duck decoy is a Mallard Decoy. It is a replicant of a Mallard Duck which is the most widespread species of duck. You can buy a bunch of decoys on a sale or look for more budget choices. One of the foolproof ways to buy decoys is online.

You don’t need just a Mallard Decoy to set you off. What you need are proper strings and weights to go along with it. You can buy them separately from your local store. Or get them in a pack of 12 with proper accessories.

Chest Waders


Chest Waders are supposed to be lightweight and waterproof. They’re the ideal gear for hunting for men and women. Made of strong Neoprene material, they keep your body dry and comfortable.

It’s better to buy chest waders rather than hip waders. The former is more protective in that it keeps you warm in colder seasons.

You can even buy chest waders with boots. They’re more affordable when you buy them together.


The most favored choices for hunters and waterfowlers alike are these. A 12-gauge shotgun, semi-automatics, and pumps. You won’t find a hunter using a double-barreled shotgun, that’s for sure.

They post a great threat to your hunting practice. Owing to the fact that they use 2 shells so that’s a major disadvantage.

More importantly, a 12-gauge shotgun is a perfect choice. The folks at The Gun Source Reviews and Guides are specialists at helping you hand-pick the best ones. Shotguns work because they’re more specifically manufactured for waterfowl.

You can buy a shotgun for as little as $20. Or you could take it up a notch and strike a big one at $1000 or up. The choice is completely yours. What you need is a versatile and superior catalog to select from. That’s precisely why I recommend them.

There are 3 main types of shotguns you can consider buying:

  • There’s the 12-gauge shotgun which is traditional and effective. Most waterfowl hunters rely on this with a 3-inch chamber.
  • Then you have the 10-gauge shotgun which is effective for geese hunters.
  • Lastly, there’s the 20-gauge shotgun. It works just as well as a 12-gauge. If you already have a 20-gauge, there’s no sense in buying a 12-gauge.



Most people assume that buying the gun decides the kind of ammunition they need. But in the world of duck hunting, this is the wrong approach. You need to consider your gun and ammo needs separately.

So for duck hunting, what ammo to buy?

This can get a bit tricky for beginners.

Let’s start by telling you about what you SHOULDN’T BUY. And that is lead shots. The reason why is that duck hunting a waterfowl, for example, with lead shots is illegal.

You can instead buy steel or non-toxic shells. Good choices would be Bismuth, Tungsten shots. They’re superior to steel, that’s for sure. But that’s only because Bismuth and Tungsten shells offer higher velocity.

As mentioned in the guns section, a 3-inch chamber means 3-inch shells. These give you a good head start of about 35 yards. Anything longer than 3-inches, you can use for a goose.

There is no universal setup for guns and ammo. But since this is a comprehensive guide for beginners, you should know. That only after plenty of practice can you settle on your ideal gear. What works for you and in what situation.

Duck Calls

You can buy duck calls online or from your local store. For more tech-savvy hunters, you won’t even need a duck call tool. You can download an audio recording of duck calls on your phone. And play with when you’re in the truck.

If you want to get really good at this, you can learn it yourself. Your waterfowlers will consider this a giant leap into becoming a duck hunting master. And it’s possible that others, who are not waterfowlers, will think you’re crazy!

But duck calls are necessary. You can observe how ducks call each other. You can record it around your nearest duck pond.

Even if you were to buy duck calls, they’re super effective and affordable.

The Right Skills


While it’s true that the right skills take practice. You can’t go wrong with a few helpful tips, right?

Honing your skills for duck hunting is doing half of the preparation. If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll be setting yourself up a great deal of disappointment. And legal issues if you’re not careful or you don’t know the rules.

Get Gun Savvy


Understanding how your gun works is more than helpful. Once you’ve selected your gun and ammo, the next step is to cultivate discipline. You have to practice different chokes and loads to see what works for you.

If you find a range that works for you, stick to it. For beginners, this is best practiced in the field. You anticipate less and it gives you results right away.

Learn How to Trap

You need to practice something called trap and skeet shooting. You can practice it anywhere in a local shooting club. It is what you learn here, you will take with you on the water.

Trap and skeet shooting are different techniques. Each one is important because it improves distance and timing. Without these skills, you’re never going to progress as a duck hunter.

Trapshooting uses clays that you scatter away from you. You must throw them at different angles. They improve your target training, distance, and other important shooting skills.

Skeet shooting is when you or someone you’re with throws the clays in the air. So the clays are moving and you’re meant to target and shoot them. This improves the timing and way you shoot.

You can focus on what’s actually important – i.e. the moving targets. And you can figure out lead distance and shot pattern as you get better at it.

You can’t waste shots when you’re duck hunting. It happens very fast. And each shot counts. So you need to get enough confidence and practice out of trap and skeet shooting.

Know Where to Find Them

This includes identifying different birds and where to find each of them. Bird identification is textbook duck hunting. Without it, you’re better off lost in strange woods.

You can look up birds online or in encyclopedic books. There are plenty of book catalogs with pictures, traits and characteristics, and physical descriptions of birds. If you’re buying a book specific to hunting, it’s even more helpful.

Online resources, in the same way, are helpful. You can listen to the sound a duck makes. The time of day to shoot and feeding patterns and habits.

After you know your way around ducks, it’s time to get into the water.

What does that mean?

Well, that’s where you will find them! You can also opt for field hunting. But the most effective way to find ducks to shoot is around the water. You can enter the water if you have your chest wader on.

This could be any water body – including ponds, marshes, rivers, lakes, bays, or even the ocean. Whatever body of water is accessible to you that you know with ducks swimming around. You can choose that as your target.

Having said that, if you want something pre-approved. Go for public or private hunting properties. You can get a license or the owner’s permission. Such lands are dense with ducks and often well-maintained. So it’s better for you, as a beginner, to get your hands dirty here.

Duck Hunting Tips & Tactics


Here’s the special something! I can’t let you go without sharing a few personal tips.

1.   Correct Decoy Positioning

Setting the decoys right in front of your line of sight is no longer useful. Once the ducks do approach, they are looking right into the blind. This means they can detect the slightest movement and get scared away.

If they don’t and you shoot, the rest of the ducks scatter downwind from you. And if you’ve got your back to the wind, shooting again leads to crippling birds. And as a responsible duck hunter, you don’t want that.

The right way to set up your decoys is to position them as a cross. Which means you place each decoy on an imaginary ‘X’ line. The middle point where both slant lines meet is your target.

Whether it’s going downwind or they’re just crossing toward the decoys. The ducks will be within your range of sight. And taking a shot at them once, twice, or thrice would be more possible.

2.   Don’t Forget About the Wind

Lots of newbie duck hunters forget about wind statistics. You have to know which direction the wind is blowing in. And then set up your decoys and line of sight accordingly.

If you go by the book, you can use a plain plastic bottle with talcum powder. It can help you figure out the direction of the wind before you set your decoys. Whether it’s a light or mild breeze, this trick always works.

3.   Camouflage Your Gun

Whether you’re shooting in a field or a marsh, hiding is important. This means hiding your gear too. Ducks and geese are alert and startle easily. And if you’re shooting ducks in a marsh covered with snow. The gun is clearly visible against the whiteness of snow.

What you need, at such times, is medical gauze. It’s a cheap and effective way to camouflage your gun. Just wrap it around the gun, overlapping, leaving the receiver. You can secure your footing with the gauze using a tape.

Your shotgun will no longer be visible to waterfowlers, ducks, and geese.

4.   Buy Ski Poles

Ski poles give you great traction and stability on uneven lands. Whether you’re retrieving birds or setting up decoys in deep waters. A set of cross-country ski poles improves your balance and saves you time.

You can focus on what’s really important rather than keeping yourself up. And the way these ski poles are designed, they don’t get stuck in the mud. Nor do they slip from your hands. All thanks to the loops on the handles and the basketed base of the ski poles.

Another versatile way to use ski poles is for construction. You can build a makeshift blind with a pair of ski poles. And you can set up netting or natural vegetation to protect yourself. And keep out of the ducks’ sight.


Whether that’s taking a clean call or taking a calm approach. Duck hunting is no cakewalk. You can make a lot of mistakes that could scatter a large number of ducks away from. But this article can help you avoid those mistakes.

Nothing is better than listening to specialists talking about their experiences. What worked for them and what is a new and better approach. After examining many waterfowling tips and duck hunting tactics, this article is constructive.

It’s time to take your duck hunting skills to the field. And make the most of one of the most favored outdoor pastimes. It’s critical to follow the correct techniques of duck hunting. To not make any mistakes that could harm you or cause a legal hindrance.

About the Author

I'm Rodney Heaton and I love hunting in the wild. In the past, I was in the military for over 5 years. After that I became a licensed hunter and a mountain guide.