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Duck Season is In!


I glanced at my watch to check the time. Four minutes and counting until legal shooting light arrived. Our decoys bobbed and wiggled in front of us, forming a perfect “V” pattern, consisting of a few dozen mallards, a few black ducks and a pair of wood ducks in for good measure.

Just like clockwork, a half dozen woodies twisted and splashed among our decoys. Soft whistling broke the silence as they tried to communicate. We say motionless, waiting for the clock to speed up. Then a few more woodies, and a mallard hen circled overhead and committed to the decoys and woodies swimming around our blind.

The plan is simple, get some ducks in front of you on the water, wait until legal shooting light, shoot the next pair that come in and get one or two coming off the water trying to escape. When done correctly, three shots will result into three dead ducks. The rest of the morning however will be different. Calling and locating ducks looking for company or safe feeding is different.

Like most of the Carolina’s, wood ducks dominate our bag, but we all love to shoot big ducks, namely mallards. Nothing is as exciting as seeing greenheads circling your spread. Committing in front of your blind and knowing that it’s on for the next few minutes.

Duck hunting in the Carolina’s can and often is feast or famine. Patience can be a critical element. As indicated in the opening, many hunts begin this way, with ducks directly in front of you before legal shooting. Followed by a lull in the action that can last a half hour to an hour waiting for the later flying big ducks to arrive. And it’s often like this for the whole morning.

Talking to duck hunters you will get a wide variety of advice on how and where to hunt them. But for my efforts, when duck hunting I prefer the “less is more” approach. I will always use fewer decoys and a lot less calling than most other hunters. I just like to let them know I am there, it seems especially in the early season, this is more than enough.

Ducks have a combination and species daily limit. Make sure to check your individual DNR for your limits. Enjoy the opportunity to hunt these mostly resident ducks until the real cold sets in and brings in larger flocks.