While duck hunting season may only be open a few months out of the year, seasoned duck hunters and duck hunting enthusiasts know that there’s a lot that you can do throughout the year to get ready for duck season. In fact, if you want to be a better duck hunter this year, there are a few things that you could be doing right now to have much better hunting days and an all-around better season.
Practice Your Calls
Keep your calls handy throughout the off-season. Spend some time watching videos and listening to recordings of the ducks that you’re most likely to see in your area, and practice mimicking them. You don’t want to get out there on the first day of duck hunting season just to find that you’re completely rusty at calling and that you’re not fooling any of the ducks flying over you.
In addition to practicing on your own, go to your local hunting and fishing store or check online to see if there are any calling seminars or workshops happening near you throughout the year. You never know what you might learn.
Spend Some Time at the Range
The more you practice shooting, the more comfortable you’ll be with your shotgun. If you think that getting to your blind on the first day of duck hunting season and having a bad call is bad, try getting there and being completely cold and rusty with your shotgun.
Plus, if you practice regularly, you’ll know if your gun has any issues before you pack it up with your duck hunting gear for your first hunt of the season. This will give you plenty of time to find a gunsmith and have your shotgun repaired or upgraded to work the way you want it to. And you’ll find, after a few months of regular shooting, that you’re much faster on the trigger, and you’ll miss much fewer birds coming into your spread.
Spend Time Training Your Retriever
Practicing your calls and your shooting skills will help you keep your duck hunting game on point, but you’re not the only one who needs to practice. Your retriever needs to spend time in the water, and it needs to stay in shape and focused throughout the year. Otherwise, all that training you did to get your dog in shape last season will go completely out the window and you’ll be back at square one with a dog that isn’t ready to hunt.
Do these three things – starting right now – and practice them throughout the off-season, and your duck hunting will improve immensely. The guys you shot with last year won’t believe how much better you’ve gotten, even if you’re still using a bunch of cheap duck hunting gear and you haven’t made any upgrades to your blind. Of course, upgrading your duck gear can help, too, but practicing your hunting skills will help a lot more. Have fun, and good luck!