All of that said, whether you’re duck hunting on a river or gunning for geese on a reservoir, there are a few tips and tricks that can improve your chances of success and make your hunting boat a more effective waterfowling machine. The next time you pack up the decoys and set the alarm clock for 3 a.m., remember a few of our tips.
Blending in is critical, from the top down. When it comes to choosing a new Lowe boat, note that the Roughneck line is available in Dead Grass Green, Mossy Oak Break-Up, and Mossy Oak Shadow Grass camo patterns. Seats and pedestals can also be ordered in camo patterns. Choose which is best for your needs by matching the pattern up with the surroundings common to the places you plan to hunt the most, and consider carrying a few strips of burlap and/or some extra brush to help break up the boat and blind when the match isn’t ideal.
When hunting from your boat, mobility is your greatest asset. Although it may mean some extra work, don’t hesitate to shift the boat’s position for better shots when multiple birds work the spread from an angle or direction than you hadn’t expected. And if they aren’t coming in at all, consider making a more major change like finding a new spot or rearranging the entire set-up.
Use decoys on land
When you have to blind up the boat next to a shoreline with little cover, set up your duck decoys out in the water and then also set a handful of goose decoys (assuming there are geese in the area) on land, 10 to 15 yards downwind of the boat. Geese are more likely to rest on land, and these decoys will help convince the ducks that it’s a safe spot to come down.
Use decoys on water
When hunting divers on open water, you’ll want to surround the boat with decoys 360-degrees and leave a landing zone on the downwind side. However, be sure to leave yourself a path out of the decoys so you can get out in a hurry—without tangling a line around the prop—in case you have to chase down a wounded bird.
Consider the sun angle
Consider sun angle as well as the wind when positioning your boat and spread. If you can position the boat so landing waterfowl are looking into the rising or setting sun, they’ll have a harder time spotting you on their final approach. Again, remember that a hunting boat is a mobile blind that can be repositioned several times throughout a hunt to take maximum advantage of the conditions. Play to your strengths, and don’t hesitate to change things up as those conditions change.
Waterfowl hunting from a boat isn’t always as comfortable as being in a big fixed blind, and it can take some extra work, too. But if you play your cards right, hunting from your boat can be the most effective way of waterfowling—and you’ll be in for an action-packed experience.