Tips On Scouting & Hunting Puddle or Dabbling Ducks; Gadwalls, Mallards & Teals in Clay Center, KS

Going duck hunting is quite the experience. It requires patience, precise execution, and strategic planning. Gadwall, mallards, pintails, shovelers, teal and wigeon are all part of the puddle or dabbling duck hunting game. Puddle ducks are typically birds of fresh, shallow marshes and rivers as opposed to large lakes and bays. They are good divers but prefer to feed by dabbling or tipping rather than submerging.

Republican Valley Waterfowlers would like to offer the inexperienced duck hunter some helpful tips on hunting puddle ducks such as gadwalls, mallards and teal.

Hunting the Gadwall Duck; Identification, Decoys & Mounts

Gadwalls don’t get much attention, partly because their “Plain Jane” initial appearance doesn’t really do them justice. But these gray ducks are graceful and alluring, and quite a pleasure to hunt. They are easily influenced by decoys and calls and make a fine dining experience. A drake gadwall usually weigh approximately 2 pounds. With a steep forehead resembling a regal appearance and intricate herringbone patterns, these ducks are truly beautiful. Gadwall ducks are big water puddle ducks. Generally fond of wide open spaces, they do little cuddling in tighter quarters in the winter. They feed mostly on the leafy-green submerged vegetation and are easiest to hunt over water. Gadwalls are more attracted to the mallards call from a distance. One they are interested in and inspecting the sounds, it’s a great idea to switch to the gadwall call. Decoys work well. Gadwalls like to hang out with spoonbills and green-winged teal, so be sure to mix up the spread. In big water, 3- 4 dozen blocks are more appealing to gadwall while in small water, 18-24 decoys in small groups work well leaving generous gaps for a good landing zone. Scouting is a better strategy for hunting the gadwall.

Hunting Mallard or Wild Duck Tips

Midday is the best time of year to hunt these ducks, when most hunters are finishing up for the day. The biggest reason is that similar to geese, mallards travel in big flocks and leave their watery-roosts early enough to feed in the fields. They return around noon. It’s best to scout out the roosting areas when they first get back early afternoon. Once discovered, set up first thing in the morning. Mallards roost in large flocks, but upon their return they come back in smaller groups, making decoys easier to use.

Tips for Hunting Blue-Winged, Green-Winged & Cinnamon Teal Ducks

Teals are a great duck to hunt as they are not choosy over calls or decoys. They are considered one of the more curious ducks on the pond and want to investigate the decoys. Naturally the teal decoys are optimal. Hen mallards work great too. Using 15-20 decoys is all that is needed for hunting teals, but it doesn’t hurt to use more if you have them available. Teal whistles are a good call to use, however wood duck whistles work surprisingly well too. If you prefer to avoid the whistle, a mallard call works wonders. If choosing the mallard call, teals will usually approach after a series of quacks. Teals are not generally an open water duck, so scouting is essential. The prefer the shallow and abundantly weedy marshes. It’s a great idea to scout out the smartweed, cattails and wild rice as and often the teal will be there. A natural response to shooting teal is going for the mass of their flocks but more experienced hunters recommend going for a smooth and steady lead individually at their heads.

Scouting & Guided Hunting Tours for Puddle Ducks in Clay Center Kansas

Republican Valley Waterfowlers understands the importance of scouting our 18,000+ acres of premium soy and corn fields and our 1,200 acres of well stocked riverfront property. We pre-scout our soy and corn fields daily to determine the best waterfowl hunting areas. This ensures the best hunting experience possible. Contact Republican Valley Waterfowlers today to schedule your next hunting trip.

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