hunters carrying dead turkeys on their backs

Big Green Blog


10.10.2023 | By Remington Contributor

dead ducks hanging from hooks

So, you want to knock some birds out of the sky? Read on for the ultimate guide on how to get your feet wet (not literally) in the world of waterfowl hunting. As always, check with your local Game and Fish for duck stamps, bag limits, bird laws, season dates, and regulations.


Decoys are going to be some of your best friends on a hunt. You can pick up a dozen of them for under $50 –– and upwards of $150+. If you’ve got room in the budget, check out robo ducks –– they’re electronic decoys that make water currents and/or have wing motion to imitate a real bird. You’ll benefit greatly from having some form of motion in your decoy spread. Arrange ‘em in a V- or U-shape to look more realistic.

Two hunters setting up decoys
(Pictured: Setting up decoys)

When it comes to duck calls, practice is essential. Yours may sound more like a dying rodent than a bird at first, but keep at it. This artform is more visual and sound-oriented than we’d like for a blog post so check out this video from Minndak Outdoors for some tips. Check out brands like Rich -N- Tone, ShurShot Game Calls, and Elite Duck Calls. For a budget-friendly option, Duck Commander is the move.

hunter calling in waterfowl
(Pictured: Hunter calling in waterfowl)

For more on duck hunting gear, click here.


One of the best moves you can make prior to the hunt is taking the time to scout and learn the land. This is going to take a bit of work but the good news is, all you need is a vehicle and a good pair of binoculars. Spend a little extra on a quality set –– it can make the difference between a good hunt and bad hunt.

Pull up a map, look around for public lands, and where water is heavily concentrated. Hop in your truck and head out to those areas –– make note of where the birds like to roost. Do a bit of stalking and follow them to where they loaf and/or feed. You’ll find them feeding in the mornings and evenings. Once you’ve figured out the bird’s schedule and destinations, determine if you’re on public or private land. If it’s private, don’t be afraid to knock on doors and get permission to hunt the owner’s property. Worst they can say is no. Always leave it better than you found it. Bonus: Stay in good graces with the property owner by bringing them a bird or two from your harvest.

In a nutshell – learn the bird’s behavioral patterns and follow ‘em.


You may find yourself in a few different locations while hunting for waterfowl. Most will start out with public walk-in area surrounded by fields. No need for a boat or kayak. Grab a jet sled to keep your gear dry on the water. All you’ll need to do is walk it in, bring your decoys, and sit in the marsh.

Got a kayak already? Great! Kayaks are some of the best vehicles to hunt birds with. Stealthy, easier to transport than a boat, and easy to distribute your decoys in the water. Next up is boats. Need to travel a long distance? Bring more people? Carry more stuff? Get away from other hunters on public land? Opt for a boat in this situation, if you’ve got a spare $5,000+, of course.

Duck hunters in a pit blind
(Pictured: Duck hunters in a pit blind)

Layout blinds are great for big open areas where you find yourself struggling to find somewhere to hide. It won’t cast much of a shadow and it’s lower to the ground resulting in a more natural look.

A-frames will cast more of a shadow and take longer to set up, but they have their place in a couple different scenarios. A-frames look great up against cat tails or a tree row to look natural and blend in. Unable to lay down? Opt for an a-frame. It can make for a more enjoyable experience and there are places to store space heaters.

Bonus: Pit blinds are great for those late season honkers. Plus, you’re nice warm and there’s room for a grill. It’s a seriously luxurious duck blind.


Let’s face it, hunting can be pricey. Between the firearm, the apparel, and allllll the other need-to-haves (and nice-to-haves), it can start to hurt the wallet. Before you start selling off your grandmother’s fine china, we’ve got some good news for you. You don’t need to blow your entire budget on a duck gun.

Our suggestions? You can’t go wrong with a classic Remington 870. This bad boy was produced in 1950 and has withstood the test of time. If you’ve got a little extra cheese, the award-winning and wildly popular Benelli Super Black Eagle III is an excellent choice. Other great options include the Beretta A400 Xtreme Plus and Mossberg 940 Pro Waterfowl. Depending on your gauge preference and barrel length needs, finding a quality waterfowl shotgun in any price range is fairly easy to do, whether your budget is $700 or $3,000+.

Waterfowler with 12 gauge shotgun
(Pictured: Waterfowler with 12 gauge shotgun)

Now you’re going to need some bird shells. A general rule of thumb: For bigger birds, choose larger gauges, shot sizes and payloads. For further shot opportunities, use duck shells with faster velocities and higher density shot, like Bismuth or Tungsten.

  • 10 gauge is a bit of an overkill for ducks. Save this for the shooter who couldn’t hit a bird if it was staring him in the face –– or those flying jerks they call geese.
  • 12 gauge will be your most popular and versatile load with some seriously fast flying loads with endless options.
  • 16 gauge is notoriously harder to find but really shines in close quarters.
  • 20 gauge is another great option for anything from mallards to geese and layout blinds to flooded timber.
  • 28 gauge is a great option for smaller birds within 40 yards.
  • 410 bore is good for close kills and has become ever so popular in recent years.

Take these points into consideration when selecting your duck gun. For a deep dive on how to select the best loads for your waterfowl hunt, click here.

Don’t forget chokes. These screw into the bore at the end of your shotgun. The purpose? They can either result in tighter patterns for a long shot or spread-out patterns for shorter distances. Which one you use will depend on where you’re hunting. If the birds are close, use a cylinder choke. If you’re shooting 30+ yards out, a modified choke may be helpful.


You’re going to need a solid pair of waders. Most of them are going to leak, eventually. Our suggestion? Start out with a more affordable pair and invest in a more expensive set as your experience level increases. If your duck or goose hunt takes place in a field, skip the waders and opt for a good pair of boots instead. Higher end options include brands like Chêne and KUIU. Other options like Drake Waterfowl and SITKA are also great choices. If you’re going cheap-cheap, there’s nothing wrong with some good ol’ fashioned Cabela’s-brand gear.

For your base layers, opt for pieces that offer moisture-wicking capabilities and extreme warmth. As far as camo goes, ensure you’re choosing the right patterns based on your location. Layout blinds already conceal you, so you can be less choosey on what you’re wearing. Take into consideration your environment –– is it a dead grass field, flooded timber, leafy woods, snow covered terrain? Select your camo accordingly.

Hunters in flooded timber
(Pictured: Hunters in flooded timber)

Every waterfowler needs a quality vest to store calls, gear, and shotshells. Loops for carabiners to haul decoys, and pockets to keep your hands warm. Check out brands like Tom Beckbe and Filson.


Need a killer meal to pack for the duck blind? These venison camp burritos will fuel your morning to help you hit that bag limit:

This simple sous vide duck recipe is the move after a successful harvest:

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