Last modified on February 13th, 2023 at 8:45 am

7 Things To Prepare Before Hunting Waterfowl

Like other types of hunting, waterfowl hunting requires planning and preparation. By preparing yourself physically and mentally, you can enjoy the waterfowl hunting season safely and comfortably without worrying about anything. Therefore, regardless of your preferred hunting area, you should understand the significance of preparation before you hunt.

There are many things to prepare before hunting waterfowl. No matter what your goals or experience as a waterfowler, here are some of the things you should never forget to keep in mind:

1. Gun And Ammunition

One of the things you must prepare before hunting waterfowl is your gun. Often, shotguns are used for waterfowl hunting. So, be sure it complies with all the rules and regulations.

The maximum number of shotgun shells allowed by law varies by state. Generally, a shotgun must be capable of holding up to three shells. Along with the shotgun, you must bring the appropriate choice of ammunition for it. Moreover, keep in mind that lead-free ammunition is required when hunting waterfowl.

2. Shooting Skills

Another thing to prepare before waterfowl hunting is your shooting skills. Once you already have a shotgun, you must put it to good use by practicing often. For duck hunters, you can use realistic targets like sporting clays. You can include sporting clays in your shopping cart when you buy ammunition online.

Remember that it’s not about getting a high score when practicing your shooting skills. The idea is to get back on target. In addition, you must practice range estimation to improve your wing shooting efficiency.

3. Waterproof Clothing

Your clothing or duck-hunting gears will make or break your waterfowl hunt. There are some things to remember when you’re preparing your clothing for hunting. One of these is always to keep waterproofing in mind. For this reason, you should bring waterproof items, such as gloves, jackets, and waders. All of these will make your hunt more comfortable.

If you’re hunting in a cold region, wear something warm and consider it in layers. You can also take extra clothes to keep yourself dry after a hunt.

4. Vehicle

A vehicle tune-up must be a no-brainer. If you’re taking your vehicle during waterfowl hunting, you must let a mechanic give it a look-over. You can also have the oil changed, the tires rotated, and the chassis lubricated. While it’s an extra expense, it helps you avoid making repairs in the middle of the road or in a muddy emergency.

5. Permits And License

The other thing to prepare before hunting waterfowl is your permit or license. You can’t hunt waterfowl without a license. Fortunately, getting a license is easy. You can purchase a hunting license and waterfowl stamps online. Moreover, you may also need some permits before you hunt.

If these aren’t available online, you must contact your destination’s local authorities about the license or permit necessary for waterfowl hunting in their jurisdiction. In other states, young hunters must complete a safety course first before hunting waterfowl.

6. Decoys And Calls

To attract a lot of waterfowl, you need a good spread of decoys, and your calling needs to be on point. Starting with calls, choose the waterfowl call that matches your hunt, but be sure to take extra if an opportunity arises. For example, a goose may appear if you’re hunting ducks, and having a goose call may come in handy.

Electric calls are simple, but it’s seldom allowed in certain areas. You should also be familiar with and proficient at making the feed, comeback, mating, and quack calls. These may range in length and tone, so you should get them right before you hunt.

To succeed with a decoy spread, you need to pick one local to the area and anticipate where the ducks will land. You should only consider some variations and colors because other decoys may not work in your area. Furthermore, you must also vary the size, as a bigger size is visible to the birds.

You can improve your decoy quality by leveling up your waterfowl hunting skills. If you’re confident with your skills, you can buy more expensive molded or hollow plastic decoys.

7. Hunting Accessories

You can’t always ensure safe waterfowl hunting. However, there’s a way to avoid possible inconvenience when you get into a bad situation. This includes preparing your hunting accessories, such as multi-tool, first aid kit, paracord, extra water or food, and more.

The other hunting accessories you can also consider may include the following:

  • Headlamp Or Flashlight – You can’t underestimate the value of having a light on your journey to the blind while searching for the ideal decoy set. Regardless if you want to find your next sure step in the marsh, review your decoy spread, or find the shells you spilled, bringing a flashlight may go a long way.
  • Thermos And Hand Warmers – Any source of warmth is vital during late-season hunts. If you don’t want to cozy up to your smoking barrel, bring hand warmers or a thermos of coffee that will keep you warm. Your hands should stay warm to manipulate unloading and loading shells and grab the right call quickly.
  • Game Tote – Most waterfowlers opt for game totes because they don’t take up much space in a blind bag. These are also a simple way to haul birds after a hunt, and they look great in photos.
  • Weather Radio – If you’re concerned about abrupt weather changes or you’re in a location with no cell signal; you might want to bring a weather radio to keep you updated about the weather. This will help you know what’s coming your way and allow you to determine whether you should stay in the blind for the late morning flight.
  • Binoculars – They may add some weight to your bag, but they can be useful in tracking wounded birds. These are also helpful for enjoying the other wildlife in your hunting location.

You may want to include these hunting accessories in your blind bag. Lastly, you can bring a camera to capture every moment while hunting.


Now that you know what to prepare before hunting waterfowl, it’s time to get yourself ready and hit the road. Remember, those waterfowl don’t wait forever. However, before you start your hunt, run through your checklist again to ensure you have everything you need. This way, you can avoid any inconvenience and stay safe and comfortable throughout your waterfowl hunting session.