Hunting duck doesn’t require you to lay down in a field with a ghillie suit on. But you should have a certain amount of specific gear in mind before you head out. While camouflage isn’t high on the priority list but duck hunting is known as a gear-intensive ordeal.
The essentials for what to wear duck hunting are some of the more obvious things, such as good boots, a camo shirt, jacket, and pants, a rain suit, thermal underwear, waders, wool socks, gloves, a vest with pockets for shotgun shells, and a camo hat/beanie.
A good set of waders is crucial. Ducks love the water, after all, and there’s a good chance you’re going to end up in the water with them. An interesting alternative is to hunt ducks from a kayak, which is becoming a pretty popular idea. However, you’ll probably still want those waders.
What to Wear Duck Hunting
Do you Need to Wear Camo
If you have a good blind setup, camo isn’t necessary or, at least not as necessary as you might think. If you decide to hole up in a camouflaged blind, simply wear a dark shirt, dark pants, and a dark beanie or hat. That way you don’t stand out in the gun slits.
The thing about ducks, is they see movement better than a sitting human being. You can sit right out in the open, blaze orange from head to toe, and so long as you don’t move, ducks will go on doing their duck things.
If you wear dark clothes in a blind, it helps you blend in with the interior background. Movement against the background is more difficult to discern. For the same reason, wearing camouflage out in the open is effective in reducing your outline against the backdrop when you move.
Some duck hunters toss the waders in favor of moving through the tall reeds and cattails on a kayak. In this case, it’s a good idea to wear vertical stripe camouflage patterns on your clothes, to help you blend in with the reeds behind you. Of course, you shouldn’t be in a neon blue kayak either.
It’s also a good idea to wear a vest capable of holding plenty of shotgun shells. Depending on your state, bag limits on ducks may be pretty extensive. Usually, even in States that minimize bag limits, you can bring home quite a few.
You’re going to need plenty of shells. Choke tubes are a must as well, especially if you’re dealing with both close and distant ducks, and changing your spread pattern on the fly is necessary.
Shooting gloves are a good idea, especially on those cold mornings when you have to knock the frost rime off your coffee cup.
Coffee is a must. If you’re not a coffee drinker, coffee is a must. Get used to it. Sunglasses are a good idea. If you’re dealing with the rising sun, it’s a good idea to approach the area with it at your back. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible.
If you own a good smartwatch, like a Garmin Venu 2 or a Garmin Fenix 6, you’ll have a built-in compass, GLONASS/Galileo satellite GPS, wind direction detector, and an emergency notification alert all-in-one device.
Garmin isn’t the only manufacturer that makes a good field smartwatch. They’re loaded with hunting and fishing apps as well. A cooler with plenty of ice, rope, flashlights, cameras, insect repellent, and enough food and drink to get you through the day. Some items on this list might seem non-essential until you want them.
Tuck some sunscreen or sunblock in your bag too. Sunburn will creep up on you and give you fits later on.
The essentials for duck hunting are the kinds of things you would wear if you were embarking on a heavy-duty hiking excursion. Fancy camouflage isn’t necessary but you should wear enough to break up your outline against the backdrop.
If you plan on bringing a good waterfowl dog, don’t forget water, food, a leash, a dog vest, and a first-aid kit for the pooch. Pockets are your best friend as well, and you need plenty of space for any accessories and shotgun shells.
So long as you bring all of the essentials and some of the non-essentials, you should be prepared for just about anything. A successful duck hunt is 90% preparation and 10% shooting ability.
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