When To Start Wildfowling
Since August is the start date for wildfowling I decided to go and check out the condition of the lake. The weather was nice and calm. That is bad news if you are planning to do some wildfowling.
To shoot ducks, you need strong winds. Because if there is strong swell middle of the lake, ducks will go to reed bed for shelter. That will give the hunter opportunity shoot at the closer distance.
I plan all my trips for the evening because ducks will come to shore for the night. During that August evening, the weather was calm and all of the ducks were in the middle of the lake. So I just rowed around in my rafting boat and enjoyed the scenery.
Fast forward a month and there come a time with strong winds and rain. Perfect for wildfowling. I start preparing for the evening.
Things You Should Bring To The Hunt.
First thing is a rafting boat, otherwise you cant get around in the water. I’ll inflate the boat at home but take the pump with me anyways.
Of course, duct tape is essential for this operation. Because reed bed is sharp and sometimes they can make small holes outside of rafting boat.
Lifejacket for safety purpose. In some cases swell on the lake get so big that there is a matter of tipping over. Clothes that are wind and rain resistant.
Another important element is shotgun shell belt. You need to get those shells fast otherwise you might miss some excellent opportunities for shots.
The last thing is your shotgun. Mine is CZ USA Mallard 12\76.
Advice On Wildfowling.
For wildfowling, I use 4 mm pellets. Since my gun has an opportunity to change the choke. I’ll go for a choke that gives my shot better range and accuracy. Wind is strong today and I need all the help I can get.
Consider buying a shotgun that has the ability to change the choke. Otherwise, you’re stuck with one setting. When taking the shot consider wind and bird speed.
Remember that bird will always take off against the wind. You have to lead your shot, don’t aim straight to bird. One meter lead should be enough. Also, keep in mind to stay calm. Keep your eyes on the bird and think about timing the shot. It takes some practice to get it right. But eventually, you get there for sure.
Long awaited hunt.
Arriving at the lake I can see how swells hit the shoreline and it’s pouring rain. Actually, it feels that I don’t want to get out of my car. But something inside me pushes me out. I’ll reckon it is my passion for hunting.
After an hour on the lake, I’m soaking wet. It’s almost impossible to paddle. Wind and swells are strong. Also, you don’t want to go too far from shore in a small rafting boat. It’s easy to tip over. So I’ll stick to the shoreline where the reed bed are.
After rowing about 200 meters there has been already four sets of birds that have flown over me. I did manage to get two shots but both of them missed. Usually, you can hear wings flapping when birds take off. But today it’s raining hard and it’s difficult to hear something.
The Hunt Continues…
I’ve been paddling for quite some time and nothing so far. I’ll decide to switch place. So I tow my boat out of the water and head to another side of the lake. Just after I manage to get the raft into the water. There’s bird taking off from reed bed. I’ll take two shots and manage to hit one. Feeling bursts of excitement, I’ll start rowing to get those birds out of the water.
Since the wind has calmed down it’s time to move on. Slowly paddling forward there is another bird who took off. Got that one with one shot. Lift the bird out of the water and keep moving. It’s male Mallard.
I stopped rowing because a herd of wild Mallard flew over my head. Shoulder my shotgun and took two shots. Managed to hit two ducks and wound third one.
You need to find the wounded really quickly. If a duck is wounded they usually try to submerge in order to hide. Keep an eye out when the duck surfaces so you can get him. After those ducks were small break from finding any birds. So I started to paddle back to shore. On my way back another four birds took off. I got two of them. Lift them onto the raft and call it a day. Always remember to unload shotgun for safety.
I’m happy with the outcome. The only thing left to do is clean the ducks. I usually field clean them. I’ll take good meat and leave rest for animals of woods to eat.