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A dog with a brown face and ears, carrying a duck in its mouth, stands in a field. The duck appears to be recently caught. The image includes a watermark from "Waterfowl Unlimited Guide Service.

Duck Hunting 101: Prepare Yourself For Your First Duck Hunt

So, you’re gearing up for your first-ever duck hunt? That’s exciting — but nothing puts a damper on the mood faster than an unsuccessful hunting trip.

An experienced and skilled local flooded timber duck hunting guide can absolutely help you avoid many beginners’ mistakes, not to mention bringing the gear and supplies you need for a fruitful hunt. Having said that, you can still do a lot to lay the groundwork for a fruitful duck hunt by preparing ahead of time.

Sharpen Your Hunting Skills at the Range

Whether you’re already an avid hunter and you’re just new to hunting ducks, you have a CCW permit, or you haven’t touched a firearm in years, you can never go wrong by spending some time at the range with the shotgun you plan to use during your duck hunt. The more comfortable you are handling your weapon, and the better you get to know it, the better your aim will be.

Are you planning to invest in a new shotgun for your duck hunting trips? You’re welcome to reach out for recommendations, because the right weapon makes all the difference when you aim for a successful flooded timber hunting trip.

Learn More About Duck Behavior

As Sun Tzu, of Art of War fame, said: “To know your enemy, you must become your enemy.” Even if you’re opting for guided flooded timber duck hunting for your first duck hunt, learning as much about duck behavior as you can ahead of time helps. It won’t just increase the odds of a fruitful hunt, but understanding what’s going on around you will also make your experience much more enjoyable.

Learn about the duck species you’re likely to encounter during your hunt, including how to recognize them and what their vocalizations sound like. Become more familiar with duck body language and learn when they feed (during the early morning and late afternoon/evening).

Reading about duck behavior is a great start, but it doesn’t have to be where the buck stops. YouTube is home to tons of worthwhile duck hunting videos, and finding some channels you enjoy can absolutely help you prepare for your hunting trips.

Stay Patient and Vigilant

Here’s the fact of the matter. Before you take aim, down your first duck, and get that adrenaline pumping, you can expect quite a wait. Ducks have keen senses — and they spook easily. Your ability to stay quiet and observant, listening out for wing flaps and duck calls while remaining completely concealed until the right moment, can make or break your duck hunting trip.

Are you not a patient person? Keep in mind that you’ll be in beautiful natural surroundings, and your hunt is about more than downing ducks. When you enjoy the moment and take full advantage of the knowledge of your guide, duck hunting is always an amazing experience.

Ask Your Guide What You Need to Know About Flooded Timber Duck Hunting

All hunting grounds are unique — and hunting with an experienced guide gives you an excellent chance to tap into local knowledge without prior experience. Make sure to go over hunting strategies and pick your guide’s brain ahead of your hunting trip. There are no stupid questions (OK, perhaps there are, but not asking them is always worse!).

Excited to Down Your First Duck?

Dip your toes in with a duck hunting guide with extensive local knowledge passed down through generations! With our Tennessee hunting guide, you’ll have everything you need for a memorable and fruitful duck hunting trip — yes, including delicious southern breakfasts and fantastic lodgings.

There’s no way to become a seasoned duck hunter overnight, but we’ll give you the best possible start!

2023 Season Photos

Flooded Timber