Unlike big game hunting, where scent is important, that isn’t the case with ducks or geese. To be successful at duck hunting, you must first find where the birds are (we will do that for you on your trip); then plan to be there before they arrive, hidden and ready for them to approach.
Most duck hunting is done from a blind or hide, which is some sort of boat or structure that will hide one or more people. Most duck blinds are 2-4 person affairs and imagine the tree fort you built as a kid, but covered in grass and built on the side of a pond, field, or stream that ducks are using, with an opening in the top to allow for shooting. If the ducks are coming there anyway, then all you have to do is add duck decoys, which will give the ducks the confidence they need to feel that all is well, and entice them to land.
Now, this is where the fun starts-many times the ducks will circle several times, before they feel that everything below them is well and good, during these few seconds or minutes- you want to remain virtually motionless. Don’t look up at the birds unless you have a way to shield your face- as human faces are one of the dead giveaways that things aren’t exactly what they seem as far as the ducks are concerned. If you have a call or a whistle and have some skills with either, this is a good time to call softly (pro tip- if birds are circling, never call to ducks that are coming to you, always call as they are going away) and when the time is right, the ducks will begin to back peddle over the decoys, which is the perfect time to spring up and surprise them.
Probably the number one mistake we see with beginning duck hunters is shooting too early. Shotguns are great out to about 40 yards, and after that stage, they lose a great deal of their effectiveness. If at all possible, you want to shoot those ducks when they are 15-20 yards away and slowed down. This will give you the best chance at bagging a duck or two, which will be treated roasted or cooked on the grill.
Be safe and have fun out there- introduce a kid to the outdoors next time you go!