Duck hunting season is right around the corner. Whether you're a seasoned veteran or an absolute beginner, there's some equipment you're absolutely going to need in the field.
Before anything else, said Dave Lorenz, the owner of Old Town Trading Post in Old Town, Maine, you'll need to grab your hunting license and declare that you'll be hunting migratory birds. Then, you'll need to procure your "duck stamp" (regulations, fees, and procurement locations can be found at maine.gov).
After that, there are some essentials you can't do without, all of which are available at Old Town Trading Post. Beginners and experts alike can use this as a checklist for the upcoming season.
Migratory waterfowl requires steel shot—you can't use lead, which was banned for waterfowl hunting in 1991. While Old Town Trading Post sells shot from several manufacturers, Lorenz said the manufacturer isn't as important as the shot size: #2 shot and #4 shot are ideal for duck hunting.
As its name implies, this reed-based instrument attracts the attention of ducks. Experts say that wooden duck calls produce the gentlest sound, acrylic the sharpest, and polycarbonate somewhere in between. But simply buying a call won't do—you've got to learn the language. Get your hands on a training manual, or just listen and start mimicking!
Blinds and blind-making material
You'll want to camouflage your boat or stand. Ducks literally have a bird's eye view, and it's important to keep your gear covered up.
Anchor weights and cord
When you float a decoy, you have to anchor it or it'll float away. The anchor attaches to the decoy with a cord. Unless you use a specialized cord, however, you could run into problems: some people opt to use regular rope, which can cause tangling in the decoy bag. Specialized anchor cord is designed to prevent tangling.
There are different types of decoys for different situations—water and weighted keel decoys for water use, shells and standing decoys for use in fields, and more. Some are even designed to simulate movement that's attractive for your quarry.
In Maine, you can start hunting waterfowl a half-hour before sunrise. That means you're going to be placing decoys in the dark. A headlamp keeps your hands free so you can be up and running when the ducks start flying.
Dave Lorenz has over 35 years of duck hunting experience. He's owned Old Town Trading Post with his wife, Melissa, since 2014. In addition to a full range of duck hunting supplies, they offer a wide variety of hunting, fishing, and outdoors equipment. For more information, visit