When we duck hunt the Missouri River, most of the time, we’ll set up on sandbars. Instead of using duck decoys, we’ll put out Canada geese decoys. We use full body as well as floater goose decoys. Occasionally, we will put out a few duck decoys, but the majority of our decoys will be Canada geese. We take giant Canada geese as well as ducks when we’re hunting the river. Besides Canada geese, we generally take good numbers of mallards, widgeons and gadwalls, as well as, ringnecks, goldeneyes and mergansers. But we usually take more Canada geese than ducks where we hunt.
When we see a flight of ducks coming down the river, we blow both Canada goose calls and duck calls. We have so many Canada geese where I hunt here in Missouri, probably because we have a pretty healthy resident goose population and the flyway geese that come down from the North. Even though we have an early resident goose season like many states, we usually hunt four to six hunters, when we hunt the river. On a good day, we can usually limit out in about 2 hours. I wear two different Mossy Oak patterns to hunt ducks and geese – Shadow Grass Blades or Duck Blind.
We’re real big on taking youngsters with us whether we’re hunting rivers, lakes or private land. Most of the fellows I hunt with have children just like I do. My son is now 16, and we have a 13-year-old youngster who also hunts with us quite a bit. We mainly hunt on weekends, so the children don’t have to miss any school, and all of us work. So, the weekends are about the only time we have to hunt.
We also hunt quite a few ponds that are less than 3 acres. The Platte River and the Missouri River are not very far apart, and the ponds that we hunt are between these two rivers. So often, we get some of our best shooting in the ponds. On the Missouri River not far from where we hunt, there is a power plant that discharges warm water. Also in that same area is Smithville Lake. We hunt too an oxbow lake off the river that the beavers have dammed up, so it floods into the timber. We wade hunt in the timber. We use layout blinds right on the edges of the ponds, and we have one blind there that we built that we also can hunt. We try to convince the farmers to let their grass grow tall on the edges of the ponds. Then our layout blinds will appear to vanish, once we set them up.
On some of our 2-acre ponds, we’ll put out as few as six dozen decoys to as many as 30 dozen decoys. Most of the decoys we put out, as I’ve mentioned earlier, will be Canada geese. One of the reasons we use these geese decoys to take both Canada geese and ducks is that we have far more geese in our area than we do ducks, and we have a three-goose limit. But when we get a flight of ducks into our decoys, we don’t hesitate to take them.