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Waterfowling 101 in the Heartland

Hunting Heartland Ducks with Mossy Oak Pro Bob Matthys 


Editor’s note: Mossy Oak Pro Bob Matthys of Missouri owns Duck’n Krazy Outdoors, a company that builds decoy trailers, sleds and boat bags. 

The first half of duck season wasn’t very good for us here in Missouri. We had a few wood ducks and teal. But toward the end of the season, we got some cold weather, a big push of ducks, and the ponds were frozen by the time the ducks arrived. 

Mathys_day1We hunt agricultural field ducks as well as water ducks. For me, hunting ducks over water is much easier than hunting ducks out in the agricultural fields. I believe hunting the water ducks is much easier, because they decoy better than field ducks, and you don’t have to be as exact with your blind placement to be successful as you do with the field ducks. With the field ducks, you’ve got to know exactly where the field ducks were standing the day before you plan to hunt that field. But with water ducks, you can put your blind near where the ducks have been coming in, and then pull those ducks right into your decoy spread. Hiding from the ducks also can be much more difficult in a field, than when you're hunting over water. In many agricultural fields, the only kind of blind you can use is a layout blind, if the ducks are feeding in the middle of the field. Then you have to shoot from a sitting position. However, if you're hunting in a blind over water or beside the water, you usually can hide much better, and most of the time, you can stand to shoot. 

I hunt the Missouri River as well as some large lakes, and I have some private ground where we duck hunt. To be honest, our duck hunting is the very best right at the end of the season. We haven’t had a good flight of early ducks here in Missouri for about the last 3 years. Warm weather has held back the migration for us here in the Midwest, just like it has for hunters in the South.

Tomorrow: Hunting Ducks and Geese on Sandbars

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