Sometimes, late-season ducks will kick you right out of your duck blind. If you are paying attention.
If ducks have been hunted heavily out of a blind over the same type of duck decoy spread for weeks on end or if weather conditions change drastically, sometimes you just have to find a new place to go.
You might not have to go far, though.
Matthew Turner and the author’s son, Adam Haddox, experienced such a hunt a few years ago.
A brutal cold front had frozen over every rice field and all the shallow water in the woods. After trying to break the ice in front of the blind and seeing no ducks heading that way, they noticed ducks funneling into an area about 300 yards down the levee from them.
So they investigated.
What they found was water running out from under the frozen surface in one field through a culvert into another field. The moving water hadn’t frozen, and the ducks were hitting the spot hard.
The unfrozen area wasn’t much bigger than the average carport.
“It was one of the more-memorable January hunts I’ve ever had,” Turner said. “Adam and I laid down in two big ruts that had been left by the combine on the levee when the field was harvested. We spooked the ducks off at first, but it wasn’t long until more were coming. And more coming.
“We sat there and both got our limit in just a matter of minutes. It was the most ducks I’ve ever seen trying to get into one spot. It was unbelievable.”
If the ducks aren’t coming to where you are, you have to go to them. Laird and Turner say that can be true anywhere.
They aren’t opposed to setting up a few decoys, kneeling down in the edge of a field in the rice stubble and hunting ducks.
You won’t likely land ducks there, but you can get quite a few close enough to get some good shooting.
With all the agricultural land in the area, they also like to find a few low areas that haven’t been totally harvested. These smaller areas flood with rainwater and attract late-season ducks that have become shy of the big water areas. And the stubble gives hunters just enough cover.
“You just have to watch what the ducks are doing,” Laird said. “It’s really simple: If they are going somewhere else, you have to go there, as well.”