Top gear for duck hunting

If you owned your own 100,000-square-foot sporting goods store and had access to any hunting gear in the world, what would you take to the duck blind with you?

It didn’t take Jeff Simmons long to put together a shopping cart full of items he considers must-haves for a successful duck hunt.

One thing tops the list that you won’t read below and can’t get at the store: his black lab, Boss.

The other items below are his other personal favorites, from waders to decoys to shotgun shells:

1) Shotgun — Browning Maxus 12 gauge 3 ½-inch in Blades Camo

This shotgun is a smooth-shooting, dependable gun that can withstand the test of a 60-day duck season.

Simmons said that if you ask 10 different people, you’ll get 10 different answers about guns. For him, it boils down to the fit, and the Maxus falls on his shoulder just right and feels good when he throws it up on a cupped-up mallard.

2) Shells — Federal Speedshok No. 2s

A consistent pattern and good knockdown power no matter what the weather makes these shells a favorite. The No. 2s are his favorite, although Simmons does like BB shells that reach out just a little bit farther — especially when hunting with people for whom he might have to make finishing shots before birds get away.

3) Call — Echo XLT Acryllic

A loud, ringing hail call that reaches out on open water, yet has the ability to soften down when needed makes this Jeff’s favorite call. It sounds like the call he grew up with — an old cut-down Olt — but takes half the air.

When in the woods, the Eco XLT Timber is softer and brings in mallards like a magnet.

4) Decoys:

• Flambeau StormFront Mallard — They look like a duck, they act like a duck, they swim like a duck — and four tie-off points, a depth-adjusting anchor eyelet plus easy strap/weight storage make these a lightweight favorite. Plus they are economical.

• Higdon Pulsator II — Adding action to a decoy spread is a must. Just turn these on and drop them in the water — the cord and waterproof battery act as a weight. The results are good vibration and water action, plus they are easy to recharge after every hunt.

• Mojo Spinning Wing — Nobody knows exactly why ducks come to a Mojo like they do, but the extra motion is something ducks can see from a long way away. In fact, Simmons believes ducks can see that Mojo spinning before they can even hear the loudest of calls from the blind. They just can’t resist the natural back-peddling motion of another “duck” coming in to land.

5) Camo: 

• Drake 3-in-1 Hunting Jacket — Simmons loves Drake products because they are made by duck hunters for duck hunters. Versatility is the key to this piece of apparel that converts to a rain jacket, inside jacket alone or heavy outside jacket. Shell loops and magnetic pockets are added features.

He also likes Drake camo pullovers because of the comfort that won’t impede movements when you get ready to shoot.

• Lacrosse Brushtuff Waders — Tough: That, in a word, is what Simmons looks for in waders.

“When you are waist deep in icy water, the last thing you want is to find a leak in your waders,” he said.

The heavy boots and reinforced neoprene in all the right places make this his pick. Lacrosse is also one of the few manufacturers that offers top-quality big-man’s products.

6) Accessories:

• Drake Blind Bag — The bag offers a variety of choices for where to keep the implements you need. Waterproof pockets. Zipper pockets. Open pockets. Shells, calls, cameras, phones and your favorite snack are safe in this floating, waterproof bag. Some even have a light inside, so no more searching in the dark of the blind.

• Drake Floating Shotgun Case — Trips to and from rice field blinds are tough on guns. And should you drop your favorite shotgun in the water, you sure don’t want it sinking. This case is tough and durable — and floats — and keeps your gun safe and dry.

About Kinny Haddox 597 Articles
Kinny Haddox has been writing magazine and newspaper articles about the outdoors in Louisiana for 45 years. He publishes a daily website, and is a member of the Louisiana Chapter of the Outdoor Legends Hall of Fame. He and his wife, DiAnne, live in West Monroe.