If you’re after some late-season duck hunting, then it’s hard to beat South Carolina. There is plenty of opportunity for some high-quality public gunning, and the high numbers of waterfowl harvest numbers make it the ideal destination for a little duck hunting. It’s no surprise that wood ducks are the highest population birds, but you’ll also find plenty of mallards, ringnecks, and green-winged teal. You might even snag a few geese as well. If you’re thinking of going on a South Carolina duck hunt, here are some of the key things to remember. Follow these tips and your duck hunt will be much more satisfying, and the results will speak for themselves.
Pack Your Gear
Having the right equipment is vital, but far too many inexperienced duck hunters forget to pack some of the basic essentials. Remember to:
- Choose your gun: This will depend on what gun you are most used to. For duck hunting, a 12ga shotgun is ideal, with beginners often getting better results from an automatic.
- Choosing the load: Get rid of your lead shot, and reconsider using steel shot. You’ll get better results with iron, bismuth, or tungsten shot as it will reach further. Consider your targets as well. If you're hunting geese, then you should look at #2 shot, but ducks can easily be brought down with #4 alloy shot.
- Clothing: Late-season hunting can get very chilly, so you're going to need the best cold weather hunting clothes you can get from SKRE. You’re going to be spending a lot of time in one place, so staying warm and comfortable is essential.
- Decoy matching: Don’t just pack your mallard decoys. Make sure that you know what types of birds you are likely to spot and match your decoys.
- Waders: Don’t just get good waders. Always go for the best waders you can afford. You won’t have a lot of fun on your trip if you get wet and cold.
- Waterfowl Stamp: Don’t assume that your hunting license is all you need. Make sure that you have a waterfowl stamp and pay attention to any legislation updates and changes.
Most hunters will spend their off-season time getting more practice with their guns. Don’t settle for simple range practice. You need to learn your weapon inside and out, and that means taking a day or two practicing trap and skeet shooting. However, it’s not just your weapons that you need to know. Put up your hide and your tent, and make sure that all of your equipment is working. You don’t want to set up camp only to find that you don’t know how to use some of your specialist equipment.
Know the Ducks
When you go duck hunting, there are bag limits. If you go over those limits, then you might get a fine. You need to do your research so that you can tell the difference between the various species and genders of the birds that you target. While you’re hunting for mallard, remember that endangered species can often share the same areas, and if you hit one of those, then you may face federal charges and lose the right ever to hunt duck again.
If you've never hunted duck in SC before then, don’t make the mistake of thinking that it’s going to be easy. Duck hunting can be very challenging, but it’s incredibly rewarding. Put in the time to make sure that you have everything prepared, and your chances of having a great time ducking hunting in South Carolina will be much more likely.