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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
"The black duck is the wise king of all ducks....Anyone killing them consistently and in large numbers is probably cheating." THE OUTLAW GUNNER by Harry M. Walsh :D

Someone recently asked me about duck shooting. The inquiry inspired this post. The following information comes from the market hunters on Great South Bay, Long Island, NY. Other areas may have a different set of rules.

1) During high tide the black duck feeds in the creeks and marshes. A falling tide is best for shooting because the black duck will come out of the marshes and will be searching for food along the shorelines.
2) You are decoying singles and doubles. Large flocks are rare and won't decoy well.
3) The black duck sees your rig long before you see the duck. It spots your rig from quite a distance.
4) Of course, foul weather is the best.
5) If you are point shooting, 18 oversize black duck decoys are good. If you are shooting a pond or creek, fewer will do.
6) Don't mix other species of ducks with your black ducks. Black ducks generally don't like to mingle with other species.
7)It is good to use one "high head" swimmer decoy---it gives the impression of having just landed and is swimming into the group.
8) Several old timers will use only an odd number of decoys believing that ducks can count and the odd number will draw the singles better. (My friend uses 5 or 7 decoys for creek shooting.)
9) The day after a rain is usually not too good.
10) When ducks are decoying, DON'T MOVE!
11) Most black ducks will come from windward, fly past the rig, turn and land into the wind.
12) Almost any puddle duck will decoy to black duck decoys but the opposite isn't true.
13) Put out a dozen goose decoys. They will attract brant and maybe get you a pass shot on a goose. DON'T MIX THEM WITH THE BLACK DUCKS.
14) Don't expect every black duck to set its wings to land---take your shot when you have it.

Good luck to those shooting the salt marsh.
 

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I certainly agree with #14... they will circle and circle and circle and just when you think they're going to set their wings and land.... they bugger off.
 

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Every once in awhile I get lucky...

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I see that you are shooting those northern red legged black ducks. It ain't luck, you know what you are doing! Also, a very nice photo---I love it!
 

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Anymore here in Ohio we are seeing bigger numbers of Black Ducks. In a typical year once your past mid December I see as many Blacks as Mallards. The problem is that we can only shoot 1 per day.:rolleyes:

They are usually the first duck we see in the morning also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Anymore here in Ohio we are seeing bigger numbers of Black Ducks. In a typical year once your past mid December I see as many Blacks as Mallards. The problem is that we can only shoot 1 per day.:rolleyes:

They are usually the first duck we see in the morning also.
We time our shooting with the fall of the tide. We generally don't go out to get a morning flight. Many more birds fly with the fall of the tide.

Are you shooting pure blackducks or hybrids? If you can tell the difference, a hybrid shouldn't count as a black duck.
 

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Anymore here in Ohio we are seeing bigger numbers of Black Ducks. In a typical year once your past mid December I see as many Blacks as Mallards. The problem is that we can only shoot 1 per day.:rolleyes:

They are usually the first duck we see in the morning also.
Same here Joe....... Tough to ID at first light too, since they fly with mallards frequently. Had tons of them around toward the end of our season..... Killed a few:D
 

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I've managed to bag a few black ducks years ago but FEW is the word. They seem smarter than the other ducks. dont decoy that well, and if theres ANYTHING that isnt quite right they will pick up on it.

We would hunt the with the rising/falling tides and try to be as invisable as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Same here Joe....... Tough to ID at first light too, since they fly with mallards frequently. Had tons of them around toward the end of our season..... Killed a few:D
I have to tell you that I never see mallards and black ducks flying together, and I mean never. I guess that they are doing something different by you.

Are you sure they aren't hybrids?
 

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I work for the Parks Dept of our City and part of my job is to feed the farm ducks, geese and Swans in an large open enclosure with a swift creek going through it. Every morning we feed a 5 gallon pail of grain to the approx 40 domestic birds but we have 200+ wild Mallards and Blacks fly in, it's such a tease seeing 100 or so blacks and not being able to do a damn thing, lol
 

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I have to tell you that I never see mallards and black ducks flying together, and I mean never. I guess that they are doing something different by you.

Are you sure they aren't hybrids?
They pretty much follow, sometimes together, sometimes in seperate groups. Yes, we do shoot a few hybrids, but not many. Come to Erie at the end of December, and Ill show you all the black ducks you can handle....... can only shoot one though.......
Keep in mind, we are mostly field hunting, and swamps..... a far cry from tidal hunting.
 

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We hunt them both inland (Potomac River) and coastal (Chincoteague). Doesn't matter where you hunt them, they're wary as can be.

My buddy's son's first Black Duck. A strong swimming cripple that got away from us swimming in a tidal marsh and got into the upland. Never would have retrieved it without a dog. The young man's feelings about the situation are evident....

 

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We don't have a tide here so I cannot time that. Rivers and Potholes are the norm.
The bird in he middle.

Rocket with 2.
 

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Daily limit here is two and we see them in pretty decent numbers. Having a nice drake from late season being mounted now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Daily limit here is two and we see them in pretty decent numbers. Having a nice drake from late season being mounted now.
What kind of pose?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
We hunt them both inland (Potomac River) and coastal (Chincoteague). Doesn't matter where you hunt them, they're wary as can be.

My buddy's son's first Black Duck. A strong swimming cripple that got away from us swimming in a tidal marsh and got into the upland. Never would have retrieved it without a dog. The young man's feelings about the situation are evident....

I hope that he mounts that bird!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
They pretty much follow, sometimes together, sometimes in seperate groups. Yes, we do shoot a few hybrids, but not many. Come to Erie at the end of December, and Ill show you all the black ducks you can handle....... can only shoot one though.......
Keep in mind, we are mostly field hunting, and swamps..... a far cry from tidal hunting.
Field hunting is a totally different ball game. I hunted a cut cornfield. I never saw so many birds and so many species. At the end of the day, I counted the number of birds flying into the field to feed. They had been resting on a lake that was probably 1 1/2 miles away. I stopped counting at...never mind, you won't believe me.
 

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They used to be one of our primary birds here (far from a flyway). We see them mixed with mallards occasionally, but they seem to primarily stay together. Most of the ones we kill are at daybreak, set up where they are planning on coming for the day. Tough bird to kill when the sun gets up around these parts.

My first exposure to them was on the lower Chesapeake Bay. Classic gunning, but probably even more wary there. When they flare off of a pair of real blacks...they're spooky!

One of my favorite birds. Both my boys with a couple nice drakes.



 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
They used to be one of our primary birds here (far from a flyway). We see them mixed with mallards occasionally, but they seem to primarily stay together. Most of the ones we kill are at daybreak, set up where they are planning on coming for the day. Tough bird to kill when the sun gets up around these parts.

My first exposure to them was on the lower Chesapeake Bay. Classic gunning, but probably even more wary there. When they flare off of a pair of real blacks...they're spooky!

One of my favorite birds. Both my boys with a couple nice drakes.



Nice photos.

Definitely my favorite bird. When I say duck, it means black duck.
 

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Beautiful Pictures!!!! They should be in a frame.
 
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