Growing up in the Northeast I was exposed to the enjoyment of waterfowl early in my life. The memories are all great: cold frosty mornings, wet from the sprayfrom the boat taking us to our blind, stinging and biting winds and temperatures that required constant breaking of the ice film that formed on our decoy sets.
Well, they weren't all that bad, just some of the memories I have. With waterfowl populations increasing there is a growing interest in waterfowl hunting, if current TV shows are any indication. It seems those with a great passion are as dedicated (read: crazy) as the typical deer hunter. I know waterfowl hunters who won't pick up any other weapon but their scattergun during this time of the year. They spend a great amount of time preparing blinds, planting plots and lining up permission to set up on fields waiting for the great migration from the north.
In the South, that passion seems to be as great. People I know spend endless hours keeping watch for the first "V-formation" to show up. Just as deer hunters have their shopping needs, so do those who hunt waterfowl with a passion. Whether just stocking up on ammo, or replacing some decoys or calls, or ensuring they have appropriate cold weather gear, the waterfowl hunters will spend a great deal of time and energy preparing for their season. And just as with deer season, manufacturers ofwaterfowl hunting gear keep coming up with newer and greater tools to make thewaterfowl hunter successful. I'm not about to begin to advise you about needs as I've not been a passionate waterfowl hunter for some years, but if you are you likely have already begun to check your "inventory" and completed your shopping list of needs. And while I maynot have a great handle on what your needs might be, I do know that Academy sports is a great place to complete your shopping needs. They are all about the outdoor sports, so are a great choice for whatever your needs may be.
If you are not a waterfowl hunter, but wish to become one, a great place to get your start is through an event hosted by your local Ducks Unlimited chapter. You might be surprised at the folks you recognize, that you had no idea had any interest in hunting. Remember, waterfowl hunters are as passionate about their favorite hunting sport as you are of yours. While you may see people you easily recognize, but don't remember their ever indicating an interest in hunting, it may simply be because the discussion was not about their favorite pastime. If you attend an event, do go out of your way to indicate to those willing to discuss with you your desire to experience waterfowl hunting. You will likely be surprised by the response and will likely obtain an invitation to participate in a local hunt. Waterfowlers are as likely to want to introduce a new individual to their sport that same you are with your favorite hunting activity. A few things to remember about water fowl hunting:
(1) You will need a federal duck stamp, normally purchased through your local postoffice. Because water fowl are migratory, they are regulated by the federal government.
(2) I believe it is now mandatory that all shot used in water fowl hunting be steel shot.
(3) Your state will regulate hunting seasons and bag limits. Check and be sure you don't hunt out of season or obtain more than your bag limit allows.
(4) Hunting over or around water for waterfowl often means having a method to retrieve your quarry. Be sure to plan with a boat on larger bodies of water, waders or hip boots for small streams. If you are lucky enough to hook up with a waterfowl fanatic, you may be able to experience the fantastic work of a retrieving dog.Your regular hunting camo should serve you well, but beaware that some of the best waterfowl hunting occurs in nasty weather. So, be prepared to have good cold and wet weather gear to stay as comfortable as you can. If you've never hunted waterfowl, it can be a very exciting adventure and one that will likely find you looking to fill your emptyfall hunting dates with waterfowl excursions.
Oh, by the way, waterfowl is exceptional fare. That I do remember about my early years of waterfowl hunting experiences. Good luck.