Interested in facts about duck hunting? These are the top 100 duck hunting facts that you should know.
100 Facts About Duck Hunting
1) Over 10 species of ducks can be legally harvested in the United States.
2) Duck hunting can be just as good over land as it can be over water.
3) Location is the most important factor for a good duck hunt.
4) Ducks can be hunted in every state in the Continental U.S.
5) Duck bag limits vary by species. As many as 6 ducks can be harvested during the regular hunting season.
6) Arkansas has the largest wintering population of Mallards.
7) Ducks migrate down 4 flyways consisting of the Pacific, Central, Mississippi, and Atlantic.
8) There are approximately 1.17 million duck hunters in the U.S. each year. (source)
9) The duck population in the U.S. was estimated at 49.1 million birds in 2016.
10) The Green-winged teal is the smallest dabbling duck in North America.
11) Ducks feed on aquatic plants, insects, and waste grain.
12) There are 28 species of ducks that live in North America.
13) License fees and taxes on duck hunting equipment help pay for wetland conservation programs.
14) In 2015, revenue from federal duck stamp sales reached $930,742,000.
15) Action cameras and barrel cams are a great way to record duck hunts.
16) Ducks can only be hunted with non-toxic shot such as steel, bismuth, or tungsten.
17) Texas has the largest wintering population of redhead ducks which spend the Nov-Jan in the Laguna Madre.
18) Ducks are categorized into three classes: Dabbling ducks, Diving ducks, and Tree ducks.
19) The largest duck in North America is the common eider which weighs 6 pounds.
20) The mallard population is the most abundant duck species in North America. It was projected at 12.9 million birds in 2017. (source)
21) There are two types of tree ducks in the United States, the Black-bellied whistling duck and the Fulvous whistling duck.
22) The best shot sizes for ducks are #3 shot and #2 shot.
23) The most common shotgun used for duck hunting is a 12 gauge.
24) Texas has the most duck hunters of any state in the U.S. at close to 80,000.
25) You must purchase a hunting license and federal duck stamp to hunt ducks. Some states may also require you to pass a hunter education course.
26) The best time to hunt ducks is at dawn and dusk.
27) Layout blinds and pit blinds are great ways to hide from ducks to prevent them from seeing you.
28) Duck decoys are the best way to get ducks to come close while hunting.
29) Scouting the area you plant to hunt will help you pinpoint where the birds want to be.
30) Ducks are vocal birds, but sometimes less calling is best.
31) Robo duck decoys use their spinning wings to grab a ducks attention from afar.
32) Patterning your shotgun with the ammo you shoot the most will make you a more efficient duck hunter.
33) The majority of fatal accidents while duck hunting are attributed to capsized boats and drowning. (source)
34) Harvested ducks can be donated to the homeless and food banks with the proper transfer documents. (source)
35) The best method to install weights on duck decoys is to use the Texas Rigging Method.
36) The total number of duck hunters in the U.S. for the 2015-2016 season was 1.04 million. (source)
37) Around 11.6 million ducks are harvested in the U.S annually.
38) The average duck hunter spends 20 days in the field each year.
39) In 2006, waterfowl hunter’s represented 10% of all hunters in the United States. (source)
40) Duck hunters spend over $1 billion annually on equipment, licenses, and in local economies.
41) The fastest flying duck is the canvasback clocked at 72 mph.
42) Ducks fly in a V-formation to reduce drag and increase airflow for long flights.
43) The highest flying duck in North American is the Mallard. A Mallard was struck by a jet over Nevada at 21,000-feet.
44) The first duck to migrate each year in the United States is the blue-winged teal.
45) The Wood Duck is the only duck in North America that regularly produces 2 broods in one year. (source)
46) Duck hunting first started with the Native Americans almost 2,000 years ago.
47) The use of Lead shot was banned for ducks in 1991.
48) Duck bag limits for each flyway and state are developed at a meeting held annually with the USFWS.
49) The longest duck migration ever recorded was a Northern Pintail that was banded in Japan and shot in California. (source)
50) Over 200,000 ducks are banded each year in North America. Around 60-80,000 are harvested annually.
51) Mallards are the most banded duck with approximately 7 million banded since banding first started.
52) In addition to bands, ducks can also be equipped with nasal saddles, neck collars, satellite tracking transmitters, and web tags.
53) Ducks start their migration southward from the northern U.S. and Canada starting in September.
54) Gadwall are often referred to as “gray mallards” or “gray ducks.”
55) Ducks frequently interbreed to produce hybrid species. A Brewers duck is a cross between a mallard and a gadwall.
56) Diving ducks can remain under water for over a minute with coming up for air.
57) Ducks can congregate in groups of 10,000 or more.
58) Ducks roost on water at night to avoid predators.
59) Mallards and other ducks can withstand temperatures of -20F and below.
60) There are three types of teal in North America: Green-winged teal, Blue-winged teal, and Cinnamon teal.
61) The oldest living duck ever recorded was a mallard in England that lived 20 years 3 months and 16 days.
62) Ducks are typically hunted over decoys, by pass shooting, or by jump shooting.
63) Ducks keep their feet from freezing by using counter-current heat exchange which results from veins and arteries passing close by each other.
64) Duck hunting shotguns are only allowed to hold three shells.
65) Ducks can only be hunted during the day. One-half hour before sunrise to sunset.
66) Before you shoot, identify the species of duck you are shooting at. If in doubt, don’t shoot.
67) Ducks migrate due to a changing photo-period, not solely weather or other factors. (source)
68) Ducks are capable of migrating up to 800 miles a day.
69) Northern pintails have been documented with tail feathers up to 6 inches long.
70) One of the best choke tubes for duck hunting is the Patternmaster choke tube.
71) Ducks that nest in Canada can winter as far south as Mexico and Central America.
72) The prairie pothole region of North Dakota and South Dakota are known as the “duck factory” since millions of ducks nest there each year.
73) The practice of banding ducks was started by Jack Miner in 1909.
74) Duck hunting lanyards are worn around the neck to hold calls and whistles for easy access.
75) The largest shotgun that can be used to hunt ducks is the 10 gauge.
76) Duck hunting is a sport that is safe for the whole family to partake in.
77) Shooting at ducks outside of range is considered “skybusting”.
78) Keeping your cheek down on the shotgun stock will help you line up shots quickly and stay on target.
79) When shooting at ducks, lead them so they fly into the shot, otherwise you’ll be shooting behind them.
80) Have your shotgun fitted so that it doesn’t shoot too high or too low.
81) Northern Shovelers are nicknamed “spoonies” due to their spatula or spoon shaped bill.
82) The hail call is a series of high paced quacks that hen mallards make to get the attention of other ducks.
83) Bag limits for ducks are dependent on species counts and population estimates.
84) Duck hunting waders are the best way to stay dry and warm while duck hunting.
85) The smallest shotgun that can be used to hunt ducks is the .410.
86) Stuttgart, Arkansas is the duck hunting capital of the world.
87) Ducks have a gizzard that grinds up plant material and other food items that would be difficult to digest otherwise.
88) Duck hunting in the U.S. is conducted between September and January each year.
89) Mottled Ducks live exclusively on the Gulf Coast and do not migrate like other ducks.
90) Waterfowl Identification books make great gifts for duck hunters.
91) The USFWS release a population status annually for each species of duck. It’s called the Status of Waterfowl.
92) The Migratory Bird Treaty Act was implemented in 1918 to protect all migratory birds.
93) Facemasks and face paint help reduce glare that could flare incoming ducks.
94) Duck hunting headlamps are invaluable for setting decoys spreads in the dark or navigating to the blind.
95) Legal methods for hunting ducks include with a shotgun or bow and arrow only.
96) Modified choke tubes work well for decoying ducks across a wide range of distances.
97) Widgeon are nicknamed “baldpates”. Widgeon with unusually large amounts of white on their head are called “Storm Widgeon”.
98) Wood ducks prefer to nest in tree cavities and stumps. The placement of wood duck nest boxes is encouraged to provide additional nesting habitat.
99) Duck hunters are responsible for the greatest monetary contributions to waterfowl conservation through licensing and stamp fees, as well as tax on hunting equipment.
100) Ducks and geese are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 which states that it is illegal to hunt, take, capture, kill, or sell birds without a waiver.
How Fast Can a Duck Swim?
Not very fast! Ducks lack the ability to move swiftly through the water compared to the speed they can acquire by flight. Even the fastest ducks can only swim around 2-3 mph.
Duck Hunting Facts: The Highlights
Duck hunting is a popular sport each fall and winter as millions of waterfowl head south before the cold weather sets in. This review highlights many of the top facts about duck hunting and waterfowl in general that every hunter should know. Over 10 species of ducks can be legally harvested in the US each year, with bag limits set individually based on population trends of that species.
Duck hunting is mostly conduced over water, but can be just as effective on dry grain fields. Mallards are especially susceptible to feeding on grain in dry fields where full body duck decoy spreads are the method of choice. Location is the most important factor when duck hunting. If you’re in the wrong spot, the ducks won’t come near. Being in the right spot can make even the novice duck hunter look like a seasoned pro.
Each duck species that can be legally harvested has a set bag limit associated with it. Many species have an upper limit of 6 that can be taken in one day. Arkansas is the capital of mallard hunting in the US. It’s hosts the largest wintering population of Mallard ducks each year. Ducks migrate from their wintering grounds in Canada down 4 US flyways consisting of the Atlantic, Pacific, Central, and Mississippi. Ducks aren’t confined solely to each flyway, but it’s generally accepted that most birds use the same flyway annually.
Approximately 1.17 million duck hunters participate in the sport each year. Each hunter must purchase are federal waterfowl stamp and this revenue totaled over $930 million in 2015. Stamp sale revenue is used to manage the waterfowl population, create new habitat, and help with conservation. The total duck population in the US is estimated at 49.1 million birds. 28 species of ducks inhabit North America.
Ducks can only be hunted with non-toxic shot. Lead shot was banned for use in waterfowl hunting in 1991 when it was found that waterfowl were ingesting the shot and dying from lead poisoning. The most common shotgun used for ducks is the 12 gauge. #2 and #3 steel shot are the best shot sizes for duck hunting. The best time to hunt ducks in early in the morning or late in the evening. Duck hunters utilize pit blinds and layout blinds to conceal them from decoying birds.
Duck hunters represent 10% of all hunters in the US. Texas has the most duck hunters at 80,000. The fastest flying waterfowl according to the duck flight speed chart is the canvasback which was recorded at 72-mph. Ducks can swim at a speed of 2-3 mph and run around 5 mph. Thousands of ducks are banded each year with aluminum leg tags so that biologists can study their movement and harvest rates. Waterfowl can withstand up to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Some species of ducks can migrate over 800 miles a day.
Spinning wing decoys are battery operated devices used to simulate a duck getting ready to land and can grab a ducks attention from far away. Ducks can be decoyed to as few as a couple decoys or as many as hundreds. The most popular duck call is the mallard quack and hail call, though some species like the Pintail, Widgeon, and Teal make whistling sounds.
These are just a few facts about duck hunting you should know. If you have any facts you would like to share, please use the comments section below!