A morning on Ocheesee Pond

Preparing for the kill

There are many things a person could do to prepare for duck hunting, but the best thing to do is have your stuff together the night before. Taking all of the necessities and some of the wants I talked about on the "What you Need" page and packing them into the boat the night before could change a hunter's life. Skeet shooting, although not necessary, would be a good idea for someone who has never shot at ducks flying before. Obviously, training with and registering a shotgun should always be done prior to going on any type of hunt.

Using a dog

One of the best things about duck hunting is being able to use dogs. My family's hunting dog, Ace, was trained as a puppy by professionals who breed hunting champions. He is a golden retriever and one of our best assets while hunting. Dogs can be used to find the ducks once you shoot them, but you have to work with them regularly to maintain their training. Clayte, my brother, works with Ace at least twice a week to ensure he stays familiar with hunting. Ace's favorite toy is his dummy, a small orange object roughly the size and weight of an average duck. Clayte throws the dummy and then Ace has to bring it back, all while following Clayte's commands.

Boat or land?

A photo of Harrison on Ocheesee Pond

My brother's hunting boat.

While it is not uncommon to hunt ducks off the banks of ponds or marshes, the far easier option in Florida is to have a boat. Of course, this boat must be registered and have a tag, but the convenience of being able to move freely across the water more than makes up for the hassle of dealing with the paperwork. My brother's boat is small, but it more than does the job and is able to support a duck blind. Duck blinds are usually made of some sort of net and are used to block the hunters and the inside of the boat from passing ducks. Our duck blinds are usually made out of reeds found within the swamps of Ocheesee Pond, our favorite hunting hole.