In the world of warfare, it’s not just a case of having the manpower and military equipment. You need to study the enemy to understand how their minds work. It’s important to discover their strategies, weapons, and locations.
The same thing applies to the world of hunting. It’s no use heading out and hoping to find your prey. If you decide to pursue ducks, you’ll need to know everything about them. You’ll want to know the species you’ll be hunting, and where they congregate. This article has been written to furnish you with six key facts to help you become a more knowledgeable and proficient hunter. Also, here are some guides for duck hunting for beginners.
1. Their Lifespans Vary
Ducks can live for anything between two and twenty years, and it will depend on whether they are out in the wild or in captivity. You would be forgiven for thinking they live longer when they are safely contained. In reality, however, captive ducks live for between 10 and 15 years, whilst wild ones can live for 20.
If you need more information, it’s worth checking out the internet for specialist websites. If you need to know how long ducks live for, you can research such species as Mallard or Muscovy ducks, Peking, or Call ducks. You can discover how diet affects a bird’s lifespan and even learn about the pros and cons of keeping them as pets.
2. They Can Be Found In Most Locations
Ducks are anything if not cosmopolitan. Whether it’s wetland, rivers or lakes, marshes, ponds, or oceans you will find their presence. Whilst some species are located in subantarctic islands, they generally prefer warmer climates, especially when it’s time to breed. This is why many ducks migrate up to thousands of miles each year.
Whilst ducks love water, you can also find them on land. This opens up the scope (pardon the pun) for hunting opportunities. Ducks have a heavy presence in the United States, totaling around 49.1 million, and there are 28 different types of duck in North America.
3. There Are Three Types Of Duck
- Tree ducks
- Diving ducks
- Dabbling ducks
Some species group together in huge numbers (10,000 or more) which obviously provides rich pickings for hunters. If you want a challenge, consider Mallards, which are North America’s highest-flying ducks. They may be more than a match for you at times, however: one was hit by a Nevada jet at 21,000 feet!
Another challenge is the Canvasback: on one occasion, a duck was traveling at 72mph. Diving ducks can be disappearing targets, as they go underwater and stay there for up to a minute before returning to the surface. When it comes to easier targets, the largest North American duck is the Eider, weighing in at 6 pounds.
4. They Feed On The Surface Or Underwater
It’s the dabbling ducks that feed on land or on the surface of the water. Whilst they may reach down and upend themselves, they ensure they don’t become totally submerged. On land, they feed on worms and different types of grass.
Diving ducks launch into the water and totally disappear while they forage for food. They look for things like aquatic plants, fish, and mollusks. Mergansers are particularly adept at swallowing larger fish. Ducks with wide, flat beaks use them to dredge the water to eat anything from insect larvae to frogs. Bread is actually bad for ducks and if it is eaten without water it can get stuck in their throats.
5. They Can Breed All Year Round
Once they’ve selected a partner, they usually stay connected for at least a year, and it can be longer with larger species. The males can be real flirts, displaying their brightly colored plumage to attract a female.
The males defend the nesting site, but once 5-12 eggs have been laid, they usually join the other males. The young are incubated for around 28 days, although Muscovies take 35.
6. They Display Interesting Behavior
Ducks are more like helicopters than planes: they don’t need a long runway to take off. They work hard in the air, and only glide as they come back to land. They make a wide range of sounds besides quacks, and they include squeaks, growling sounds, and whistles. Ducks only close one eye while they sleep; the other remains open and vigilant for any predators.
No doubt this has whetted your appetite for more learning about these beautiful creatures. By the time of your next hunting expedition, you will be better placed to understand ducks and their behavior.
Here are the top 5 best choke tubes for duck hunting.