Duck Hunting from a Kayak: Tips to Help You Get the Most Out of Your Trip

It may or may not have crossed your mind before, but duck hunting from a kayak is a popular activity for hunters. The freedom and range that a kayak allows the hunter is a great positive. And kayaking and hunting are still both popular activities in the states.

According to Statista, over 18 million people were kayaking in the United States in 2020, and that figure actually grew during the pandemic. While most users of kayaks are either participating for recreational or sporting reasons, others are combining their vessels with hunting.

That same year that Statista recorded individuals participating in kayaking, there were also more than 15 million people holding hunting licenses.

If you have a canoe, or a kayak, you could use it to hunt waterfowl. If you are a beginner in this area, then you may wish to read on for some small tips on how to enjoy duck hunting from a kayak.

Is it legal to hunt ducks in the US?

For a total beginner, this should be the first port of call, making sure you are legal. Firstly, you will need to be 16 or over, and you will also need to have a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp.

This license is also known as a duck stamp, and different states have their own regulations. For instance, in Texas, you will need a valid duck stamp, but you must also have a Texas Migratory Game Bird Stamp Endorsement, and HIP Certification.

Harvest Information Certification is free and will be provided when you purchase a new license. Every state has its own hunting laws, but they generally follow the same patterns.

You will also need to follow certain regulations such as daily bag limits when hunting ducks, and also you must avoid hunting over ground that you know has been baited.

Different laws apply for private grounds, however. If you are lucky enough to own land and water where ducks are plentiful, then you can hunt there without a license. Similarly, you can hunt on other private grounds as long as the landowner has given approval.

What do you need for duck hunting with a kayak?

Now that your licensing is out of the way, it is time to consider what you need for hunting. There are some tools you need when hunting ducks from a kayak.

Obviously, you will need a vessel of some kind. You should first consider the areas you are likely to be hunting in. Are they actually suitable for kayaking? Some larger bodies of water might require a bigger vessel, and possibly something with an outboard motor.

If you are happy that you can use a kayak to successfully hunt ducks then consider whether you are likely to be going alone, or with a partner. You can choose from a variety of kayaks, and some are designed for solo pilots, and others for two people.

You will also need some equipment to make sure you remain safe and ideally, dry and comfortable. It would be recommended you take the following at a minimum:

  • Life vest or life jacket (essential)
  • Gloves and fingerless mittens
  • Waterproof bag (to store licenses and other small items)
  • Thermos
  • Chest waders
  • Decoy ducks
  • Fleece

Sunglasses, a cap or hat, and a blind bag are also useful items. Don’t rely on just gloves when you go hunting, take fingerless mittens too so you can switch over when you are ready to start hunting. You may also want to consider a headlamp or flashlight in case you are out after dusk and a rugged mobile phone.

Transporting your kayak

Ideally, you would just be able to put your kayak in the water and off you go, however, unless you live right by a lake or river, you will need to transport yourself and your kayak to a suitable hunting spot.

If this is the case, then in an ideal world you will have a truck or access to one to transport your kayak. A truck rack is essential for easy transportation and care of the vessel and the vehicle too. And, this article tells you all you need to know about kayak truck racks.

One of the good things about kayaking is that it is an activity that is environmentally friendly. Combining it with hunting and camping can turn your trip into more than just a short trip.

Turn it into a camping trip

To get the most out of your duck hunt, you could extend it into a camping trip. This is a great idea if you have a two-man kayak, and you are out with your dad, son, or a buddy.

Knowing how to make outdoor recreation eco-friendly is a great idea though. Using the leave no trace mantra means that you can combine duck hunting with your kayak, and camping, and look after the local habitat too.

Is hunting good or harmful for the environment?

It likely won’t surprise you to know that there are many people against hunting. However, without hunters, the countryside and the environment would be far worse off.

The wildlife agencies in each state of America rely on funding that comes from hunting licenses. Up to 80% of wildlife agency funding comes directly from this source. Now, the number of hunters is in decline, wildlife agencies are struggling to keep up their good work.

The NC State University reports that the number of individuals holding hunting licenses has dropped to 11.5 million. This isn’t just bad for the activity, but for companies involved in manufacturing hunting products, and also the countryside as a whole.


Duck hunting from a kayak can open up a whole new avenue for your favorite activity. Kayaks allow easy movement through marsh and swamp areas and can be done as a solo hunter or with a partner.

Staying safe is essential when out on the water, and taking a life preserver is critical. Also, staying dry and warm is important. Combine these tips for a kayak trip with camping, and you might find you really are getting the most out of your duck hunt.

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