When it comes to duck hunting I like to have versatility and variability. Which is why I try and hunt not just fields or lakes, I like to try rivers, marshes, really anywhere I can find ducks and geese. However, with that being said it can be difficult to invest in the gear to get to those spots. From decoy trailers to duck boats, means of getting to those spots have become expensive. Which is why when I first started duck hunting I made the investment for a duck hunting kayak. It offered a ton of versatility, I could use it on rivers, lakes, and ponds. On top of that, it could be transported in my truck or SUV rack.
Over the years I’ve had the privilege of owning a few different brands and hunting out of a few different friends kayaks. Which is why we thought it would be great to give you some duck hunting kayak advice and a buyers guide.
Top Duck Hunting Kayak –
|Weight Capacity||280 pounds|
|Shipping Cost||FREE For Amazon Prime Members|
The Sun Dolphin Kayak is one of the most versatile duck hunting kayak models that you can get for hunting. Simply because the kayak isn’t designed just for hunting, but it can be used to fish from or use for recreation. However, since duck hunting is life… the Sun Dolphin is one of the best duck hunting kayak models since it does offer you the freedom to use it outside of hunting season since it’s not specific to hunting.
One of the best features that the Sun Dolphin gives you when duck hunting is that the kayak is a sit on design. Meaning that you don’t sit inside the hull of the boat. Instead, the kayak allows you to sit on top of it. As a result, this makes it extremely easy to get in and out of it, especially when you have duck hunting waders on. If you’ve ever tried to enter a canoe or closed hull kayak with waders it’s quite unstable. So having a kayak that you can swing your leg over is a great benefit.
In addition to this having an open kayak also provides you with a lot of storage for decoys, gear, and your gun. Having the ability to place your decoys on the deck of the kayak means that carrying in a couple dozen decoys into the marsh is a lot easier than carrying them on your back. Provided you have a well-disciplined dog, I’ve even been able to get my dog to sit in the middle of my legs while kayaking to my spot. This way my dog didn’t have to swim the whole way to our spot.
|Weight Capacity||650 pounds|
Elkton Outdoors is one of the only tandem kayaks on our list of duck hunting kayak models. Therefore, if you plan to hunt with a good buddy or family member, this kayak gives you the capacity for two people as well as decoys, gear, and guns. Similar to the Sun Dolphin this kayak offers the versatility to fish out of it as well, with built-in rod holders and wet and dry storage this kayak will not only be great for fall duck hunting but summer fishing as well.
The deck of the kayak is almost double of everything. For the rear passenger and front, you’ll have four different foothold positions for various heights. Next, you’ll have a two soft cushion adjustable seats with backrests. The backrests are a live saver if you have a long paddle. I’ve used canoes in previous years and they can take a toll on the back. In addition to the seat are dry compartments that open up into the hull of the boat. It’s a safe place for phones, keys, anything valuable. You’ll also notice a cup holder for that morning coffee. Last, each passenger has a rod holder, that can be removed when not fishing.
With carrying handles and a large storage area in the rear the features for the Elkton Kayak is quite robust. However, the largest benefit for this kayak is the space and capacity. Although it’s a bit large for one person it can be done, and when used this way it provides a ton of space for numerous bags of decoys or a dog. The deck space also provides a lot of stability. Shooting from this kayak is quite easy and very comfortable.
|Weight Capacity||420 pounds|
The Beavertail Final Attach is a unique kayak that almost is more of a layout water blind. The Final Attack is designed specifically for duck hunters, with a very low profile and wide flat bottom. It has tremendous stability, however, this does affect the speed and maneuverability. However, if you attach an inexpensive trolling motor onto it, this makes it a lot easier. The kayak may not be used as easily for fishing in the summer. However, it can be used as a coffin blind on a waters edge much easier than any other model on this list. At 85 pounds it’s quite heavy compared to the rest, however, thankfully Beavertail thought it through and this model has built-in wheels and a rope to help you tow it to the water’s edge. Making this a perfect duck hunting kayak.
The Beavertail is one of two models on this list specifically built for duck hunting. As a result, you get a kayak that is tested in the conditions hunters endure. When it comes to spreading decoys, and if you’re in deep water and can’t get out. Tossing decoys from a boat while sitting down is a challenge. However, with the Final Attack’s large footprint you have the stability to stand up inside the boat and toss decoys around. I wouldn’t recommend shooting while standing, but nonetheless, it has the stability to stretch your legs out.
The kayak is one of the best kayaks for getting into marshes and still providing you with a place to hunt. They don’t have enough room for two hunters, however, they do have a ton of capacity and space to carry out decoys and gear with you. The boat is designed as a sit-in kayak, the benefits being if the wind begins to add a chop on the water you can remain dry. Plus when you are hauling gear and decoys you have the security of knowing nothing will fall out as you make your way into the marsh.
Final Attack Add-ons –
Since the kayak is designed for hunters in mind there are a few add on’s that make hunting from one more comfortable and concealable.
- The Final Attack backrest fixes to the rear of the boat allow you to use the boat as a layout blind. So instead of just using the kayak to get to your spot. You can actually hunt from inside the kayak with comfort.
- Conceal the Final Attack with the Quick cover that keeps the low profile design of the kayak in play, while letting you disappear into your setting.
- Realtree Camo Material.
|Weight Capacity||250 pounds|
The Brooklyn Kayak Company is going to be the best duck hunting kayak if you are an avid fisherman as well. This single person kayak is designed to be fast and easy to transport. Similar to other models you sit on top of the kayak making it easy to get in and out of while hunting. With plenty of storage space, this kayak is the perfect duck hunting when you think about taking a few dozen decoys into the marsh. Don’t be afraid of bringing your keys or phone because the Brooklyn kayak has waterproof storage, with two large storage areas.
If you’ve ever tried to hunt out of a kayak losing the paddle is one of the challenges. However, with the BKC secure paddle parks, elastic bungee cords keep the paddle in place. Therefore, you can have your hands free as you set out decoys or pick them up. The Brooklyn Kayak has a seat with an adjustable backrest (not pictured), this provides you with the support to paddle all day. Plus it’s also made of a soft neoprene to dry out quickly and provide a cushion.
One feature not seen on many duck hunting kayak models is that it has handles on both ends, but not only that but also on the short sides as well to help pull the kayak around in the marsh. You’ll also find that the kayak has bungee cords to help secure cargo behind the passenger seat. I found I was able to put my blind bag in there and a jacket. Then I could place a bag of decoys over it to carry them out while hunting.
|Weight Capacity||250 pounds|
The Ocean Kayak is one of the more stable single person duck hunting kayak models on our list. At 11 feet long the slender long kayak makes for a stable, fast, and ample amounts of storage. The longer kayak also makes it easier to paddle. And with four grab handles it makes it easy to handle on and off the water. The kayak is also designed for fishermen in mind, so it has multiple molded rod holders. Having a kayak that you can use all year round gives you a longer use than if it was designed for just hunting.
Grab your morning coffee because the Ocean Kayak has a molded-in cup holder to keep the thermos upright. Molded into the hull is also two side-mounted paddle keepers for convenience when tossing decoys into the water. Since the kayak is a little longer than others dragging the kayak is common. However, no need to worry, the kayak has a replaceable skid plate if it ever wears out. The hardest thing to find is a comfortable seat when using a kayak, and the Ocean Kayak was designed for comfort. The seat can be adjusted and fitted to match your comfort. In addition, the hull has four-foot holes so you have ample leg room when wearing heavy waders.
The longer kayak also allows for more decoy storage. An 8 or 9′ kayak sounds like a lot of space, but it can fill up quickly so having 11′ feet will provide a lot of space for decoys and gear. Don’t forget about the large bow latch storage that keeps your valuables dry and out of the elements. There’s even a large deck storage for bags, jackets, and motion decoys. Overall the Ocean kayak is designed for larger bodies of water where speed and stability are necessary.
|Weight Capacity||550 pounds|
|Shipping Cost||FREE PICK UP|
Designed for the avid duck hunter the Beavertail Stealth is one of the most versatile more of a boat than a kayak that you can buy. However, because of it’s size and construction it can work as a kayak quite easily. However, many people bolt on a simple trolling motor and getting into the marsh is a breeze. Although, if you don’t have the money a kayak paddle is ideal for the Stealth. Being that this kayak is portable it gives you the potential to hunt rivers, lakes, or marshes without much. A pickup truck or a set of crossbars can easily transport the boat.
The Stealth 1200 is a compact rugged kayak that is made for duck hunters and has all of the amenities that hunters desire. The cockpit or open space is 8′ X 27″. As a result, you get plenty of storage for decoys unlike any other kayak on this list. With the option to stack up decoys its by far the best duck hunting kayak for storage. Plus if you plan on taking your dog, the raised sides ensure your pup is contained. Designed to be completely open for hunters and storage. However, on either side of the kayak, you’ll find dry storage boxes for bags, shells, and valuable items. The kayak looks large, however, it was designed to be used in minimal water conditions and still float.
Inside the kayak, you’ll find that it has some features no other kayak has. First is the molded in gun holders. Therefore, providing a secure place to hold your firearms without them getting dropped in the water or damaged. You can also get plenty of attachments and accessories such as trolling motor mounts, blinds, and extra seats.
Additional Items For Stealth –
- Designed to add one additional seat to the Stealth boat.
- 360° swivel and fold down with underneath storage.
- Shell holder
- Easy Installation
- Easy Installation
- Up To 2HP motors
|Weight Capacity||275 pounds|
Lifetime is a dedicated outdoor brand that makes everything from basketball hoops to picnic table. They specialize in molded plastic so it’s no surprise that they have been able to dive into the kayak industry. The fishing industry specifically, however, with most kayaks this one can be used for both fishing and duck hunting. The brown color scheme is easy to hide in a marsh or along a weed edge. Plus since this is designed to be fished in all day. The kayak is very comfortable and stable while paddling. The adjustable seat pad and padded seat help to make it more comfortable while sitting. Additionally, the multiple footrest positions allow you to stretch your legs out while still providing control.
Made of high-density polyethylene the Lifetime kayak is a very durable and impact resistant design. Meaning going over stumps or logs won’t damage the hull of the kayak the first time you take it hunting. The main reason I really like Lifetime is that they give you a 5-year warranty, unlike others. So when you are bringing this out duck hunting you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that it’s backed by a great warranty.
The last thing you’ll notice on the Lifetime kayak is the ample storage space. Especially considering it’s a sit-on design, it still provides two hull storage bins as well as two deck storage spots with straps. With the 10 feet, it’s more than capable of storing decoys and all of your duck hunting gear. Overall, the Lifetime kayak is perfect for an all season kayak perfect for fishing, recreation, and of course duck hunting. With a few modifications and add-ons listed in the next section, you’ll have a fully equipped duck hunting kayak.
Buying A Duck Hunting Kayak Online
It seems hard to believe, but in 2018, of course, you can get a kayak delivered to your front door for free. However, leave it to companies like Amazon to offer to ship a 10-foot kayak right to your front door. Therefore, to help in ordering a kayak online we’ve listed some items to look for so that you can ensure you order your kayak correctly.
Free Delivery –
- Amazon Prime offers free 2-day shipping on any item that is Prime eligible. Surprisingly enough the kayaks on this list are eligible for free delivery.
- It may even be beneficial to pay the yearly $100 Prime membership fee for free shipping because some kayaks seem less expensive, however, when you go to check out the shipping charges for some sites are almost as much as the entire kayak.
Free Pick Up –
- The second option is to look for companies such as Cabelas or Basspro Shop that offer free pick up services. Even if the kayak isn’t at your nearest store, they will ship store to store for free. Simply order online and select free in-store pickup.
- Most options like this will hold your purchase and call you when it’s ready. Many even take just a few days so time is pretty quick.
Top Reasons To Hunt From A Kayak –
When I first started duck hunting, I would find locations where I could walk in and set up. This usually required longer hikes and hauls of gear. Being young and nieve it seemed easy at the time. However, it always seemed like I couldn’t get exactly where I wanted to go, or retrieving birds became quite hard without a dog. Which is when I decided to start looking into duck boats, but soon found that a quality motor and boat was out of my reach as a college student. Instead, I looked into canoes and kayaks, finding that the kayak was the most versatile, fastest, and most stable small boats to hunt from. Plus it gave me the freedom to get into places that most Jon boats couldn’t.
First and most important is the lightweight benefit to a kayak. With such a lightweight you can transport this with a car, truck, or SUV. No need for a trailer to get this to the marsh. Not only is it a benefit for traveling, but also for on the water. Since a kayak only sites about 2-3″ into the water it can go over and through just about any small river, marsh, or lake. The accessibility of a kayak was the main reason I choose to purchase one during college. I could launch anywhere and paddle myself into the backwaters. Sometimes further than large flat bottom boats could go since I had the ability to portage over land.
The second top reason to hunt from a kayak is the ability to be silent and quiet. A kayak is virtually unheard as you approach your duck hole in the morning. No loud motor as you approach startling roosting birds. You also have the ability to hunt while inside your kayak since you have no motor which is a really nice option if the water depth is too deep to stand. When hunting migratory birds the motor has to be ceased in order to load or discharge a firearm. However, with the exception of paddles, poles, or oars.
Recommended Gear When Hunting From A Kayak –
When it comes to using a duck hunting kayak there needs to be a little more planning to ensure that you have your gear needed to hunt. Plus as most kayaks are designed for recreation or fishing, outfitting a kayak for duck hunting can take a few added accessories. To help with determining what to invest in as you buy your kayak and get it ready to hunt from. We have put together to the most recommended gear that will help your hunt or make it easier to utilize your duck hunting kayak.
Camo Canvas –
The most important addition to your boat is a blind cover or camo canvas that can help to conceal your kayak. There are a few options, as most of the kayaks are painted or molded with a brown or camo color, they should be concealed pretty well if you have grass or marsh to slide them into. However, I’m someone that if I have the option to conceal my self and kayak more I do. So instead I opt for camo burlap or canvas to throw over the kayak. I’ve even seen some guys make their own blind out of PVC pipe as a frame and zip tie the canvas around their kayak.
Either way camo canvas is going to give your kayak a more realistic look and help you blend into your environment.
The second option which I added to my kayak is Camo Netting. It adds a more leafy look and adds more dimension to my blind. Plus this can be ordered in just about any length possible for really cheap. The downfall is that it has a lot more holes in the netting, so if you use the camo burlap underneath it helps to make your kayak nearly blend into any environment with some added nature from the marsh you are hunting.
The material is easy to work with it can be cut or joined with Zip Ties. Therefore, making it custom fit your kayak is a simple weekend project. There are some kayak blinds available on the market, but they can be quite costly considering how inexpensive camo netting is.
Waterproof Bags –
Owning a waterproof bag should be one an investment every duck hunter makes regardless of hunting from a kayak, boat, or land. They are a lifesaver when it comes to protecting your camera, keys, or phone from getting wet or worse submerged. Which is why I started using a lightweight waterproof bag. They are really easy to use, simply throw your stuff in them and roll them up. I stash mine in the hull of my boat to give some added water security.
The bags are made in various sizes and colors, but I usually use a 5L or 10L bag which provides more than enough room for my wallet, keys, phone, and camera. The bags are also quite versatile and durable, so taking one of these to the field if it’s raining isn’t a bad idea either to keep your valuables dry.
Depending on where you duck hunt. If you are experiencing new bodies of water or need to remember the best way to navigate into a marsh. Then a handheld GPS is going to be your best choice. I know for myself things can look very different in the dark versus the daytime. I don’t know how many times I scouted a place and thought I knew the way to my spot. Come to find out in the morning and before dawn, I seemed to be going in circles because the marsh and grass all looked the same. A simple Garmin eTRex is very inexpensive, it doesn’t have the fancy color screen or frills of other models. However, what it can do is help you sent waypoints and trace your path so you don’t have to second guess your route at 4 AM.
Floating Gun Case –
Ask any waterfowl hunter what was one of their first duck calls and it probably was a Primos. Primos has been around for many years creating turkey, duck and big game calls. After joining with Vista Outdoors, Primos paired with Final Approach bringing waterfowl cases and bags.
Thanks to the pairing of Primos and Final Approach they created one of our favorite floating gun cases. I use this case for my Berretta A391, it keeps it dry and not that I’m going to test throwing my gun in the lake, but the case does float. So, if you are wading, walking or riding to your duck blind this case will be sure to keep your gun dry and out of the elements until you get there. The gun case is made of a 600D polyester weather resistant coating. This helps protect from mud, marsh, and rain. This is a lifesaver since there isn’t a lot of room on a kayak having a case that floats will ensure if the event of tipping over or you bumping your firearm. It won’t be lost to the bottom of the marsh.
Decoy Bags –
Don’t cheap out on a decoy bag. When I first started hunting out of my kayak I used the sack style decoy bags. They were cheap and simple to use. Well, I soon found them to be a hassle, they never stayed on the deck of the kayak and they seemed to get snagged on every stick or grass I passed through. Instead, find a durable decoy bag that holds its shape. I really found the Rig’Em’Right 12 Slot duck bag to be the perfect bag. It held a solid shape so it stayed on the kayak. However, the best part was that it zipped shut. This way duck decoys never fell out and I could even toss other gear inside of it that I didn’t want to lose like my jerk rig.
Ratchet Straps –
Another important part is to keep things secured to your kayak as you are paddling out to your spot. I started using rope or lashing straps. However, found that a simple 1″ ratchet strap worked the best. A set of four ratchet straps won’t set you back much plus you can use them for strapping your kayak to your vehicle as well. The pack of 4 from Vault are 15ft long and have plenty of capacity to hold down your kayak. I also use them to strap down my gun and decoys to the kayak to make it a little more secure while getting to and from my spot.
Kayak Rack Holder –
If you don’t have a truck bed that you can haul your kayak in to and from the lake or marsh. A set of kayak racks is going to help to load it onto a car or SUV. All you need is a set of crossbars and the set of two kayak racks can be mounted on to your vehicle. The best part about these is that the racks can fold down. Making it easier to get in and out of your garage when not carrying your kayak. Some of the cheaper brands don’t fold down and tend to stick up anytime your using them. Whereas these fold and stay out of the way. Plus they have soft padding to prevent any scratching or rattling while traveling.
Trolling Motor –
The last addition I would add if you are planning on going for long paddles and your gear tends to quite heavy is a bolt on Trolling motor. Now it’s not the cheapest addition, surprisingly though they are less than a few hundred dollars. And it will save you plenty of work and speed up the time to get to your hunting spot. They are still very quite being battery powered versus a gas motor. So no need to worry about busting any spots in the morning.
The Minn Kota Endura C2 is really easy to use and can bolt right on to your kayak. You may need to make a simple plate to mount so you can control it. However, with some wood and a saw, you’ll have it mounted in no time. That last benefit to the Minn Kota is that it carries a two-year warranty with it. So considering the abuse and places you may take your duck hunting kayak a trolling motor may be a great investment.
What To Look For In A Duck Hunting Kayak –
When you pursue the thought of owning a duck hunting kayak there are going to be some leading buying options to consider. Before you dive into buying the first one you see on sale. Consider the following elements to see if it will be suitable for duck hunting.
Keep in mind stumps, sticks, brush, rocks and whatever else is in your duck hunting spots. A kayak has to be durable enough to make it over and through this without being damaged or take on water. Therefore, pay attention to the material used on the kayak you are purchasing. The majority of all kayaks are made of polyethylene. However, every so often the cheaper ones are made of hard plastics that can chip or crack.
You should also look for materials that won’t absorb water or allow your kayak to sink. Most kayaks can withstand a flip without every taking on water or absorbing. Therefore, stick to quality materials and constructions.
When it comes to finding a duck hunting kayak, stability may just be the most important aspect. Considering when duck hunting the fall temperatures can be very cool as is the water temperature. If you don’t have a stable kayak and decide to go deep into a thick marsh, or ponds you may find your self in a poor situation. Additionally, if you don’t have stability you may not have the confidence in your kayak to pursue larger bodies of water, or if the wind picks up you want to know your kayak can handle some choppy waters.
It’s also important to consider the gear and equipment you are taking with you when hunting as well. With decoys, a dog, a gun, and anything else, the added weight could affect your stability. Instead, look for kayaks with a good surface area that can cut through the water without issue. Looking for fishing kayaks is a great start since most of these are designed to offer stability so you can cast and move around on the kayak without rocking or tipping. Therefore, the ones listed above on this list are all kayaks that offer superior stability for duck hunting.
Piggybacking off of stability having enough space and storage on your kayak is going to allow you to carry more into your duck hunting spots. It’s also going to keep yourself organized so you can bring essential equipment to keep yourself safe as well harvest a limit of ducks. Thankfully kayaks have a storage container for the haul of the boat to provide some closed watertight storage. This way you can place valuable inside to keep dry, and adding a dry bag provides some added security.
Kayaks also have deck storage, usually molded into the kayak will be some cubbies with straps to carry jackets, bags, and gear. If you’re looking at a kayak that doesn’t have this type of storage you’re going to find yourself running out of storage when it comes to duck hunting.
Length has a couple added benefits when it comes to duck hunting. Generally, a longer more narrow kayak has a higher potential speed. Which is why you see ocean kayaks that are long and slender to cover large areas. However, the longer a kayak becomes the harder it is to get into tight pockets and streams. A narrow kayak also is less stable. So instead look for a kayak that offers stability over speed. Plus with a wider kayak, you’ll find yourself with enough storage for decoys and a dog.
Ease Of Use –
One of the main factors for getting a kayak is to have ease of use or maneuverability to fit into swamps, marshes, and rivers. When it comes to duck hunting a kayak has to be easy to use and maneuverable. Sometimes you need to go over logs, or small little cuts in the marsh to make it to your honey hole. So having a kayak that you can position and slide through tighter areas is going to give you the versatility you’re looking for in a duck hunting kayak. Since the main reason, you are planning on looking for a kayak is so that you can reach places no one else can walk in to or have easy access. A kayak is designed to reach hard places where the ducks want to be, but the general public have a hard time reaching by foot.
Advantages Of A Duck Hunting Kayaks –
Hunting from a kayak is one of the best ways to stay silent and provide yourself with access to a lot of backwater hunting opportunities. When you’re not paddling a duck hunting kayak will skim over the surface of the water undetectable. This allows you to get to spot deep in the marsh or timber alongside ducks without them seeing you. Since a kayak is relatively small it’s very easy to hide and conceal. If I had great marsh grass or could walk the water’s edge in my spot, I would hide my kayak at a distance from my spot. Otherwise, with just a little camo canvas I could toss it over the kayak and be hidden.
Some places that are open to public hunting never seem to allow easy access for foot hunters. Investing in a full-on duck boat can be costly, so having the ability to afford a kayak will give you the access needed to hit better hunting spots others can’t reach. Some duck boats are actually too big even, whereas, a kayak will slip through providing you with seclusion and your own hunting spot. Plus a kayak also gives you the freedom to hunt small rivers where boats can’t navigate, but where wood ducks want to be. I find that a kayak allows for much easier access and less work than any other duck boat could provide you. Now I do own both, but a kayak really can get me into places my boat otherwise can’t go or don’t have access to.
A kayak may not give you the ability to make a 5 mile run like a duck boat does. However, the speed and control of a kayak is much faster than a canoe or paddle boat. Plus once you get moving on a kayak the momentum can carry your speed quite well. Plus if you end up needing to run further into the marsh or don’t feel like paddling, then a trolling motor would be a cost-effective option to give you some added speed.
Last but not least is the cost of owning a kayak. They aren’t as cheap as a box of shells, however, when you look at the access and benefits of owning a kayak that can take you to new hunting spots, it’s priceless. Forking over $10,000 on a full duck boat is a large investment, however, for less than 5% of that you can have a great duck hunting kayak and still, some cash left over to rig your kayak up perfectly for the style and ducks you are hunting. Plus a kayak does give you the freedom to use it outside of hunting season maybe with the family on the lake or fishing.