Field Hunting Mallards
When I first started chasing ducks I started looking for marshes and lakes that I felt could hold mallards. I never thought that mallards would go to fields, thatâ€™s where geese went. As you can tell I was quite naÃ¯ve and frankly inexperienced. However I wasnâ€™t far off the mark in assume mallards would be near water. I just never knew that mallards need to feed of fields as well. Therefore I never thought about field hunting mallards.
The deeper I got into waterfowl hunting and the more wind shield time I spent scouting I soon figured out that mallards love fields. They may roost on the lakes and marshes, but they do go field on the fields. If youâ€™ve ever seen 500-1000 mallards try and set down in the middle of cut corn field, you need to. Itâ€™s a sight to see and with that sight usually comes a fantastic hunt.
Scouting is crucial with waterfowl hunting, and with field hunting mallards itâ€™s near impossible to hunt a field without knowing they are using the field. Early to mid season you can expect mallards to be feeding about twice a day morning and night. However it doesnâ€™t mean they are using the same field for both times of the day. This may force you to hunt an evening hunt, but itâ€™s a positive. It gives you twice the chances of getting permission to hunt the fields. You may get the unfavorable no from one farmer, but the corn field they are feeding in the evening you get permission. If this is the case ensure you give yourself a solid time frame of when the ducks start to use the field. This way you are all set with decoys and layout blinds.
Donâ€™t forget to ensure you know exactly where the mallards are feeding as well. Iâ€™ve said it before that being on the â€œxâ€ is important for geese. It is as crucial for ducks as well. Donâ€™t give them a reason to hesitate setting down their feet.
Whatâ€™s different between Water and Field Mallards
- Donâ€™t make the â€œtakeâ€™emâ€ call too soon. When you are working large groups of field mallards they will tend to circle two, three sometimes even more than four times before they are close enough to make a solid shot.
- Itâ€™s quite hard to lose a field mallard down. Iâ€™ve lost birds to think marsh and honestly, it sucks. With large open fields, itâ€™s great being able to retrieve your birds and even better if you have a dog that could use some marking work.
- Donâ€™t forget to invite your buddies on these hunts when there are hundreds of mallards. It can be fast and furious and having the extra firepower is always nice to share in this tornado mallard shows.
Set up for Field Hunting Mallards
The one downfall to field hunting mallards can be the cost of decoys. I know having to buy floater decoys is one thing, but to buy even more for field mallards can be costly. However itâ€™s worth it, I use theseÂ large body field mallards that are quick to set and easy to remove.
I usually pair a large number of the field mallard decoys with a spinner duck. I try and put the decoys on the spot they have been feeding. Keeping the spinner close to the layout is always nice in case you feel the birds arenâ€™t liking it. Makes it easy to pull and hide.
Camera or the Gun
If you can get a good friend or spouse to come with a take some photos and video. You wonâ€™t regret the footage. Watching a swarm of mallards swarm over your layout blinds can be one of the most memorable hunts of the season. Being able to share it with your closest hunting buddies and getting some action shoots is always a nice cherry on top.
If you’re hunting late season weather, be sure to grab some shooting gloves to help keep you warm in the field. You can read about The Waterfowl Hunter’s favorite shooting gloves here.