Where and When to Hunt
The legalities you need to know
Midwest Flyways Tips
When you want to have a good hunt the when and there where are important. Here are some pointers that we laid out for you when finding that when and where.
When hunting fields, you want to find a spot where geese or ducks would want to land to eat and rest while you can also be concealed. Usually pushing your layout blind against a line of corn or against a fence line with tall grass can be very helpful in allowing your concealed layout to be much more hidden. You can essentially hunt any type of field or open terrain in areas where ducks and Canada geese live and migrate through and to. This includes grass, hay, corn, beans, and mostly any other crop.
When scouting for a field to hunt, a great way to start is by asking friends and family if they know any farmers that own fields. Like in business, a warm introduction to someone is always better than walking up to their door cold. However, that brings me to my next point, the cold walk up.
Go out and drive around looking for fields that provide some of the things you are looking for when it comes to concealment and open field.
We try to use an off-season tactic in finding ideal spots to hunt and gaining permission before season comes. Then when it’s time to hunt and the birds arrive, we drive out to all the fields we were given access to and find one with birds in it. Often times, in the process of doing all this, we will drive by a new field that holds tons of birds and we try to get access to that field in the mean-time. When asking a landowner for permission to hunt it is extremely important to be respectful of their response no matter what. Unfortunately, many hunters give us good guys a bad name. From bringing more people than promised, leaving a huge mess, and killing illegally, farmers and landowners may have been put through the ringer.
If someone gives you permission, be specific and hold true to your word, even if someone has to stay home on that hunt.
Hunting fields can be a tricky thing as far as timing. We typically try to be out at sunrise with everything set up just in case. An extra hour hunting with your best friends never hurt anyone! When water hunting, it’s common to have first light be a great time to shoot your limit of ducks. With fields, ducks might be first to the party, geese can be sporadic. Be patient. Wait until 10 or 11am to call your hunt if things aren’t moving in. Sunset can also be a great time for ducks and geese!
When hunting water, there are many different tactics to concealing yourself. Some of this comes from what type of water you’re hunting. Some guys prefer to stand in the reeds up to their waist as they feel this is how they’re most concealed. That works! Another option for areas with deeper water would be a boat blind. Whether you make a boat blind pretty naturally in the field by pushing the boat into the tall reeds and bending grasses into and around your boat. Create shooting lanes, cover your open items and motor with camo burlap. This can work well! If you’re timber hunting you will usually have the chance to stay hidden behind trees.
When scouting for water to hunt, you can start narrowing down the places you want to scout in person by doing a little pre-scouting at home. Hop on the DNR website and find WMA’s, WPA’s, other areas you can hunt. You can also use google maps to find lakes nearby you that look promising.
Mark these spots out on a map and then jump from spot to spot looking for concealment opportunities, birds, and access points for a boat or walk in. Make a list of properties that seem promising even before the season.
This will help to give you specific places to check while the season is going.
When hunting water, the name of the game is who can be first! Guys sleep in their boats to secure their spot. Now I’m not saying this is what you have to do, and it all depends on how populated of an area you live and hunt in. If you live in a major city, there may only be a handful of hunting spots nearby. GET THERE EARLY.
We arrive to our spots usually 2 hours before shooting time. If shooting time is 6:45, we’re there at 4:45. First light and last light are typically the best times to hunt water. Sunrise and sunset have proven to be most effective in hunting success.