18 Oct Saskatchewan Waterfowl Hunting: Tips for Success
There are many types of hunting that require no advance preparation. Squirrel, rabbit, and feral hog hunts involve little more than hitting the woods in a pair of brush pants with your trusty firearm by your side. However, a productive waterfowl hunt involves advance planning and preparation. But it doesn’t have to be difficult. Enjoying a successful Saskatchewan waterfowl hunting trip can be as easy as following five basic steps.
Scout It Out
Waterfowl hunting requires preparation. You can’t just drive out to any old field at daybreak and expect to have a successful hunt. Scout waterfowl hot spots in advance of your big hunt. An area that was active a week ago might be void of food today and no longer appeal to migratory birds. Spend a day or two before your hunt observing fields and waterfowl activity. Then choose the most active location for your hunt-day setup.
Food and Water
Migratory birds are constantly scanning the ground for prospective feeding areas. Locating a cut-over grain field is essential to successful Saskatchewan waterfowl hunting. No easily accessible food source means no birds. Post-harvest grain fields are easy for birds to spot from the air, offer plenty of circling and landing room, and provide an all-you-can-eat buffet for hungry migrating geese and ducks. Choose a couple of such fields so you can move to the second field on day two if your first choice doesn’t produce the kind of waterfowl harvest you’re looking for.
Once you’ve decided on your hunting location, it’s time to plan your decoy set-up. Decoys are not required, but you’ll see more geese if you choose to use them. They give migrating waterfowl the impression that there’s an ample food supply on the ground and the area is safe for landing. To exponentially increase your odds of luring in geese, use a combination of decoy styles. Stationary decoys, motorized models that exhibit lifelike motion, and handheld flag decoys create a varied spread and give your decoy set-up a realistic appearance.
Depending on what portion of the waterfowl flyway you’re under, the birds you want to harvest may have already been shot at by upstream hunters. Migratory birds are very cautious about putting down their landing gears in an environment that looks too good to be true.
If one goose or duck gets spooked, the whole flock will vacate the area before you get a chance to make a harvest. Be sure to wear camo clothing that blends into your surroundings and add a little camo face paint to exposed skin, especially if you have a fair complexion. A successful Saskatchewan waterfowl hunting excursion requires convincing camouflage.
Choose your Blinds Carefully
Choose blinds that look like they are a natural part of the landscape and be sure you can easily exit or shoot from the blind when waterfowl come in. Mummy blinds allow you to recline atop the ground while being encased in camouflage cover. This style of blind allows you a clear view of incoming birds as they fly over and assess the landscape.
A-frame blinds allow you to sit or stand inside, and they’re designed to be brushed in with remnants of the surrounding vegetation. Use corn stalks, wheat stems, or other harvest leftovers to blend your A-frame into your hunting area.
Stationary duck blinds can be left in place year-round, making them an ordinary fixture of the landscape. These blinds provide plenty of interior room, so you and your buddies can hunt as a group.
If you prefer a more exposed method of waterfowl hunting, a ghillie suit might be just what you’re looking for. Choose a suit that matches local vegetation, find a dry spot on the ground, and lie in wait for those chunky Canadas, speckle bellies, and cacklers to fly overhead.
On top of ensuring you’re entirely camouflaged, your Saskatchewan waterfowl hunting experience requires you to remain as motionless as possible once birds are spotted. Again, these birds may have already been fired upon and they’ll be looking for strange movement in the brush. Be still until you’re ready to fire.
Call Them In
The icing on the cake is luring birds in with convincing calls. Your calling technique needs to be perfect. One awkward squawk in the middle of a goose-calling cadence can alarm the birds and send them flying away as fast as their wings can flap.
Practice, practice, practice in the weeks prior to your hunt. If you’re new at calling in geese and ducks, bring along a seasoned waterfowl calling veteran. Good calls are an important part of a successful Saskatchewan waterfowl hunting experience.
Making a goose and duck harvest in Saskatchewan takes time and planning, but the effort will be well worth it when you’re heading back to camp with your limit of birds. Following this five-step pattern will have you covering all your bases so you can enjoy a successful hunt.