Wingshooting reaches its peak with Texas duck hunting. If you have never hunted waterfowl, duck and geese, here are a few things you need to know.
1) Texas waterfowling hunting is highly regulated. You must have a Texas waterfowl hunting license and a federal duck stamp. You can get all the permits you need through the state of Texas of your local Hunting Club.
2) You cannot use lead shot. You must use non-toxic shot. Approved shot are steel, bismuth, tungsten and alloys of bismuth and tungsten. Hevi-shot, a mixture of tungsten, nickel and iron, is extremely popular for Texas duck hunting.
You also need to match the shot size to the birds you are hunting. This handy guide shows the pellet size recommended for the various birds you can hunt in Texas. The chart says steel or Hevi-shot, but it is good for any of the non-toxic shot. Hunting Club carry all the ammunition you need in their pro shop.
3) You should shoot magnum loads with a gun rated for steel shot. In 12 gauge guns, shoot three-inch or three-and-a-half inch shells. In a 20 gauge gun, shoot three-inch shells. The 10 gauge is already chambered for three-and-a-half inch shells. Most hunting clubs require that you bring your own shotgun. A 12 gauge gun is recommended for most hunters. Hunting waterfowl with a 20 gauge is best left to expert shooters.
4) Get Gear: Texas waterfowl hunting is done in the winter. It can be cold and wet. At a minimum, you need waders or hip boots and a waterproof jacket. Ducks are hunted over water. Geese can be hunted Soon over water or fields, but it is still likely to be muddy and wet. Fingerless gloves are also a good idea. Your hands stay warm but you can still easily pull the trigger when the birds come in.
5) Decoys bring the birds down and a good duck call convinces them to take a closer look. If you plan to hunt waterfowl on your own, you need plenty of species-specific decoys. If you want to hunt snow geese, you need snow geese dekes. If you want to hunt canvasbacks, you need can dekes. Hunting clubs typically supply all the decoys you need for your Texas guided duck hunt. Guides have plenty of calls and know when to start calling to bring the birds down.
Hunting club guides are happy to discuss why they use the decoys and calls they carry on hunts.
6) Go Camo: Waterfowl are a very wary bird. Hunting club guides will put you in blinds that help hide you from the birds. But you still need to be wearing camouflage. You need a hat, long sleeves and camo waders or pants.
7) Waterfowl hunting is for the dogs. Dogs are necessary because they will swim out into the deeper water to bring back downed waterfowl. Hunting lodges supply retrieving dogs to bring your birds back to the blind. The guides work their dogs all year long and some clubs are ready to share dog training, diet and exercise tips with you.
8) Scout the Birds: You have to know where they are. When you find them, go back that evening and set your deke spread or get up before daylight to lay out the decoys. When dawn breaks, the birds are moving. You do not want to spook them.
9) Be patient. Let the birds come down. Wait until the guide says shoot, then take your shot.
10) Expect to leave a well-equipped hunting club a better hunter. They are going to make sure you have a great hunting experience, but they want you to go home with knowledge to make all your duck hunting trips from now on better.