Waterfowl Hunting in Tennessee
What does it take to Duck hunt? Here are some basic tips to assure that you have a pleasurable successful hunt.
Licenses: In addition to the Tennessee state hunting license, you must also have a Federal Waterfowl stamp. In Tennessee you can purchase your stamp online at: gooutdoorstennessee.com or at the local post office.
Limits: There are strict rules and regulations for waterfowl hunting in Tennessee. There is what is called a “bag limit”. This refers to how many birds you can shoot in one day. In Tennessee the bag limit is six birds per day, including no more than four mallards (no more than two can be hens), three wood ducks, two canvas backs, two redheads, tow black ducks, one pintail and one mottled duck. There are also limits on scaup (a type of diving duck) in different areas at different times. Check the TWRA website . There is such a large number of different species that it can be confusing, do your research.
Duck call: According to some experts, a double reed duck call works best for beginners. With a double reed call you can get a qua-ACK sound. If you don’t have any experience ask an old timer, or there are lots of great videos on YouTube.
Decoys: Decoys are essential to waterfowl hunting. The decoy will make any ducks flying over in the area more comfortable to think other birds are already there. You can be the best duck caller in the world, but if they don’t see other ducks, they will be very leary.
Blinds: Having a blind not only provides cover, it also allows you to hunt in a group. In a blind you can stay warm with a heater, movement is concealed and there are many more eyes in the sky to see prey from different directions.
Camouflage: Ducks have keen eyesight, so wearing camouflage allows you to blend in with the vegetation. Try to wear a camouflage pattern and color that will somewhat match the surrounding vegetation. Ducks can see color. It is best to conceal you face with a mask or camouflage make up. Or if these are not for you a wide brim hat will do to conceal your face in the shadow of the brim.
Shotgun: A 12 gauge shotgun seems to be the most popular with hunters due to it’s weight and fire power ratio. A 20 gauge is preferred by hunters woh do not like the weight of the 12 gauge.
Some guns have a camouflage patterned stock and a low gloss finish to reduce their visibility to waterfowl.
Ammunition: All ammunition used for waterfowl must be non toxic ad must not contain any lead. Steel is the cheapest alternative. There are others made of Tungsten, Bismuth, or other elements with a density similar or greater than lead, but the increase in performance comes at a higher cost. Some shell boxes often cost more than thirty dollars a box for twenty five shells. Experts recommend loading your gun with steel shells and practice shooting your gun to get the feel of the spray pattern. jHunters generally use pellet sizes 4, 3, and 2 for ducks. Buckshot is illegal.
Boat: Excellent waterfowl hunting can be found on land in Tennessee but there is competition for it. A boat allows you to stay mobile, as ducks populate one area one day and a different area on the next. (if you're going out in a boat, leave a float plan so other may easily find you if things go awry.