How to predict when duck hunting will be the best

Keep up with the number of ducks showing up on roosting areas to predict when hunting will be the best.

The habitual behaviors of waterfowl give hunters a unique set of tools to monitor the location and distribution of birds especially when migratory movements are peaking. 

Ducks roost at night and typically in the same location every day. Hunters can monitor roosts in the evening to get a firm reading on the abundance of incoming birds into the area. 

While most duck hunters look for heavily used feeding spots for an early morning shoot, roost areas are just as important to identify as feeding areas. Ducks roost on both large, open waters and in protected or sheltered habitats. Typically, diving ducks roost on big water where there is safety in numbers. The majority of puddle ducks choose sheltered habitats with cover for protection under night-time skies. 

Duck hunter Bryan DeHart of Manteo, N.C., said roost sites are important resources to monitor during the season when the migration is in full swing. 

“You can monitor roost sites, where the numbers increase day by day in December,” DeHart said. (252-473-8632) “If you have access to an impoundment, these areas will normally hold a ton of birds at night.”

Most puddle ducks will roost in large, corn-filled impoundments and tree-filled swamps with canopy cover. 

“We call it, ‘watching the show’. You can definitely tell when a new group of birds has arrived when watching these roosts,” he said.

Jeff Burleson
About Jeff Burleson 1355 Articles
Jeff Burleson is a native of Lumberton, N.C., who lives in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He graduated from N.C. State University with a degree in fisheries and wildlife sciences and is a certified biologist and professional forester for Southern Palmetto Environmental Consulting.