Sea duck retrieval is critical

Sea ducks can be difficult to retrieve unless hunters can get their boat limbered up quickly and get to them before the dive or float away.

From shooting wood ducks in timber-filled swamps to mallards in grass-covered marshes, retrieving can be one of the most-challenging aspects of duck hunting.

Not only can ducks vanish in natural cover, they will often dive below the surface, and retrieving sea ducks in the ocean is no cake walk.

Ripples and waves will quickly conceal ducks floating at the water line, and current caused by weather and tide can be a problem. A downed duck can vanish and drift several hundred yards and out of sight very quickly.

Steve Roff of Barrier Island Guide Service said retrieving ducks in the ocean has its challenges, but if conducted correctly, it’s not difficult

“To start off with, we put a float on the anchor line like you do when tarpon fishing,” Roff said. (843-446-7337) “As soon as you shoot them down, you drop the anchor line and retrieve the ducks before they get too far.”

Roff also instructs his hunters to keep an eye on downed birds while he gets the boat free and navigates around the decoys.

“The key to sea duck hunting is to work as a team. The hunter must keep their eye on the duck and the captain will do everything else. If you take your eyes off the bird, you will have a tough time finding them,” he said.

About Jeff Burleson 1311 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.

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