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First Generation New Hunter Looking for Guidance


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Hi all- new waterfowl hunter here. I am the first in my family to jump in so unfortunately do not have the benefit of learning from generations before me. I am a 27 year old living in Hudson County, and keep my things at my parents house in Bergen County (apartment life...). I got tired of skeet shooting and had a friend that got me into waterfowl and took me on a couple hunts to learn the basics, but he has been hunting more in private clubs in PA where he is from (got me hooked and sort of left me hanging!). I have been on a couple of hunts by myself this season (was at Great Bay Blvd on Saturday and got my first black duck along with a bufflehead).

Due to scheduling issues, my last chance to duck hunt this season will be this coming Saturday (1/18) and am just looking to connect with some people and maybe tag along to learn a few tricks. I have 20 mallard decoys and 4 canada goose decoys, canoe, camo burlap and netting for cover, semi 12ga with plenty of shells, and am a good shot. Am willing to travel wherever I need to.

Hopefully one of you are going out this Saturday and are willing to let me tag along. Really looking to make some connections, learn a few tricks of the trade, and maybe make a few friends along the way for seasons to come! If not, any suggestions on good coastal spots to drop in with a canoe are welcome as well. Have tried Manahawkin and GBB thus far. Thanks all!

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Welcome to the site trettrot.  I'm not a duck hunter but best of luck to you.  We've got a lot of waterfowlers on here so hopefully you find a connection.  

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Black duck and a buffie on Saturday in that way to warm and high winds. Seems like your already ahead of game. I saw very little and was in the same area. 

Saturday is forcast to be colder/rain potential some snow. Better chance that new ducks will be pushed this way. Back pack some decoys into a likely looking area . You may even want to repaint a couple of the mallards into black ducks. Chest high waders and a willingness to hump through marsh will get you to some likely spots. Just watch the tides, dont want to cross something at low tide only to find out at high tide you have to swim it to get back. 

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Little late but I was out yesterday at GBB, bagged a few buffies. I hunt exclusively from kayaks or shore but am buying a 20' mako to hunt out of. Anyway, if you get any other free days I'm there basically every day except sunday so just shoot me a message.

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I’m in the same boat as you , Im new to this and really haven’t had anyone to show me the ropes . Went on a few hunts with a few buddies and then , I found myself on my own with a buddy whose just as new as I am . I don’t have a boat or any spots coastal to help you , but I’m hoping someone can help you out . I’ve got a few spots for goose here in Burlington & ocean county ,but Canada ends on Wednesday here . Maybe can set something up in the future. 

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There is no substitute for just going out. Find a couple of spots you want to hunt and just hunt them. Pack in a few decoys on a backpack, lunch/water/snacks and hump the marshes or if you have a kayak,  put in where you think you will be safe. The open water of the big bays Im not so sure id like to be in a Kayak in winter but there are protected places. Read maps and Google earth. Surprising places can be uncovered and go for it. I have tried a lot of places that where a waste of time but thats half the journey of duck hunting. Even when its a waste you are learning something. Duck numbers seem down this year, hopefully the recent cold spells push ducks out from inland to coast. Saturday was decent for blacks and buffies but not much else. Ive been hunting 20 plus years and I am terrible at it but its the game I enjoy playing. Spend off season doing some scouting for next year, it will pay off. 

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On 1/19/2020 at 11:55 AM, petere1144 said:

Little late but I was out yesterday at GBB, bagged a few buffies. I hunt exclusively from kayaks or shore but am buying a 20' mako to hunt out of. Anyway, if you get any other free days I'm there basically every day except sunday so just shoot me a message.

Congrats on the mako! That sounds awesome. I'm getting tempted to buy a jon boat... something small with a motor to get around with some confidence in open water. Unfortunately won't be able to get back down this season, but it would be great to team up next season!

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On 1/20/2020 at 1:00 PM, jerseyducker said:

There is no substitute for just going out. Find a couple of spots you want to hunt and just hunt them. Pack in a few decoys on a backpack, lunch/water/snacks and hump the marshes or if you have a kayak,  put in where you think you will be safe. The open water of the big bays Im not so sure id like to be in a Kayak in winter but there are protected places. Read maps and Google earth. Surprising places can be uncovered and go for it. I have tried a lot of places that where a waste of time but thats half the journey of duck hunting. Even when its a waste you are learning something. Duck numbers seem down this year, hopefully the recent cold spells push ducks out from inland to coast. Saturday was decent for blacks and buffies but not much else. Ive been hunting 20 plus years and I am terrible at it but its the game I enjoy playing. Spend off season doing some scouting for next year, it will pay off. 

Agreed on the importance of scouting. Bagged a wigeon and bufflehead on Saturday, but really spent most of the day scouting around for next season. 

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7 hours ago, trettrot23 said:

Agreed on the importance of scouting. Bagged a wigeon and bufflehead on Saturday, but really spent most of the day scouting around for next season. 

Nice.  Each hunt and each season you will learn something.  Before long you'll be the one offering advice to newbies.  :up::up:

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