Ducks on Merry Meeting Bay
Well, it is still several months away but I know that you really dedicated duck hunters are already thinking about the approaching waterfowl season. I have already started painting decoys and scouting despite the fact that it has been in the 90s all week! Maine's duck hunting mecca is the tidal waters of Merry Meeting Bay. Rich with wild rice it serves as an abundant food source for a healthy duck population. However, while the ducks may be plentiful and the shooting opportunities numerous it is still highly possibly to hunt "The Bay" and come back duckless. To help you be more successful, here are a few suggestions concerning duck hunting on Merry Meeting. If anyone has any other please post a comment!
Here are a few quick suggestions . . .
1. Location, location, location. Get down to the bay in the off-season and scout out several good spots. Check these locations during both high and low tides and make sure you can easily access the spot during your intended hunting times. Be sure to lock in your GPS coordinates as I can almost guarantee if you don’t the day you decide to hunt will be so foggy you won’t be able to see your hand in front of your face.
2. Camouflage cannot be emphasized enough. These birds are quickly educated and out on the flats there is no real place to hide. Having pre-made grass skirts and covering that match the surroundings is key. I like to use plastic hardware cloth and zip tie to it a mixture of cattails and marsh grasses. Check out these photos of me hunting out of a 12 foot portaboat to get a good feel for what I am talking about, now you see me . . .
. . . now you don’t.
3. Avoid opening day it’s a circus . . . enough said. If you are REALLY adventurous it is worth going for the show just get there SUPER early and remember to keep your head down.
4. Check the tides and make sure you don’t accidentally get into an area where you run out of real estate and have to drag your boat home over miles of mudflats. Also realize that many areas are inaccessible during low tide so make sure you have hunting locations that anticipate the expected tides.
5. Decoy selection – Having teal decoys is a must early in the season. Mallards and Blacks of course should be added to the mix. Later in the season, it will help to have some white (golden eyes or buffleheads)on the outskirts of your spread. Use HEAVY weights as the tide can be unmerciful and when it is shooting time you DO NOT want to be chasing your decoys across the bay.
6. Mojo (spinning wing) ducks are great but realize that in certain locations you may need a sledge hammer to get the mounting pole in the ground.
7. Wait until the birds get close and don’t rush your shots. Sadly every year numerous unclaimed casualties are found floating around the bay by unconscientious hunters. REMEMBER don’t be a sky buster!