Expectations? - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-22-2017, 12:12 PM Thread Starter
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Expectations?

After a humbling duck opener yesterday, I'm left wondering what I'm doing wrong. My scouting this last month had suggested pass shooting and jump shooting on a couple creeks, which together produced only two marginal shots yesterday (both misses). My afternoon decoy setup (on a pond I know was holding ducks a week ago) produced only three sky-high big ducks that gave no look. A day like that is typical of my duck hunting experience (been hunting 15 years).

At the same time, I read on national forums (which shall remain nameless) that guys are averaging between 30 and 300 ducks killed per season. Frankly, I do not believe that.

I'd like to get good enough at duck hunting to enjoy consistent success. I have done so in other states I've lived in. So, two questions:

1) Is it realistic to expect to eventually find consistent success duck hunting in PA? I don't want it to be easy, but all day off work without a duck in the oven is a losing proposition for me.

2) How many birds killed per hunt do you guys average? I thought, with proximity to the Chesapeake and Susquehanna, that triple-digit seasons and occasional limits would be possible, but are my expectations too high?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-22-2017, 01:10 PM
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Pennsylvania.........it's just not a good duck state. If fact it would probably be considered a horrible duck state by most. I mean, sometimes you strike gold here on those gravy spots that consistently produce but in general when I go out I'm expecting next to nothing and hoping for a great hunt. Theres a big difference between expecting and hoping though.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-22-2017, 01:49 PM
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As stated above its not a great duck state. After hunting NJ and PA for a number of years its night and day. NJ holds a lot of birds, birds fly almost all day, and they're easier to shoot. I hunt mostly puddlers there and I couldn't count how many times I've had large flocks of black ducks dump into the spread while I'm standing and moving in 3ft grass. In PA if you twitch those birds are out of there. Its weird how much more difficult it is. My current PA spot is on a River. I'm guaranteed to see ducks I see on a slow day around 100 a hunt. About 90% of ducks that fly are tree top height and don't give the spread the time of day whether I have 3 decoys out or 100. As the morning progresses around 7-9 with 8 o'clock being go time that is normally when I'll get birds to work and ring some shots off. I will tell you in PA if its a bright clear morning you can forget about a long morning hunt. Actions usually right at shooting hours and that's normally it. Overcast and precipitation and its normally a really good day and birds fly for a good bit. I mean the state holds a lot of birds I see credible reports of them shot so its not impossible just a challenge though.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-22-2017, 06:04 PM
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The Atlantic Flyway has the lowest duck harvest of any of the Flyways.
Pa has turned into the Armpit of the Atlantic Flyway.
Every year the Feds release these numbers for all the Flyways in the US, here's an example of what I'm talking about. For 2016/2017 season Pa had 20,000 active duck hunters and killed 65,000 ducks. New York has 17,600 active duck hunters and killed 156,400 ducks.
New Jersey has 5900 active duck hunters and killed 66,500 ducks!

The Atlantic Flyway had 176,900 active duck hunters and killed about 1.6 million ducks.
The State of Arkansas alone killed 1.1 million ducks with only 53,900 active duck hunters.
The whole Mississippi Flyway killed almost 5 million ducks.
You can read all the numbers here.
https://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/p...and2016-17.pdf

To answer your question, Your expectations are to high!

I've spent most of my money on Waterfowling, Women and Whiskey.
The rest of my money I just wasted.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-22-2017, 07:54 PM
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I had to face reality a couple years ago, that no matter how hard you work, no matter how hard you scout, to think your going to go out and shoot limits consistently is a pipe dream.

I will say though, I have done a lot of waterfowling in CA and it can stink there plenty of times too.

Last edited by ChrisLD; 11-22-2017 at 08:09 PM.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-22-2017, 08:08 PM
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Waterfowl hunting is a passion of mine, and we are able to get mostly consistent limits of ducks and very consistent limits of geese here in Lancaster
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-22-2017, 08:09 PM
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My advice would be that you need to be willing to put miles on, especially if your jump-shooting
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-22-2017, 08:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnyb1815 View Post
Waterfowl hunting is a passion of mine, and we are able to get mostly consistent limits of ducks and very consistent limits of geese here in Lancaster
Consider your self lucky. Come over to the western end of the state where your lucky to get,one or two limits of ducks a year. Lately if you get a duck a day your lucky. Even the woodies are still around right now and no migration in the foreseeable future. If it wasn't for geese I would quit hunting. Our duck season ends in 2 weeks.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-23-2017, 05:09 PM
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yes I agree pa isn't a good state for ducks. but if you live here you make do. the game commish could help a little by bringing in the season at better times , why bring in the nw the first week in oct and run it straight through, it goes out for good in two weeks and birds still have not come down yet in any great numbers . there was a push about 2 weeks ago on that last big cold front but it wasn't a huge push they need to split the season better
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-23-2017, 05:14 PM
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I read on national forums (which shall remain nameless) that guys are averaging between 30 and 300 ducks killed per season. Frankly, I do not believe that.


Essentially, this is like listening to a pod cast about hunting Iowa, passing up 140 class bucks and then going to the game lands to hunt in PA.......


Expectations need to include where you hunt as a consideration, and as stated above, you don't hunt in a good duck state.

I prefer my kid hunt and fish rather than steal and deal,
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