Tips for Scouting New Waterfowl Food Sources Before Hunting Season
One of the best indicators a spot is going to produce come fall and winter is a reliable food source. But plants don’t look quite the same mid-summer as they do in the heart of hunting season. Follow these tips to scout for those food sources that will be irresistible to birds in a few months.
Learn Your Plants
While most hunters can tell the difference between common crops, many waterfowl hunters can’t identify natural food sources for ducks. Take the time to study up on plants such as wild celery, sedges such as chufa, smartweed, barnyard grass, and duck potato, which can all be duck magnets, at their different stages of growth. Find out what food sources birds are after in your area, then go searching.
Scout Whenever You’re Out
You might not even be scouting for waterfowl spots when you stumble upon a food source that could make a great setup in a few months. Whether you’re hanging trail cameras or taking a shortcut to a fishing honey hole, always be on the lookout for prime food sources and jot the coordinates down for later.
Take Advantage of Technology
Apps such as onX Hunt can help you plan ahead by accessing crop data anytime of year. The versatile hunting app allows you to pinpoint the 19 most popular crop types anytime to devise your strategy months in advance. It’s also helpful if you locate a promising spot on private ground and need landowner information to go knocking on doors.
Food sources that are regularly reliable might dry up one year due to drought or other adverse conditions. Consider what weather the food sources need to thrive and closely monitor growth.
Always have a couple backups in case that dependable spot fails you.
Don’t Forget Roosting and Loafing Areas
Food sources can tell you where birds may potentially be, but pinpointing their roosting and loafing areas will help you dial in on exactly where ducks are spending their time and how they’re moving to feed. Do some extra homework so you can put the whole picture together.