Steve Carney column - ducks

Flooded crop fields are the story here in 2019.

Jump shooting ducks is in my blood. I’ve been doing this since I was 12 years old, and it is always exciting as every event is different than the previous.

Jump shooting is a duck hunting technique that involves glassing small water such as creeks and small sloughs, identifying the ducks and then finding a way to sneak within shotgun range. This is a great technique as most of us don’t have a private 300-acre slough to ourselves. I enjoy jump shooting because the challenge is finding the ducks in the first place, securing permission and then making the sneak.

Most duck hunting scenarios require lots of additional equipment such as boats, decoys, blinds, etc., but jump shooting requires a shotgun and a set of waders. One key piece of equipment is a long 8-foot wood dowel which I use for stabilizing myself in the sloughs as I walk. I also added a hook to the end so I can retrieve my downed birds from a good distance.

The rainfall of this past season has created a ton of small water opportunities which we didn’t have last season. At this point in time, there are unharvested crop fields all through Minnesota and the Dakotas creating flooded crop conditions and duck opportunities.

The expanded, flooded crops have made the more traditional sloughs and swamps not as productive as the birds are now more spread out and tougher to find. This means jumping in the truck and scouting lots of miles and finding those duck concentrations.

As we head into late October and early November, the duck situation will improve as migrants head into the state, providing more waterfowl action.

Like everything else in the fishing and hunting world, the weather will be the final factor and we hunters just try and make it happen regardless.

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