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Woods Ducks, Coming to a Creek (and Table!) Near You

By Jonathan Bowman

Photos by Jonathan Bowman

Gosh, I love wood ducks. They fly in fast and early. Sometimes so early that you have to watch them swimming only a few yards in front of you while you wait for legal shooting light. The distinction of a wood duck is the whistling sound of their wings and high pitch squeal in their voice.

If you are like me and don’t have a duck dog to retrieve kills on a river or other deep water, wood ducks are your best friend. They might be the only regular waterfowl that lands in that shallow swamp pond deep in the woods. Wood ducks don’t typically “work” the sky (circling a few times before landing) like a mallard, for example. Decoys and calls are useful, but I have had some of my best wood duck hunts when we forgot the decoys and calls. My buddy Clay and I are professionals at forgetting to bring the expensive gear we spend our hard-earned money on.

Another great part about wood duck hunting? You might be able to do it before work. We rarely see a wood duck fly 30 minutes after sunrise. Yes, there may be some other ducks that may come in later in the morning, but we typically wrap up our swamp hunts less than an hour after sunrise.

So, enjoy a quick hunt in your local swamp, knock down some woodies (and whatever other ducks might surprise you) and get ready to look at one of the most beautiful birds in the world. Oh, and by the way wood ducks are one of the best for the dinner table. Try my simple, quick recipe for duck.

Get the recipe

Jonathan Bowman lives in Amelia County, where he spends as much time as possible hunting, fishing, and cooking. Jonathan loves sharing his passions with others, and is determined to one day convince his wife to join him on a turkey hunt.

  • February 3, 2022