We’re in an era where everybody is on their phone or laptop or watching something on a screen, but it doesn’t do anything other than teaching you.
It’s just a reward system that gives your brain a serotonin boost without having you retain much of that information at all.
Books not only give you the ability to learn through a dedicated source (with no distractions), but reading helps you slow down and absorb the information.
On top of that, there are no clickbait titles or sales pitches: you’ve already bought the book, it’s just core information the whole way through.
Duck hunting books also allow you to take them on the go and trust me when I say that whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll be happy that you have one of these paperbacks wedged into the back of your hunting bag.
It comes in handy and includes first-hand accounts from reputable, fact-checked sources with critical information to share.
It’s a way to verify the information you’re reading, and find out everything you need to know about duck hunting in the process.
Best Duck Call For Beginners
Duck Decoy Setup Made Simple: Diagrams & Tips for Duck Hunting
Scott Dawson spends over 150 pages discussing decoys, from placement to tips and tricks, and everything in between.
It’s a heavy-handed book considering the narrow scope of the subject, and through it, he tries to keep his information as concise as possible.
Personally, I can’t stand non-fiction books that get overly wordy, and it’s clear that Dawson shares that mindset.
Decoys are one of your strongest pieces of hunting equipment for any waterfowl, and Dawson makes this point very clear throughout the entire book.
At one point, he discusses the importance of getting placement just right to put your decoys in the best possible light and attract more game.
It’s a good resource to have in hand while you’re hunting, but it is definitely something that’s going to benefit beginners more than experienced hunters.
If you’ve been hunting for about three years, you’ve likely learned 75% of what Dawson has to teach, but there are still those nuggets of golden information that might not be so apparent.
I personally recommend marking the pages with information that you find useful.
Cover to cover, it’s a concise amount of intel with enough to get any beginner off the ground and show some of us seasoned veterans a new trick or two.
While Dawson doesn’t discuss duck calls combined with decoys as much as I’d like, it’s still a good dedicated resource to keep in your hunting backpack at all times. It doesn’t take up much space, either.
|About:||Decoy placement, duck hunting tactics, why decoys work|
Duck Hunting Made Simple: 21 Steps to Duck Hunting Success
This isn’t just a series of tips, it’s something else entirely.
I’ve never read a waterfowl hunting book that incorporates tips, tricks, and actionable step-by-step guides in such a cohesive way.
Most of the time you find online guides that appear like a “Top 10” list that only have one or two good points, to begin with, and they end up being hard to follow.
However, this is another excellent work by Scott Dawson, who sticks to that no-filler language that most of us are looking for.
He incorporates step-by-step information with little bits and bobs of duck hunting information that gives every page something of value.
Duck hunting can either be a labor-intensive process, or it can go smoothly the entire time and keep you energized with your head in the game.
If you get excited at the day’s beginning, but you feel frustrated by the end, Dawson’s duck hunting guide is going to hit home for you.
Each of the 21 steps actually has merit and adds something to your duck hunt.
They cover multiple points throughout your hunting day so that you know what to do when the game gets scarce, or when you need to find a new hunting ground.
There’s never a short supply of important info throughout this book.
Whether you’re a beginner, or you’ve just gotten stuck in a rut-like routine with duck hunting, allow Dawson to break you free from that mold and show you something new. It’ll be one of the most worthwhile reads you have this year.
|About:||Pro tips, step-by-step guide for hunting, some information about migration and conditions|
Waterfowl Identification: The LeMaster Method
There isn’t much to say about this one, other than that you’ll find yourself using it again and again throughout the day.
Once you remember some information about different types of waterfowl, you’ll be able to use this visual guide to quickly identify your prey and put that information to good use.
While they’re not high-definition illustrations, as this was initially printed in 1996, they show distinct markers between different species of waterfowl.
There are subtle markings on certain birds that might require binoculars or a monocular to spot, but once you do, you can adjust your approach accordingly to ensure a successful hunt.
I still use this book, to this day.
If you like to approach your hunt from a logistics standpoint, and you have the patience to double-check what you’re seeing, you’ll be better equipped to use the correct duck call and come out on top.
Quite simply put, it’s a duck hunting necessity, and you should always have it in your backpack.
|About:||Identifying game, learning distinct visual differences in waterfowl|
Bury Me in my Waders Waders: An Old Duck Hunter Recalls His Fowl Past
Okay, so this is non-fiction, but it’s not a field guide.
Don Webster recounts hilarious and sometimes heart-wrenching tales that have a central focus on duck hunting.
He talks about his hunting buddies, refers to heaven as “The Great Marsh in the Sky” (which always gets a rise out of me), and some of the challenges that he and his friends faced during these hunting times.
While it isn’t intentional, Bury Me in my Waders discusses certain medical diagnoses that can really get in the way of doing what you love, and honoring the ability to not let it run your life at the same time.
Don has a certain way of incorporating humor into writing that is often lacking from most books that I read.
It’s difficult to write humor, which is why we usually watch funny movies or stand-up comedy, but Don has a unique way of hitting your funny bone at the right angle to really paint his life in a humorous and enjoyable light.
Regardless of what he faced, his wife was by his side, and his friends were there to continue hunting with him—what more could any man want?
|About:||A biographical and humorous take on duck hunting, implementing duck hunting into your life|
Duck Hunting for Kids (Into the Great Outdoors)
Do you know why I like this book?
It’s cheap, and it’s like a super-fast crash course in duck hunting that’s designed for kids, but can still be valued by adults.
Reading over it, I actually went down memory lane and thought back to some really great things that happened around my duck hunting journeys.
But the main point of this book is that it’s inexpensive and easily digestible.
At just 32 pages, there’s no reason why a kid can’t easily get through it if they’re serious about duck hunting.
It’s not like they’re reading Atlas Shrugged just to get their bearings.
There’s a bit of history, a bit of gear know-how; a little bit of everything that you want your child to know before they actually set foot out near the pond to take their first shot.
As a solid primer for duck hunting, it does exactly what it’s supposed to do.
|About:||Introduction to hunting, how kids can hunt duck safely, what to expect while duck hunting|
Duck Hunting Book Buying Guide And FAQs
What Can You Learn From Duck Hunting Books?
If you get a good waterfowl hunting book, you can figure out tons of hunting tactics and information about your prey, such as:
- How to position decoys for maximum effect
- What gear to wear when you go duck hunting
- Migration patterns and how they affect hunting
- How to identify specific species of waterfowl
- The difference between buckshot and slugs for duck hunting
- Camouflage patterns
- The importance of face masks
- Duck call etiquette and how to use them
- The right weatherproof gear to use while duck hunting
- How fast waterfowl can flee once they’re onto you
We’re going to be here all day if I list every benefit you can get from reading duck hunting books.
Truth be told, it’s a myriad of different benefits that extend beyond what you’re going to find in this post.
Duck hunting books serve their purpose best as a beginner’s guide or a crash course into the world of waterfowl hunting.
If you’re someone who’s never raised a rifle to your shoulder, then you have a lot to learn.
You can’t learn everything from books (I’m mostly a kinesthetic learner myself), but everyone can learn something from a duck hunting book.
Newcomers will get more out of them, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t extra info for some of us seasoned veterans as well.
Why Should You Buy a Duck Hunting Book?
There are different ways that people learn.
Primarily, you have four separate learners, two of which can benefit from paperback/hardcover books, and one from audiobooks (most of these books I’ve listed also have audio versions available).
You have visual learners and reading/writing learners, both of whom benefit from books, and you have auditory learners, who will benefit the most from audiobooks.
Lastly, there are kinesthetic learners who get the most out of hands-on practice and doing things, which will only benefit a little bit from books.
Even if you have the best duck hunting books, your learning style will come into play.
Since many people can benefit from reading books, it gives you a different medium to explore while learning about your hobby.
You can color-code a duck hunting book with colored markers, highlighters, or colored plastic tabs that stick to the inside of pages if you want.
This lets you pull the book out like a field manual in the middle of duck hunting when you need to reference something, or double-check a specific waterfowl breed before you engage with a duck call.
They’re handy, lightweight, and you don’t have to have your battery life to worry about.
I’ll admit, they’re not as handy in the early morning when you can’t properly see, but nothing’s going to spook a duck while you’re trying to hunt them like a big ball of light coming from your phone.
Which is the Best One for Beginners?
As far as waterfowl books go, I’d have to say that Duck Hunting Made Simple: 21 Steps to Duck Hunting Success would be the very best book for beginners.
As mentioned before, it’s a cohesive step-by-step guide to duck hunting from start to finish.
It’s something that would have been nice had I known about it when I began duck hunting.
That’s a good crash course if you’re comfortable with a rifle, and you don’t mind getting your waders dirty while you traverse through the marsh trying to find a duck.
But if you’re seriously just starting out, if this life piqued your interest and you have no foothold in the hunting world, I would actually start with Duck Hunting for Kids (Into the Great Outdoors).
Yes, it’s designed for kids to read, but it’s a good primer for anyone, really.
From there, I would then graduate to Duck Decoy Setup Made Simple: Diagrams & Tips for Duck Hunting, because it operates on some level of assumption that you’ve already been hunting before.
It was listed as the top book on this list because it displays some of the best technicians working knowledge of decoys and duck hunting, but it’s far from beginner’s books on duck hunting.
Why can Duck Hunting be so Complicated?
Ducks can see you, hear you, and can be warded off from a specific spot with the wrong call.
When ducks get spooked, you can expect the rest of the hunt to be difficult.
There’s a reason that most duck hunters get to it nice and early in the morning.
If you put your decoy in the wrong spot, or you make too much noise rustling in the reeds, a duck is going to spot you, know something is up, and take off in the opposite direction.
Once they’re airborne, you minimize your chance of actually landing your shot.
To put it simply, here’s a hard and fast set of the most common mistakes, just to show you how many things can go wrong on a duck hunt.
- Poor Concealment: If your mask isn’t blending, or you’re sticking out like a big sore pink thumb, you can expect waterfowl to notice. They’re not as bird-brained as we anticipate them to be. As a relatively docile animal, they’re privy to hunters and predators at every single turn.
- Bad Calls: Both in the sense of your duck call, and calling the wrong shots; when to move in, when to pull the trigger, etc.
- Shoddy Positioning: If you spot a flock of ducks, you can rotate to a better vantage point or thicker brush to conceal yourself better. The key here is having good visibility on your targets, and planning your next move accordingly. If you can’t account for every duck, you could easily run into one, which could send the rest of the flock into the air.
- Noise: Can ducks hear you over their own incessant quacking? Yeah, they can. They can hear more than you think. If you end up bringing a beginner with you, the hardest thing is going to be teaching them how to stay silent the entire time. Even for us seasoned pros, there are still obstacles to overcome in the pursuit of remaining undetected by your prey.
Are Free Internet Resources Enough to Replace a Duck Hunting Book?
You can find plenty of free resources online (like this one), but I’ll be the first to advocate bringing along a solid paperback with you on your hunting trip.
Online articles usually take bits and bobs from different sources (most of the time, those sources are books), and make bite-sized or medium-length, compact articles for you to digest when you see fit.
But they’re not cohesive. Even as I write this guide, I know it’s not going to be 100% of everything you need to know about duck hunting.
If I were going to put the time together to create that kind of resource, I’d get it bound and sell it.
Duck hunting books are sources of solid information that you don’t have to scour the internet for.
You can learn a lot online, but with all the flashing lights and distractions, some of that information can get lost or fragmented.
Sit down with nothing but the sound of silence and a good book, and you’ll be amazed at what you retain from it.
Why You Shouldn’t Get a Digital Copy of These Books
You want to be able to bring some of these with you out onto the hunting grounds.
Personally, Waterfowl Identification is something that I constantly use.
Bringing some of these books along with you not only gives you the option to view them, but you aren’t confined to a small phone screen with fleeting battery life.
You’re not straining your eyes on the blue light to get a glimpse at what you need.
To be frank, duck hunting can get boring at times when you’re waiting for your decoys to take effect.
I wouldn’t mind poring over Bury Me in my Waders one or two more times while waiting for the right time of day, or for the game to pick up.
Sometimes it’s about having something to do.
Study Hard, Hunt Smarter
Duck hunting tactics are rock solid; they’re not touch-and-go, they can be used over and over again.
You’re about to equip yourself with some of the best knowledge available on hunting waterfowl, and with the right mindset to apply it to your duck hunting, you’ll be able to bag more game and reduce the risk of duck and geese getting away.
It comes down to a fine-tuned science, so hit the books, bring one with you, and get to it.