Hunting waterfowl is different than hunting other animals in theHunter. While tracking and spotting are key to a successful hunt on deer, bear, turkey, etc., these skills are less important for waterfowl hunting. You will discover very soon that it is a totally different experience. There are about 30 birds that start on the map (ducks on water, geese on ground) when the game starts. These are like all other animals randomized over the map at the start of the game. All other birds however spawn and despawn during the game. A flock will spawn near the player and fly over the reserve. When it has left the player's view, it will despawn.
Reserves and Species
Duck Hunting Aids
|Species||Decoys for full attraction||Long Range Caller||Short Range Caller||Flock Recognition|
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|Mallard||24 Mallard||Mallard Long Range||Mallard Short Range|
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|American Black Duck|| 24 Mallard & 12 American Black Duck|
-OR- 24 American Black Duck
|Mallard Long Range||Mallard Short Range|
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|Northern Pintail|| 24 Mallard & 12 Northern Pintail|
-OR- 24 Northern Pintail
|Northern Pintail Long Range||Mallard Short Range|
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|Gadwall|| 24 Mallard & 12 Gadwall|
-OR- 24 Gadwall
|Mallard Long Range||Gadwall Short Range|
Duck Caller Lanyard
This upgrade lets you use your duck callers in a pie menu. Equip all callers in the open inventory slot at the bottom and use the "N" key to bring up the pie menu. This upgrade is not an equippable item. Upon purchase, lanyard functionality is unlocked.
Canada Goose Hunting Aids
|Decoys||Flapping Wings Decoys||Long Range Caller||Short Range Caller||Flag Lure|
How to use the Waterfowl Lures
- Use the Long Range Callers to make birds break free from high flying flocks.
- Constant calling has a better chance for success.
- These callers do not make new flocks spawn. Calling when there are no flocks visible in the sky has no effect.
- Flag Lures have the same effect as Long Range Callers.
- The effect of Flag Lures stacks with that of Long Range Callers. Two persons using a Long Range Caller and a Flag Lure will have a greater chance for birds coming down.
- Use the Short Range Callers to lure low flying birds closer to you and to make them land near you.
- Use the Short Range Callers to lure birds in the water or on ground move closer to you.
Decoys Usage and Facts
- Read up about Decoys.
Waterfowl spawns outside the map and flies over the reserve. After leaving the reserve, the same birds can reappear again in another flock later on. You may recognize this yourself when you spot a rare bird such as a Black Hybrid Mallard multiple times. Waterfowl flocks are always mixed groups of males and females. Duck flocks can also be a mix of different species, especially as your hunt progresses to an hour or more.
Preparing the hunt
Find an area where you can often see high flying flocks. Birds will only land if the landing target is big enough for them to land on, so you want to position yourself very close to big water places (ducks) or fields (geese). Consider placing a tent right in this area. This way you can start your hunts right where the action happens! Now make your position attractive! Your goal is to get them to break from high flying flocks and land near you. The birds are attracted to Decoys of their kind as well as the callers mimicking their own sounds. Using both at the same time has the best effect. The decoys imitate birds sitting on the water surface or corn field. When you now add their typical sound with the callers, the illusion is perfect for them and they pay you a visit. Set out the decoys a few meters apart from each other. 24 decoys have the best attraction effect. Setting up more in the same area does not increase the attraction of the area any further. Learn more about the mixing of different duck decoys here.
Waterfowl can see your movements from far away. You can lie flat on the ground, or you can consider setting up a waterfowl blind Summer Camo or Fall Field Camo. Three people can wait in such a blind for the birds to approach. In the blind, you don't have to lay on the ground but can crouch. The blind nicely protects your movements from being spotted by the approaching birds, but also against other species that might be roaming the area.
Ducks and Geese can spawn on the ground or come flying in groups about 60m up. Scan the skies for incoming flocks. You will hear a quacking or honking of approaching flocks. Once you spot a flock, start calling with the appropriate long range caller. The birds are hard to predict how they will behave when they spot decoys or hear calls. In the worst case an entire flock might just pass without taking notice. However in most cases you will see some birds detaching themselves from the group and starting to glide into your area. They can come flying right to your call, or they can seek a feeding place further away from you.
Some birds might have been successfully lured away from their flock, but they decided to land outside your shotgun range. With the species specific short range caller you can now imitate their feeding sound. This will lure birds to where you are. So combine the callers! The long range caller increases the chance of them breaking off from the large flock and beginning to circle the area where the call originated. However without using the short range caller there is no guarantee that they will fly or land close enough to your location for a shoot. In this case they will choose a random location where there is enough space on water or land. They can land next to you or quite a bit further away. Using the short range caller basically increases the chance of you getting a shot at them.
Differences in luring geese vs. ducks:
- In multiplayer mode you can lure more geese when one player uses the Long Range Caller and another uses the Flag Lure. This type of luring effect increase is not possible when hunting ducks.
- With the short range caller for ducks, you can lure ducks that have landed on water. They will swim against your location. This is not possible with geese.
The constant movements of swimming ducks or walking geese can make shots with a bow or crossbow a nice challenge. Shooting birds with bows further out will not spook nearby fellows. The real deal however is to shoot the birds in the air! Whistle with the "Make sound" key (default: F; see Controls) to flush the birds just as you do with the pheasants. You will receive a score for birds shot on the water ("G" score), but only birds shot in the air ("A" score) will count for competitions, leaderboards and missions. So make good use of your shotguns! The constant supply of new flocks will need you to be equipped with plenty of Birdshot ammunition! Shot waterfowl will drop dead to the ground or water surface. In water they might float to the other side of a river or lake, but you should always be able to retrieve them. Consider using a retriever dog for collecting shot birds.
A Working Duck Hunting Location
The following location is good for duck hunting for various reasons:
- It is located in the middle of the island and the frequency is quite nice.
- The blind is on a mini island, you can place decoys all around it.
- The 360 view is almost perfect. Plenty of water for the mallards to land.
Hunting Ducks On The Go
(from community member BlindTyldak)
"I bought the long range caller to see what would happen, and I got ducks."
- Find an open spot near the edge of a big lake and go prone. Do not move when calling.
- Spam the long range caller. A LOT. The duck spawns appear to come in waves, so you'll get several groups flying overhead pretty constantly and then none at all for five or ten minutes real time. Spamming increases the chances of breaking them off.
- When they break, if you are near the edge of a large lake, they will land in shotgun range 90% of the time since they will not settle on land.
- Listen for the landing splash, and stop calling except occasionally to keep them interested in the area. Keep your Huntermate out and wait until one of them quacks fairly loudly. You can track this call and get the direction of a duck, since you probably can't see the duck prone. I have crawled while the ducks are on the water without spooking them, but I would not push it.
- Aim your gun above the grass where your Huntermate showed the duck call, whistle (F key by default) and be prepared to shoot quickly.
"In about an hour just using the long range caller (no blind, no decoys, no short range call, full B&C) I was able to break off four sets of ducks, averaging 3-5 per break. This is DEFINITELY not the best way to hunt ducks, but it is definitely possible to be successful at it."
More Waterfowl Hunting Facts
- Ducks cannot land or walk on solid ground. It will either be in the air or on water.
- Geese cannot land or swim on water. It will either be in the air or on solid ground. It can also sleep on the ground.
- Waterfowl do not follow predefined flying paths. Their path in the sky is random.
- High flying birds use a much simpler AI and graphics representation than other animals. This allows to have more in the game than with other species. There is a limited amount of waterfowl per reserve just as with all other species but they are not all present at once. When a flock leaves the reserve they are added to an unspawned pool that is then used to randomly create new flocks to enter the map.
- Spooked bird leave the reserve and are then 'reused' in new flocks. This might result in wound times counted in hours in long game sessions. This makes it a bad practice to take long range shots if you are looking for consistently good harvest values. It also gives each bird a history that you can view when harvesting it, for instance a player shot at it an hour ago but failed to kill it, and then you got it in a completely different part of the map.
- Waterfowl in air are not rendered if they more than 600m away from the player.
- If the only thing you do is call without using decoys or a flag lure, the probability for them to land is low but it can happen.
- Decoys in the same spread are grouped together as one icon on the Huntermate.
- You need to have different decoy spreads at least 100m apart for both to have an effect. Otherwise you may get a lot of unnecessary decoys that are added to an area that already has max attraction.