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Gunning for Late-season Mallards? Change Tactics with This Sneaky Set-up

Gunning for late-fall mallards

These ducks are wary, but hungry. OC’s hunting editor explains how to take advantage

Late in the season, hungry mallards are especially committed to the few good feeding fields remaining near open water, and hunters can take advantage of that dependency. Lay in wait behind natural cover wherever possible. Failing that, layout blinds are best.

Credit: Bert de Tilly Change your set-up for wary late-season mallards
Credit: Bert de Tilly
Change your set-up for wary late-season mallards

Establish your set-up downwind and to one side of your decoys—you can’t have too many for late-season mallards—so the birds will cross in front of you as they land. Avoid the head-on approach favoured earlier in the season because you don’t want these wary birds looking at you as they land. And leave the calls at home. With so few options, mallards know where they want to be, and you only risk alarming, rather than attracting, them if your calling isn’t perfect.

Ken Bailey

Ken Bailey

An all-around hunter, Ken Bailey enjoys pursuing waterfowl the most. Based in Edmonton, Outdoor Canada's longtime hunting editor Ken Bailey has hunted every major Canadian game animal, in every corner of the country. For many years, he’s shared his deep knowledge of game behaviour, and wide expertise with all manner of firearms with OC's readers. His work has been recognized numerous times by both the Outdoor Writers of Canada and the National Magazine Awards. Ken is a committed conservationist, dedicated to habitat preservation, sustainable harvests, and passing along our hunting heritage to the next generation. He's also an avid fly fisherman, and a pretty darn good game chef.

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