Creating Your Own Duck Hunting Pothole
Dr. John Woods 10.06.20
Yeah, well, obviously you have to have a place where waterfowl frequent during the fall southern migrations of ducks and geese. The good news is that given the several designated waterfowl flyways in America it is fairly common to find locations where ducks and geese stop off to feed and rest. Do a little research where you hunt to see if waterfowl is ever in the mix.
Survey your property looking for sources regularly holding standing water. If you have hunted a place for long, you probably know the answer to that. You may be wondering though how to keep those waterfowl on the property long enough to hunt them. With some planning and effort, this can be done.
First, inspect that low place holding water. Ideally what you need is a small pond with a rather shallow depth. From 2-4 feet would be good. Certainly deeper holes can be fashioned into a place to hold ducks, but you might have to engage the use of a canoe or skiff to move around the water surface to hunt or recover downed birds if you don’t have a duck dog.
The four potholes on the place where I deer hunt came naturally. One site is actually a series of three “ponds” that are connected flowing out of a swamp. When the rainy season comes every fall, this trio of holes will fill up with water. Their banks are host to a variety of canes and tall weeds that offer natural spots for constructing a blind along the edge of the water. They orient north to south, so blinding up on the south end allows shooting north as ducks pass over to settle in to feed or roost.
The other pothole is a small pond that fills up with water coming out of a big cypress woods with a flowing creek during wet times. This pond will hold waterfowl coming and going all day especially during the sunset hours of the day. Wood ducks pile into this spot to roost among the cypress trees. There are several select places where manmade blinds can be constructed of synthetic or natural materials.
If you have no ponds or water holes on your place, then consider constructing a small one with a little dozer work. State wildlife officials can help you design such a structure. Plant some waterfowl appropriate grasses and plants around the edges. Leave room to plant some milo sorghum around the edges to attract waterfowl. Consider locations for at least one or two hunting blinds you can construct yourself.
Study up on waterfowl movements in your area, start to practice on your duck and goose calling, and pattern a good shotgun with non-lead shot loads. You may just find you will get hooked on waterfowl hunting in between deer hunts.