Pennsylvania Game News - October 2019 - 25

woodies sometimes fly only a short distance after being flushed, then resettle on
the water. Second chances are possible,
though the birds are warier after the first
encounter.
Also keep your eye to the sky when
you push woodies off the water. Wood
ducks have a penchant for flying away,
only to come back over the area, headed
in the opposite direction.
Most of the time, they're out of gun
range when they come back, but occasionally they're low enough for a shot.
At their flying speed, the window of
opportunity is brief, but it's a chance
nonetheless.

STALK & SURPRISE

DUCK ZONES

My favorite way to hunt wood ducks
is to jump-shoot them on small waters.
Not all streams are suited for such a
hunt. But streams lined with cover that
have banks allowing for stalking within
gun range are ideal.
The approach is fairly simple. Start on
the downstream portion of the area you
plan to hunt, then slowly start upstream
looking for any sign of ducks. Use binoculars to glass the slack-water areas of
the stream ahead. Look for ripples in the
otherwise calm water, or ducks sitting on
or amid rocks and blowdowns.
Once you find woodies, pick out a

landmark that can lead you to the birds.
It's best if you stay away from the stream
bank and go straight to the landmark,
using whatever cover you can to get well
within gun range before springing the
trap. These birds are fast flyers, and even
when you use surprise to your advantage,
you might find yourself getting only one
or two shots before they're gone.
The great thing about this approach
is that you can do it at about any time
of the day.
There's no need to be in a hurry.
Often I will bowhunt a few hours in
the morning, then swap gear and locations to take advantage of some midday
duck action. By then, the birds have filled
their bellies and are in loafing mode.
They are as wary as ever, but as
relaxed as a wood duck ever seems to get.
As with any hunting, nothing is for
certain when pursuing wood ducks.
Habitat changes, a bad nesting season
or the lack of food sources can find a previous year's hotspot seemingly devoid of
ducks. And sudden cold snaps can send
the birds packing, even flying over the
state without stopping.
But usually there's an opportunity for
some great action each fall. So when the
situation is right, take advantage of it,
and find out how exciting pursuing wood
ducks can be.

Duck season lengths and dates are different in each of Pennsylvania's four Duck
Zones.
In the Lake Erie Zone, concurrent seasons for ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers run from Oct. 28 to Jan. 4.
In the Northwest Zone, concurrent seasons are split into two segments - Oct. 12

OCTOBER 2019

to Dec. 14; and Dec. 27 to Jan. 1.
There also are two segments for concurrent seasons in the North Zone - Oct. 12
to 26; and Nov. 19 to Jan. 11 - and South
Zone - Oct 19 to 26; and Nov. 19 to Jan. 18.
For zone boundary descriptions and
bag limits, visit www.pgc.pa.gov, or see the
Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest.

25


http://www.pgc.pa.gov

Pennsylvania Game News - October 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - October 2019

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2019 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2019 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2019 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2019 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2019 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2019 - 4
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Pennsylvania Game News - October 2019 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2019 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2019 - 27
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Pennsylvania Game News - October 2019 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2019 - Cover4
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