Hunting during the deep freeze is my personal favorite condition to hunt. The birds are grouped up, they are in full plumage, and are very responsive to the call. By using the tips below you can take advantage of the extreme cold weather.
- Always follow the rule of “Live to hunt another day”. No duck or goose is worth doing something not safe.
- Never hunt alone in the cold weather!
- Always wear a life jacket!!!!! If you flip your boat when there is ice on the water you have minutes to get out before hypothermia sets in
- When it is really cold always run two boats in case you have a failure
- Bring a heater for your boat but be careful if you are around dried vegetation camo or gas lines
- If you are breaking ice with your boat go slow and try not to turn much. If going fast and you try to turn you can catch an edge and flip
- Carry a fire starting device in case of an emergency. A tampon dipped in your motors gas is a perfect fire starter
- If the birds were there before the storm, there will likely be some birds still around for a few days no matter what
- If there is not 4 inches or more of snow or a thick crust of ice over a lesser amount birds will still be in the area
- If you are hunting in a field try to setup in an area that the wind has blown free of snow
- If your area is froze over, look to your closest river. It does not have to be a big river, small creeks with moving water can
hold piles of birds
- If you think the birds have all left they are likely nearby on a big body of water, river, or a heated discharge lake of a nearby power plant
- If the snow is really deep, bring out the snow blower and clear an area the size of a 3 car driveway down to the dirt. Pack it full of decoys and put some all around in the snow on the edges. Birds will not stay in an area long with deep snow but if you can get out a day or two after the big snow, they will dive right into this setup
- When it gets below 20 degrees the birds will typically only go out to feed once per day. Later flights are the norm.
- Cloudy days are better than sunny days for bird flight during cold weather
- Hunting in heavy snow is tough. The flight is typically slow. Talk to the birds with your call if you can hear them but cannot see them
- Birds will fly well in light snow
- Birds will fly best right after the snow stops
- If you are hunting the day after the first snow of the year the hunting can be amazing. Birds are easy with fresh snow
- Birds will begin to group up and being in the flight line is key
- Start to run your decoys closer together if in the field when it gets cold
- Bigger is better most of the time when it comes to decoy spreads unless it is snowing hard
- Sleeper shells and socks pack tight and make for a big spread
- If it is snowing hard I prefer to run less decoys and keep them all clean of snow. Once it stops put everything out
- If you know it is going to snow all day and you are hunting the field, silo decoys work great and do no not collect snow
- If there is snow on the ground wear a white jacket and white hat for camo. It is amazing how the birds have a hard time seeing white
- Dress in layers. Hunting is no fun if you are cold
- I prefer to add a vest to keep my core warm over an additional bulky layer. This tip really helps your shooting
- A neck gator is a must when it gets cold
- If you have to bust open a hole in the ice to put your decoys in it will likely freeze back closed if the temps are really cold and there is no wind
- It is better to find a nearby open area of water with a good hide than it is to break open a hole
- Even better is an open area of water with a good hide with an ice shelf nearby to pack full of sleepers and a few full body geese. This is a killer setup for both ducks and geese
Carry backup parts for your motor:
Stay safe and enjoy these temps!