Hunting from a boat offers a thrilling way to explore North America’s vast network of lakes, rivers, marshes, and swamps. By equipping your boat with the right accessories, you can adapt to changing water and feeding conditions, maximizing your chances of success. Picture this: cruising through backwaters in a 16-foot Go-Devil boat with an Avery Quick-Set blind. It’s not just any outfit – this setup has provided me with countless incredible hunts over the past 15 years.
To ensure a successful outing, it’s crucial to carry the right gear on board. My boat boasts a spacious dry locker that holds a collection of items to facilitate hunting in various situations. Let’s dive in and explore what I have on deck. Of course, you can always adapt this list according to your specific needs, hunting grounds, and hunting style.
Before we delve into the hunting equipment, let’s prioritize safety. It’s important to adhere to U.S. Coast Guard regulations. For boats measuring 16 to 26 feet in length, certain items are mandatory:
- A Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each passenger
- A throwable Type IV flotation device
- A sound-producing device, such as a whistle or air horn
- A visual signaling device, such as flares and a flare gun
- A fire extinguisher
Remember, your boat needs to be properly registered and numbered, and its navigation lights must be operational for night runs. To ensure your boat meets these requirements, consider scheduling a free safety check with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or the U.S. Power Squadrons through safetyseal.net.
To further enhance safety preparedness, I recommend carrying additional items for emergencies, including:
- A survival kit complete with strike-anywhere matches in a waterproof container, a candle, space blanket, a multi-tool, survival snacks, and parachute cord.
- A comprehensive first-aid kit stored in a waterproof container, complete with a manual.
- An extra set of clothes, covering everything from underwear to a parka, stored in a waterproof canoe bag. If you or a fellow hunter takes an unexpected plunge into the water, dry clothes can help prevent hypothermia.
Essential Hunting Equipment
Now, let’s shift our focus to the hunting equipment necessary for a successful trip. Consider the following items:
- Decoys: Rig two dozen mallard decoys with extra-long anchor lines that can be half-hitched for shallow water usage.
- Push Pole: Ideal for navigating shallow waters, picking up decoys, or checking bottom depth.
- Long-Handle Paddle: In case your motor decides to quit on you, a trusty paddle will come to the rescue.
- Hard-Hat Spotlight: Mounted on a hard plastic safety helmet, this mega-candlepower headlight provides hands-free illumination for nighttime running, following wherever you turn your head.
- Avery Double-Duty Dog Platform/Ladder: This handy hang-on platform/ladder allows your furry companion to effortlessly climb back into the boat.
- Sta-bil Fuel Stabilizer: By preventing the formation of moisture in the gas tank and fuel line, this fuel stabilizer ensures a smooth running motor.
- Tool Chest: Equip yourself with a range of miscellaneous tools such as pliers, wrenches, a socket set, and screwdrivers to tackle any necessary repairs on the motor, boat trailer, or accessories.
- Quick Starting Spray: Canned ether provides a hot-start capability should your motor become difficult.
- Rescue Tape: This reliable product allows for on-the-spot repairs of fuel hoses.
- Small Chainsaw: Perfect for sawing logs during adventures along small creeks and sloughs.
- Limb Pruners: Trim overhanging tree limbs and brush to create shooting lanes and improve concealment for your blind.
- Stout Nylon Rope: Reliable for securing your boat to trees or brush.
- Camouflage Netting: Use it to cover your motor, bow, and break up the opening formed by the two top rails of your Quick-Set blind.
- One-Burner Camp Stove/Heater: Warm up food and beverages during your hunting excursions.
- Hand-Held GPS: This invaluable tool helps navigate flooded swamps and brushy backwaters, especially during periods of high water.
- Camo Duct Tape: Because duct tape solves almost everything.
I also recommend carrying shotgun shells, calls, a thermos, sunglasses, a multi-tool, decoy gloves, zip ties, and other small items in a convenient blind bag. Don’t forget to keep your cell phone in a plastic bag within your parka pocket for added protection.
Before signing off, I want to emphasize the importance of safety while hunting from a boat. Though it offers an effective approach, it can also be dangerous if simple safety rules aren’t followed. Every year, unfortunate accidents occur because hunters venture out in crafts ill-suited for rough waters or neglect to wear a life jacket. To avoid becoming part of a tragic statistic, remember to avoid heading out on big water in a small boat. Always wear your life jacket when your boat is in motion, and ensure your passengers do the same. Safety should always be your top priority.
Now that you’re armed with this comprehensive list of duck hunting boat accessories, prepare to embark on thrilling hunting adventures while staying safe and well-equipped. Happy hunting!