View Full Version : Duck Hunting From Canoe?

May 15, 2008, 08:47 PM
Ok, I know we're about 5 months too early here, but I figured I'd ask: Who here hunts ducks from a canoe or kayak?

I ask because I guess I'm looking for pointers. Just acquired a nice little solo 12-foot Old Town canoe, and have been fishing in it. Of course, I was watching the quackers while reeling in bass, thinking "October, October..." :p

So how do you do it? Drift and jump shoot? Use it to ferry to small water and set up a decoy spread and blind? Some of both? Right now it seems to me the best bet would be to set up a spread and wait from there. But maybe there's a way to drift-and-jump 'em?

Thanks all.

May 15, 2008, 09:05 PM
I have tried a kayak and scared the hell out of me when I fired the 3 1/2 and almost flipped me over. My son and I use an 18' Gruman aluminum for ducks and geese and love it. We can cary quite a few decoys and other goodies that we need and last year we added the stabilizer outriggers to it to make it safer to use in the Delaware River. It makes you feel alot better on a river with them. We anchor up in an estuary and set decoys and brush the canoe up and we also drift the Walkill river(flows North) and jump shoot them on the bends and inlets. Get some good ultra low gloss Krylon camo paint and go to town. Dont forget to do the paddles. We had a guy show up last year with a nice camo canoe and then he broke out his nice new shiny yellow paddles to show us how good they were:eek:. We almost died laughing and he kept wondering why.

May 15, 2008, 10:45 PM

May 16, 2008, 12:17 AM

I think the canoe is great for accessing shallow wetlands. The draft is only about 6-12 inches. Great to paddle in, get out, and tuck it in the reads. They're pretty darn unstable in the heat of the moment. I used to have one, and could get my 85 pound retriever in and out without a problem. He'd put his front paws on the gunwhale, and I haul him in by the scruff. However, when we jumped a bird, all bets were off. I'd hate to go in frigid water with chest waders, not to mention all my gear dropping out of site.

In the end, I think there's a lot of romance to it, but practically speaking, it's more transport than hunting patform.


May 16, 2008, 07:51 AM
I wonder if you could rig up some type of outrigger system - something you could clamp onto the boat when hunting and then unclamp and store when paddling. I polynesians used outriggers to stabilize very skinny canoes.

May 16, 2008, 09:26 AM
Doyal, They sell outrigger packages at Cabela's and I have on mine. They help alot and make you feel better in the rivers and big water and the extra stability when you gotta get up and shoot. You could proably make on cheaper than the one they sell with a little foam and aluminum square stock.
djonathing, Draft 6-12" of water????:confused: Never saw a canoe that even went over 3 or 4" with a load in it. My Gruman drafts only 2-3" loaded.
They have alot of models but I prefer the Gruman 18' because it has a wide beam width and its good in rivers and bigwater chop and even had it in the Barnaget bay once. Another thing is to get a floating gun case and a shotgun leash in case the unexpected happens. Its just an extra step to make sure you keep your gun and it doesnt go to the muck monster at the bottom.

May 16, 2008, 10:18 AM
There is nothing wrong in starting early planning/learning how to hunt with a canoe.
Good time to find the right PFD that you can shoot with.
I have enjoyed many wonderful hunts jump shooting small rivers.
Corners, sneak in close to shore on the corners and be ready for great action.
If you plan to hunt alone you would do well to practice with some ballast.
One of my hunting partners would use a cooler filled with sand in the front to stabilize it. Think low center of gravity!
Just reading this post brings back some wonderful times with old friends.
Thank you

May 16, 2008, 02:35 PM
I stand corrected on the draft. I was only estimating. But hey, when you get to the 4" depth, it's time to get out and walk, as paddling isn't so efficient at that point.

For canoe fans, I had a wood and canvas Cheemaun. Absolutely beautiful!


May 16, 2008, 09:25 PM
HAD???:eek: shoulda kept it. Beautiful canoes and worth their weight in gold.

May 16, 2008, 11:21 PM
To be quite honest, there's nothing like bare feet on a cedar canoe in the summer.

It went to a nice father and son. I think they probably had some really good times in it as well.


May 17, 2008, 03:10 PM
Im sure they did. I would love to get my hands on one of them. You even fall in love with the smell of them.:D

May 17, 2008, 07:27 PM
Okay, so it sounds like it should work about as well as I envisioned. :o I
m thinking paddle kneeling if looking for jump shooting, with some ballast in the bow, and I should be A-OK.

This boat has already got me :D ear-to-ear, and I've only had it out 3 times. I can finally get to those little nooks of fishing water that always looked worth trying. 2 decent yellow perch and a nice 3-lb largemouth proved the concept to me! :cool:

Duck hunting just seems like such a natural extension.

And yes, the draft is only about 3", less with just me and a rod actually. It's handy over those mucky bottoms where you'd just have your wading boots sucked off! ;)

May 18, 2008, 01:23 AM
I don't have any experience shooting from Kayaks, just Kayaking through 1-3 level whitewater and stillwater. I would definitely expect to be able to comfortably shoot from a good kayak without flipping. I am talking about a Necky or even a Hydra touring boat excess of 15'. One of the ten footers you buy at Dick's would be a bad idea. One with a more bladed bottom versus the traditional flat/round bottom. You could get one of the outrigger systems, but I imagine just buying a decent kayak to begin with would be a comparable price and much simpler in the long run. Plus they usually have thicker plastic etc for durability.

Adventurer 2
May 19, 2008, 09:34 PM
I've fished out of the 12' Pack Old Town. I think this is the 30 something pounder you have (I like it better than a kayak because it carries a lot of weight and is easy to handle). Take it out without any gear and find the tip point - once it goes it is gone. I don't know if you have the cane or plastic seat but I know people lower the seat in order to increase stability. I would do that if I were hunting out of it (I haven't). Get a 230 or larger kayak paddle - more efficient than a canoe paddle with a j-stroke.

May 20, 2008, 09:08 PM
My dad and I hunted from a Coleman canoe for years. We would wait for the ponds to freeze, forcing the ducks onto the river. We would then sneak around the bends and jump shoot them. We took turns with the one in the front doing the shooting. Since the recoil is more or less in line with the long axis of the boat, we didn't notice any instability. As an adult, I've used an Old Town 16'9" Discovery to access backwoods swamps, pulling it into the bushes and hiding it with brush.

May 21, 2008, 02:04 PM
I've fished out of the 12' Pack Old Town. I think this is the 30 something pounder you have (I like it better than a kayak because it carries a lot of weight and is easy to handle). Take it out without any gear and find the tip point - once it goes it is gone. I don't know if you have the cane or plastic seat but I know people lower the seat in order to increase stability. I would do that if I were hunting out of it (I haven't). Get a 230 or larger kayak paddle - more efficient than a canoe paddle with a j-stroke.

You've got the boat nailed. That's the one, with the web seat, not the kayak seat. I didn't like the kayak seat because it was too low and prevented kneeling. And you've also nailed the reasons why I got it over a kayak; it carries gear more easily and is easier to carry.

Once the water warms up I do plan on taking it out and tipping it and practicing re-entry. I've found the "instability" to be overblown IMO, as it went away after the first 15 minutes or so on the water. Of course, I bicycle, ice skate (sort of), have done rock climbing, kayaking, and have canoed some in the past. I can stand in an Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 without tipping, so I imagine this canoe will be fine.

FWIW, I currently work at a sporting goods store, so I have test paddled various kayaks and this canoe before. We also sell firearms, ammunition and fishing equipment! ;)

May 21, 2008, 02:32 PM
I use a plain old canoe and sit in the bottom of it for stability. It is my mode of operation. Carry along a piece of burlap for camo and good hunting.

Adventurer 2
May 21, 2008, 04:04 PM
That's a sweet little canoe. I might mount a shotgun holder up front - http://crowwingkayaks.com/index.cfm/pageid/39
or build something to hold the shotgun off the bottom of the canoe inside on the side. I know I get water inside of the canoe all of the time. I keep $1 dollar spring clamps front and back on my canoe from Home Depot - they are fast tie downs to brush or sticks (usually where I am fishing). I use 7mm cord and attach to the canoe with a prusik (fast length adjustment). There are already holes in the clamps which just happen to be about 7mm.

May 21, 2008, 11:08 PM
Once the water warms up I do plan on taking it out and tipping it and practicing re-entry.

Open water practice is great, but don't forget to practice in a slough.
I dumped a canoe in a mucky backwater and it was an incredible experience. We couldn't move in the muck. Did lots of hollering. We got out by pulling every weed we could reach making a pile on each end of the canoe. then stepping onto the weed pile we were able to get it afloat by that time we were neck deep in muck again.
I haven't liked canoing since.

I use 7mm cord and attach to the canoe with a prusik (fast length adjustment).

+10 on the Prusiks, I use then all the time. They hold my boat blind sides and roof. We use them with safety lines on deer stands also.

March 4, 2010, 04:51 PM
Mohawk also makes a nice canoe for duck hunting, the Sport 14. You can even get it in with molded-in camo from the factory.

March 4, 2010, 08:23 PM
Used to hunt on a WMA that was a swamp with about 8" of water, so we used a 17' square stern with a 4.5 Merc. We'd cover the canoe about 1/4 mile from the blind on an elevated place. A 12' would be to unstable and if it's wood, to tender to put the clamps for a tie-down.

March 4, 2010, 08:56 PM
Mikenbarb, I've hunted geese on the Delaware.They didn't seem to be bothered by a red canoe.In earlier times the goose season was in early Nov so I made outriggers with 4" pvc about 27" long and attached to 6' long cross pieces.The tube length was picked so we could detach and put the rig into the canoe for transport and storage. Two of use , each 200+ ,couldn't even start to tip over the canoe.My hunting buddy went across the Hudson at Newburgh with it - crazy but possible only with the outriggers !
Normally it's a two man job ,one shooter and one paddler. We drove along the river and spotting a flock [usually small] we put in above them and hoped they would stay there.Some were very tame , some wary. I've done it solo but that's difficult too much to do, watch the geese,make sure of background [safe shots away from houses etc] ,paddle the canoe.But even solo I was successful .It takes skill .Try not to shoot off the side. I met a fellow who hunted deer from a canoe and shot off the side with a 7mm Mag . Rifle,hunter,canoe took a bath ! :rolleyes:
If you take care of the geese immediately and cook them properly [braised] they taste great not gamey. :)

Magnum Mike
March 4, 2010, 10:34 PM
His Question might of been answered back in 2008!:confused:

March 4, 2010, 10:54 PM
We use them to get to hard to reach spots. They are handy to bring dogs and decoys in with. If you have some resemblance of balance then there should be no reason why could not shoot from the canoe. Me on the other hand would be found dead 6 miles down river from drowning.

March 4, 2010, 11:05 PM
Mikenbarb hasn't posted since last may. We did learn back then about him loosing his wife.
I Pray he is alright and would love to see him back posting again.

Uncle Buck
March 5, 2010, 08:29 AM
I went duck hunting with my older brother once when I was back in the NE on leave from the military.

He had a piece of 4" (Maybe 6") thin walled PVC pipe, capped off at both ends that he used as an out rigger. He had a two wheeled cart that used bicycle tires to cart the canoe into the river with. We had to walk over an old game trail about 1/2 mile and he put the canoe on the cart and the outrigger in the canoe along with a few decoys and our guns. When we got to the rivers edge, he assembled the outrigger by hooking it to the canoe (He unscrewed the cap on the outrigger and pulled out two more pieces of PVC pipe). It was great for working the very shallow areas of the river and between polling and paddling, we had a pretty good time.

I just realized this thread is almost two years old. Sorry. Maybe someone else looking for info will find it.

March 5, 2010, 08:08 PM
It can be done.

March 6, 2010, 08:03 PM
Just had a little reminiscing session with my neighbor Egor today at his shack, when I went to check out my hunting shack. He used to own a Grumman Sport canoe. His late BIL Dick and I were using his canoe to jump shoot a small river. We were having a wonderful time. We came to some white water and Old Dick said we have to portage around this area and looking up the banks I was thinking, is he nuts! I told him to let me get a closer look(Dick was in the stern) and seeing the white water was only about 100 yards through and moving well I gave a hard stroke and down we went. It wasn't going to well, and when I could, I glanced back to see Old Dick hugging his 1100 Rem to his chest. I hollered at him to grab his paddle and help! All he could say was, "No way am I going to loose this shotgun! I worker to many overtime shifts to loose it".
When we got through I had a short stick left, nothing resembling a paddle!
No way did I think my old friend would react that way!
Then he said, Egor(his BIL) had ordered some touch-up paint to fix a scratch on this canoe. When we flipped it over onto the car rack there wasn't hardly any paint left on the bottom, so I told him he better tell Egor to order more paint! ( I offered to pay) ;)
The next time Egor took the canoe out hunting (2 weeks later) he flipped it, and sold it the next week!

March 10, 2010, 01:07 AM
I duck hunt from a 14' Poke Boat kayak and absolutely love it. I tether the paddle and lay the gun down along my leg and have a small action packer with shells and stuff on the floor between my legs. The Poke Boat is ideal for this as it weighs so little. In shallow water you can tie it to your belt and drag it along behind you. It's stable as hell too and will hold around a dozen decoys in the front and back. I can get into places only a Mud Buddy can go. Very fun I assure you. Sometimes I park it in thigh deep water and stand beside it to shoot then jump in to fetch downed ducks. I've also done a lot of duck hunting on a small creek with a canoe. That is too fun also as you never know whether there will be ducks around the next bend. I did have to dive 6' down for my gun once when it flipped off the thwarts into a hole; that was interesting in the Alaskan cold.