Is duck hunting best in the morning or evening? If you ask different hunters, you'll get different answers as to when the best time of day to duck hunt is. Some swear that the crack of dawn presents the best opportunity of the day - while others claim you'll never go home empty-handed if you hunt in the evening. There are even some people who claim the middle of the day is the sweet spot.
The morning vs mid-day vs evening debate is one of the most hotly contested among duck hunters. That's why today, we're going to weigh all sides of the argument to present you with our unbiased take. You'll learn if there really is the best time of day to duck hunt - and if so, whether it is in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Let's get right into the debate!
Is There Really A Best Time Of Day To Duck Hunt?
Most duck hunters have their personal preferences as to when the best time to hunt ducks is. But is there really any difference in conditions from morning to afternoon to evening? As a matter of fact, there are some advantages that different times of day have over others.
For example - you have more hours to hunt in the morning compared to the evening. However, those who prefer evening hunts will point to the lack of energy and focus you have if you wake up at 3 am. Meanwhile, those who prefer to hunt in the evening claim that the afternoon winds present the perfect conditions to push birds down into your decoys for a rest.
As you can imagine, though, you may also experience certain disadvantages depending on what time of day you hunt. We’ll be sure to cover those as well as we make our way through this debate so you have the full picture.
But before we get into the pros and cons of hunting ducks at different times of day, we want to provide you with a few key pieces of information. First and foremost, you must be aware of legal shooting hours in your specific region. Most of the time, you cannot hunt ducks until it is light outside. This means you are going to be limited to certain hours of the day. With that said, let’s get into the morning vs afternoon vs evening debate.
So, Is Duck Hunting Better In The Morning Or Evening?
So, is duck hunting better in the morning or evening? Or does the afternoon shift take the cake? The fact of the matter is that you can enjoy a successful hunt in the morning, afternoon, and evening. It really just comes down to your unique preferences.
To help you plan out your next hunting time, we'll explain the advantages each time of day offers. Stick around to the very end and we'll give you our personal opinion on when you should hunt. Let's kick things off by making a case for the morning shift in your duck blind:
Advantages Of Duck Hunting In The Morning
There is a strong case for the morning shift as the premier time of day for hunting. Here's why:
- More hunting hours - The earlier you start in the day, the longer you'll have to hunt. Getting to your blind at 4 am and preparing your decoys, then patiently waiting for legal shooting hours is your best bet to reach your bird limit that day.
- Feeding at sunrise - One of the main feeding times for ducks and other waterfowl is at first light. They'll leave their roosts and head to a water source to locate food - and you'll be there waiting to say good morning to them!
- You can still make use of the rest of your day - In favorable conditions and with a bit of luck, you can reach your limit in the first few hours of the day by starting at first light. That means you can still make use of your afternoon and evening. And if you've got a job to get to, you can still hunt in the mornings on weekdays without calling out.
- Adjust your blind/decoys throughout the day - If you start in the morning, you can afford to make changes to your blind location/decoy set up as the day goes on. If you are hunting in the afternoon or evening, however, you won't have the time to make changes on the fly.
All things considered, hunting in the morning is a great choice. There are a few drawbacks, however. First and foremost, you're going to have to get up early. You need to have your entire blind and decoy strategy in place before first light. If you're not a morning person, this may be worth noting.
It's also important to note that you need a good breeze to guide ducks to your shooting zone. In the mornings, you may not get the strong wings you need for this. Furthermore, the morning sun can really affect your vision if conditions are just right (or, perhaps wrong).
Advantages Of Duck Hunting In The Middle Of The Day
We're not going to lie - we don't really encourage many hunters to go out in the middle of the day. In our opinion, the debate is really between mornings vs evening. Unless, of course, this is your only option. If you can't bring yourself to wake up early, and you need to be home for an early dinner, here are the benefits you'll enjoy of your mid-day hunt:
- Winds pick up in the afternoons - Remember that wind factor we were just discussing? Well, winds tend to pick up as the day goes on, tapering off as the sun goes down. That means you'll catch those later divers that don't even start flying until late morning or early afternoon.
- Perfect conditions for jump-shooting wood ducks - If you're after wood ducks or geese, you'll find that the afternoon shift presents the ideal conditions for jump-shooting. As ducks finish their morning meal and are preparing to head out until dinner, you can take your shot.
Advantages Of Duck Hunting In The Evening
When it comes to duck hunting in the evening, you'll find all sorts of advocates claiming that it's the ideal time. Here's why:
- Sleep in - Perhaps the most obvious benefit of hunting in the evening is that you get to sleep in, enjoy a nice breakfast, get some work done around the house, and still get out to set up your blind and decoys before the birds flock in. You'll be fully alert and firing on all cylinders.
- Feeding in the evening - As the sun goes down and temperatures drop, birds will flock back to their water for one last feeding for the day before heading to the roost. This is where you can make a killing as a hunter - literally. Once they're done feeding they'll head out for the evening - presenting another great opportunity.
The biggest drawback to hunting ducks in the evening is that your window for legal shooting time is going to be small. Sometimes, you may only have a 15-minute period from when ducks are flying into your shooting zone to the point when you can no longer legally shoot. It sucks spending all that time preparing just to come up empty-handed - but that is the reality for many evening duck hunters.
The Best Time Of Day To Duck Hunt: Our Verdict
All this considered, you're probably starting to lean towards one particular time of day as the best choice for you. As we mentioned, it will come down to personal preference. And, there are many other factors to consider as well. You should also take into account the weather, the time of year, and other conditions.
With that said, our preferred time of day to hunt is in the morning. It presents the best opportunity to fill your bag and meet your limit. However, there is really no bad time to hunt!
Final Thoughts On The Best Time Of Day To Duck Hunt
Want to learn more about what it takes for a successful hunt? Our beginner's guide on how to start duck hunting is an amazing introductory resource. We also have an essential duck hunting gear list you should check out so you can be prepared for any conditions.
No matter what time of day you decide to hunt, be sure you have all the duck hunting gear you need for a successful, comfortable, and most importantly, safe hunt. At Texas Fowlers, we've got everything you need at the best prices online. From waterfowl jackets to duck hunting bibs, big and tall waders, and even other duck hunting accessories or duck hunting bags. Experience all we have to offer and shop today.