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Duck Hunting Boats: Then & Now

Oct 9, 2007
Duck hunting has become one of the most popular forms of hunting, especially in the United States. Here, it is best in the states bordering the Mississippi River, such as Arkansas, Illinois, and Missouri. Most duck hunters swear by a duck boat, but there are many different types available on the market, all with slightly different purposes. Many hunters use their boats in flooded fields, ponds, lakes, and rivers, while others prefer to forgo the boat and hunt on foot around rice and corn fields.

While most duck hunters would agree that a boat greatly adds to their game, there is surprisingly very little information available on the internet about the different types of duck boats, both now and in history. Duck boats have changed drastically over the years, for instance the well-known scull boats, used from the 1940's to the 1980's, all but vanished after the outlawing of market gunning.

Another boat in duck hunting history is the Barnegat Bay sneakbox. First built in 1836, it was made of well-seasoned Jersey cedar and usually about twelve feet long, and four feet wide, with seven inches of freeboard and a three foot dagger board. Alterations were made in the design until 1855, and since then there has been very little that has changed. Duck hunters normally put out decoys in open water, then row upwind and anchor their sneakbox. Upon lifting anchor they let the wind push them to the decoys until they are in close enough range for a shot.

Layout boats are another type of duck boat built for one or two men. They are most often used for migrating divers in open water, usually in close proximity to a large group of decoys. There are a few different styles of the layout boat; in heavy water hunters should use stouter, larger boats, while calmer waters allow for sleeker rigs. Layout boats are often a great choice as they have a very low profile and are normally less than ten feet in length; they are meant to hide the hunter, which is one of the number one features a duck boat should have for successful hunting.

For a newcomer to the sport, or for a hunter looking only to hunt alone in the peace and quiet, the layout boat is definitely the number one choice. If you are, however, hunting with other hunters, be sure to know each person's field of fire and stick to it judiciously; a safe duck hunting trip is always a successful one.
About the Author
Abhishek is a long-time Hunting addict! Visit his website www.Hunting-Guru.com and download his FREE Hunting Report "Plan The Perfect Hunting Trip...On Any Budget!" and learn some amazing Hunting tips and tricks for FREE! Discover how to plan the perfect Hunting trip on a shoe-string budget! But hurry, only limited Free copies available! www.Hunting-Guru.com
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