Having grown up in a fourth generation hunting family, Chris Skondras from Melbourne, Victoria, knows a thing or two about duck hunting.
“My background is from Corinth in Greece, where hunting was a way of survival to my parents and great grand parents. Over there, they would shoot partridge and hares.
My dad taught me to how to hunt, beginning as a game carrier and then moving on to using an air rifle at the age of twelve. I would shoot targets and small pest birds on farms in Victoria and later rabbits and quail. This progressed naturally onto duck hunting as it is so popular here in Victoria and there is a lot of excitement and anticipation that builds as the season approaches.
Chris, who works for Outdoor Sporting Agencies, a sister company of Ridgeline Clothing, offers his top tips for a successful duck-hunting season:
1. Know your game species – you need to know and clearly identify the eight species of ducks you can hunt and which are the protected species, particularly the Freckled Duck, which is low in numbers. You need to be able to pass the Duck Identification Course test in Australia to be granted a license to shoot duck.
2. Judge Your Distance – to make a clean and ethical kill, you shouldn’t shoot at birds beyond the maximum ranges of 40-50 yards. It is a common error that many shoot too far by not taking the time to judge their range, which reduces the chances of a successful hunt.
3. Scout it out – scouting is the key to successful duck hunting. It’s worth spending the time the day before in your target area to find the highest concentration of birds and suss out their flight pattern. The best areas are those with the most favoured conditions – water and bird numbers.
4. Choose the right equipment:
Firearms – I recommend a 12-gauge calibre shotgun with steel ammunition. Lead is illegal in Victoria as it is considered toxic. Outdoor Sporting Agencies has just introduced new shotgun ammunition called ‘Hevi Metal’ which is made from extremely effective non-toxic steel mixed with Tungsten shot that hits harder than lead – perfect for duck hunting.
Decoy – using a caller can help bring the duck closer for a cleaner kill. There is a technique to using this – it can take practice!
Footwear – a good pair of waders are the most crucial piece of equipment you need as you are standing thigh-deep in water for much of the time.
Clothing – the key is to conceal yourself as much as possible. I recommend a good wetlands camo top in dark colours. Ridgeline’s Grassland camo is a good choice.
Chris Skondras works as a Sales Consultant for Outdoor Sporting Agencies (OSA) specialising in providing equipment and supplies to the hunting industry. OSA is a Ridgeline partner company. Visit: www.osaaustralia.com.au Ridgeline specialises in producing comfortable, durable performance outdoor clothing at affordable prices. Ridgeline Australia supplies over 300 retailers nationally including Aussie Disposals, All Goods, Camping World and Mensland. Visit: www.ridgelineclothing.com.au for more information.