Duck sexes

Thread starter #1
May sound stupid but as a newbie, is it OK to shoot females? If not, how hard is it to tell male from female "in the moment" at distance and low light?
I know a lot of birds look similar or a like (geese).
Is it frowned upon to kill a female wood duck or mallard?
 
Usually it's too dark to tell about wood ducks. Geese are geese. I didn't hold up too much on mallards when I hunted GA. Mostly those are gonna be residents anyway. If you're on a longer hunt esp where there's a good many ducks to choose from, then most folks like to shoot mostly drakes. Kids in the blind get a pass for sure. The divers that fly in like f 15s like ring necks, there's not much time to pick out drakes. So in essence, when puddle duck hunting and there are good numbers to choose from, try to pick out drakes mainly.
 
Yes you can shoot females, and in Georgia, I take whatever sex flies in. No one in Georgia is going to "frown upon you" for shooting hens. If a group flies in, I will typically shoot drakes first if it is light enough to know, but I don't let hens get a pass. As jb, said most of shooting in Georgia will be first light when you often can't tell anyway, so shoot what you have a an opportunity to shoot. I wouldn't worry about it at all unless I had already killed a hen mallard and needed a drake for my second, but that doesn't happen a lot in Georgia, at least not anymore. If I am out of state and there are huge numbers, I've passed up on drakes to wait for hens, but most hunts you have here won't be like the ones on TV where the guys have plenty of birds to pick and choose.
 

MudDucker

Moderator
Staff member
For the health of the population, it is better to let the hens alone. I can't say that I am always good at that.
 
For the health of the population, it is better to let the hens alone. I can't say that I am always good at that.
While I agree in principle, the entire state of Georgia’s harvest could be hens and it wouldn’t be statistically significant. There just aren’t enough ducks coming through or being killed to matter.
 

ghadarits

Senior Member
I wish I could tell drake woodies from hens in the morning but as stated above it’s usually too dark when they’re really moving the best to tell anything other than they’re ducks. Later in the morning you can tell the difference once the sun gets high enough to see them better but by then they can see you a lot better too if your not hidden well or moving.
 
Thread starter #8
With all the above said, how easy is it to tell species when they come in?
I know Ga isn't a big flyway but I've seen there are a bunch and you can only have so many of each.
I assume in Ga its wood ducks and mallards but?

Leave the can hens alone, kill the rest.
Is that a Canada goose or a canvas back?
 

MudDucker

Moderator
Staff member
While I agree in principle, the entire state of Georgia’s harvest could be hens and it wouldn’t be statistically significant. There just aren’t enough ducks coming through or being killed to matter.
More breeding success leads to more ducks or at least sustaining what we have.
 
More breeding success leads to more ducks or at least sustaining what we have.
That sounds great in theory, but there is no empirical evidence showing that passing on hens helps. If it makes you feel better, by all means pass on hens. In reality, it doesn't matter. I will shoot drakes first in a group, and if I'm covered up out of state, I may pass a hen waiting on a drake, but I'm not doing it because I have the false premise that it means there will be more ducks next year. It really makes no difference, even though people like to act like it does. He is an article you might find interesting.

https://www.wildfowlmag.com/editorial/dead-hens-dont-lay-eggs-should-hunters-shoot-females/280303
 

ghadarits

Senior Member
With all the above said, how easy is it to tell species when they come in?
I know Ga isn't a big flyway but I've seen there are a bunch and you can only have so many of each.
I assume in Ga its wood ducks and mallards but?

You can tell the difference between drakes and hens with most species. I’d study up on them on the www I’m sure there are more examples than you’ll care to look at. Then practice while hunting trying to ID the ones you shoot. It takes experience is really all it boils down to. The main species I see are #1 Woodies #2 Mallards #3 Ring necks. Anything else is a bonus.
 

MudDucker

Moderator
Staff member
That sounds great in theory, but there is no empirical evidence showing that passing on hens helps. If it makes you feel better, by all means pass on hens. In reality, it doesn't matter. I will shoot drakes first in a group, and if I'm covered up out of state, I may pass a hen waiting on a drake, but I'm not doing it because I have the false premise that it means there will be more ducks next year. It really makes no difference, even though people like to act like it does. He is an article you might find interesting.

https://www.wildfowlmag.com/editorial/dead-hens-dont-lay-eggs-should-hunters-shoot-females/280303
Most of the duck organizations and feds have said this for years. You are probably too young to have hunted under the old federal point system for ducks. There was a good bit posted in the federal register that showed research that letting hens live increased production.

At my age and eye sight now, I am if it flies it dies kinda guy.
 
Top