Lessons Learned by a First-Time Duck Hunter
Ever thought of going duck hunting? Utah Lake provides superb waterfowl hunting; here’s a few things that you must know!
It was 19°F at 6:00 a.m. when our truck pulled up to the hunter’s access for the Powell Slough along the Utah Lake shoreline. At 27 years old, this was my first-time duck hunting. Not having grown up with a family of hunters, I felt I was a little behind to say the least.
To my surprise, following a few simple steps, even as a hunting newbie, the first day out was a success! Included are the top 3 lessons of that day and why driving to Utah Lake would be my choice every time I crave waterfowl on the dinner menu. Plus, we’ve included several helpful resources for planning your next duck hunting trip to Utah Lake at the bottom of this page.
Find someone who is willing to teach you
It seems that hunters want to share their love for hunting. My brother-in-law has been trying to get me to go hunting for several years, so I finally took him up on the offer. While he was the first to admit that there are many ways to be an effective hunter; he was happy to share what helped him enjoy this type of outdoor recreation. Learning the basics got me off to a great start and future experience will help sharpen the skills learned my first day.
Before the hunt, I was warned it would be cold and was given a list of suggested on clothing. If you don’t have camouflage, be sure to borrow enough to hide from the incoming waterfowl. Under the camo, be sure to layer warm clothing as the temperature will fluctuate throughout the day and depending on whether you are hiking or sitting behind the blind.
Dress for the cold
19°F can be pretty comfortable if you come prepared. With the right layers of clothing it wasn’t a big deal. I picked up a basic set of waders and was prepared with thermals, several jackets of varying thicknesses, good winter gloves, a Balaclava, and some hand warmers. If you’re new to duck hunting, or on a budget, start with warm clothing you have at home, and spend your money on a comfortable pair of waders, a camo shell and beanie. Next,round up a collapsible backpack, you’ll want to be able to stuff in some of your layers so you don’t get too warm while walking to your spot.
Don’t worry if you don’t harvest anything
Duck hunting, much like hunting for anything, requires patience. Yes, the ultimate goal is to actually harvest something, but there’s so much more to experience while hunting. I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors;especially camping, hiking, etc. Hunting simply adds a few perks to that enjoyment. A reason to see the sun rise, a chance to catch up with old friends and family, and best of all, an opportunity to learning something new, and the list goes on. Hunting gets you outdoors and active, provides an opportunity to challenge your skills, can provide food for your table, and inspires a greater desire to care for the environment.
Why Utah lake is great
As staff of the Utah Lake Commission, I may be a little biased when it comes to this topic, but I have come to love Utah Lake in ways I never imagined. While It may be easy to latch onto negative stories and rumors about the lake, there is so much more that makes Utah Lake amazing. In the last couple of years, diving into Utah Lake history, facts and features have drawn me to the conclusion that Utah Lake is one of the greatest lake’s on Earth. Rather than lose you in the detail, here is a simple list to justify that conclusion:
- It’s close to home
- An immense spectrum of wildlife species
- Easy access, with 25+ public access points
- Spectacular views, especially at sunset and sunrise
- There’s plenty of room for everybody, with over 75 miles of shoreline and a 150 square miles of surface area!
My first-time duck hunting was a success. Harvesting just one duck on the day was nothing to brag about, but spending the day out hunting in the marshes on the shoreline was such a memorable experience. I plan to return to Utah Lake to do it again soon. Duck season for Utah Lake (northern region for the state) ends on Jan 19, 2019, so don’t wait. Go give it a try! If you have a current hunting license, all you need to do is run down to your local Walmart and pick up a $25 Federal Duck Stamp and you’ll be ready to go!
- US Fish & Wildlife: Federal Duck Stamps
- 2018-19 Utah Waterfowl Guidebook (these three links are hyperlinked)
- This is the official DWR guidebook. It is VERY useful, as it contains information about hunting laws, dates for the seasons,photos for bird identification and more!
- Interactive DWR map (Hunt Planner)
- Additional DWR hunt maps