You can hunt on the banks, but the potential for getting more ducks lies beyond the shores. All you need is a good duck boat to get you there. We have outlined the best boats for duck hunting and everything you need to know about duck boats.
What is a Duck Hunting Boat?
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Duck boats are special boats designed specifically for hunting ducks. The boats mimic alligator's bottom side for easy maneuvering over timber-laden swamps and tricky waters like narrow ditches. The boats further feature rounded chines and a slick bottom for smooth rides.
Duck hunting boats have accessories specifically designed to help during a hunting session. The accessories can include storage boxes, gun trays, boat-blind attachments, and more.
Best Duck Hunting Boats
1) Lowe Boats
Lowe boats are the boats you need for successful hunting missions. There are different layouts to choose from depending on your preference, making Lowe the best duck boat for different situations.
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The layouts include the side console model, the center console, and the tiller. The center console gives you a 360-degree view, while the side control is fun to drive and fun to use. The Tiller model has a lot of room to spare.
The Lowe roughneck boats come in different models, giving you a lot of options to work with. The boats are reliable and fast, with durable bodies that you can rely on for decades.
The Lowe boats have a dead grass green look on them, giving the much-needed stealth when hunting.
- Enough room for fellow hunters
- Great for use in shallow water
- Great build for open water gunning
- Different designs to choose from
- 360-degree view
- The boat is not ideal for use in deep waters.
2) War Eagle Boats
War Eagle has the best boats for duck hunting, with different models to choose from for different situations. One such model is the War Eagle Blackhawk which is a stylish design with great capabilities.
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The Blackhawk has great cornering abilities and a smoother ride compared to other boats. The War Eagle has a v-hull that can work well in choppy waters, expanding the hunting scope.
The Blackhawk and War Eagle boats have useful accessories that put them ahead of the rest. The accessories include the spray liner, windshield, side console, storage box, and more to make your hunting experience worth the while.
- Great for use on choppy waters
- Sturdy and durable designs
- Great cornering and smooth rides
- Useful accessories included
- The v-hull shape is not efficient over shallow water
3) Go-Devil Boats
With rounded sides to navigate tricky situations, the Go-Devil boats are built with the duck hunter in mind. The boat has an aluminum floor with a non-skid bottom, making it great for use over muddy waters. The boat is designed to easily roll over stumps, ditch banks, and logs on the water for a smooth hunting ride.
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The Go Devil boats have a double-angled transom that pushes backward in mud and stumps. The boats further have floatation panels on the side panels and bows, meeting the coast guard standards and making the boat a safe option.
- Great for use in timber-laden swamps and narrow ditches
- Rounded chines for fast maneuvers
- Longitudinal spines for superior stiffness over obstructions
- Easy to use in water with logs
- The boats meet the coast guard standards
- The duck boats will not work efficiently in deep waters
4) Gator-Tail - Savage Series
If you are looking for a new boat for flooded timber hunting, the Gator Tail Savage series is what you need. The Gator Tail boats are designed with space for accessories like gun pods, accessory rails, and gun trays.
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More accessories on the boats include the drop-deck transom, stabilizer kit, rub-rail, trolling motor bucket, performance sidewall crimp, and more.
The Gator Tail boats are colored for stealth and efficiency, increasing your chances as a duck hunter.
- A lot of accessories to increase efficiency
- Great for use in flooded timber hunting
- The wide and long hull
- Not great for use in choppy waters
5) Great Lakes Duck Boats
If you are a deep-seas duck hunter, the Great Lakes boats are for you. With these boats, you will stay dry in the roughest of seas while maintaining great speeds and stability. The Great Lakes boats have lots of space and storage room for decoys and any other accessories.
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Great Lakes boats are the safest boats you can find and the best duck-hunting boats for long distances.
- Safe option
- Efficient for use in deep waters
- The boats keep you dry in rough water
- Enough space for accessories
- The boat will not work efficiently in muddy or shallow water.
Things to Consider When Buying a Duck Hunting Boat
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a) Duck Boat Hull Type
The hull of the boat will determine its performance on the water as it directly affects the performance of the boat in different situations. Here are some boat hull types to keep in mind when buying a boat for waterfowl hunting.
i) V-Bottom Hull
If you are a duck hunter who goes into deeper waters, then the v-bottomed hull is what you need. V-bottomed hulls provide more stability in choppy waters compared to other hull types.
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Most deep v-bottomed hulls are made either of aluminum or fiberglass.
The downside of the v-bottomed hull is that it might run your boat aground in relatively shallow waters due to its shape and weight.
ii) Flat-Bottomed Hull
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The flat-bottomed hull is better for most duck hunters who operate on shallow water. The flat-bottomed boats are also known as "Jon boats." These boats are great to use near the banks and on muddy waters as they will not get stuck in sand or mud.
The downside of the Jon boat is that you can not use it in deep waters as water will easily get in the mud boat due to its low sides, which dip into rough waters easily.
iii) Semi-V Hull
The semi-v hull is made to operate in deep and shallow water. The v shape allows the boat to avoid dipping into the water when in choppy seas while being able to go over mud easily when over a shallow bank.
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The semi-V hull makes it easier to snake around and through flooded timber when hunting on rivers.
The semi-v hull is mostly found on boats specifically made for hunting sea ducks but can double up as a fishing boat.
b) The Boat Motor
Different hunting boats have different motors due to the different water depths on which the boats operate. Here are motors to look at when buying hunting boats.
i) Mud Motors
Mud motors are made for mud boats which operate mostly on banks and shallow water. You will find mud motors on flat-hulled boats.
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There are two basic types of mud motors to choose from; the long-tail and surface-drive mud motors. If you are operating in an area with a lot of weeds, marsh, brunches, or other obstructions, then you need the long-tail motor. Surface-drive motors are best for hunting over open water.
ii) 2-Stroke Motor
The 2-stroke motor is preferred by many duck hunters due to its lightweight and portability. The motors are useful and can take you anywhere you want, whether in deep or shallow water.
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The downside of the motor is how loud it is, which can hinder your hunting efforts at times.
iii) 4-Stroke Motor
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The 4-stroke motor is the quieter alternative to the 2-stroke motor and offers a smoother ride.
The downside with these motors is how costly they are compared to the other options. The maintenance cost of the motors is also higher than that of the 2-stroke motor.
c) Spray Shield
A spray shield will protect you from rough water splashing into the boat. Even better, you can find boats with an adjustable spray shield to adapt to different situations.
d) Gun Trays
You want to be sure you can grab your duck hunting gun anytime when hunting, and the gun tray comes in handy. Some boats have dual gun trays to improve your chances of getting a shot regardless of which side of the boat you are on.
While you can get a boat with an electric trolling motor, sometimes you need to pull the stealth card, and paddles come in handy in such situations.
Duck Boat Accessories to Own
Buying a great boat is not enough to get you the most ducks. You need a few accessories to make the hunt successful and enjoyable.
1) Duck Blinds
Since ducks are wild, they are always on the lookout for predators, including humans. Therefore, you need the best duck blinds for camouflage. Unless you are hunting in the marsh, the open water will give you away every time, and ducks will avoid your station.
Duck blinds come in different forms and colors, depending on the environment in which you are hunting.
If you prefer hunting outside the boat, there are options like the pop-up style blinds that you can set up to blend you in with other obstacles.
The downside with duck blinds is that some of them can be bulky to carry around or time-consuming to set up and down. Alternatively, you can use camo to enhance your stealth.
2) Built-In Gun Boxes or Holders
Guns need securing and good maintenance, especially because you are always in contact with water. Some boats come with waterproof gun boxes where you can keep the guns and not worry about safety.
3) Shell Holders
When it is time for action, you want the session to go on as smoothly as possible, and shell holders ensure that. You can find shell holders that can hold up to a dozen individual shells.
4) Decoy Boxes
Decoy boxes attract the ducks to you. Since ducks love flocking, you will have an easier time with the decoys than without.
5) Spuds and Push-Poles
The poles come in handy in two instances. First, if you are in very shallow waters, then you can use the push-pole to push the boat and assist the mud motor in propelling you forward.
Secondly, you can use the pole as an anchor for your boat by pushing the pole into the mud and tying the boat to it. This comes in handy when you are hunting outside the boat.
Frequently Asked Questions About Duck Hunting Boats
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i) What motor is best for duck hunting?
The motor type you are getting will depend on the boat you are buying, your hunting style, and where you are going to use the boat. If you are going into deep waters, then you will need a 2-stroke motor or a 4-stroke motor. Alternatively, if you will hunt shallow water or the banks, you need a mud-motor boat.
ii) What is a good size for a duck boat?
Whether you are getting a larger or a smaller boat, both have their upsides and downsides, and you will have to pick the struggle you want. Smaller boats are too small to include other passengers or get as many ducks as possible. On the other hand, smaller boats are easier to maneuver compared to boats with larger hulls.
Larger boats have enough storage and space for any passengers and can go into deeper waters due to their large hulls. However, using the boats on shallow water can be a bit tricky compared to their smaller alternatives.
iii) What is the duck capital of the world?
Stuttgart sits right in the middle of the Arkansas delta, making it the perfect spot for duck hunting. Stuttgart is also known as the "rice and duck capital of the world."
iv) Which country consumes the most duck meat?
China consumes the most ducks due to the sheer size of its population.
v) How fast can a duck boat go?
A duck boat can go at speeds between 30 mph and 50 mph, depending on the motor and the environment in which the boat is operated.
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Duck hunting is an art, and the boat is a vital part of the process. Your boat sets the stage for hunting and can be the difference between a bountiful hunt and zero kills. If you want more ducks, consider the boats mentioned above.
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