Written By Matt Heden

Duck Hunting Gear List: Preparing For Success


With duck season on the horizon, we often get the question from new hunters – what gear do I need to duck hunt? It’s a simple question that often can become complex really quickly.

How can that be a complex question? To that, I say – where are you hunting ducks? Will you be in a duck boat? A Rice field? Timber hole? Is it early teal season or late general season?

The variations can make the question more complex than it needs to be. So today, we will answer the general question: What should be on your duck hunting gear list?

This is a no-frills article that will help give a new or prospective hunter the basic knowledge of what is needed to start hunting ducks. Remember, having the right gear can make all the difference between a successful outing and a frustrating one.

Why Proper Gear Matters

Duck hunting isn’t just a hobby; it’s a skill that requires precision, patience, and the right tools. Proper gear enhances your hunting experience by increasing your chances of a successful hunt, ensuring your safety, and keeping you comfortable in varying weather conditions.


Duck Hunting Gear at a Glance


  • License (Federal duck stamp, validations, and area access pass)
  • Shotgun
  • Shotgun shells
  • Proper Choke Tube(s)
  • Decoys
  • Duck Call (sometimes less is more)
  • Blind Bag
  • Gun Case


  • Waders
  • Long Socks
  • Wader Pants (substitute as necessary)
  • Camo Jacket
  • Ear Protection
  • Face Mask/Paint
  • Headlamp
  • Duck Strap
  • Decoy Sled (as needed)

Above, you’ll see all the essentials needed to fulfill a proper waterfowl hunting gear list. However, it’s hardly exhaustive and surely can change depending on location, time of the year, weather, and so many other factors. Below, you’ll find more information and recommendations.

Firearms and Ammunition



Your shotgun is the most critical piece of equipment for duck hunting; without it – it’s not hunting; it’s watching and scouting. It’s essential to choose a shotgun that’s reliable and feels great on your shoulder. Here are some top options to consider:

Remington 870: Known for its durability and versatility, the Remington 870 is a favorite among duck hunters everywhere. The 870 is the workhorse of the duck-hunting realm.

Benelli Super Black Eagle III: The BBenelli Super Black Eagle III is known for its fast action and reliability in adverse conditions. 

Browning A5: The Browning A5 is one of those shotguns that if you love it, best bet you LOVE it. Give it a try, you might find yourself as an A5 waterfowl hunter.



Choosing the proper ammunition is just as important as having your shotgun with you. Remember, lead-free ammunition is needed to hunt ducks. There are plenty of options, from steel to bismuth and even tungsten.


Federal Premium


Clothing and Camouflage


Hunting Apparel

You’ll note quickly that staying hidden and being comfortable and dry is a huge part of success for waterfowl hunters. Look for waterproof and insulated hunting clothing to protect you from the elements. Consider these awesome brands:


Drake Waterfowl




Camouflage Gear

Don’t just go for the warmest or most comfortable clothing; you’ll want to make sure you blend in well – ducks have incredible eyesight. Camouflage clothing, face paint, and gloves can help you stay hidden. Choose gear that matches your hunting environment.


Decoys and Calls



Decoys play a critical role in attracting ducks to the area you are hunting. Depending on your area, you’ll use different amounts of decoys and differing types of waterfowl. From rice fields that utilize thousands of decoys to small creeks that need just one or two decoys – grab a few decoys; Mallards, teal, and wigeon are great decoys for nearly any spread. Consider these reputable decoy brands:


Higdon Outdoors

Greenhead Gear


Duck Calls

Mastering the duck call is integral to hunting ducks, though this can often take many years to get down. Start with a basic call and practice to mimic realistic duck sounds. Check out these trusted duck call brands:


Duck Commander

RNT Calls

Echo Calls

Remember to check out our article on best duck calls for beginners.


Blind and Concealment


Duck Blinds

A well-concealed duck blind can make or break a hunt. Portable blinds like these are great for different aspects of hunting:

Tanglegree Portable Blinds

Tanglefree Layout Blinds

Check out our article on the best portable blinds if you have the time!


Concealment Tactics

In addition to blinds, consider natural concealment techniques like building a makeshift blind using local vegetation. Sometimes, hiding with just your chest waders and a quality jacket works; other times, bringing a bundle of fast grass is beneficial, especially if you’re on a boat hunting.


Essential Tools and Convenience Factors


Duck Strap

A quality duck strap makes it easier to carry harvested birds. Look for options with adjustable straps for added convenience.



If you’re hunting in water, a retriever can be invaluable for retrieving downed birds. Breeds like:

Labrador Retrievers

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers


Safety and First Aid


Life Vest

Wearing a life vest is necessary for safety if you’re hunting from a boat or in deep water.

First Aid Kit

While hunting, accidents can happen. It’s important to have a basic first aid kit with you. Anything with the basics like bandaids, wipes, gauze, and other essentials will do. 


Licensing and Regulations


Hunting License

 Remember to have all the necessary hunting permits and licenses for your area. Regulations vary, so it’s essential to stay informed.



Investing in the right duck hunting gear is vital to becoming a successful duck hunter. Remember, the gear doesn’t make the hunter – but few things are worse than being wet, freezing cold, and having no ducks in hand to show for your hard work.

Having the appropriate gear can help you stay safe and hidden and ultimately bring you closer to having a successful hunt. Remember always to prioritize safety and adhere to local hunting regulations.

Whether you are a beginning duck hunter or you consider yourself one of the experienced hunters – with this guide and the recommended gear, you’ll be well-equipped for a great season.

So, gear up, practice your calls, and head out to your local hunt area for an unforgettable adventure.

Happy hunting!


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