Throughout the years as a waterfowl hunter, you will realize that not ALL waterfowl hunters are created equally.

Some guys come from a long line of waterfowl heritage; others are just getting into this for the first season.

Some guys live for the rat race on the refuge, and others choose to relax in prebuilt blinds on private property.

Regardless of which of these people you are, there is a good chance that you’ll meet the people in some, if not all, of the groups listed below during your time as a waterfowl hunter.

The New Guy:
EVERY SINGLE duck hunter out there has been this guy. It’s the starting point for the obsession that turns into a labor of love.

“The New Guy” is most likely to be found wearing a pair of borrowed, ill-fitting, possibly leaky waders paired with a mismatched jacket that does the bare minimum of keeping you warm, sometimes not even doing that very well. This is going to be the guy that has been on 1-5 hunts and is still figuring it out. Typically eager to help, but usually not very helpful, if you know what I mean.

In most cases, the weapon of choice will be a trusty Remmington 870 pump paired with a few boxes of Winchester shells.

Most likely to be looking straight up at the ducks as they are looking right back at’em and being the last or, unfortunately, the first to take the shot. It’s ok, though; it’s the learning stages of hunting.

Hopefully, some of the guys listed later understand this and bring them under the wing. One sure thing is this; the “New Guy” will have fun regardless of the hunt’s outcome. It’s exciting and new!

We shared a few valuable items for our new guys in our Best In Waterfowl Hunting Gear post so check it out!

The Club Hunter:
If you were a spider on the wall of any club duck blind, this is typically what you would see.

Three to four guys who have known each other for many years and have no desire to compete with the groups in this post. These guys roll in 30 minutes before shoot time because, in most cases, the decoys have been previously set, and the walk or float to the blind is short. Sometimes you won’t even need to walk to the blind as you may be able to drive right to it, or someone takes you out to the blind in a side-by-side.

Club Hunters, in most cases, have “paid their dues,” and now it’s time to kick back and relax.

In most club blinds I have had the privilege of hunting in, breakfast is made in the blind as some of these are not just “blinds” but resemble more of a small studio apartment found in San Francisco.

The equipment inside the blinds, though, typically costs as much as the lease on the seat.

You’ll discover Sitka on almost everybody in a seat, top-of-the-line waterfowl shotguns, and likely Heavy Metal, another expensive ammo to match.

Being a “Club Hunter” is not typically for the younger crowd unless the blind has been passed down in a family for years. Club memberships have been known to go anywhere from $2,000 a seat for the lesser of blinds to +$100,000 for resort-style lodged, big acreage clubs.

If you’re one of the lucky guests that get to experience this, you find that, typically, this will be the most relaxed hunt you can have in terms of work but be something that you remember for the rest of your life.

The Refuge Rat:
You know the guy you meet at the bar that you instantly know will have a good time hanging out with but aren’t quite sure if you’re going live afterward? Yeah, that’s this guy.

This is the dude who LOVES the race to the duck hole.

He has spent countless hours watching birds and knows where they will be most of the time. This guy slips 6-12 decoys over his shoulder and is off like the wind.

The “Refuge Rat” keeps their circle tight and their lips tighter. They are not likely to tell you where to go if you ask and sometimes send you off in the entirely wrong direction from where they will be hunting.

Sometimes you get an old timer that never graduated to a club hunter that will guide you a bit, but don’t expect an easy handout from these guys.

Typically carrying a WELL-used and abused gun that has been field stripped as often as it’s been shot paired with their favorite #2 shot to help reach out and poke at a long-off bird.

The Refuge Rat is what I like to call the Dale Earnhart of duck hunting; they’re fast, they aren’t afraid to get a bit rough, and will most likely be the guys that muscle themselves into the best spots through a lot of hard work and a bit of intimidation.

The Diver Duck/Big Water Guy
BIG boat, BIG spread, BIG FUN. If you have never had the option to hunt divers, then you are missing out. Scoffed at by MOST of the others listed here, there is nothing more fun than a stinky duck smackdown!

This dude’s collection of decoys will rival the stock quantity of Rogers Sporting Goods. They are made of everything and every brand because they will get shot a lot. Sometimes these guys have been known to paint milk jugs and soda bottles and use those as decoys as well. You can think of this guy as a mix of Refuge Rat and the “Use what you have, guy.”

One thing is for sure, this will be one of the most extraordinary duck hunting boats you will be on.

Made to withstand wild weather and the occasional wave over the bow, you will see that the Diver Duck Guys are the Jack Sparrow of duck hunters; ready to go at any time in any weather, this guy will put you on the ducks.

Be prepared because his hunting style is fast-paced and full of opportunity.

A hunter of ingenuity, he pulls some interesting inventions out to put motion into these spreads. Bouys with Mojos on a stick with weights on the bottom are a standard!

This guy’s gun will be well cared for but likely look like it’s been used for 20 years, and sometimes even used as an ore.

Unfortunately, most of the time, the salt from these hunts takes its toll. The shell box will be filled with a mix and match of shells that he’s gathered up from the bottom of the boat after a hunt.

If you want to have a great time and shoot birds that most would pass at, get in touch with your local diver dog, it will be non-stop action!

The Lone Wolf:
This guy STACKS the birds, but you are unlikely to ever know from where.

Typically he’s packing light gear to be able to move fast and swiftly. The lone wolf is likely to own a small boat or a kayak and put in the work. In the off-season, he is likely to be fishing and scouting simultaneously.

You see the pictures of the results, but most of the time, they are taken at home where they are clear of any peering background shoppers that are zooming in on every branch and small plot of land to find out where this guy is going.

The lone wolf is likely to be known by many but seldom ends up in a refuge or club.

These dudes get out early, get it done, and come home likely before any of us have downed the second bird of the day. You may ask a few times to go with, but that invite will likely never come about.

The lone wolf, from many of my experiences, is like a unicorn regarding their gear. From what I have seen, most use an over-under 20 gauge and about a dozen decoys. These guys kill birds in or over the decoys and seldom need to chase down cripples. They typically have a good dog with them to keep them company as they know their mut isn’t sinking any ships with loose lips around town.

The “Use What you Got” Guy
A man of many oddities. You may find yourself in need of this guy once or twice while out in the field.

I like to call them the McGiver of duck hunting.

Slung over the shoulder, you will likely find a shotgun that has been in the family for 60 years and may have spent most of the off-season behind the bedroom door seconding for a varmint eraser.

Toting a bag of used, abused, and mainly repainted decoys of all ages, this guy is not afraid to shoot birds that land in the floaters. If you ask him to choose between a bird or a decoy, he’ll tell you he’ll confetti a decoy across the field before leaving a bird get up.

This is the guy that, at a moment’s notice, will be on his way to wherever you are.

Need to fill a seat; he’ll be there, no questions asked.

Rather than buying expensive motion decoys, this guy makes motorized ducks out of bilge pumps and windshield wiper motors. This craigslist treasure hunter will save you in the field and your wallet season after season, learn from him!

Duck, Duck, Goose Only Guys
If you thought the Diver Duck guy had decoys, you don’t know any goose-only guys.

Think about this, you bring a decoy cart or, at best, 2-3 dozen decoys. Goose Guys bring trailers with HUNDREDS of decoys, socks, silhouettes, layout blinds, motion decoys, painters’ suits, and flags. These guys are rolling Sheels, Bass Pro, and Turners in one shot.

Most of the time, a goose guy is field-hopping from one location to another. Setting up in the VERY early hours and packing up in the late afternoon.

These guys are known by everyone, hunters and landowners alike. If you know a goose-only guy, you will likely get an invite. In their world, the more guns, the better.

Speaking of guns and shells, long barrels, ported chokes, and a barrage of 3.5″ TTT are what you are likely to find these guys sporting. They want to ensure they drop birds when they squeeze the fun switch on the boom stick.

Whenever I see a guy post about a cut cornfield hunt or a fresh-grown green grass field, there is typically an Everest size pile of birds in the photo. A hunt with your local goose guy will be an incredible experience and one that you will have a hard time topping!

Gadget Guy
Every year companies come up with newly redesigned toys. We, as duck hunters, look at the ever-growing list of things and say, “I don’t need that, but MAYBE it will help the birds finish from the south a bit better.”

If you mixed Elmer Fudd and Inspector Gadget, you get this guy. We call him the Gadget Guy.

He’s the dude that has more rechargeable batteries packed in his blind bag than the center aisle of Best Buy. The newest and sometimes the oldest gadgets you have ever seen.

Some would call him stubborn for holding on to old gear, but that old gear worked once 20 years ago, and that memory of it is burned in their memory, so out it comes each season.

I know a few guys like this. Every time I’m at their houses, I see duck hunting gear that has been asking questions. Once it’s explained, you understand the thought behind the item, but you are usually asking if that actually works.

Once, I was at my buddy’s house, and he passed down these unique, wind-driven full-body decoys. Bulky, old, and different from anything I had ever seen, I questioned if they worked. Fortunately, I took them out one weekend and found precisely why they had been holding on to these for 15 years. Birds seemed to hone in on these like heat-seeking diver missiles.

I guess you could say that I’m a gadget guy. I find myself saying to my buddies that hunt, “have you seen this” or “do you have one of these yet?”

Regardless, these guys don’t have a gun of choice; it’s typically a mix of the above. They find something that works and usually stick to it until they have a bad hunt, and then it is that decoy or that gun, and we move on to the next best item!

You may have sat here and said, “yep, that’s me,” while laughing your way through this post. It’s more likely that you have said that a few times because you fit into a few of these groups differently.

Regardless of what group or groups you fall into, we ALL fall into one leading group. We are waterfowl hunters, conservationists, educators, and stewards of this great heritage. It’s our responsibility to maintain and grow this great sport and preserve the opportunities for our sons, daughters, and grandchildren.

If you are interested in volunteering your time or donating to your local organization, please reach out to us here at Hunt Bums. We would be happy to help send you off in the right direction! Most states have organizations, like California Waterfowl Association, that advocate for hunters on many levels.