As the weather cools and late fall turns to winter, my focus shifts from the ten month pursuit of fish from my kayak. This does not mean I abandon my kayak, but for sixty days it is used to target a different quarry.
With colder temperatures begins the migration of birds from Canada down to their wintering grounds in the Southern US and Mexico. Along the way seasons are timed with the migration and hunters from all over take their turns at tricking these birds into their spreads.
There are numerous vessels used to haul hunters and decoys alike, ranging from big water outboard boats, to low profile mud boats, all the way down to single man sneak boats. For me there is no more versatile vessel than my kayak. This season alone I hunted from a Slayer XC, a Titan 12, and an FX Propel. The XC and Titan 12 offer a large payload and surface area for hauling decoys, while the FX can have the seat removed offering you full concealment while lying back low to the water line. In addition to the FX’s ability to virtually disappear when used as a layout boat, its low profile coupled with a trolling motor make it a great sneak boat.
While hunting in Vermont I was introduced to Garrick Dixon’s method of kayak hunting. He primarily targets river mouths and marsh areas a couple of miles from the launch. While this does require you to work to get to the birds, once you are there it is easy to completely hide yourself and your boat from the cautious birds.
Having the portability of a kayak is huge for accessing areas you just cannot get a larger boat into. This allows you to find those low pressure birds late in the season and make your hunts count. Couple the portability with the relatively low cost and versatility to use year round for recreation/fishing and it makes picking up a kayak as a hunting platform that much more appealing.
With the season drawing to an end there are a couple more weeks left to finish this one strong. Before you know it, my kayaks will be outfitted for the tournament trail again and I will be patiently waiting for next November. I highly encourage you waterfowlers to get out and give this a try. Being that close to the water and the birds adds a whole new dynamic to the sport.
–Article by Ryan Lambert – Ryan is an avid outdoorsman, kayak angler and kayak waterfowler based out of Chattanooga, TN USA.
–Photography by Garrick Dixon – Garrick is an accomplished photographer with a focus in fishing and hunting.