Having an open water spot when duck hunting on the ice is critical to pull in late season ducks and geese. Ice eaters are an effective way to open up the water. The problem is buying pre built ice eater systems can be very expensive, often $600 – $750 or more. So why not make your own for ice eater for cheap? Here are 10 ideas on how to make an ice eater for duck hunting cheap.
HOW TO MAKE AN ICE EATER FOR DUCK HUNTING
IDEA 1) TROLLING MOTOR
The first idea is by far the most popular way to make a homemade ice eater for duck hunting. This involves using a trolling motor and constructing it in a way that will help you keep the water open for duck hunting. There are a ton of different ways that people have used to make a homemade ice eater for duck hunting out of a tolling motor and each has some benefits.
Considerations as you use a trolling motor to make a ice eater for duck hunting:
1) To funnel the water the prop consider putting it in one of these
- 5 Gallon Bucket
- Milk Crate
- Garbage Can
2) Cover the opening of the can with a round charcoal grill cover.
3) Use one of these as the stand for the tolling motor
- Folding Chair
- Camera Tripod
- Step Ladder
IDEA 2) DOCK DE-ICERS
Many companies brand things specifically for duck hunters and charge a premium compared for the same item for other uses. Once case were this may be happening is with duck hunting deicers. Duck hunting deicers are typically around $650 or more. However, if you search for “dock deicers” you will see that they are essentially the same thing.
Dock deicers are designed to keep ice from forming around boat docks but they can usually be used as duck hunting deicers as well. Check the pricing on both and see which is better.
IDEA 3) LONG TAIL MUD MOTORS
If you are duck hunter that heads out into shallow waters then there is a possibility that you might have long tail mud motor on your boat. These long tail mud motors can make perfect ice eaters. Pull the motor off and set it up on a folding chair or other stable surface and let that thing run. Simple!
IDEA 4) SNOWMOBILE
This one may seem a little crazy but I have heard of people who have used their snowmobiles to help get water moving to create an opening in the ice. What they do first is cut a square out of the ice for the snowmobile tread to fit in and then they run the motor throwing water all over the surface of the ice. Here is a video I found of someone doing this.
IDEA 5) SUMP PUMP
Another less expensive pump that you could use as a duck hunting deicer is a sump pump. In fact you may even have one laying around your house that you could use to pump water onto the ice.
If you don’t have a sump pump a great place to try and find one is on Craigslist. This is because the floats on sump pumps can go bad so this makes them useless for most people. However, all you need to the sump pump for is to continuously pump water to open the hole. This means that people will often sell broken sump pumps on Craigslist for cheap or they may even give them away for free.
IDEA 6) TRANSFER PUMPS
Another overlooked option for use as a homemade ice eater are transfer pumps. Industrial transfer pumps are often used to drain ponds or move water from one location to another. However, these also make great options for pulling water from an opening and dumping it back on top of the ice to get the ice to melt.
IDEA 7) TRASH PUMP
These are often used to clean out large areas of water such as pools or other areas of unwanted water. These things can be quite powerful so they can work great to pump a bunch of water out quickly on top of the ice to get the ice to melt. These can often be rented so if you only need it for a day renting one might be a good option.
IDEA 8) SUBMERSIBLE WELL PUMP
Well pumps are designed to pump water up the well and to the desired location for water. However, these can also work great in pumping water on top of the ice. Just another idea to search for as you are looking around your house, checking stores or even craigslist for the cheapest duck ice eater ideas.
IDEA 9) BILGE PUMP
Another way how to make an ice eater for duck hunting is using Bilge pumps because are often used in boats and other marine devices to pump water out. Now these typically are not as powerful as some of the other options we have discussed but if you get a large enough bilge pump it can work.
To set one of these up you could cordless drill with a large bit to make a hole in the ice or even an ice auger for ice fishing. Basically any way you can get the suction tube into water. Then with the suction hose in the hole and let the pump push water out on top of the ice.
IDEA 10) WHAT IF NO PUMP?
If you are unable to get your hands on a pump that is totally understandable. Even some of these “cheap” ideas I provided will still cost some money.
Here are a few things to try when you cant get a pump.
- Sledgehammer to break the ice
- Chainsaw to cut ice into sheets and push under ice
- Tie bleach bottles to string to keep movement in water so water doesn’t freeze
- Black or blue plastic tarp on top of ice to mimic look of open water
- Put boat in water and run the motor to get water moving
- Use sleeper shell Canada geese to pull in ducks and geese