Glossary of Waterfowl Hunting Terms

Getting into waterfowl hunting can sometimes be confusing because of the amount of terms used for this sport.  When I started waterfowl hunting I felt silly asking others what some of the things meant as I didn’t want to look stupid.

 

So what I did is created this list to help you learn some of the most common waterfowl hunting terms so you do not have to face the same feeling of confusion that I had without having to ask others for help.

 

  • Active Decoy – A decoy with its head in an upright position showing that is walking about and is alert.

 

  • Bagged – Refers to the amount of birds someone shot in a day.

 

  • Banded Bird- A ducks or goose that is tagged with a band on their leg on their neck or foot. There are specific tracking numbers on these bands to see where they were tagged by the researchers.  Shooting a banded bird is highly sought after by waterfowl hunters.

 

  • Blind Bag – A bag designed to bring to a hunting blind for holding shotgun shells and other hunting accessories.

 

  • Boat Blind – A blind designed to go on a boat that makes the boat look like it is vegetation to approaching waterfowl.

 

  • Call Guts – The inner parts of a duck or goose call.

 

  • Committed –  When a duck or goose is intending to land .

 

  • Confidence Decoy – Decoy of a different species then the majority of your decoy spread and intended to make the birds feel more comfortable. For example, ducks are often seen with geese.  Adding a few goose decoys to your duck spread would be confidence decoys.

 

  • Cupped – The way ducks and geese angle their wings in somewhat of a “C” shape as they are ready for landing.

 

  • Cut Em – When hunting with a group of waterfowl hunters and the hunter in charge indicates to shoot at the approaching waterfowl.

 

  • Decoy Diagram – The way in which your decoys are placed on the water or shore.

 

  • Decoy Line – Floating decoys have line/cord attached to the bottom and then attached to a weight to keep them in place and prevent them from floating away.

 

  • Decoy Spread – The way in which your decoys are placed on the water or shore.

 

  • Decoy Trailer – A trailer to store and transport decoys.

 

  • Deeks – Another word used for decoys.

 

  • Duck Call – A device you blow in that imitates the sound of ducks with the intent to attract ducks to your decoys.

 

  • Duck Flag – A pole with plastic/fabric on the end intended to look like a ducks wings. You hold the handle of the pole and flap it up and down to attract ducks in the distance.

 

  • Electronic Calls – A speaker system with recorded sounds to attract birds commonly used for snow geese.

 

  • Feeding Decoy –A decoy with its head in a downward position to imitate the look of a bird eating.

 

  • Floating Decoy – Decoy that floats on water.

 

  • Flocking – A type of nylon fiber material that is on some decoys to make the appearance of real bird feathers.

 

  • Flyer Decoy – A decoy on a pole, usually 4-8 feet tall that has plastic wings that move with the wind to create the look of a bird landing.

 

  • Fold Them – When a hunter is indicating that all hunters should start shooting at the approaching waterfowl.

 

  • Full Body Decoy – Decoy that mimics the size, shape and look of a duck or goose.

 

  • Fully Flocked – A decoy that is flocked all over its body.

 

  • Goose call – A device you blow in that imitates the sound of geese with the intent to attract geese to your decoys.

 

  • Goose Flag – A pole with plastic/fabric on the end intended to look like goose wings. You hold the handle of the pole and flap it up and down to attract geese in the distance.

 

  • Goose flute – A type of goose call with a longer length design. Often thought of to be one of the easier styles of call to learn and use.

 

  • Honker – Another word for a Canada goose.

 

  • John Boat – A small boat used for waterfowl hunting, typically propelled by paddling with ores.

 

  • Keel – The weighted bottom section of a floating decoy.

 

  • Landing Gear – When ducks or geese put their feet down as they get ready to land.

 

  • Landing Zone – The area in a decoy spread where it is intended for the birds to land.

 

  • Lanyard – A type of necklace that is designed to hold several duck and or goose calls close to your neck and easy to reach when birds are seen.

 

  • Lanyard Drops – Small ropes with loops on the ends that hang from a call lanyard. Each drop will hold one call.

 

  • Layout Blind – A style of blind that is placed on land that keeps the hunter concealed from waterfowl. Most layout blinds have doors that close over the hunter and when birds are in shooting range the hunter pops the doors open and shoots at the birds.

 

  • Limit – The legal amount of ducks or geese that you can shoot in one day.

 

  • Locked in – When a duck or goose is intending to land.

 

  • Lookers – A decoy with its neck in a straight upright position.

 

  • Pit Blind – A type of blind that is dug into the ground.

 

  • Roost – The place where the birds are resting for the evening and often times during the day. Typically a roost is on water.

 

  • Sentry Decoy – A goose decoy with its head and neck in a stretched upright position. Sentry goose decoys indicate that they are looking out for the group as the other geese feed or rest.

 

  • Shell Decoy – Decoy that is hollow in the middle and can be stacked/stored easily.

 

  • Short reed call – A call with a shorter in length design. Often thought of to be one of the best sounding calls but slightly more difficult to learn to call.

 

  • Silhouette Decoy – A two dimensional decoy. Basically a cookie cutter outline style decoy.

 

  • Sleeper Decoy – A decoy designed to imitate the look of a sleeping bird. Most commonly ducks and geese sleep with their heads and necks turned around and resting on their backs.

 

  • Slot bag – A bag with specific places for decoys. For example, a six slot decoy bag would hold 6 decoys.

 

  • Snows – Another word for snow geese.

 

  • Specks – Speckle belly geese.

 

  • Spinning Wing Decoy – A decoy with wings that spin in circles to imitate the look of a landing bird. The decoys can be battery powered or wind powered.

 

  • Spread – The style in which you have your decoys placed on the water or in the field.

 

  • Texas Rag Decoy – A decoy typically made out of plastic/nylon style material that fills up with air. Some styles are just tied to a piece of vegetation in a field to elevate them off the ground.

 

  • The “X” – The exact spot where geese or ducks are feeding.

 

  • Tornado Machine – A machine designed for hunting snow geese with several extending arms at various angles. At the end of each of these arms a snow goose decoy is placed and when in operation the machine spins the decoys around in circles.  Made to imitate the look of snow geese getting ready to land.

 

  • Waders – Long style neoprene pants that are waterproof and allow the hunter to walk into water, typically up to chest deep, without getting wet.

 

  • Windsock Decoy – A decoy that has a body typically made out of plastic/tyvec that fills up with air allowing it to move back and forth in the wind.

 

  • 747s – Referring to Canada geese because they are large.

 

Hopefully you found this list useful.  If you notice any terms that need to be added or you have questions on any of this please post a comment and I’ll get you an answer right away.  Chances are that if you have a question there are other people who have the same question as well.