Daily Routines of Ducks

I am not an expert duck hunter but manage to do alright. I would like to understand a duck’s daily schedule better.

I was out scouting and found a spot where there were good numbers of ducks (mallards teal woodies) in a flooded timber tract. I was out at first light and only saw a couple ducks fly into the timber and nothing came out. Around 8 I poked my head in and was surprised how many ducks were in the timber. I pulled out before scaring everything.

Did these ducks roost in the flooded timber? Did they come in early? Are they hanging out there all day or do they had out mid morning to feed?
I’ll have to continue my scouting here but wondering if anyone had thoughts!
 

Wildlifer

Twelve Pointer
Very generally a duck will leave the roost for a feed spot, move to a loafing spot, move to feed then roost. This is not to say a roost can’t also be a feed spot and so on. A duck like most critters needs food water and cover. The least amount of energy is going to be used achieving those.
 

JONOV

Ten Pointer
I am not an expert duck hunter but manage to do alright. I would like to understand a duck’s daily schedule better.

I was out scouting and found a spot where there were good numbers of ducks (mallards teal woodies) in a flooded timber tract. I was out at first light and only saw a couple ducks fly into the timber and nothing came out. Around 8 I poked my head in and was surprised how many ducks were in the timber. I pulled out before scaring everything.

Did these ducks roost in the flooded timber? Did they come in early? Are they hanging out there all day or do they had out mid morning to feed?
I’ll have to continue my scouting here but wondering if anyone had thoughts!
They might be heading in before first light. I was out on Saturday and at 4:30 AM saw a big flock flying down the lake from what I'd presume was a roost. It could have been that they were bumped out by hunters but I wouldn't be certain enough to bet on it.

If you head in during daylight, get the ducks up without shooting at them, setup quickly, throw a few dekes out, and they'll return.

Similarly at some places, like J Morgan Futch, the birds are really educated. I remember scouting from the tower at 4:00 the previous evening, seeing the place more or less covered in birds, the next morning they're GONE. They know, first light folks start blasting at them so are largely gone before first light, generally probably return mid-late afternoon and feed/loaf/roost.
 

useyourbow

Eight Pointer
They might be heading in before first light. I was out on Saturday and at 4:30 AM saw a big flock flying down the lake from what I'd presume was a roost. It could have been that they were bumped out by hunters but I wouldn't be certain enough to bet on it.

If you head in during daylight, get the ducks up without shooting at them, setup quickly, throw a few dekes out, and they'll return.

Similarly at some places, like J Morgan Futch, the birds are really educated. I remember scouting from the tower at 4:00 the previous evening, seeing the place more or less covered in birds, the next morning they're GONE. They know, first light folks start blasting at them so are largely gone before first light, generally probably return mid-late afternoon and feed/loaf/roost.
I am intrigued with your go in at first light theory. We have access to 30 acre private pond and blow geese/ducks out going in before light setting dekes. Are you suggesting if we blow them out when it is light out there is better chance they’ll return? Just trying to learn.
 

DuckyDave

Six Pointer
How big is the tract? Is it possible that after first light the ducks flew in but out of sight then swam to where you saw many more around 8am? I believe puddle ducks (and of course divers/sea ducks) will swim a long distance especially if aquatic cover makes them feel secure.
 

JONOV

Ten Pointer
I am intrigued with your go in at first light theory. We have access to 30 acre private pond and blow geese/ducks out going in before light setting dekes. Are you suggesting if we blow them out when it is light out there is better chance they’ll return? Just trying to learn.
Yes, if you can get them up off a loafing pond by walking in and not shooting them, they’ll come back in singles and twos and threes.
 

shurshot

Six Pointer
Birds will go in a place at all times of the night and stay/feed the morning long if not disturbed. Nothing unusual about that. And yes, walk the birds out of there and eventually they should return. But there are some variables that might preclude them from doing so.
 

JONOV

Ten Pointer
How big is the tract? Is it possible that after first light the ducks flew in but out of sight then swam to where you saw many more around 8am? I believe puddle ducks (and of course divers/sea ducks) will swim a long distance especially if aquatic cover makes them feel secure.
I've observed this in flooded timber...even in crowded public impoundments...I'll take a walk after the morning flight through the thick stuff and find them swimming all over.

I read in field and stream or the DU magazine that sometimes less is more, find a hole made by a single blown large down tree and you're good to go.
 
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