5 Ways to Retrieve Ducks in Deep Water Without a Dog

Last Updated on May 13, 2023 by

Hunting ducks without a dog is not ideal, especially if you are hunting in deep water. However, you don’t have to hunt down the birds.

You don’t need a duck hunting dog if your retriever is injured and can’t hunt, but there are still ways to hunt deep water and still shoot the birds.

This review will discuss the best methods to retrieve ducks from deep water without a dog. These include using a fishing rod, hook, kayak, canoes and inner tubes.

1. Fishing Rod and Hook

It is simple and inexpensive to catch ducks without the help of a dog. Simply grab your fishing rod and reel, and cast a treble or multiple treble lures to capture the bird. For longer casting distances, you can add weight to your lure.

This tactic can take a few tries to master. Topwater lures can be used to help you see the lines and align the hooks with the floating birds. A heavy monofilament line does not need to be used. In the right circumstances, a micro-spinning reel may work.

It doesn’t matter what setup you use, it might take several castings and retrieval techniques to get it right. It is better to be patient and help the bird get away from you than try to set the hook.

Pro Tip To retrieve ducks in deep waters, use a topwater lure that has three treble hooks.

You can retrieve ducks in deep-water situations with a Telescopic Fishing Rod or Reel

2. Use the wind to your advantage

Deep water hunting situations at large lakes and ponds are dependent on wind direction. If your bird is not recovered in a timely fashion, it can be deposited further away by strong winds.

Wind drift can be eliminated by using the wind to your advantage, and letting the wind take the birds. It’s not ideal to have the wind blowing in your face, but it could make the difference between retrieving birds quickly and having to fight white caps in deep water as your birds drift further away.

Tip: Look out for outcrops near deep water. These will allow you set up for different wind directions so that the wind blows the birds back.

3. Use an inner tube

You can also retrieve ducks from deep water using inner tubes, which are an inexpensive alternative to using a dog. You can pick up tubes at any tractor supply store or feed shop and they take just a few minutes for you to fully inflate.

You can just jump in and paddle out to retrieve your duck. Tube floats are made for fishing and allow you to comfortably sit in the tube. This is the best option if you plan to make a lot more retrieves.

Pro Tip Using a kayak to transport downed birds can be easier than using your hands, especially when you are duck hunting in January when everything is freezing.

The Goplus Inflatable fishing float tube can help you retrieve ducks from deep water.

4. Kayaks and Canoes

Canoes and kayaks are a safer way to catch birds in deep water. A kayak is the best choice if you hunt with a dog only. Even better, you can hunt without them.

Kayaks can be fitted in most truck beds. They are lightweight and easy to paddle out to chase down crippled birds, or to make long retrieves. A kayak or canoe is a good alternative if your retriever is not working and your duck boat won’t start. Kayaks are still an option for public duck hunting with motor restrictions.

Tip: In most states, waterfowl can be taken from a kayak or canoe with manned power.

5. Set your duck decoys tighter

Finally, you can set your duck in a manner that decoys can catch down the birds and keep them from blowing across the lake. A blocking line or decoy line can be used to slow down drifting birds in strong winds. This tactic is best used in early season duck hunting.

Tip: Making the decoys more tight can simulate a rafting of birds on open waters and slow down birds that move with the wind.

Tips to retrieve ducks in deep waters without using a dog

  • If you don’t own a dog, always have a plan for how to handle down birds in deep water. Failure is guaranteed when you try to MacGyver something together in the last minute.
  • Invite a friend who has a dog to join you. It doesn’t matter if they can fetch 50% or less of what you are hunting, it might be worth it.
  • Windy days are a good time to quickly retrieve downed birds in order to stop the wind blowing them further away from the shore.
  • You can make birds even closer to you so they can be easily retrieved in the shallows or decoys.
  • Take care not to chase cripples around the lake.
  • When retrieving birds from deep water, always wear a lifejacket
  • In case you need to quickly dry off after a dip in the water, be sure to have a spare set of clothes.
  • To stop them from entering open water, quickly dispatch crippled birds.
  • To catch wind-blown birds, place a string decoys in your spread to keep them suspended longer than you can reach them.

Why would you want to retrieve ducks in deep water?

Waterfowl retrievers can be difficult to find and many people don’t have the luxury of a trained bird dog. Hunting birds requires hunters to think creatively about how they will retrieve them.

There are many ways to retrieve ducks from deep water. Each method has its strengths and weaknesses. It is only half the battle to find the right method for the hunting area.

It is not a good idea to shoot birds and then have no means of retrieving them. It is illegal and the bird will be wasted. Before you shoot, think about how you will retrieve the birds.

Bottom Line

Without the proper equipment, retrieving ducks in deep waters without a dog is a difficult task. With the right planning, you can still hunt productively and retrieve all your birds.

The simplest and most efficient way to retrieve ducks from deep water is with a fishing hook and a fishing pole. The best hook is a triplet and can be cast over 100 yards.

Another way to save time is to set your decoys so that the birds that have been taken by the wind float back to you. After the wind has blown the bird to shore, simply walk over and grab the bird.

Inner tubes, canoes and kayaks are great options for catching birds from farther distances if the wind is against you. Remember to always wear a life jacket.

Are there other ways to retrieve ducks in deep water? Leave a comment below