One of the best things about chasing ducks and geese is the diverse array hunting opportunities we enjoy all season long, from early-season teal to spring snows. But this embarrassment of riches calls for a whole lot of gear. Take a tour through any serious waterfowler’s basement or garage and you’ll find mountains of decoys, blinds, waders, and camo.
So with this gift guide I tried to focus on the essentials (because one garage can only hold so much stuff). These are the items that any waterfowl hunter on your shopping list will appreciate. And, I bet you find something for yourself while you’re scrolling through.
1. Banded Redzone Breathable Waders
I hunted in these waders on a blustery, below-freezing day in Minnesota this year and never felt a nip of cold. The first thing you’ll notice about these bad boys is the over-the-boot gaiter. This is a brilliant feature that prevents wear and tear when you’re plowing through brush. The waders are insulated and breathable (they feel like wearing a pair of heavy bibs more than waders) and the boots sport 1600 gram Thinsulate. Banded says they have a comfort rating from -10 degrees to 50 degrees, but I wouldn’t wear them until temps drop into the 30s. Other nice features include a fleece lined hand warmer chest pocket, a high back panel that keeps water out, and a pull tab for chest adjustment. Price: $350
2. GreenHead Gear Pro-Grade 3-D Silhouette
GHG has taken the Silhouette decoy to the next level with this series of “3-D” geese. The side profiles are ultra-realistic, they have flocked heads, and each decoy is about three inches wide. They’re basically a full-body decoy that’s been flattened. Unlike most other sillo dekes on the market, these have no glare whatsoever. If you’re looking to add numbers to your spread without adding a whole lot of bulk, these are the perfect option. Price: $235 (for a 12 pack)
3. Higdon Pulsator II
The Pulsator will add realistic motion to your spread that can be the difference maker on a calm day. I hunted with one in a small pond off the Mississippi this year. The ripples and movement brought down sky-high gadwall into close quarters. The Pulsator runs off a 12-volt battery that Higdon says will last up to 8 hours on a full charge. You can adjust how much and how high the water sprays out. The battery unit and cord work as the anchor. Price: $107 to $150 depending on model.
4. King Mojo
If you’re into spinning wing decoys, you’ve just got to throw down for the King. Mojo has redesigned its spinner with an ultra-realistic body that fits over the battery unit. The housing attaches directly to the support pole. The result is less wobble, minimal noise, and an all-around smoother running decoy. Price: $178
5. White Rock Pool 7 Mallards
You probably recognize White Rock as the guys who make snow goose windsocks. But their new ultra-light weight mallard decoys are worth a look too. These aren’t cheap dekes and you can find more realistic looking modes if you want to buy flocked floaters. But the reason the Pool 7 mallards makes this list is because they are so damn light and durable. Each decoy is made out of EVA material and only weighs 1.5 pounds. If you have to hike into your spot and want to haul in a bunch of decoys, buy these babies in bulk. Price: $80 for a 6-pack
6. Cabela’s Men’s Breathable Hunting Waders
Don’t let the waterfowl hunter on your gift list sweat out the early season in heavy neoprene waders. These light, breathable waders from Cabela’s are solid enough to survive hard hunting, but won’t overheat you on warm afternoons in September when the skeeters are still flying. I wore a pair all through the early part of the fall and didn’t have single complaint, or leak. Price: $220
7. Final Approach X’Land’r
The the Original X’Land’r blind is back. Serious waterfowl hunters loved this blind because of it’s low profile, and countless Canada geese have been killed out of this layout. The new model features a storage compartment under the backrest, backpack straps and a built-in scabbard, and plenty of stubble straps. Price: $275
8. Avian-X AXF Honker Shells (flocked)
You’ll have a hard time finding more realistic shell dekes than the AXF Honkers from Avian-X. They sport flocked heads and are designed to stack tight and be easily packable. I hunted the August goose in North Dakota with these shells and watched flock after flock set right over the shells. I bet they’ll perform later in the season, too. Price: $150
9. Sitka Callers Glove
This glove came out last year and some saw it as a bit of a gimmick. But, if you don’t like to wear a heavy glove on your calling and trigger hand, then this is actually a really smart piece of gear. You wear the glove on your off-hand and tuck your dominant hand in the berber-lined muff. When birds are flying, you pull your hand from the muff and get to calling. They’re sold in singles, not pairs. Last year at the SHOT Show Field & Stream’s Shotguns Editor did a short video on the Caller’s Glove, which nicely demonstrates how it works. Price:
10. Rig’em Right Refuge Runner
This is the ultimate pack for run-and-gun waterfowl hunters. It’s designed to pack your floater decoys, gun, spinner, and all the other gear you need to limit out. It has features galore including padded backrest with padded shoulder straps and waist belt, a spinning wing decoy compartment, and multiple cinch straps to tighten your load for stability. If you can’t fit it into the bag, you probably don’t need it. Price: $120.
11. Cabela’s Northern Flight Bluebill Kit
Hardcore diver hunters have their own personal methods and strategies for running long lines, and probably aren’t going to go for a kit. But, if you’re looking into building a diver spread or want to add a few long lines to your regular puddler spread, you want to start with Cabela’s Bluebill Kit. It comes with 12 drake bluebill dekes, 12 36-inch 400-pound monofilament drops with stainless steel mainline clips, and 150 feet of solid-braid polyester 1/4″ mainline rope. All you need to do is add some mainline anchors and then get ready for incoming divers. Price: $170