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The Essential Duck Hunting Gear: A Complete Checklist

Now that you have booked your duck hunting trip, it is time to start packing for the big day. But what do you need to bring? What gear is essential for a successful hunt? If you're like us duck hunters, it’s easy to forget something due to being so excited about the hunt.

Food? Check!

Blind? Check!

License? Uh oh...

Nothing is worse than setting up your blind, getting your ammo ready, and then realizing you forget something essential at home. To save you the headache, we've put together a complete duck hunting gear checklist to make sure you're prepared for the hunt.

Preparing For The Hunt

For waterfowl hunting, there's a ton of preparation that goes into it, even before you step foot in the blind. From your dog's training to making sure you have the right licenses, this handy checklist will help make sure you have the right duck hunting stuff.

Dog Training

Whether you're using a pointer or flusher, your dog needs to be trained for duck hunting. During the hunt, you'll need to retrieve the birds you've killed, so who better to do it than your furry friend? But before you can start training your dog, you'll need to ensure that your dog will obey instructions and be able to handle the job.

Here's a list of the gear you'll need to start training your dog for duck hunting:

  • Dog whistle

  • Dog blind

  • Dog food

  • Dog leash

  • Dog first-aid kit

  • Dog vest

  • Dog bowls

  • Travel kennel

Licenses and Inspection

Before you can even start duck hunting, you need to make sure you have the correct licenses. Depending on the state you're hunting in, the requirements for licenses will differ. Thankfully, this shouldn't be a problem if you're using a professional duck-hunting guide service, as they will guide you in filling out the necessary forms.

However, if you're planning on going solo, here are the licenses and inspections you'll need before hunting:

  • Hunting license

  • Non-resident firearm declaration

During The Hunt

Of course, the most essential waterfowl hunting gear is what you'll need during the actual hunt. From your clothing to your gun and ammo, this is the equipment you need to make sure you're successful in bringing home a waterfowl dinner.

Waterproof Apparel

Hunting in wet conditions is inevitable, so you need to make sure your clothing can withstand being soaked. Waterproof boots, a camo jacket, and rain pants are a must to keep you dry and comfortable while you're in the blind.

Here's a list of waterproof apparel you'll need for duck hunting:

  • Boots

  • Camo hat or beanie

  • Camo jacket

  • Camo pants

  • Camo shirt

  • Gloves

  • Earmuffs

  • Insulated pants/overalls

  • Rain suit

  • Socks

  • Thermal long underwear

  • Face mask

Guns and Ammo

12-gauge shotguns are usually the go-to for duck hunting, as they're powerful enough to take down a duck but not too powerful that it shatters the meat. In terms of ammunition, don't use lead shots because it can result in lead poisoning in waterfowl.

Here's a list of the guns and ammo you'll need for duck hunting:

  • Shotgun

  • Shotgun sling

  • Ammunition

  • Gun case

Calls and Decoys

No duck hunting gear list would be complete without calls and decoys. Calls are used to lure ducks in, while decoys resemble a flock of ducks. To help you attract ducks, you'll need to have a variety of calls and decoys.

Here's what you'll need for calls and decoys:

  • Duck or goose calls

  • Duck or goose decoys

  • Decoy accessories

  • Hammer and stakes

  • Choke tubes


A hunting blind is a must if you want to stay well-camouflaged while hunting. When choosing a blind, make sure it's big enough for you and your dog (if you're bringing one).

Here's what you'll need for blinds:

  • Hunting blind

  • Blind bag

After The Hunt

Now that the thrill of the hunt is over, it's time to focus on all the fun you'll have after the hunt. There is still a ton of duck-hunting stuff you need for carrying, storing, and cleaning the birds.

Here's what you'll need after the duck hunt.

Cleaning The Birds

Cleaning the birds you've killed is a crucial step in the duck-hunting process. From safely using a knife to storing the meat, you need to take the proper steps to ensure the meat is clean and safe to eat.

Here's what you need to clean the birds:

  • Sharp Knife or Set Of Knives

  • Duck strap


After the birds are cleaned, it's time to store them. Sealing and storing the meat in the cooler is the best way to keep it fresh.

Here's what you'll need to freeze the duck:

  • Cooler

  • Freezer Tape and Paper

  • Zip Bags

Other “Non-Essentials”

There are a few other duck hunting stuff that, despite not being seen as "essential", is still good to have. These items will make your duck hunting trip more comfortable and enjoyable.

Here are a few other non-essentials:

  • Multi-Tool

  • Spare Batteries

  • Insect Repellent

  • Sunscreen

  • Sunglasses

  • Food & Beverages

  • Camera

  • Compass / GPS

  • Emergency Flares

  • Rope

  • Flashlight

Gear-Included Guided Duck Hunting in Saskatchewan, Canada

Now that you know all the essential duck hunting gear, it's time to start planning your trip. And nothing beats a guided duck hunt in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Not only is Saskatchewan known as a waterfowl hunters' paradise, but with a professional team of guides, you can rest assured that most of your waterfowl hunting gear needs will be taken care of.

At Thunderbird Outfitters, we help you plan and book the ultimate duck hunting trip. Contact us today to start planning your dream hunt.

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