Captain Larry Talks Puddle Ducks In November/Decembers Edition of Ducks Unlimited

Limit Outfitters Captain, Larry Metzger, has been featured in the November/December edition of Ducks Unlimited.

Seven Pointers for Puddle Ducks

EXPERT: CAPTAIN LARRY METZGER
LOCATION: FREEHOLD, NJ

15-ND-smCaptain Larry Metzger runs Limit Outfitters guide service along the Jersey Shore. The area holds the largest concentration of wintering black ducks in North America, and Metzger and his clients frequently target these “wariest of ducks.”

“Black ducks certainly live up to that reputation,” Metzger says. “They are super cautious. They’ll frequently make four or five passes before coming in.”

For this reason, Metzger treats black ducks with kid gloves. He goes to extra lengths to conceal hunters, puts out small, realistic decoy spreads, and calls minimally. “You can’t pressure these ducks,” he says. “You’ve got to hunt where they’re feeding. That’s the main thing. Then you have to be patient and let them almost work themselves.”

Metzger likes to set up in the marsh with the wind at his back, deploying a mix of black duck and mallard decoys, about a dozen in all. “Black ducks work better to their own kind, so I’ll set a little group of five to seven black duck decoys on one side of a marsh pond and another small cluster of mallards on the other side, leaving an opening between the two groups,” he explains.

For added realism, Metzger will sometimes deploy a pair of wigeon or brant. And when all else fails he turns to his secret weapon. “If the black ducks still aren’t cooperating, I’ll drop a pair of snow goose floaters in the hole. I don’t know why, but black ducks really like to work to snow geese.”

Regarding calling, Metzger says, “I’ve had a lot more success just being quiet. The marsh where we hunt is open, so we depend more on visibility than sound to attract ducks. We may make a little feeding chuckle or some drake mallard calls, but we almost never use highballs.”

Given the wariness of black ducks, good cover is a must. “We hunt mainly from Barnegat Bay boats, and we grass them really well,” Metzger explains. “We also keep our faces covered, and we stay absolutely still while black ducks are circling. If they see anything abnormal while they’re working, they’ll leave.”