Tracking the best books about duck hunting requires an effort to think outside the duck blind. Not every duck hunter needs a large A-to-Z tome on the subject. But whether you are seeking a gift for an experienced hunter or one who is just wading into this chilly autumn-to-winter pastime, a good book related to the sport may be a greatly appreciated gift.
The best choice for a beginning hunter may be a compact duck identification field guide or a comprehensive how-to book covering subjects ranging from bird calls and camouflage to dog training and shooting technique. Veteran waterfowling enthusiasts may enjoy a book of essays that helps them flush out memories about their own memorable hunts. Here are three great choices.
Ducks at a Distance: A Waterfowl Identification Pocket Guide
This classic pocket guide, written by Don Hines of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, illustrates 30 species of ducks, geese and swans. Accurate identification of waterfowl by type and gender helps hunters avoid breaking laws and make wise choices. The USFWS publication is out of print, but its contents are available online from the U.S. Geological Survey or Project Gutenberg. Even better, bound pocketbook reprints of Ducks at a Distance are available from KE Publications for a minimal fee.
Ducks are divided into two main categories, which are puddle ducks -- also known as dabblers -- and diving ducks. Dabblers include mallards, wood ducks, wigeon, teal and pintails. Experienced duck hunters know that dabblers are among the best waterfowl for cooking. Wade Bourne's 216-page Guide to Hunting Dabblers covers a broad array of methods for hunting ducks on land and water.
Outdoorsman Bill Buckley takes a humorous look at the difficulties as well as the beauty of duck hunting. He ponders the duck hunter's willingness to persevere despite wandering into freezing marshwater in leaky waders at the break of dawn and sitting in driving rain for ducks that never arrive.