After nearly a full season of evaluation, I’ve got a pretty good handle on the Final Approach Duck Boat.
I took my evaluation seriously and conducted all my duck hunting from the Final Approach to date. I even hunted from the boat all of the time – until this last weekend. In fact, I’d say my approach to using the boat was a bit dogmatic.
This past Saturday, I spent the entire day in the marsh, working at bagging some ducks. There were plenty around, but during the early morning fog, they didn’t fly much. Later in the day the action was better and steady.
Late season ducks are tough to decoy and I found that the ducks responded best to just a pair of mallards. The early set of eight mallard decoys didn’t work as well. They just sat there and looked lifeless.
These late season birds also picked up the boat well, no matter how hard I attempted to camo it out. The flaring birds caused me to shoot a low percentage and my shooting got worse as the day progressed and became frustrated.
The deep water of the new Mayberry made it tough on Lola and she stayed high on her dog stand, but also kept our hunting profile high, also affecting the birds.
Finally I shifted my setup, moved the boat away from the decoys and hid in the tules. Lola was happy with her perch and I was better hidden. A few ducks fell as I began to hit them. As my frustration lessened, my accuracy improved.
Unfortunately, my early poor shooting led the sailing two pintails that could not be recovered. One landed so far away that it was not practical to go after it and the other came down about 250 yards away in waist-deep water. I went after that one, but gave up as Lola was too bogged down in the cold, deep and brushy waters.
The other four ducks I bagged were all spoonies. I shot at a variety of ducks, but only one was a mallard. Another mallard almost came within range, but I moved too soon and it flared off.
It was a fun day of duck hunting, much like hunting the refuges.
Final verdict. The duck boat improved my chances by allowing me to cross deep water and hunt from locations not available otherwise.
Hunting from the boat works, but is limited. The better you hide the boat the better your shots. Hiding the dog is sometimes tough, and the boat is not big enough for both of us.
Hunting away from the boat, while using the boat as a home base, as a resting spot and a place for the dog to stand works well.
For traveling a long distance, towing the boat on foot works best as paddling is slow. I paddled the boat long distance a couple of times when I wasn’t in a hurry.
In general this is a fun way to hunt and a necessity when hunting deep water, but in shallow water walking is more efficient and productive.
(Note: After a couple years of calling this boat the Final Approach Duck Boat, I came to realize that I’d created a new name for it. Why fix it now? The manufacturer’s name is the Final Attack Duck Boat.)