In this video I’m talking about the joys of creek crawling as I go duck stalking for the pot while they lie up in back channels and gutters. Stalking ducks is incredibly exciting and a challenging sport that takes a mixture of skill and luck to get right.
One way to go about duck stalking is to go for a hit-and-run approach in a section of a creek where ducks commonly congregate. This normally comprises walking straight towards a gutter with no knowledge of what it may contain. This can be incredibly exciting as anything can happen from getting a shot, not seeing anything or hitting the wrong location and have the ducks flush out of shot further up or down the creek. Speed is the key component to this method, it’s a case of stalking in to striking range, which is far enough back from the edge of the marsh top to keep out of the birds’ view. It’s then a case of closing the last gap quickly as the birds can spook at any point. I normally close the gap with a brisk crouching jog, keeping my eye out for any sign of birds that may produce a shot. As well as moving into position quickly, the quarry needs to be identified and safe to shoot before mounting the gun.
Another way duck stalking, which is slower but can increase the chance of a shot, is to quietly look up the gutters from different vantage points. Binoculars give you the best chance of spotting the ducks at distance. Be mindful that if you can see them, then they can see you and they will probably flush before you get into position. Also beware of waders such as redshank and curlew giving the game away with shrieking alarm calls. I glass the long straights of a gutter from a meander primarily by getting into the gutter and looking round the corner, which helps with concealment and reduces the risk of being silhouetted against the skyline. Between bends I walk on the marsh top, as the grass is quieter to walk on than the mud, and drop back into the gutter before the next bend. Once I have spotted ducks, I take note as to roughly how far down the channel they are and double back to get out of the gutter unseen. Once back on the marsh top it’s then a case of out flanking the birds by taking a wide birth of the creek until level with the area I last saw them. You then follow the same plan of attack as the “the gamble” by moving within striking range and closing the last gap quickly. The main difference in the two techniques is that the second is slower, but you have a better idea of what you will come across when you arrive over the marsh top.