The History of Duck Hunting

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William Fontenot

Nov 20, 2022·3 mins read
The History of Duck Hunting-image

The History of Duck Hunting

Hunting has been practiced since humans have existed and most of them depended on it early on. Although that hunting was used to survive and now we are mostly doing it because of a hobby. Before modern firearms were invented humans used types of traps and even bow and arrows. In particular waterfowl has been a prime target for hunting because they are plentiful and rather easy to predict because they are water loving. Waterfowl hunting in North America has quite the lineage and history. 

Before mass immigration and early settlers the waterfowl flourished throughout North America. The natives were hunting them using primal weapons and primal traps. Once the big boom happened and settlers started moving out west settlers had almost no food and depended on hunting to provide them food. They had some sort of firearms like flintlocks so they could take these waterfowl much easier. This was mostly before agriculture was booming so the waterfowl depended on truly natural resources.

Duck Hunting a Century Ago

By the time the 1930s had hit North America waterfowl had become a thing to do as a hobby. Mostly all male clubs were formed where they could get out of the house for the weekend. This was mostly for the upper class. There are still many of these “original” duck clubs still around yet they now allow women to go. Some of the most well known clubs are Harvery’s Duck club in Oklahoma and Coca Cola woods in Arkansas. These clubs also were a place to do business as most people in them at that time were wealthy people. 

There was a portion of hunters that hunted to truly survive not all that long ago in the late 1800s up to the 1960s. These types of hunters were called market hunters. They survived off of waterfowl; it was how they made their living. Whether it was selling the meat or making beds or pillows with the feathers they did it all. These hunters usually disregarded the limits, sometimes shooting up to 100 birds a hunt. Many people claim this is the reason the wood duck limit was crippled by the late 1900s. Wood ducks can be taken advantage of if you totally disregard the regulations. There are many articles written about families in the 1950s that would go out everyday and kill 100s of ducks. It makes one wonder just how good the hunting was back then.

Duck Hunting in 2022

That is a quick rundown of how waterfowling came to be. Now to present day waterfowl hunting seems like it is ever growing and more people are doing it if you are in the industry. Waterfowling in North America is strictly a hobby for most people. It is growing into more of a pay to play hunting though. With farmers knowing they could lease their field for thousands to an outfitter. It is making the life of your everyday joe blow hard to hunt birds. People will say it seems more people are hunting the public land spots you have been hunting all your life, but it is really not as many hunters have access to private ground. 

It may seem like the world of hunters is blossoming, but reality is that less licenses are being sold every year. The licenses provide money to restore our lands and give waterfowl the perfect ingredients to reproduce and survive. The harsh truth is that if word does not spread and more people do not get out into the field our grandkids might not even know what waterfowl hunting even is.

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