Before any hunt I always like to check the weather. If I see some blustery winds in the forecast I get really excited. A good stiff wind makes everything easier in duck hunting and is a huge advantage for the hunter.
Ducks Seem to Like Wind
First, windy days seem to stimulate ducks to fly. When the wind is steady but not howling, ducks seem to like to move around more. I don’t know why, but I suspect the wind ruffling their feathers gets them going.
It’s Easy to Pick a Good Location
Second, the wind makes it easier for you to choose a location. Ducks like to land into the wind. In my experience this holds true provided the wind is about 10 mph or higher. Anything less and the ducks seem capable of adapting and landing how they please. Therefore, try to choose a spot with the wind at your back, or at least a slight cross. This way when the birds are coming in to your decoys you will have a breast shot instead of a shot going away, which is harder and more likely to result in a wounded bird that’s harder to retrieve.
It’s Easy to Set up a Decoy Spread
Third, you can predict where the ducks will land. Again, because they like to land into the wind, you can set up your decoy spread, whether be a crescent, “V,” J-hook, etc. with the opening facing away from the wind and the blind closeby. You can be reasonably assured that if they like the spread they will land right in the opening. More importantly many will take a predictable path to this opening so you have a better chance of hitting them.
If you want to learn more about how we use the wind to our advantage, check the post on decoying wary ducks, which includes a few diagrams.
Your Decoys Move in the Wind
Fourth, a good wind will cause your decoys to move more. I use a Texas style decoy rig, which allows a lot of movement in the decoys even in a breeze. One of my favorite windy day set-ups is to look for the riffles in the water just off the shore, which often is sheltered from the wind and calmer. I place a few decoys in those riffles so they get a good back and forth movement. Ducks can’t resist it.
Wind Helps Conceal Your Location
A good whipping wind will ruffle the brush, leaves and twigs you’ve used to help conceal your blind. All that extra movement means that if you move around while ducks are on approach your movement will be less noticeable.
Your Shots are Easier
Finally, if you got all of the above right, the ducks will be easier to hit. Because they are landing into the wind, they are moving slower relative to the ground, giving you a longer period of time to stand up, swing your gun, and fire. They’ll also be close and landing with their breasts toward you, meaning when you do hit them they will go down hard.
The only downside to wind is that if you hunting in an exposed position you will get a lot colder, so bundle up!
The wind is your friend.