Can You Hunt Waterfowl With A Bow And Arrow? [Hunting Regulaions]




When I was 13 age, I was very fascinated to take waterfowl meats.

My grandfather was a highly skilled archer. Sometimes, I also went with him when he went hunting. One day morning, I saw some waterfowl beside our river. I asked him, Can you hunt waterfowl with a bow and arrow?He answered,

Can You Hunt Waterfowl With A Bow And Arrow

Yes, it is possible to hunt waterfowl with a bow and arrow, but it varies from state to state regulation. Federal and state governments also have some rules for hunting waterfowl. Since these are smaller in size, it is quite challenging to hunt with a bow and arrow because it also requires a closer range to aim accurately.

Wait, there is more to share! If you are interested in knowing more about waterfowl hunting with a bow and arrow,  follow along then!

Key Thought

  • Hunting waterfowl with a bow and arrow is quite a challenging and enjoyable hunt, but you will require high skill to make a successful hunt.
  • The most vital area of a waterfowl( ducks) is the neck and slightly forward. So, try to hit this area to ensure a quick kill.
  • The permit shooting period for waterfowl is half an hour before sunrise to until sunset.

Can You Hunt Waterfowl With A Bow And Arrow?

Can you shoot waterfowl with a bow? Yes, you can hunt waterfowl with a bow and arrow, but you will need a waterfowl permit license to hunt. The rules and regulations of hunting waterfowl vary from state to state. Such as:

Can You Hunt Waterfowl With A Bow And Arrow.

In the United States,

Under Federal and State Regulations, you can hunt waterfowl (such as ducks, bow hunting geese, swans, birds, swans, and cranes. 

In the Alberta,

So, can you hunt waterfowl with a bow and arrow in Alberta? You can’t hunt with your bow and arrow without a hunting license. Here, you also can hunt migratory game birds if you have a license, and crossbow is not allowed to hunt waterfowl.

Now, you may be asked: Can you hunt waterfowl with a 410 in Alberta? Yes, you can hunt waterfowl with a 410 shotgun. Well, then another question comes to mind, which is, can you hunt waterfowl with a 10 gauge in Alberta? No, it is unlawful to hunt and make sure to hunt with a minimum of 20 gauge in Alberta.

More Federal Regulation:

Already get frustrated? Wait, there is more to come. Most of the states make it legal but come up with some regulations. Such as: October to January is the waterfowl season california and also the duck hunting season northern california. 

That’s why the Federal sets regulations, to hunt waterfowl, you have to consider some things:

  • The daily bag limit is the most of a single species an individual may take in a single day.
  • The maximum quantity of a single species that an individual possession limits is three times the daily bag limit.
  • The legal shooting hours for waterfowl are half an hour before sunrise to an hour after sunset.
  • Lawful shooting techniques include crossbows, bows, and shotguns larger(no bigger than 10 gauge) loaded with three rounds.
  • From September to January 31 ducks and mid-February for geese are the regular season for hunting.

Note: It is pretty challenging to hunt waterfowl because of their small size, and you won’t get them at a closer distance. There is an 80% possibility of losing your arrows. You know that the recommended price for an is about 15$

Waterfowl Hunting Regulations 

Can I hunt with a bow and arrow? If you want to hunt waterfowl with your bow and arrows, you must consider hunting regulations. So, here is a chart that describes the hunting requirement for  migratory waterfowl/migratory birds hunting:

Name Of Species HIP Permit Federal Permit Non-Toxic Shot
Ducks Yes Yes Yes 
CootYes Yes Yes 
Canada Geese(sept.)Yes Yes Yes 
Regular Canada Geese Yes Yes Yes 
Falconry Yes Yes Yes 
Snow GeeseYes Yes Yes 
Sea DuckYes Yes Yes 
Common SpineYesNoNo
Brant Yes Yes Yes 

Where You Can And Can’t Hunt Waterfowl?

Where you can hunt and can’t hunt waterfowl, Federal & State Regulations, and   Federal duck stamp have made it easier to find. So, let’s: 

Where You Can And Can't Hunt Waterfowl

You can Hunt Waterfowl From:

  • Aquatic plants and standing or flooded crops.
  • Flooded, standing, or deliberately generated natural vegetation.
  • Harvested croplands overflowed.
  • The post-harvested grain where they are scattered.
  • Any agricultural harvesting lands and areas.
  • A blind or other hiding place covered with the organic flora of the surroundings.
  • Crops that are standing or flooded and in which grain gets accidentally dispersed only due to hunters coming or going, setting up decoys, or picking up fallen birds.

You Can’t Waterfowl From: 

  • In areas where top-sowing of grain or seed has occurred, the Cooperative Extension Service does not advise top sowing (see the section on wildlife food plots). Just like it applied while deer hunting.
  • Crops that were picked outside of the Cooperative Extension Service’s suggested harvest dates.
  • Unharvested crops that have been trampled by animals or subjected to various forms of manipulations that distribute, scatter, or expose the grain.
  • Areas where grain is scattered for waterfowls.
  • Newly planted food areas for wildlife with open grain.

However, these are legal and illegal places to hunt waterfowl. I suggest you check the Federal rules and regulations to know more and seek guidance from a game warden.

How To Hunt Waterfowl With A Bow And Arrow?

Hunting waterfowl with a bow and arrow is quite challenging, but it is not impossible. You don’t need to worry about can you shoot ducks with a bow? Cause you can. But the question is how. Here are some steps to hunt waterfowl with a bow and arrow: 

How To Hunt Waterfowl With A Bow And Arrow
  • Perfect Steup
  • Scout & Set Up
  • Prepare Your Bow & Arrow
  • Scouting & Timing
  • Use Calling Techniques
  • Shot Placement

Perfect Steup 

You got you So, can you hunt ducks with a bow answer? Now, let’s start the hunt. Waterfowl are very small in size to hunt with a bow and arrow. So, it is very crucial to get a perfect setup.  Make sure the blind you choose allows you enough space to maneuver your bow to get ready for the shot, which could come from a range of directions.

I believe that shooting ducks at close range on the water requires total concealment. I use the Primos Double Bull blind for complete cover when drawing to a full draw on extremely close ducks because of this.

Scout & Set Up

Scout the habitats of waterfowl carefully, such as feeding areas, breeding areas, and roosting. Complete concealment is essential for duck hunting because of their sharp eyes.

One approach that may be useful to bowhunters is to hide behind large-diameter trees and thick undergrowth in flooded timber, especially for archers trying to kill ducks on the wing.  

Try to shoot from a closer range to aim properly for their small size compared to big game hunting.

Prepare Your Bow & Arrow

I suggest you use a compound bow instead of a traditional bow (Recurve bows). You must use a bow according to your draw weight to maintain balance.

Since you have to shoot in water or near water, there is a high possibility of losing your arrow. So, choose flu-flu arrows to prevent flying from afar. They have large fletching, which restricts their range of flight.

Practice shooting from different directions and positions to make a successful hunt. Always use the right type of arrow because the arrow weight greatly affects the flight of the arrow.

You can also use bird hunting arrow tips to kill the pheasant quickly. Always make sure to use the right types of arrow tips for pheasant hunting.

Scouting & Timing

Observe the behavior of waterfowl (such as ducks, geese, coots, etc.). Try to understand the feeding grounds, breeding grounds, and flying paths of the waterfowl. You may know that waterfowl, especially ducks, are more active in the early morning and late afternoon. So, try to hunt, as it depends on your behavior.

Use Calling Techniques

If possible, try to make sounds anyhow, like duck calls, including quacks, feeding chuckles, and comeback calls). You can also use decays to come to the other ducks. It is also very effective. Sometimes, natural mimic duck is effective. In a simple word, try to call it the species that you want to hunt. You can also play the sound as music.

Shot Placement

Try to hit directly the vital organ of the waterfowl. The most vital area of a waterfowl( ducks) is the neck and slightly forward. You know that, generally, these bodies are covered with feathers. So, try to target the body part for effective hunting. 

Though these are small-sized species, keep confidence in mind, be patient, and wait for a perfect shot. You can also use a dog to retrieve the arrow from the water. Follow the above steps, and I hope that you will be able to make a successful hunt. Make sure that it is illegal to hunt waterfowl with swivel guns, battery guns, and even machine guns.

Practice Which Can Improve Your Waterfowl Hunting Better

Here are some practices that can improve your waterfowl hunting better: 

Practice Which Can Improve Your Waterfowl Hunting Better
  • Try to practice for five five-note greeting calls. Practice more and more for a single quack call. These will help you come to the waterfowl near your range. As a result, it can improve your waterfowl hunting.
  • Practice for observing the feeding habitat, breeding place, and flight path of the specific waterfowl. These will help you improve your hunting skills.
  • Make some investment in face masks, camouflage clothes, and blinds for concealment.
  • Try to shoot accurately at a smaller target. Practice regularly to shoot a smaller size target.

However, there are many practices to improve your waterfowl hunting. These are some essential practices that can enhance your waterfowl hunting.

Video suggestions:

Challenges While Hunting Waterfowl With A Bow And Arrow

When you hunt waterfowl with a bow and arrow, you have to face some unique challenges. Here is a brief description:

  • The birds and ducks have sharp eyesight. So, it is crucial to achieve the perfect concealment.
  • You have to hide when hunting with a bow and arrow. It is very difficult to find natural blind surroundings water.
  • Since the waterfowl are small in size, you won’t be able to aim accurately from longer distances. So, it needs a closer range, about 20 to 30 yards, to aim accurately, and it is very difficult because of their keen eyesight.
  • Waterfowl have their specific flight pattern for feeding, resting, and migration. So, it is difficult to time your bow and arrow for hunting.
  • Most of the waterfowl’s body is covered by many feathers. So, an arrow can’t penetrate the body easily. As a result, it is difficult to shoot to the vital area (just below the neck).
  • Ducks and birds mainly live near the water. So, when you shoot an arrow and bow, you are likely to lose your arrow in water. It is very challenging to find and retrieve.
  • Flu arrows are commonly used for hunting waterfowl. But they can’t penetrate deeply into the ducks if it is not possible to shoot from a closer range.
  • Sometimes, the environmental condition makes it more challenging to find and shoot accurately.

However, these are some challenges that I have faced while hunting waterfowl. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I Shoot A Goose With A Bow?

Yes, you can shoot a goose with a bow. Since these are smaller in size, it is quite challenging to hunt with a bow.

Why Is Bow Hunting Illegal In The UK?

Bow hunting is illegal in the UK because they are very aware of their animal welfare.

Yes, in North America, it is legal to hunt waterfowl with a 10-gauge shotgun.

Final Thoughts

So, can you hunt waterfowl with a bow and arrow? Yes, you can hunt, but it will require some unique challenge to make a lethal shot and get them at closer range.

Since the ducks and birds are small in size, it is also challenging to aim at the vital area. Hope that you have got a clear idea and be aware of your safety concerns. That’s all for today! Keep in touch with Archery Magic for more info.

Bob Magic

Written by

Bob Magic

Meet Bob Magic, the archery maestro. A National Champion, “Coach of the Year,” and gold medalist. Bob simplifies archery, ensuring your bullseye success. Whether you’re a newbie or a pro, let Bob’s magic guide your arrow.

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