One of the main concerns of new and experienced waterfowl hunters alike is correct identification. While it might seem like a hard skill to develop, there are a few simple tips that will help you along the way.
- Go with an experienced waterfowl hunter – he or she can help you make correct identifications before shooting and improve your own ID skills.
- Study a waterfowl ID guide. For a more in-depth guide, use our website to learn to identify every waterfowl species in Oklahoma. Go to wildlifedepartment.com look under “Hunting,” then “Waterfowl,” for links to both the waterfowl reports and identification section. Waterfowl ID booklets also are available free upon request at the Department’s Oklahoma City or Jenks offices or for $2 by mail. Call (405) 521-3855 for information. Remember to study these guides before you go hunting!
- Watch waterfowl when not hunting – go to a local pond or lake that waterfowl frequent and practice before the season starts. Remember to bring your ID book.
- Wait until 30 minutes after shooting light to take a shot – even seasoned waterfowl hunters have a hard time identifying birds when they don’t have enough light.
- Learn to identify waterfowl calls – learning waterfowl calls will greatly improve your identification skills. It’s easier than you think. There are many websites with bird calls available that can help you hone your skills.
- Practice – no one has ever become an expert at waterfowl identification or anything else without practicing. Don’t wait until the night before you go hunting to start practicing.