The Adventures Of LCJ: Jump Shooting

True sportsmen only shoot ducks when they are in flight. The most common time to go duck hunting is in the early morning when they fly for a 15-20 minute window before sunrise. The birds wake up at the roost and fly to a place where they can find food and other ducks. Most hunts end when the ducks quit flying. This works great for anyone willing to wake up early because you can be home for breakfast (or in time for work).
Another way to hunt for ducks is to go jump shooting.  This requires two people, one person to paddle from the back of the canoe and the other person shooting from the front.  Now that the ducks had their morning flight, they will spend the rest of the day swimming on the river or in the swamps. The object of jump shooting is to guide your boat silently down the river while a friend sits on the front, ready with a shotgun.  The best way to guide the boat quietly is to use the “J-stroke,” which is done by paddling on one side of the boat and turning the blade of the paddle away at the end of the stroke.  The ducks will see the canoe before you see them and will seem to appear out of nowhere when they take off.  At that point, the shooter has a split second to fire before the ducks are out of range.  The ducks will often fly into the woods, darting through the thick cypress trees.  The shooter has to follow the ducks and fire into the trees, hoping that the duck is not behind a tree when the shot reaches it.  Silence is key because if you are talking, or banging the paddle on the side of the boat, then the ducks will take off long before you can see them.  If the paddler is quiet enough, and the shooter is paying attention, then you can sometimes stop the duck before it sees you.  This gives the hunter the advantage because they don’t have to look for the duck after it takes off.
Jump shooting is more successful when the river is low or the swamps are frozen over because the ducks will be concentrated on the river.  If the river is high, then many birds will reside in the swamps far from the river bank. The swamp ducks are often missed opportunities, but if you can hear them, then it is worth tying your boat to a tree and quietly walking side by side with your partner towards the calling duck.  The birds are not going anywhere and can be stalked as long as you are silent and make as few ripples as possible.  Stalking every duck you encounter would take all day so you must decide for yourself which groups seem like a promising opportunity.  A good opportunity would be when a group of ducks is consistently squealing and you can follow the sound.
The greatest obstacle when traveling the Little Pee Dee River is fallen trees.  They can lean across the full width of the river, giving no easy passage.  There is sometimes room enough to squeeze beneath a tree, but we often step onto the tree and drag the boat across.  The trees don’t usually break.
Jump shooting is a great way to hunt because you can explore the river, find new hunting spots, and shoot ducks along the way.  I actually shot my first duck while jump shooting with my dad near McKay’s Bridge. The size of the Little Pee Dee and its countless turns give the hunter a chance to get closer to the ducks than on a broad river.  Take some time to stop every now and then and sit on a tree for some snacks and water to enjoy the surroundings. It is always a good idea to bring snacks, water, a lighter, and a knife no matter how quickly you plan to finish.  I would encourage any avid hunter to give it a try and enjoy the adventures along the way.
Below you find a chart from A.B. Jordan III, showing a list of bridges on the Little Pee Dee and the time required to hunt each stretch. The time includes 2 or 3 “stalks” away from the river for wood ducks and slow paddling.
Parrish Mill to McInnis Bridge-4.5 hours
McInnis bridges to McKay’s Bridge-6 hours
McKay’s to Blues Landing-5 hours
Blue’s Landing to Harlees Bridge-2.5 hours
Harlees Bridge to Norton’s Landing-2  hours
Harlees Bridge to Stafford’s Bridge-4 hours
Stafford’s to #9 Bridge-4 hours
#9 Bridge to Old Pee Dee Landing-3.5 hours
Old Pee Dee Landing to Floyd Dale-5 hours
Floyd Dale to Carmichael’s Bridge-3.5 hours
Carmichael’s Bridge to Huggins landing-5 hours
Huggins to Allens-5.5 hours

Print Friendly, PDF & Email