Summer Projects for the Bored Duck Hunter

The summer is one of the worst times of the year to be a hunter. Turkey season has long since passed and you still have a few months until any early season fall hunts kick-off. For most of us, this time of the year is the dead zone. Filled with lethargy and lawless boredom. If you find yourself feeling the same way and wishing you had a way to pass the time, you are in the right place. Check out these summer projects to help you prepare for duck hunting season.

Repurposing Old Decoys

If you have been waterfowl hunting for any length of time, then you will probably have a handful of old floaters that just don’t look as nice as the day you first threw them out into a slough. Instead of letting these decoys melt into the background of your spread or even just lay around your garage, the summer is the perfect time to give these misfits a facelift. It doesn’t matter what species they are, with the right amount of attention to detail and painting you can change them to whatever your heart desires.

To start you need to clean your decoys with a good dish soap mixture and dry them thoroughly. After you know what species, you want to make them look like, make sure you have the correct paint colors. Matte should always be the preference here and finishing them off with a nice matte clear coat will help to add a little bit more protection to the final paint job.

Your decoy doesn’t have to be overly realistic. Remember that contrast is your friend in grabbing a bird’s attention. One of the easiest swaps you can make is turning all of your old mallards into black ducks. All you need is black paint and some blue or purple paint for the speculum to fool most migrating birds to come in for a look.


Goose Silos on a Budget

The two biggest problems with goose hunting are that you typically need a larger number of decoys than you might need for duck hunting and that prices of goose decoys are ridiculous. If you want to save some cash and still be able to put out a decent spread, then dying your own decoys is for you. This project is not solely for the artistic ones amongst us, but is also a great project for that hunter who just doesn’t have the eye for fine details.

The best materials I have found to make goose silhouettes out of are old election signs. Buy ‘em or beg for ‘em either way works, but you can expect to get one single goose decoy per sign, so if you’re looking to make these the mainstay of your spread, you will need plenty. After that grab yourself a permanent marker and draw the best outline of a goose that you can. As for painting, you can go simple and just make your decoys black and white or you can add more color to try and bring a feel of realism. Either way, these decoys will work just fine and soon you will be seeing flocks of birds maple leafing into your spread.


Sprucing up the Ol’ Boom Stick

Even though it’s still a long way off from the start of the season make sure to not neglect your shotgun. There are a lot of projects that you can do that focus on this pivotal piece of gear, but one of my favorites is giving it a makeover. You can either send your gun off somewhere to get a professional to do it or you can tackle the task yourself with a little bit of know-how.

This article has spoken a lot about spray paint already and you can certainly use that here, but something just as affordable and more durable is purchasing and applying a wrap to your shotgun. Shotgun wraps work with an adhesive and require heat to get them to fit the shape of your barrel and stock. This can easily be achieved with your significant other’s hair dryer or a heat gun if, like me, you want to avoid a night on the couch.

There are tons of different wrap options on the market and since most are vinyl, they come with the added benefit of helping protect your gun from moisture. Applying a shotgun wrap can feel painstaking, so make sure to set aside plenty of uninterrupted time to focus so that you can get the proper fit to your firearm.



Just because there are no birds in season doesn’t mean that you can’t still have some fun around your favorite hobby. All of these DIY projects are easily accomplished by even the most novice of individuals. They are affordable and most have carryover in materials that can be used in all three projects. Either way, don’t just sit around this summer twiddling your thumbs. Find something that you can do that will bring you joy and help pass the time before you can start hail-calling mallards in the early morning fog again.

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About The Author
Lance Louth

Lance Louth is a waterfowl and upland hunter located in northeast Ohio. He owns and operates Honeybrook Kennels, a gundog training facility that focuses on developing a retriever’s natural abilities. Lance chronicles his passion for his dogs and hunting through his writing and photography. He is driven by his love for the outdoors and his obsession with the art of storytelling. You can follow along with Lance as he highlights the endless hunting opportunities that can be found in your own backyard on Instagram at @lancelouth or through his own personal blog, Into The Uplands.