A Typical Day of Maine Sea Duck Hunting
Our hunting location for the day depends upon weather, wind and phase of the tide, availability of sea ducks, and which species you most prefer. While we generally take mixed bags of sea ducks, some locations are better than others for specific species. When all is said, the weather and tide primarily determines where and how we will hunt on any given day.
Our day starts early; it is well before legal shooting time when we meet at a predetermined location. We usually stop for coffee and plan of the day discussions. We will then proceed to the boat launch ramp where we will have a safety briefing, make final preparations to launch the boat and head off shore for the morning hunt.
Once at our destination, hunters are off loaded on to ledges, or lay-out boats are set, or the seaworthy 21′ Polar Kraft is readied for shooting. Decoys are set and we wait for the sea ducks to arrive. For safety reasons your guide will remain in the Polar Kraft. While most days produce large numbers of sea ducks, the occasional “slow” day will happen. We usually finish with full bag limits of birds. Most hunts conclude by mid-day.
After the morning hunt we return to the launch ramp and load the boats. We will tag, package, and freeze your birds for taxidermy at no charge. Frozen birds will be returned to you on the final morning of your hunt, or shipped to the destination of your choice. Clients are responsible for their remaining daily bag and most process their birds at the boat landing. Preparations are made by your guide for the next day and clients rest up for another day on “the salt”.
Maine Sea Duck Hunting From Layout Boats
Thornehead Guide Service Co. offers layout boat hunts to our customers. Whether you’re a veteran layout boat duck hunter or first timer, the unique and exciting experience of hunting Maine sea ducks from a Bankes One-Man Layout Boat is not one you will soon forget.
Eiders, Long-tails and Scoters respond very well to layout boats and open water decoy spreads. The action is often fast and the shots are seldom longer than 20 yards. We use Ron Bankes One-Man Layout Boats surrounded by hand painted decoys from E. Allen and Toledo Decoy Company for realism. Eiders simply cannot resist the “raft” of birds that we create. This style of sea duck hunting provides for some memorable action.
What to Bring For Sea Duck Hunting in Maine
Thornehead Guide Service Co. provides all sea duck hunting equipment except your personal waterfowling gear and shotgun. We recommend 12 gauge firearms with a minimum of two boxes of #2 or #4 non-toxic shotgun shells in 3″ or 3-1/2″ chamber. The environment we hunt is cold, damp, and often quite slick under foot. Traditional, cold weather, waterfowl gear and insulated waders or hip boots are a necessity. Warm, gloves, hat, and face protection will help make your day with us comfortable.
A Federal Duck Stamp, a Maine Waterfowl Stamp/Permit and a Season or 3-day Small Game License is required. All can be purchased at nearby L.L. Bean, open 24 hours a day. You will need a hunting license (previous or current) from your state or a Hunter Safety Certificate to purchase your Maine License. Licenses can also be purchased on-line at www.state.me.us/ifw/. Federal stamps can also be purchased at any US Post Office.
Upland Bird Hunting
Clients may choose to enjoy an afternoon afield chasing Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock over pointing dogs in classic New England coverts. Our season typically runs from October 1st to mid-November. Late season Grouse hunts (late Nov.-Dec.) are available upon request and are usually a full day hunt. Guided Upland Bird Hunts are a terrific way to round out your Maine hunting trip!