Kayaks For Duck Hunting: Our Favorite 3 Models Compared
There are many things you need to get if you want to be a duck hunter: a shotgun, hunting ammunition, camouflage hunting clothing, decoys and calls, and so on.
But something else that you may need to get for a deer hunt is a boat of some kind, and specifically, a kayak.
Utilizing a kayak for duck hunting out on the water will always be cheaper than using a traditional duck boat. But at the same time, just using any normal kayak for duck hunting will not be the wisest move.
This is because duck hunting requires specific features that not every kayak can offer you. We’re going to go over why you should consider a kayak for duck hunting, the top qualities your duck hunting kayak is going to need, and then the three best models of kayaks that meet those qualities:
There are several reasons why a kayak would be preferable for duck hunting over other kinds of watercraft?
Perhaps the biggest reason is the fact that a kayak, due to its more narrow and compact size, can go places that a larger watercraft simply cannot. Even if the water becomes very shallow at just a few inches, you can still use a kayak, whereas larger boats and watercraft would become stuck into the ground.
Another advantage to the kayak for duck hunting is the fact that you can launch it from just about anywhere. Again, this is because of its overall more compact and lightweight design. You can carry it in the back of a pickup truck or on the top of an SUV, and then you can lower it down directly into the water, no matter how shallow the water is.
In contrast to this, if you were to use a larger watercraft, you may need a trailer to haul it in the first place, and even then it can be difficult to find a suitable place to launch it from.
The next big reason to consider using a kayak for duck hunting is because they are very stealthy. The only noise that will be created is when the paddle hits the water, and you can minimize the noise as much as possible by hitting the water very gently.
Other kinds of duck hunting watercraft will have a motor in order to work, which is obviously more noisy.
What Are The Most Essential Qualities of a Duck Hunting Kayak?
Right now, there are manufacturers that make kayaks specifically for the purpose of duck hunting.
While you can certainly consider those kayaks, the truth is that any kayak will work for duck hunting so long as it possesses each of the following qualities:
If you’ve ever gone kayaking before, you know full well how some kayaks are very tipsy-turvy and not very stable at all. These kinds of kayaks are not the kinds of kayaks that you will want to use for a duck hunting trip.
This is because you want the sturdiest platform possible as you may need to do a lot of movement in your kayak, such as loading your shotgun, firing, reaching over to grab a fallen duck in the water, etc.
You may also have your hunting dog in the kayak with you as well, or you may need to stand up and sit down repeatedly, which also affects stability.
Kayaks that are wider will almost always be more stable. You can also consider buying a kayak that is designed for two people; even if it’s just you, a two person kayak will be more stable than a one person model.
This one should be obvious, but you absolutely need to get a kayak that can hold up the weight of everything you plan on putting in it.
This includes yourself, your hunting dog (if you have a hunting dog), your shotgun, ammunition, duck hunting gear, and so on.
Durability and strength are also vitally important qualities to have in your duck hunting kayak as well.
This is also why you should never consider getting an inflatable kayak for duck hunting. Rather, a kayak that comes with a polyethylene construction will be a far superior option, as it will do a much better job of resisting abuse and holding more weight.
You can also consider getting a sit-on top kayak, as these are much more durable and less prone to sinking as well.
Proper Storage Space
A duck hunter is going to need much more storage space in their kayak than the average kayaker is going to need.
The only way to know if your kayak will have enough storage space for duck hunting, however, is to make a list of everything that you are going to bring with you, and then buy a kayak with space for each of those items.
Specifically, you will need dry space for your phone, car keys, wallet, and other necessities. Most kayaks designed for fishing purposes will have a dry hatch for this purpose. You shouldn’t have to rely on just bringing a waterproof bag with you. Instead, actually buy a kayak with a dry hatch.
You’re also going to need a kayak that has space for your hunting shotgun, so you can easily alternate between shooting and paddling when necessary.
Nimbleness and Maneuverability
Finally, you need a kayak that is nimble and easily maneuverable. Stability does come first, yes, but a kayak that is easy to steer will also be highly desirable.
Not only is this critical for use out on the water, where you may have to navigate your way around logs or rocks jutting out of the water, but also for land when lifting your kayak onto the bed of your truck and when drawing it out for launching into the water.
The 3 Best Kayaks For Duck Hunting
Now that we’ve covered why a kayak is a good choice to use for duck hunting in the water and the top qualities to look for in a duck hunting kayak, we will next dive into the three best kayaks for duck hunting on the market today:
Beavertail Phantom Duck Hunting Kayak
The Beavertail Phantom Duck Hunting Kayak is a kayak made specifically for duck hunting and is built out of a roto-molded polyethylene material. It also has a foam layer beneath it and a twin hull design, which together make it even more stable out on the water.
The non-skid bottom will make standing up in the kayak to take a shot at a duck incredibly easy.
This kayak is also designed to float comfortably in incredibly shallow depths of four inches of water, so you can take it virtually anywhere.
An additional nice feature the Beavertail Phantom Duck Hunting Kayak comes with is a waterproof compartment in the rear for keeping your valuables such as your wallet and phone.
Lifetime Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak
Another kayak built out of polyethylene for superior durability, the Lifetime Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak comes with three back rests, three rod holders, a dry storage hatch for keeping your valuables, several trays for holding your gear for quick access, and two double sided paddles.
This kayak is designed to hold up to three people, which would make it perfect for the lone duck hunter who desires a wider kayak for superior durability.
In the front of his kayak you will find a bungee storage area, which will be the perfect location for storing your shotgun and extra shares.
Keep in mind that hunting shotguns will be a lot longer than home defense shotguns, so having the extra storage space is vitally important in a duck hunting kayak.
Finally, this kayak measures ten feet and has a weight capacity of up to five hundred pounds, so it’s more than large enough for most if not all duck hunting needs.
Malibu Kayaks X-Factor Kayak
The Malibu X-Factor Kayak is designed primarily for fishing purposes, but it can be easily adaptable to duck hunting uses as well.
This is a very stable kayak that will maintain its stability even with a dog onboard or when you stand up to take a shot at a duck.
But the real stand out of this kayak is the fact that it has much more storage space than most other kayaks on the market. This is because it was designed to hold large and heavy items such as dive tanks, but of course, these can be used to carry hunting equipment too.
The total weight capacity of this kayak is six hundred and twenty five pounds, which is also impressive as most kayaks have a three to five hundred pound capacity.
This guide has given you virtually all of the information and advice that you will need in order to buy a high quality kayak to use for duck hunting.
Each of the three models that we have gone over meets the qualities that we discussed above. The goal should be to get a wider model of kayak that is stable, has enough weight capacity, is durable, is very nimble and maneuverable, and has plenty of storage space.
Alex Joseph is an avid bow hunter and father of two boys. Originally from Tacoma, Washington. Alex now resides in California.