Hunting the Ring-necked Duck

By: Christeena

ring-necked duckThe ring-necked duck, not to be confused with the lesser scaup duck, is aptly named for the ring around its neck.  However, the ring is not always easily visible giving them the nickname “ringbill” instead.  The ring surrounding its bill is a characteristic to help differentiate the type of duck.  They can be found in freshwater ponds and lakes.  As with most birds, the males are easily distinguishable from the females by the color patterning.  The males are a bit larger than the females.  It has a gray bill surrounded by two white rings separating its sleek black angular head and golden yellow eyes.  The body is black with the exception of the white section on the wings and breast.  Female ring-necked ducks have a brown angular head with a black crown and a white ring around the brown eyes.  The bill is slate, darker than the male, with a faint white ring separating it from the head.  The neck, back, sides, and flanks are brown, but the breast is white.  The legs and feet are grayish-blue.  You might be able to hear a female making a rolling “trrr” sound.  Otherwise, these ducks are pretty quiet for the most part.

Ring-necked Duck Hunting

Unlike other diver ducks, look for ring-necked ducks on smaller bodies of water: beaver ponds, small lakes, marshes, even cattle ponds.  You can find them in small flocks and pairs.  Their diet usually consists of mollusks and invertebrates, they will also feed on wild rice and celery seeds.  The ring-necked duck will decoy well to a small spread positioned in their feeding area.  They are known as a quick duck, zipping in and out of a spread, but very susceptible to decoys since they socialize with other species.   These ducks are common in the area during winter months.  Make sure to use plenty of decoys, about 10-30 yards out.

Guns Used for Hunting Ring-necked Duck in Utah

A 12-gauge pump or semi-automatic with 3-inch shells should work well for hunting ring-necked ducks.  A light modified choke will allow for more range.  Be sure you’re comfortable with the gun you choose.   A No. 4 shot should work well.  It might seem small, but the smaller shot is better at penetrating diving duck’s thick insulated feathers and substantial fat layer.