Packing up my jon boat after a fantastic teal hunt near Eagle Lake, TX.
Duck hunting boats are not always necessary for a successful hunt. It depends on the body of water you are hunting. People hunting small ponds or lakes, creeks, marshes, flats and other shallow or small water can get away with not having a boat, especially if they have a dog to retrieve their fallen birds. But, sometimes a boat is good to have just in case, especially if you hunt in lots of different situations.
Retailers carry lots of different kinds of duck hunting boats now. Also, some avid hunters like to make their own boats, or customize a basic fishing boat to fit duck hunters needs. Either way, you've got choices when it comes to getting a boat for duck hunting.
Here are the most common types of duck hunting boats people use:
1. Airboats - These are big boats that can carry lots of people, dogs and gear. They are used mostly by professional guides and guide services, mainly because they are expensive to own and operate. But, they get the job done in both deep and shallow water. They are especially great for covering large distances quickly and can speed right along in just a foot of water or so. I hunt ducks in Port O'Connor, Texas with an outfit that has airboats. It makes for a fast ride across shallow salt flats out to the blinds a mile or two or three away from shore.
Hunting with airboats in Port O'Connor, TX. Also, no one looks good in waders.
2. Aluminum Boats or Jon Boats - These are very common boats that serve well for both fishing and hunting. They are relatively inexpensive and can run the gamut in terms of features, from very basic to totally tricked out.
3. Layout Boats and/or Sneak Boats - These are small, shallow water boats that function as transporters, gear haulers and even blinds sometimes. They are very versatile, inexpensive and easy to maneuver.
For most everyday hunters, either a jon boat or a sneak boat is going to make the most sense for duck hunting. I've hunted with both for years - even with a short jon boat that I used as a sneak boat - and there are many positive aspects to these boats.
Click the links below for more specific pros and cons for jon boats and sneak boats.