HUNTING TIPS & TACTICS
The drake Hooded Merganser is much better known for his good looks then his table fare. The adult males are a gorgeous little bird, although a fairly small bird, with a distinct black head and neck and white crest. They feed in small ponds and rivers on fish and crustaceans, which is the main reason their taste is less then desirable.
Most hunters who target the Hooded Merganser intentionally, do so in hopes of a trophy to put on the wall. Although mixing one or two of the little birds in with a mixed bag of other waterfowl species in a pot luck dinner or processing them into jerky or summer sausage with a large batch of other waterfowl is a great way to eat em up without too much trouble.
Since the Hooded Mergansers are commonly found feeding in the smaller, deeper waters of lakes and rivers, scouting is a very important tool in locating a decent sized flock to hunt. Setting up a decoy spread for the Hooded Merganser is probably not the best way to harvest the birds, although they have been known to swing through a decoy spread once in a while.
The Hooded merganser is known to arrive around freeze up. Being a late migrator, setting up on any late season open water area is a great way to pinpoint a specific drake or flock.