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Boats.

Freezing temperatures, icy spray in your face, a slogging backwater marsh--it s not easy getting to the birds. But if you want to have the best shoot of your life, it's going to take work, and you NEED a boat. It doesn't matter if you want to slide down a quiet slough in search of wood ducks or plow through open ocean for eiders, there's some kind of sled perfect for the occasion. Mallards in timber? Check. Gadwalls on the bayou? You're covered. There are even airboats to push across frozen lakes and mud flats.

Today's boats get you to the birds quickly and safely, and back home after filling limits.

EXCEL 1854 SWVCC

Built by duck hunters for duck hunters, Excel's 1854 center console gives you the freedom to run far and deep in search of your next limit. Built to handle stumps, waves and the daily abuse duck hunters dish out, the 18-foot, 54-inch wide boat is built with 2" x 4" stitch-welded longitudinal ribs. The center console includes a formed windshield, cup holder, grab bar and a 12-volt plug. The triple-taper chine also keeps you dry on those long runs across rough water, and the step transom allows easy access for dogs and hunters. Excel boats come with a variety of custom options.

$7,300 (start) | excelboats.net

WAR EAGLE 544 WARHAWK

Owners John and Mike Ward's high standards and rigid specifications are evident in their latest boat, the 544 warhawk. The 6-degree v-hull twists and turns with ease and runs through brush and deflects off stumps that always seem to jump out of nowhere as you run to the duck hole before daylight. The Warhawk comes with an all-welded .080 aluminum hull and is 15' 8" long and has a 63" beam. It has War Eagle's unique wings transom design for better maneuverability, a T-lock cap rail system and rear seat storage. Available with 25-hp motor.

$9,900 | wareagleboats.com

GO-DEVIL 16X56

With a strong, well-designed .125" aluminum hull and well-earned reputation for quality, Go-Devil boats are as popular among duck hunters as ever. They don't come with lots of bells and whistles, which is the exact reason they are great duck boats. The 16x56 is a great all-purpose size for duck hunters who hunt the river, backwaters or spend a sunny Sunday on the fishin' pond. It has a slick keel-less bottom, double-angled transom, round chines and a solid grab bar. Few boats can reach the places a Go-Devil can.

$4,795 | godevil.com

PRO-DRIVE TDX SERIES

Pro-Drive's new TDX series is built with the same high-quality materials and standards you've come to expect from this company, only the TDX includes a new lower deck on the transom for easy entry for hunters and dogs, it's the perfect timber boat, hand-made with 5086 marine-grade aluminum, 1"x2" extrusion ribs that run the full length of the boat and 2"x2" aluminum tubing side wall and floor supports. It also comes with P-D's heavy-duty T-rail gunnel system. The TDX is available in 18- or 20-foot models and bottom widths of 48, 54 and 60 inches. Available features include: removable spotlight, gun box and trolling motor bracket.

$6,495 (start) | prodriveoutboards.com

MESKOUSING BACKWATER

Ducks love the shallows. Meskousing's Backwater fiberglass skiff allows serious small-water hunters the freedom to roam places bigger boats could never reach. You can launch from anywhere, sneak down shallow rivers and portage over logs and beaver dams. These hand-made boats are built tough with plenty of room for a dog and enough gear to hunt those secret spots. It's 12 feet long, 36 inches wide and weighs 52 pounds.

$1,650 | meskousingboats.com

ATTBAR AQUA POD SPORT

If mobility and stealth are a big part of your duck hunting equation, the Aqua Pod Sport is an ideal addition, weighing a feathery 62 pounds, the 10-foot kayak-type skiff allows you to paddle places no motor can get to. Toss it over your shoulder and drop it into tiny creeks, pull it over levees or carry it into hidden honey holes. The Sport is a stable 38 inches wide, with a 71x21-inch cockpit, and 13 inches deep. Made from rotomolded polyethylene and filled with floatation foam, you'll never have to worry about sinking, it includes two handles, cleats and a shock cord gear holder. Optional finishes include three types of Mossy Oak camo.

$689 | aquapodboats.com

LOWE RUGHNECK 1860 DLX

The name is one of the most trusted in boating, which is why Lowe makes some of the most popular vessels in the waterfowling world. The Roughneck 1860 DLX is as worthy a duck sled as you'll find. It's 18 feet long and 60 inches wide and is available in standard colors and two popular camo patterns. It has a .100-inch welded aluminum hull and Lowe's limited warranty, giving you peace of mind as you head out to your favorite spot in the dark. Like most Lowe boats, the Roughneck DLX 1860 has a ton of available options, allowing you to customize it for a variety of purposes. It has a six-person, 850-pound capacity. Available with a 25-hp four-stroke Mercury.

$11,000 | loweboats.com

BANKES MARINE TITAN

At 25 feet, this big rig can handle conditions that would turn most boats back to the marina. Built with Bankes' own reverse tunnel chine, your ride to and from the hunting grounds will be smoother and drier. And thanks to a foam-filled double hand-laid fiberglass hull, you'll feel safe in any conditions. All of Bankes' boats are unsinkable. Standard features include a side-mounted steering console with dry storage, mounted 39-gallon fuel tank, Kevlar-reinforced bow and non-skid floor and front deck. The Titan also comes with decoy curtains, nylon grassing rails and is large enough to carry up to seven hunters.

$25,995 | bankesboats.com

GATOR TRAX MARSH SERIES

Gator Trax s newest offering is the right boat for hunters who chase birds in shallow lakes, secluded backwaters and other tough-to-reach holes. Weighing just 425 pounds, the 14-footer has a 50-inch bottom and can carry up to three hunters and all their gear in the 10-foot long, 46-inch wide cockpit. It's rated for a 23-hp outboard or a 35-hp mud motor. The Marsh series is built from .125 aluminum and has longitudinal ribs that help fend off stumps and other shallow-water obstacles. The base model includes a gas tank battery trailer and 23-hp Mud Buddy HD Sport.

$10,800 | gatortraxboats.com

GATOR-TAIL 1648 EXTREME SERIES

Tough, fast and maneuverable, the 1648's one-piece .125 aluminum hull and 2 x 2 x 1/8 longitudinal ribs bounce off hidden stumps without cracking the hull or popping a stainless steel rivet. The stepped chine hull design makes turns smoother, faster and safer, and the drop deck and open floor make this one of the most practical duck boats you could own. It has a 4-foot front deck with a hatch and under deck storage, a grab bar for safe operation and a 30-quart cooler that doubles as a driver's seat. Includes trailer and 25-hp motor.

$13,000 | gator-tail.com

EXPRESS XTS TACTICAL SERIES

It's made in Arkansas, so it's made for duck hunting. The Xpress Tactical Series has a 68.5-inch beam, hydro-dynamic .100-gauge aluminum hull and a welded aluminum center keel, it comes with an led bow light, an Xpress duck boat accessory rail, step pod transom and enclosed rear deck. Available in 16- and 18-foot models, the XTS is the ideal timber boat, or to get to your favorite blind on the lake. Options include a center or side camo gun box, gun brackets, T bolts, trolling motor bracket, tiller kit and more. Trailer included.

$13,995 | xpressboats.com

LOWE ROUGHNECK 1546

A working man's jon boat, this nifty flat-bottom is a fine option for the 'fowler who tows his rig to a different duck hole everyday. The sleek 15-footer is built for ultimate reliability, and can hold two or three adults, junior and the dog. The max weight capacity is 825 pounds, so there's room for gear too. All-welded aluminum, the 1546 has a 46" bottom width, .080" hull and is 20" deep at the sides. There's a variety of camo paint schemes available, and fishing packages for summer fun.

$6,551 | loweboats.com

CARTEN'S BLUEBILL

Small enough to slide through inches-deep water, large enough to be pushed by motors up to 13-hp, Carsten's Bluebill is an all-purpose watercraft. The fiberglass boat weighs just 150 pounds, yet has a capacity of 500 pounds, big enough to carry you, a buddy, pup and the gear. It's 12 feet long and 45 inches wide, with a depth of 15 inches. The large open cockpit has one molded seat, but a second seat is an option; so is a gun rack, shell holder, oars and oar locks.

$1,490 | carstensindustries.com

MOMARSH FATBOY DP

Mallards in the morning and divers in the afternoon? Momarsh's Fatboy is a dual-purpose (DP) layout boat that provides maximum stability and the freedom to mount a motor with the optional detachable transom. It's 13 feet long and has a 7-foot by 29-inch cockpit, screw-in drain plug and built-in flotation chambers in the front and rear. The load capacity is 520 pounds, plenty enough for you, the gear and your dog. The 44-inch wide bottom provides excellent stability for stand-up paddling. It weighs just 95 pounds and is Coast Guard-approved.

$1,349 | momarsh.com

SEAARK MUD RUNNER 180

At 18 feet, SeaArk's Mud Runner 180 will give you the confidence to bounce over waves under a pitch-black sky. Built with .125-gauge aluminum, a flat-bottom, all-welded smooth hull and a 3/16-inch low-profile extruded hull, you won't have to worry about making it back to the ramp after a long day in the marsh, it's packed with features that make it user-friendly, safe and practical. It has a treadplate floor, hunt-step transom, split rear seats with storage, high bow deck with storage, grab bar and transom handles It's available in a variety of camo options as well. The 180 is rated up to 50-hp and weighs 700 pounds.

$19,5001 seaarkboats.net

DUCK WATER OCEAN 21

Big-water ducks don't stand a chance when you hunt from the Ocean 21. Built to get you beyond the breakers, the hull and sides are made with %-inch aluminum, the top deck and floor are built with 3/i6-inch aluminum and the 21-foot long boat is 96 inches wide--enough room for six hunters and all their gear. The Ocean 21 can handle some serious water, giving you comfort knowing you'll get to the birds, it comes with an installed blind camouflaged to match the boat, four interior lights, a bilge pump, two 12-volt receptacles and a 6-gang circuit panel.

$22,995 | duckwaterboats.com

DRAGONFLY ECOFLY

Sometimes the ride is half the fun, and if you ever take a Dragonfly hunting on the Great Salt Lake, you might find the boat ride more exhilarating than the shooting. Dragonfly's 15-foot Ecofly sails over the skinniest water, skips across mud flats and skims over snow. It goes where nothing else can. Powered by a quiet, fuel-efficient 200-, 300- or 350-hp 4-cylinder Chevy Ecotec engine, the Ecofly comes with a stainless-steel cage and rigging, a Sensenich 3-blade NGQ prop and leather seats, among other features. It's also available in a 16-foot model.

$29,995 | dragonflyairboats.com
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Author:Hart, David
Publication:Wildfowl
Date:Aug 1, 2015
Words:1891
Previous Article:Blinds.
Next Article:Mud motors.
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