|Not sure you can find the duck blind in the dark? Go during the day first!|
The way that "We" (brothers, buddies, myself) try to improve our odds of success and decrease our odds of peril is to do a "dry run" hunt. This is particularly easy to do on the east coast when we have two duck seasons that lead into two goose seasons (second and third splits). Many of us set out into the marshes and rivers on the day before goose season opens (during duck season), regardless of whether or not there are ducks flying, and knowing full well that even if a hundred geese attack us, we cannot legally open fire on them. The primary goal is to get comfortable with gear, dogs, and hunting partners in the boat, blind, marsh, etc., and to get a pattern down for setting up a hunt (ideally quickly in the early morning). Mistakes and issues can be noted and hopefully corrected before the "Big Day" of the goose opener.
So, that's what we did this year. TB and I knew the wind was wrong, the sky was too sunny, and too few ducks were flying to have a great afternoon hunt, but we wanted to get our game together. We set out to the island with about a dozen goose decoys and three dozen puddle duck decoys "just in case." We fumbled around a bit with the mud motor, nearly forgot the battery, and nearly forgot to put the drain plug back in. See - these are all great things to be happening at 2pm friday instead of 5am saturday!
Ducks didn't give us much of a look. Very sparse flights headed off the river, stayed high over our cove, and headed upstream into the marshes off of the farm where we hunt. We got to adjust some of the switchgrass on the blind, re-anchor the dog leash anchor, and do a few other things before watching the sun set and then watching about 800 Canada geese pile into the cove. A promising warm up for the next hunt.