June 20, 2018
By David Hart
That duck boat in your backyard? You know, the one with the battered hull, antique motor and rusted trailer? It's no wonder your friends always seem to be busy when you invite them on a hunt. Sure, you and that boat had some great times together, but it has been more zero than hero the past few seasons. Do you really want to suffer through another year of uncertainty? It's time to make a tough decision.
The good news? You've got countless options for your best new boat and motor. Whether you want to upgrade, expand your hunting options or try something new, there's a boat and motor to fit your needs. Big, beefy sea-worthy boats, light, quiet, man-powered boats, mud motors of every size and style, and combinations that take you to places you can't reach with that old rig under the tarp. You'll never be stuck at the ramp again and never again wonder why your buddies don't return texts when you invite them on a hunt. What are you waiting for? The season is only a few months away.
Excel F4 Pro Hull
The Pro Hull 1754 is decked out with a long list of features packed into a 17-foot hull. This boat can go places and do things other boats can't. The rear step decks make exit and entry a snap and standard items like grab rails, interior and running lights, full floor and low or high front deck make hunting, fishing or cruising around a lot more fun. Options include a .125-gauge hull upgrade, trolling motor mount, five different camo patterns and an interior Superliner coating. The package includes boat, Mud Buddy motor and trailer.
$15,995 (start) | excel-marine.com
Gator-Tail Savage Series
Gator Tail's 17-foot Savage series is made for hunters addicted to the sight of a flock of mallards falling down through the treetops. At just 50 inches wide, it is narrow enough to slip through the timber but wide enough to hold your gear, a few friends and favorite retriever. The hull includes a rear step design, allowing easy entry and exit for hunters and dogs, and is made with beefy .125-gauge aluminum. Other features include a four-foot front deck, a heavy-duty gunnel and a trolling motor bracket.
$TBD | gator-tail.com
Go-Devil Hunt Deck
Built with seamless 1/8" aluminum, the Hunt Deck is available with a bench or split seat. It offers a multitude of options, plus lots of standard features, like a grab bar, front and rear navigation lights, push pole and a roomy front deck.
$5,295 | godevil.com
Pro Drive TDX Series
Tough enough for the timber or river, the rear deck makes it simple to get in and out of the boat. Dozens of options and accessories will make your hunt easier and more productive. Boat, trailer and dual motor included.
$10,800 (boat only); $34,000 (start) | prodriveoutboards.com
Lowe Roughneck 2070
The all-aluminum boat comes with a hard-shell blind integrated dog ladder and Mercury outboard. It is rated for 40- to 90-hp motors and has an aerated livewell for the summer fishing. Comes in two camo patterns and plenty of options.
$22,545 (start) | loweboats.com
Momarsh Dual Purpose
A multi-purpose layout, the DP draws 4" of water at full capacity. The hand-laid fiberglass hull is 13' long and 44" wide. Features include: built-in floatation chambers, screw-in drain plug and an XL cockpit. Rated for a 2-hp motor.
$1,350 | momarsh.com
War Eagle Gladiator
The shallow-draft .100-gauge hull runs in inches of water, and is just over 17'. An extended duck-bill bow plows through brush. Mossy Oak Bottomland camo, float boxes, rear pods, adjustable hand rail and Line-X spray flooring are standard. Includes boat, trailer and 37-hp Gator-Tail.
$14,900 | wareagleboats.com
Mud Buddy 40EFI
A beast, the 40EFI has a direct throttle control for fast response with an idle air controller. The high-capacity fuel pump ensures optimum performance and a 20/50 amp alternator runs lights or accessories. Available in Optifade Marsh.
$8,850 | mudbuddy.com
Yamaha Outboards Portable
Strong and light, you can move this outboard from your boat to the truck bed, no problem. Available in 15-, 20- and 25-hp, these four-strokes are reliable, quiet and powerful. The freshwater flush device flushes the engine without running it.
$3,875 | yamahaoutboards.com
Backwater SWOMP Lite
The new 37- and 35-hp long-tails are built with a frame that eliminates the universal joint and other moving parts that suck power and reliability. A wider frame pivot allows for a shallower angle of entry. A 65" shaft is standard, but 77" shafts are available.
$4,350 | backwaterinc.com
For a complete list of the best rigs for duck hunting, check out the July issue of Wildfowl. And for 12 more roundups of the top gear for 2018, don't miss the August Giant Gear Issue on newsstands!