Sneak boat hunting

Sneak boat hunting is a sub-specialty of traditional waterfowl hunting used for diver ducks which is done in a low profile canoe looking boat that is some times motorized and made of a unique designs to allow hunter to maintain a close position to the water in order to conceal them in open water and allow them to drift into rafts of ducks using the wind. Most laws allow sneak boats to be paddled to increase the speed need to reach open water rafts of ducks. These boats often have some type of fall-away concealment which the hunter drops down at the last second to improve the range of the wing shooting. This is a sport with a long history going back to market hunters and punt boats with small cannons mounted to them. Sometimes the boats are referred to as a sneakbox which seen great use on the Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes

Sneak boat/Sneakbox
"Bluebill" scaup

Other versions of sneak boats are called sculling boats which use a paddle protruding out of the transom of the boat allowing the hunter to lay flat while sculling the boat into rafted waterfowl.

The main focus of the sneak boat is to put the hunter very close to the decoys or rafts of live waterfowl if not directly into them for additional closer shooting. This makes for very dramatic hunting scenarios where rafting waterfowl comes extremely close to the hunter and boat.

Most sneak boats are used for diver duck or ocean duck hunting where an open deep water waterfowl species frequent. Sometimes they are deployed in marshes for more traditional puddle duck hunting or goose hunting. They are also referred to as sculling.

Open water sneak boat hunters are well known to be a hearty bunch and are known for operating on the riskier side of waterfowl hunting. They are known to target diver ducks such as bluebills (greater scaup), canvasback, goldeneye, scoter and eider to name a few.

These boats are known to be long and sleek to cut through the water fast and have extremely shallow drafts. Boats rang from 10 ft to upwards of 21 ft on the great lakes and rivers. They usually accompany two hunters at a time using the wind to catch a sail like blind in the front of the boat while also sculling to achieve greater speed.

Sneak boat hunters sometimes uses small spreads of decoys in open water while they lay and wait some distance away watching with binoculars. Once ducks have landed into the decoy spread the hunters begin their sneak. To waterfowl the boat is just some driftwood or breakaway marsh. Other sneak boat hunter use large cabin cruiser as a base and perform sneaks using several sneak boats and a tender boat to allow quick retrieval.


  • Sternberg, Dick; Simpson, Jeff (1997). The Complete Hunter: Duck Hunting
  • Smith, Nick (2006). Waterfowl Hunting: Ducks and Geese of North America
  • Kramer, Gary (2003). A Ducks Unlimited Guide to Hunting Diving & Sea Ducks
  • DeVore, Michael (2013). Lake Saint Clair Sportsman