A well-functioning shotgun in 12- or 10-gauge and using proper loads is crucial.
"I use an 8-year-old Benelli 12-gauge auto-loader," said guide Adam Jones, who shoots 3-inch No. 2 Winchester Elite Blind Side Hex shot. "Sea ducks are tough to bring down, especially scoters. You want a fast load with plenty of knockdown power. The Hex shells contain 1 3/8 ounces of shot that travel at 1,400 feet per second. The Hex shot is $20 a box, which is a pretty good buy."
Another effective shotgun load is Kent No. 5 steel shot, Jones said..
Practice at a trap range and dove hunting are good training for learning to hit sea ducks, he said.
"It definitely helps to shoot trap," Jones said, "but the only thing that'll really help is to do this type of hunting. Most (wing shooting) has targets going away from you, but sea ducks will come at you, just above the water and from all directions, and that's totally different."
As for calling, Jones mixes pintail, teal and widgeon calls instead of loud mallard honks.
"It's a 'cheep' sound, but I don't do a lot of calling," he said. "Most people generally call too much and too loud."