I think some of it is that many (well, at least a good portion of) hunters came into the sport later. Like me (I hunted as a kid with uncles, but then stopped for a couple decades when "all" I did was fish - like a fiend, but just fishing). That makes it tough to actually figure out how to do it right when you get back into it (or start for the first time - as it seems a lot folks are doing recently). Couple that with these days needing to move more frequently for a LOT of people for work (me included - grew up here but have moved away and back a few times), and it's hard to figure an area out.
I have been waterfowling for about 8 years and am still VERY much learning the ropes. Each time I move, I have to learn a new way to hunt. Came back to MA last time and learned seaducks. Then moved to OH and all that was not so useful, so had to learn how to field hunt (and some swamp/pond hunting), but not there long enough to find the honey holes. Never mind divers on the big water (Erie) - that's a whole 'nother set of learnings. Then moved back here, but to Concord. Now I'm trying to learn rivers and fens, and almost nothing of what I learned elsewhere applies, and never mind trying to find places to hunt! At least when I get a boat that works for seaduckin', I'll be able to get back to the salt - but then probably only bigger water… until I buy ANOTHER boat (?) that's small enough to hunt the skinny water and such…
And I'm also a die hard duck hunter. I will go out and sit for hours even when nothing is flying. Even when I KNOW nothing will be flying. Just love being out there. However, I haven't had time to successfully get permission on private land around here (I've tried at a number of farms, but they're either hunted by the owners/owners' family or they are VERY anti-hunting).
So, where do I hunt? The only places I seem to be able to get on to. The NWR's, some public land in Groton and the like (not real productive) and now and again at the Concord Rod & Gun Club (which seems to repel ALL waterfowl).
OK, so my reeeeeaaalllllly long winded point (sorry - you can tell it's a habit) is that maybe there are hunters, but for a variety of reasons we might be on public lands that kinda suck, and you wouldn't see us. I'm hoping to finally get at least one place I live dialed in, and I'm most familiar with the Plymouth area (having fished there all my life) and hope that familiarity will eventually translate into waterfowling knowledge, but even with all that, you probably won't see me very often there (a long way from Concord to scout and such, except the deeper salt - which I know better from years of being on it and probably will translate better).
I hope this doesn't come across as whining or bitchin' about hunting. I don't feel that way at all
. I'm happy ANY day I can get out - even if it's on a river in the middle of "anti" central and there are no birds! OK, I admit it would be better with birds…
Just giving one example of why you might not see newbies in your regular haunts.
Oh, and the first time I EVER went seaduckin' was with Capt. Dave. Awesome day over by Clark's Island, and I've never looked at the bay the same way again. Dang you, Capt. Dave!
Hope to eventually figure out how to do this better and bump into some savvy hunters out there someday!!
Until then, see you on DHC.