stupid new guy questions

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stupid new guy questions

Postby quackymcquackster » Tue Oct 10, 2006 9:11 am

at the risk of sounding too ignorant, i gotta ask a few questions. been reading through the montana boards and you guys sound like you pretty well know what you're doing.

when scouting for a spot, what are some key indicators of a good place? i realize the water has to be a bit tamer than just the flowing river, but how deep? is thick vegetation better? i know that in some instances you just have to watch for where the ducks are, but when they arent flying around, how do you get the hunch that 'they might come here'?

is it best to stay right on major rivers? or the creeks that flow into them? i know a place with TONS of water, but they're mostly slow shallow creeks and dont want to waste TOO many mornings (i'm sure i'll waste a good deal of them during the learning process) getting all set up and end up hearing other guys blast away off in the distance.

are all good spots hard to get to? or does the spot's productivity have nothing to do with remoteness?

really just looking to filter through some of the easier trial and error stuff that you guys seem to have the experience with. i'm from denver and anyone i've met up here are riflers. cant seem to get much good advice on the birds.

definitely willing to put in the scouting time, but like i said, if the birds arent flying in the afternoon, how do you ever know where they are likely to be in the morning?

thanks guys, and sorry if i seem too green at this, but dont know who else to ask this novice stuff.
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Postby Fredito » Tue Oct 10, 2006 9:57 am

It can be a little tricky in the early season but always remember....esp in the later season...is there a food source and open water...with that said best method is to go and hunt it...if there are no birds hit it again later...do the ponds in the morning and evenings and then jump shoot the streams during the afternoons...thats usally what I end up doing....Im sure some of the other guys have better advice though...
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Postby quackymcquackster » Tue Oct 10, 2006 10:11 am

you got all psychic about the times for me too! see, i was under the impression that only sunrise times were good, but evenings are OK also?

so, mornings and nights for ponds, afternoons are for jump shooting the creeks?

and the ducks FLY the river, but dont neccessarily do duck like things on the river? more the surrounding waters?
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Postby Duck Runner » Tue Oct 10, 2006 10:55 am

My wife and I were out scouting yesterday evening. Didn't see as many ducks as we usually see in the mornings, but still found some great spots. Even ran into a moose in the river. You can find ducks everywhere if you know what ducks like. I've seen some ducks float through large waves and avoid calm waters.

The best thing to do is just get out there and do some looking and you will start seeing what the ducks like.
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Postby quackymcquackster » Tue Oct 10, 2006 11:30 am

MOOSE? I'd never ask yr spot, but did you see the moose in the missoula area? maybe up by the moose x-ing on hwy 12? my wife is bumming because the moose is last on her list of animals to see in the wild. we've got griz and everything, but no moose. tried to get our glasses on one in yellowstone even. no luck.
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Postby Duck Runner » Tue Oct 10, 2006 11:41 am

I was no more than 15 miles outside of Missoula, lets put it that way. We couldn't believe it - that's actually the first big game animal we have seen around the Missoula area (well, except a black bear in the Rattlesnake rec area) and we have been all over the place in the past year. We actually thought it was a deer, we had deer all over the place and when it was in the river it looked too big to be a deer, but thought maybe an elk - got a little closer and then it came up out of the river! :eek: That's no deer or elk! The one time I don't take the camera with me too.
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Postby Deadpair » Tue Oct 10, 2006 11:53 am

I've had some of my best hunts in the afternoon. From 1000's of ducks pooring into wheat fields before dark to afternoon openwater hunts. Once the birds really start to move into Montana later this fall it really dosen't make that much of a difference when you hunt. When the birds are here they're everywhere. As Fredito said, "early season is tough". This is very true!

Scouting is important. This time of year I won't even go out and scout till 5 or 5:30pm. The birds won't move around until almost dark especially on the nice days. I might only find a hole with 10 ducks this time of year and that's where I will hunt vs later in the year I will have to find a hole were they're 100 or more birds before I'll even set up. Once ponds begin to freeze all you need to look for is open water + food source nearby = ducks.
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Postby Fredito » Tue Oct 10, 2006 1:02 pm

I have hunted feilds, creeks and open water at almost all times of the allowed hunting hours and have had luck...some are more successful...my post above is usally what I do though...if I dont limit in the AM I will go jump shoot or if I go out mid afternoon before the ducks are moving I will jump shoot then also for about an hour
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Postby Troutslayer » Tue Oct 10, 2006 3:37 pm

It's best to hunt birds in areas they are using right now! Just because a place looks "duckey" doesn't mean anything. You might think it's good food and habitat, but maybe it's plagued by predators, or the water is too deep or something. You're going to have to pay your dues scouting. There is a lot of water here and much of it is occupied by waterfowl at some point during the season. Right now there are lots of resident ducks around. Most have already had some bad experience, probably with skybusters or something. They are wary, know the area, and know where they're safe. When more migratory birds start moving in, birds that don't know the area, haven't been shot at yet, things will get a bit easier. When ponds, lakes and ditches freeze up birds will take to the rivers-obviously. Now they are scattered and the weather isn't right for good hunting (generally speaking).

There isn't supposed to be anything easy about this. Early mornings, knocking on doors to get permission to hunt private land, driving around a lot, not getting birds, this stuff goes with the territory. You will figure things out.

You mentioned Freezeout in another thread. At least there you're going to see birds and probably have a shot at killing some. With big game hunting on the horizon, there really won't be too many hunters there. The ones that are there will be the die hard duck crowd. The kind of people who aren't going to skybust or mess you up. Nine Pipes is closer still and there are a lot of birds there too.
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Postby phutch30 » Tue Oct 10, 2006 4:21 pm

My method is this. If they are there hunt there. I dont wast my time hunting "good looking spots" unless there are birds there. You can wait a long time for ducks if they are using another area. Drive the roads and watch for flying birds and try to follow them. I dont mean 1 or 2 look for flocks or big groups. Sooner or later they will lead you to a honey hole. Ducks can be very "here today and gone tomorrow". So it is best to get one them ASAP. Some areas will be hotspots year after year all season long, others will be hot for a couple days or maybe weeks.
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Postby geotreb » Tue Oct 10, 2006 5:00 pm

I'm one of the stupid new guys too...

When you are following the birds and you've found the water they are finally resting it - what's your favorite way of finding out who owns it?

And I guess on a separate question, when you do ask to hunt on private land, what sort of response do you usually get? I suppose each area is different.

I only ask because I am hesitant to ask to hunt on private ground anymore. I did grow up on a farm (in good pheasant country) here in MT and although we allowed hunters in we were constantly besieged by people asking permission. Myself, I try to stay off private land the best I can. I'm a mapping (GIS guy for those that know) and so I try to keep on the state/public land. I hunt weekdays.. I avoid the crowds, if possible.

I did find a cool reservoir around Pony that had about 1 sq mile the west end of it on BLM land. Unfortunately, there was no county road going into the reservoir, only a private trail. I did ask, but was told $100 gets you hunting on the pond. The ranch hand almost seemed apologetic (I assumed it was not his call, must have been the owners). I thought that was a tad bit ridiculous... have any of you run in to similar situations?
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Postby Troutslayer » Tue Oct 10, 2006 7:41 pm

And I guess on a separate question, when you do ask to hunt on private land, what sort of response do you usually get?


Usually get a "no", on this half of the rockies anyway. A lot of people might let you kill the ducks and geese but not the huns and pheasant. On the other side of the continental divide people get a lot friendlier, my theory: they're not all @ssholes from California.
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Postby BznBlackDog » Tue Oct 10, 2006 8:20 pm

I have been scouting a number of spots here in the Gallatin Valley. Nothing moving through yet but a few locals that are awful wary - have probably been shot at a bunch.

I too am new to duck hunting after having chase roosters for the past 10 years or so.
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Postby marcbme » Tue Oct 10, 2006 9:16 pm

best advice I'd have for a newby is find food and find the closest water and park yourself somewhere in between closer to one or the other. Then sit and wait, sooner or later they've gotta fly over you.
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Postby phutch30 » Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:33 am

To get permission I just start asking at the nearest house that looks like it might be part of the property. As far as responses..get used to the word no. But sooner or later you will get on. Dont bother asking to hunt pheasants, Ive never got permission for those. Also if you can stay below the high water mark on rivers and lakes you can legally access some areas. Just remember to make sure the birds drop below the high water mark. If they dont you are trespassing even if you send your dog.
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Postby wingnutty » Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:56 am

The biggest thing is just to ask. Like others have said, you will hear the word "no", but most people are jerks about it. For a long time I hesitated to ask to hunt private land and relagated myself to public spots. Now I just ask and even if they say no I usually end up having a nice conversation, ect. I never expect anyone to give me permission, but where I'm living now, most people do. I REALLY appreciate it and I make sure I show them by bringing them stuff (carrot cakes, gift cert., goose/duck jerky and pepporoni sticks, ect).

I kinda enjoy asking permission now, it lets you get out and meet some of the hard working landowners nearby and most are great people :thumbsup:

Of course...when I lived in the Gallatin Valley and Bitterroot Valleys it was kinda a different story, if they are locals then most are at least pleasant, if they are imports, well, lets just say that unfortunately they often have a different attitude ("this is MY property, I paid for it, why would I let you use it").

Anyway, good luck!
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Postby geotreb » Wed Oct 11, 2006 9:12 am

Thanks for the advise guys.

Yeah, I am in the Gallatin Valley... soooo I've noticed that trend. I was raised in north-central MT, and there is a completely different attitude there. Not only that, but we were landowners up there - and the whole world from Great Falls would come knocking for permission... but you know, 9 times out of 10 there they would be let on, and with no problems. But, I think the pressure was a little less there. Oh yeah, we'd get tons of pheasant hunters, but after big game started it slacked off.

Here, it is a different deal. I guess I'll have to bite the bullet.

And... if anyone has $100 to burn, I know a really good reservoir that will get loaded with geese - I just won't be the one paying the landowner's "entrance fee" to public land.

Thanks again.
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Postby wingnutty » Wed Oct 11, 2006 4:15 pm

Is it $100 per trip or $100 for the whole season?

Not that I'm going to hunt it since I live 3 hrs away, but if it is $100 for the season that may not be so bad. I'd rather it be that way than not be able to hunt it at all.

There is a res. near here that is loaded and it is private. I was hoping the guy would let me on for $100 for the year (since I knew he wouldn't let me on for free) but he said no cause he had cattle in there and didn't want one gettting shot. He's kind of a nutcase anyway though, you know the type...lives on 1000 acres in a school bus with a tarp for a roof and a yard full of bear cans :laughing: Wow, I don't know how he survives the winter since he is in the section of the county that gets hit the hardest :eek:
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Postby geotreb » Wed Oct 11, 2006 6:38 pm

No no no, this $100 a DAY.
:)

And I imagine he gets some busniness if that's his rate. Ohhh welll.
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Postby Troutslayer » Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:54 pm

I will never pay $100 to shoot a goose on land that I already own, is that even legal? Is this guy an outfitter? Does he have a business license or web page? How these inholdings came to be is beyond me, but there should be some kind of a public access easement.
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how to find the owner

Postby fun4jake » Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:53 am

Here is a great way to find out the owner of land. Its not perfect but a good place to start.
http://nris.mt.gov/gis/ownmaps.asp
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Postby wingnutty » Thu Oct 12, 2006 1:42 pm

$100/day, :thumbsdown: that is crap!

I agree it sucks to go down this road. I also believe that their should be access to these inholdings, it is totally bogus. Some guy owns 500 acres of marginal range land, but has a 200 acre res. with BLM land right in the middle and now what does he have...a 700 acre private reserve worth millions :pissed:
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Postby geotreb » Thu Oct 12, 2006 3:55 pm

I agree.
I guess if you parachute to those inholdings, you're golden?
I don't understand how public land can be flanked by private land without access.. anyhow, the place is here:

http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n105 ... rrison.jpg

It's the pond on the lower left with a red circle.. Harrison is up there.. it is fed by Norweigen Creek, the same creek that feeds Harrison Res, which you can see part of in the upper right hand corner of the image.

The yellow around the pond is BLM land. And there is NO county road I can see of to get there.
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Postby quackymcquackster » Fri Oct 13, 2006 9:40 am

one could float to this spot, no?
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Postby wingnutty » Fri Oct 13, 2006 11:48 am

Hmmm, yeah. Well, I can't see that map too well, but make sure to check a BLM ownership map to see if there isn't BLM land that you can use to access it. Probably not and you probably checked it, but I just figured I'd make sure.

Otherwise, yes, you can access it by following the stream down. Not sure on the scale of that map so it might be really far? Or a canoe? I dunno, at least those are some possible options to think about.

Gosh, I still can't believe he wants $100/hunt! That is outrageous! Do you think anyone hunts for that price?! Especially with so much decent/great public land around.

I never hunted harrison while I was in bozeman. Wanted too, but poor collage kid didn't have a boat or layout blind. I figure a layout blind on the mud flats would get it done though :thumbsup:
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