Boat necessary for public hunting?

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Boat necessary for public hunting?

Postby EvanJ » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:00 pm

Hey everyone :hi:

New to the forum and pretty new to duck hunting (about 2 years)

I hunt in south Texas near the coast but I am in north Texas for college and have looked into public hunting a little when I don't have time to make the drive south. I've driven around Ray Roberts lake during the off season and it seems like a boat is a must have to public hunt there so I'm assuming the same for the other public hunting places. Any insight on whether a boat is necessary would be great! Thanks!
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Re: Boat necessary for public hunting?

Postby Duck Collector » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:09 pm

A boat isnt absolutly necessary. Most public hunting locations have walk in areas, but walk in areas means that everyone else that dosent have a boat will be there. If you want to get away from the crowd then it helps alot to have one
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Re: Boat necessary for public hunting?

Postby EvanJ » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:15 pm

Would retrieving ducks also be difficult if I don't have a dog to swim out and get them if I walk?
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Re: Boat necessary for public hunting?

Postby TexasHunter96 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:39 pm

You'll need a way to retrieve birds if you can't walk out and get them
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Re: Boat necessary for public hunting?

Postby RShockley » Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:11 am

I have done plenty of public hunting without a boat. You can still find good spots you just have to put in a bit more effort to find one that other don't want to walk to. As far as retreiving ducks you can find spot that are shallow enough to wade out and get your ducks. I use a piece of dowel rod with 2 large treble hooks. Put that on a fishing rod with some braided line and you have an easy way to retrieve ducks.
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Re: Boat necessary for public hunting?

Postby Toledo » Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:54 am

Might want to consider a kayak also. Gives you a lot more options.
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Re: Boat necessary for public hunting?

Postby EvanJ » Fri Dec 13, 2013 2:51 pm

I'll have to look into the canoe/kayak option and see if it would work on the areas around me. Thanks!
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Re: Boat necessary for public hunting?

Postby MarkM » Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:26 pm

Keep a change of clothes in a waterproof bag if going in a kayak or canoe...
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Re: Boat necessary for public hunting?

Postby RShockley » Fri Dec 13, 2013 4:25 pm

EvanJ wrote:I'll have to look into the canoe/kayak option and see if it would work on the areas around me. Thanks!

If you looking at Ray Roberts a kayak will work. There is plenty of places to put in at and most areas wouldn't be to bad of a paddle.
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Re: Boat necessary for public hunting?

Postby txduckman4 » Sat Dec 14, 2013 3:48 pm

A collapsible rod/reel with a top water lure with 2 treble hooks works good. Cast over top of duck and reel in. Might take several tries, but has always worked for me.
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Re: Boat necessary for public hunting?

Postby Barney#1 » Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:04 pm

:welcome:
Not necessary but they can make hunting easier on some public hunting areas. Getting away from the crowd, not having to pack in all the gear on you back allows you to have larger decoy spreads, and other reasons that were already said. Scouting can also be more effective as you can cover a large area faster than you can on foot.

Before you get the boat blues, keep these things in mind.

There are lots of cost associated with owning a boat. Fuel x 2, repairs, maintenance, trailer registration every one year, and boat regestration every two years. You can count on something breaking at some point in time during the season and marine mechanics are not cheap. If you skip the maintenance you can count on getting stuck on the water one day and the cost will probably double. It's best if you are somewhat handy with a wrench unless you have the money to keep up with it.

Boats are alot of work before, during, and after the hunt. You tend not to think about it on the before and during but after the hunt there is lots to do while all your buddies are home taking a nap. Unloading all the crap, washing out all the mud, blood, tobacco spit, feathers, trash, you name it. Then repairing anything broken, refueling, prepping, and storing for the next outing. The upkeep is up to you but will determine how long the boat last. Trash it out and you will have a great lawn ornament or a place to store your old ladys junk.

In my mind you need to use the boat alot to justify the purchase of a boat. Do you hunt 3 or four time a year and then park it for the rest of the year? Or do you hunt every chance you get and go fishing in the summer time? Boats do not like to spend a lot of time out of the water. Engines gum up, hoses crack, tires rot, etc... I take mine out at the least every other week and if for some reason I haven't ran it in three weeks or so I will run it on the ears in the driveway. My boat has obviously paid off as it has easily been on the water 150+ days out of the four years I have owned it. The ammount of time you use it vs cost vs justification is up to you so I'm not saying you have to use yours as much as I do. Just what makes sense to you.

Kayaks and pirogues are alot less to deal with. I have hunted out of my kayak when I did not feel like messing with the boat and had some of the best hunts with three or four decoys, shell bag, and a gun. Simple.
Don't get me wrong about boats. You either love them or hate um. I have owned some type of boat since I was 17 year old and could not picture life without one. Hunting out of one can be very rewarding. Just be prepared for the bad times and cost as well.
Tmi. Yep! I was bored. Might make the walk seem better :lol3:
Good luck on your season with or without a boat.
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Re: Boat necessary for public hunting?

Postby EvanJ » Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:04 am

Barney#1 wrote::welcome:
Not necessary but they can make hunting easier on some public hunting areas. Getting away from the crowd, not having to pack in all the gear on you back allows you to have larger decoy spreads, and other reasons that were already said. Scouting can also be more effective as you can cover a large area faster than you can on foot.

Before you get the boat blues, keep these things in mind.

There are lots of cost associated with owning a boat. Fuel x 2, repairs, maintenance, trailer registration every one year, and boat regestration every two years. You can count on something breaking at some point in time during the season and marine mechanics are not cheap. If you skip the maintenance you can count on getting stuck on the water one day and the cost will probably double. It's best if you are somewhat handy with a wrench unless you have the money to keep up with it.

Boats are alot of work before, during, and after the hunt. You tend not to think about it on the before and during but after the hunt there is lots to do while all your buddies are home taking a nap. Unloading all the crap, washing out all the mud, blood, tobacco spit, feathers, trash, you name it. Then repairing anything broken, refueling, prepping, and storing for the next outing. The upkeep is up to you but will determine how long the boat last. Trash it out and you will have a great lawn ornament or a place to store your old ladys junk.

In my mind you need to use the boat alot to justify the purchase of a boat. Do you hunt 3 or four time a year and then park it for the rest of the year? Or do you hunt every chance you get and go fishing in the summer time? Boats do not like to spend a lot of time out of the water. Engines gum up, hoses crack, tires rot, etc... I take mine out at the least every other week and if for some reason I haven't ran it in three weeks or so I will run it on the ears in the driveway. My boat has obviously paid off as it has easily been on the water 150+ days out of the four years I have owned it. The ammount of time you use it vs cost vs justification is up to you so I'm not saying you have to use yours as much as I do. Just what makes sense to you.

Kayaks and pirogues are alot less to deal with. I have hunted out of my kayak when I did not feel like messing with the boat and had some of the best hunts with three or four decoys, shell bag, and a gun. Simple.
Don't get me wrong about boats. You either love them or hate um. I have owned some type of boat since I was 17 year old and could not picture life without one. Hunting out of one can be very rewarding. Just be prepared for the bad times and cost as well.
Tmi. Yep! I was bored. Might make the walk seem better :lol3:
Good luck on your season with or without a boat.


No worries about how long your post was. It was informative! It definitely broke down the cost/reward with a boat. I'm going to try to make a few public hunts during the second split in north Texas. No boat or kayak but I will definitely look into the casting rod option if I can get it to work. Thanks to everyone who posted. Defiantly feel like I can have a good hunt while walking and scouting before!
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Re: Boat necessary for public hunting?

Postby coupe1975 » Wed Dec 18, 2013 6:57 pm

Check out lake Bardwell.just southwest of Ennis off 45 south of Dallas. I've hunted it several years and always walked in..water may be a little low but its a good lake. Call the local game warden for that area and he can fill you in on where the walk in places are. Cooper lake up in commerce is a good lake you can walk in there aswell. But on Cooper be ready for a workout since its like 14 ft low.
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Re: Boat necessary for public hunting?

Postby EvanJ » Thu Dec 19, 2013 5:24 pm

Thanks! I'll check those places out!
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Re: Boat necessary for public hunting?

Postby landon__odell23 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 7:17 pm

I hunt ray Roberts. Pretty good hunting mid season. Didn't get to hunt early season and hunted this morn. Seems like a lot of birds are gone. NE end
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