Blind Laws discussion, Good, Bad??????

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Blind Laws discussion, Good, Bad??????

Postby cut_un » Sun Jan 08, 2006 12:55 pm

Reading some threads from another site, seems the talk is about "Blind Laws"..... Wondering how you guys feel about them, the :thumbsup: and :thumbsdown: . My motto is"have floater,will travel ,so you know what I think of them, if I can put my boat in on public water, can get to it.... it should be....first come first serve, just my view, how you ya'll feel about the "age old thorn, we all live/put up with!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Postby pec » Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:11 pm

There has to be a better way than the way Virginia does it. Too many people build blinds and never show up to hunt them. Makes it tough for those of us who do get out to hunt. Then there are those people who do hunt, but don't understand the laws and think they own the James River cause they lease the land that borders it. Correct me if I'm wrong, but even if they lease the land that borders it, I can hunt as long as I am more than 500 yards from the closest licensed blind right? I think I've read a report on duck hunting in Virginia, and there has been a steady decline in duck hunter numbers, with a rise in the average age of the duck hunter in the state, which I believe to be a result of the blind laws.

For those of you who have hunted or have knowledge of other state's laws. which ones are most hunter friendly?
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Postby cut_un » Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:42 pm

Pec, show me a spot on the James, or any other river in central Va. ...that is ducky, that you can set up and NOT be within 500 yards of an UNOCCUPIED Blind. I hunt out of my floater and I say they are few and far between! If a duck.goose /ever flew arcoss that cove, point, you bet a blind will be somewhere close....and as you stated, no body home!!!
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Postby pec » Sun Jan 08, 2006 3:02 pm

There aren't many spots left, but there are a few, not many ducky ones though. I only do the floater thing too, and I'll say rarely are the blinds around where I hunt occupied. But the law says 500 yards, and occupied or not, no way would I hunt within the circle. Carry a rangefinder just to make sure. I may not like the way the blind laws are written, but the law is the law and I'll follow them.
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Postby cut_un » Sun Jan 08, 2006 4:31 pm

Yea Pec.... da law is da law, right or wrong we have to live with it.... It would not be as bad if the owners would hunt them on occasion, keep the birds moving :help: It's a pain when you watch birds pitching into a cove, with a blind sitting in it......and as I said, no body home! If we had no blind laws, we would have no blinds so we would all be equal!
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Postby vah2ofowler22 » Sun Jan 08, 2006 5:10 pm

As a mulitple blind owner, i for like parts of the laws for blinds. I think that there are some rules that need to be worked on.

Alot of the guys around here in my area, We dont over hunt our blinds, everyday, like a few others do. By doing this, there are many days i can look at my blind and a few other from my house and see birds resting in the water in front of them. So it is really good for us. My 2 big river blinds, i havent hunted this year. We decided that we would wait until first of the year to hunt them.

Now i do argee with you on people would tag a stick or a tree. Thats totally BS, and i am sure they dont see it that way. We need to get the laws fix to not allow this. And then we need to inforce it.

So i guess thats my .02 cent on it.
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Postby Big Shorty » Sun Jan 08, 2006 7:10 pm

I have several blinds (all but 2 are licensed as riparian rights of landowner or permitee) and I will tell you that Blind laws are needed.

The issues I see in the above posts are:

Unoccupied blinds - people see an unoccupied blind, and somehow want to hunt right there next to it. That is jealousy, envy, and gluttony all in one opinion. The blind may have been hunted once a week for the last 3 weeks - but you hunt on different days than the blind owner - now you want to hutn is spot because he is not. That is jealousy if ever it was such.

Ghost Blinds - Everyone agrees that a single 2x4 with a yellow tag is not a blind. But anything that "hides" a hunter is a blind, whether you THINK it does or not. One of my most productive blinds is ina very low needle grass salt marsh and is made of 3 sticks in the mud and 2 wax myrtle bushes. Low profile, low impact, and very natural......and the ducks swim within 10 yards of it when I in it or not in it. Get the point? Most peple calim that a hunter can not be hidden by 2 wax myrtle bushes......I got 43 ducks this year in that blind so far, 65 last year, and 28 the year before that says you can "conceal" a hunter with 2 bushes. Anybody want to go to court and challenge me on it?

Floater mentaility - most people with float rigs are opportunist. The whole point of mobility is to move to where the ducks are, for that period of time. Imposing on a legal blind is just as immoral and unethical as poaching deer with a spotlight or stealing from a store. I float 50% of the time I hunt - by choice. But I would never impose on someone's blind without their permission. As for people "locking up miles of shoreline" - who cares. Keep looking for spots, make new friends at the ramp, be nice to people who you meet......it works out. Use the boat to discover ducks, not enemies.


All in my opinion, so take it for what it is worth.......
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Postby gthompson » Sun Jan 08, 2006 8:19 pm

"Stationary Blind" means a structure erected at a fixed location either on the shores of the public waters or in the public waters for the purpose of hunting and shooting waterfowl. A stationary blind shall be (1) of such size and strength that it can be occupied by and conceal one or more hunters, or (2) large enough to accommodate and conceal a boat or skiff from which one or more hunters intend to hunt or shoot waterfowl. -VDGIF

(a) A 2x4 with a tag is against the law. Plus, if theres no blind by now it should be huntable by anyone.
(b) Don't you have to construct a blind like 10 days after you tag spot?
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Postby cut_un » Sun Jan 08, 2006 8:46 pm

I do respect the rights of the stationary blinds. I've even had a few in my day :thumbsup: I'm sure both sides of the issue have a right to grip.... Would not want anyone hunting my blinds on the days I'm at work, or hunting too close either for that matter. As a floater hunter, I'm opposed to so many ghost blinds... and clubs/ groups errecting so many blinds up and down the shore line, every 500 yards . A group of guys/ friends , or club can tie up a lot of shore line in a given area. And they are "posted" property . Makes no difference if they are hunted every day, one day or one day at the end of the season. :help: :help:
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Postby LEWDOG » Sun Jan 08, 2006 9:34 pm

Floaters are license blinds too . I read where some what the blind laws gone from this state , that would be the worst thing that could happen in my opinion . If there was no blind laws the rivers would look like the causeway going to chincoteague , oh sure the fishing would be good but just think now the morning run would be like . A floater would go out at o dark thirty and set 5 dz decoys and five min. before shooting time another floater comes within 50 feet with no decoys just a call and starts calling like there is no tomorrow . I read about ghost blinds (2x4 with tag) have you ever wondered what was they thinking , let me tell you what I think some of them are . They was put there to keep a spot open for a floater , come Sept. 30 the ghost blind has done its job and no blinds will be built in that 1000 yards of water . To tell the truth I think that all floaters should use there right to have two fixed blinds and tag a 2x4 .

There is one new law I feel is needed in the blind laws and that is , A hunter must live in the county to be able to buy a fixed blind license for that county .

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Postby Big Shorty » Mon Jan 09, 2006 5:10 am

gthompson wrote:"
(a) A 2x4 with a tag is against the law. Plus, if theres no blind by now it should be huntable by anyone.
(b) Don't you have to construct a blind like 10 days after you tag spot?
G-


In regards to item a - you are exactly correct. Lewdog also provided an answer as well, where the "ghost" blind is normally used to hold a location, moreso than stop people from hunting it. I have one tag that I do this with every year - I tag a "stick" (actually it's an old blind in disrepair and not really huntable), and I really do not care to build the blind back anytime soon (unless the ponds behind it come back to life with SAV). So - I buy the tag each year, and I float the spot (on the right tide and weather). And yes, anyone can float it as well. I have riden past people in the morning actually tied to the stake itself with the tag on it. I stopped, chatted nicely, told them that I tagged it, and to have a good and safe hunt. If they needed me for anything (like a shove pole once the tide went out), I would be up the creek a ways, and call me on my cell phone. Simple as that. No arguing, no fussing. (The guy called later and said he knew why I didn't build blind back - the lack of birds, and tide swing alone made him think better of it too)

As for item b) - the law states ALL stationary blinds must be erected no later than November 1 of the year (riparian or non-riparian). Here is the chronology (from VDGIF):

The exercise of riparian rights is valid when a license has been obtained and displayed on a stake or blind by August 31. (A riparian landwoner can also continue to place tags from Sept 1 - Sept 30, but is in the window of non-riparian right holders, and may not tag the shore behind a a "public water, non-riparian" blind if such tag was placed first)

If a landowner has not licensed a stake or a blind by August 31, a nonriparian owner may license a location in the public waters in front of such land, providing no other location within 500 yards has been so licensed.

Inasmuch as a nonriparian owner can purchase a license until September 30 and considering that he has 10 days to place the license, this privilege is valid through October 10 of each year. In other words, nonriparian owners have from September 1 until October 10 to claim unclaimed locations.

So - the 10 day tag and build rule is not in every case, but some. And the "float stakes" around Richmond are a WHOLE different ballgame (which I have no knowledge in)


Hopefully, this explain some of the mystery. I am pretty versed on the subject, but like anything with blind laws - no one is an expert, and each "case" is different.
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Postby blkdux » Mon Jan 09, 2006 4:11 pm

Boys, we can poke :umm: at these rules all day long. Got out early find new spots, meet new people enjoy your extra time outdoors and find you some good new spots. I think you will find out there is a lot more out there than you think. Remember sometimes to find ducks you will have to travel.
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Postby cut_un » Mon Jan 09, 2006 6:57 pm

I do agree that in the right situation, a stationary blind is the way to go. If you can lay off the ducks, let um rest and NOT hammer them too often, it's as good as it gets. :thumbsup: All, I can say is enjoy them now, if you don't watch out, you may have um scooped up by someone with "the green" and you will be sitting 500 yards from "your blind" :pissed: Trust me, it can happen :oops:
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Postby Big Shorty » Tue Jan 10, 2006 5:46 am

blkdux wrote: I think you will find out there is a lot more out there than you think. Remember sometimes to find ducks you will have to travel.



Truer words were never spoken. One thing that I know for a fact - you will not kill ducks from your living room........well, at least not with any regularity. (HAHAHAHA)

When it comes to blind laws - all it really takes is some reading, asking the RIGHT people (usually wearing VDGIF badges on their arms) , and some field scouting. The laws are not difficult to understand - however, you may not like the application to your particular situation. In my experience, that usually is the case where someone feels slighted or unfairly regulated, and then finds the blind laws "archaic, unfair, difficult to understand, etc."


The funny thing about blind laws - everyone has an opinion about them. If there is one thing people will debate over and over - it's Virginia's blind laws. In my experience, most discussions are started by people not from the state just trying to understand them- as most states do not have the "laws" like we do...... but for people who grew up hunting here, they are understood to the "T". I guess it comes with experience - given enough time and practice, you can get used to anything, I guess.


LEWDOG - to your point about residing in the county in the which the blind is situated, I offer the following. At issue would be the limitation of "public" water throughout the state, whereby taxes, licenses, and other paid monies by sportsman could not be enjoyed due to the boundaries of their residential jurisdiction. Further, some boundary areas would need clarification - considering that waterways are often used as the definition of boundary lines for localities - which would mean money spent by the state to exactly define the "middle" or "channel" of particular waters.

Also, there would be an unfairness of property holders in multiple localities - where someone who resides in Gloucester, but owns land in Mathews would be unable to hut their own property in Mathews. That would be an infringement of property rights.

Lastly, the state allows 2 blinds per hunter, for "public" area blinds. While you can have as many Riparuian blinds as you want, you can only erect, maintain, and register 2 non-riparian blinds. So - you could only affect the "public" water blinds - as you would never get a legislative body to make a law where only a landowner can hunt their own property.......(because the deer clubs alone would fight it tooth and nail). Again - you can not restrict the rights of the propoerty owner without impacting his legal claim to the land. It is an intersting idea though - to only build and hunt from stationary blinds in the county in which you reside....hmmm...could be a way to make some money by "guiding" others from outside of your county, and let them use "your" blind. Hmmmmm...I got to think on that one.
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Postby pec » Tue Jan 10, 2006 10:22 am

Just to play devil's advocate a little bit.

Don't our current laws place just as many limitations on "public" water?
What makes waterfowl hunting different from other outdoor pursuits in the Commonwealth that don't require one to purchase a blind or stand location to pursue game on public lands/waters?
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Postby vah2ofowler22 » Tue Jan 10, 2006 11:06 am

thanks guys. yall have just talked me into building a another new blind. I think i know a perfect spot. i will just not pay any attention to the poles that are tagged out there
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Postby Big Shorty » Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:38 pm

pec wrote:Just to play devil's advocate a little bit.

Don't our current laws place just as many limitations on "public" water?
What makes waterfowl hunting different from other outdoor pursuits in the Commonwealth that don't require one to purchase a blind or stand location to pursue game on public lands/waters?


I am no angel, but.......

Limitations of "public" water - what do you mean specifically? The real issue I have always seen is the defintion of "public" water. There is not a 100% accurate every single time defintion of "public" water....hence most of the issue. For example - low mean tide line is the not same as mid-channel, which is different than yardage markers, and completley different from "mouth entrance"....all of which are used to define the boundaries of "public" waters by various state agencies.


The difference in other outdoor pursuits are that the state, and state alone, can regulate them. Waterfowl are federally protected (managed) resources. Further, at one time - the economy was infused with market hunters feeding a great portion of the East Coast (and West coast respectively), with fowl of all kinds. Considering the resources being consumed by such "duck farmers" was impacting more than just the local "state" population, the federal government took over the management of the migratory waterfowl et al.

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Postby pec » Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:32 pm

I'm am going to have to disagree with the assumption that waterfowl hunting is different because it is federally regulated, while other species are not. If the whole sport were fully federally regulated, there would (or should) be standards set for the establishment of blind laws, public water, and the like, just as they do for season dates and lengths as well as bag limits. Correct me if I'm wrong but the blind laws were created by the state, not the federal government.

I agree, one of the big problems is with the lack of a concrete definition of public water. When I mentioned that the current laws place limitations on public water, my initial thoughts were that often times the "public" water is not really public because one is able to "buy" the rights to "public" property for the waterfowl season, which is something that you cannot do for other public hunting opportunities in the state.

Does this mean blind laws should be done away with? Absolutely not. I do feel we as hunters need to examine them to see if there is room for improvement. Consider this. The average age of a duck hunter in Virginia (in 2004) is 45 years old and he has been hunting ducks for an average of 22 years. These numbers have been climbing in recent years, which means not many new people are taking up waterfowling. My main goal for all of this is just to get people to think about the issues, with this in mind: Are the ways in which we are regulating this sport in Virginia within the best interest for the sport itself? Do they provide enough easily acessible avenues for new participants to take up duck and goose hunting?

If you haven't had a chance, I encourage you to take a look at the results of the waterfowl surveys on the DGIF website. If you are selected to participate in the surveys, please do. It's obvious that we all have somewhat varying views on how things should be carried out, but one thing is for sure. We would not be on here discussing this if we did not love this sport. It is up to us as hunters to look out for our sport because if we do not, PETA certainly won't do it for us.
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Postby MIKE J. » Tue Jan 10, 2006 2:22 pm

Great discussion everyone, As I am fairly new to the state and have not received my degree in Commonwealth Blindology 101, I have the following questions,

1, How come a state law doesn't apply throughout the state?? It would seem that if there was a valid reason for these laws to exist such as "safety" it would only make sense to ensure the safety of everyone in the state!

2. The money collected from the blind applications, ??? Where is it spent on the state level? hopefully it is well spent within the areas affected by the laws only.

I'm just curious, I enjoy being stationed in Virginia and have met a great bunch of hunter's and have had some fine shooting. But when I try to explain why these laws exist to someone new to the area I don't have an accurate answer for them.

Thanks Mike J.
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Postby cut_un » Tue Jan 10, 2006 7:17 pm

I agree with you Mike, great discussion :salude: and some great questions! Don't know the answers so, let's see what the guys have to say...... stay tuned :getdown: :getdown:
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Postby MIKE J. » Tue Jan 10, 2006 7:31 pm

Well I found out that the fees collected are put into the State's "Game Protection Fund". :getdown:

I am still researching the reason Virginia has blind laws? It's tough because everything I am finding in the VA codes are from the 1950's and one even say's 1924. !! WOW...

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Postby LEWDOG » Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:01 pm

I dought you will find the answer to the question "why does Va. have blind laws" in black and white but the answer is Market Hunting . That is why there is only 3 shells in your gun , why you can't have a duck or goose asa pet in the blind with you and why we have Game wardens .

:smile: LD :smile:

PS: I have talked about Blind laws 100's of times on these forums and this is the first time we have done it without someone getting mad and saying something that would get the thread closed and end the talks :thumbsup: .

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Postby MIKE J. » Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:12 pm

I have talked about Blind laws 100's of times on these forums and this is the first time we have done it without someone getting mad and saying something that would get the thread closed and end the talks .



LD, I agree, When CUT, posted the topic, I thought to myself "here we Go!!" :eek: and waited a few days to see what would be said and post my reply.

We got a great bunch of folks here and thats the way it should be. THANKS everyone... :salude:
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Postby pec » Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:16 pm

This link may be of interest to some of you. It's a review from a few years back, but most of the issues raised on this thread seem to have been raised then.

http://www.dgif.state.va.us/hunting/bli ... review.pdf
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Postby Big Shorty » Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:39 pm

The applicability of the "blind laws" across the state would seem to be relative to the "TIDAL" areas of the state (more or less). I always thought that was the issue - the tidal waterfront property rights versus the market gunners "farming" ducks within thoise areas. The Eastern Shore sans exception - go figure. However, I have no proof - and without serious time in Richmond, probably would not concretley get the answer why it is the "east of 95" boundary. As for "geographic laws" - remember that the representative districts that are in the Virginia State Legislature are defined by common interests among consituents, and not all Virginia constiuents are represneted by one person. Ergo - the core governmental recognition of it's people defines certain areas different from others. Thus, a law bound to coastal areas or defined by waterways is not uncommon.



The issue is normally misunderstanding the intent of the laws, because no one remembers the intent. If you spend the time to study the waterfowling history of the state, and research the ways and hows of past hunters - the intent of the stattionary blind laws makes sense.....mostly. But even I can not understand the float tag license regulation....talk about a worthless 35 dollars!!! Forget the float blind tag - do away with it - they do not protect the boater/hunter at all......why you ask - because if someone sets up within 500 yards of your float rig once you are tied out.....you are gonna have to get the GW there, he will need to arbitrate who was there first, etc.......basically - you get nothing for protection in reality, but you do get a "tag". Since the whole point is 500 yards of protected hunting area, the tag is useless if you can not enforce it. And be honest - who in their right mind is gonna call a GW, argue who was there first, and go through that bunk, if another flaoter set up 385 yards from you? Really - who would ruin their own hunt over that kind of stuff? Certainly not me......but I consider my float rig a way to hunt, not a "place" to hunt. In fact - I used to never put the float license on it.....I didn't care about the 500 yards, since no one would enforce it anyway. Now - well, I buy the tag since I am already at the office for the stationary blinds anyway.


Sorry for the ramble........just my opinion.......
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