Blind Etiquette

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Blind Etiquette

Postby kfran12345 » Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:27 pm

Looking for your thoughts about blind etiquette. I have been hunting for 25 years and more specifically, duck hunting for the last 8 or so. I mainly hunt in an area that contains several blinds and it is all town/state land. My approach has always been one of first come, first served. Whether it's a blind or just a favorite spot on the water, I have always deferred to someone who is there before me. Even when arriving, if someone is heading out, I make it a point to ask where they are going and position myself elsewhere. I have always encountered people who operate similarly until this last weekend.

I brought a couple friends with me, so decided to hunt out of one of the blinds. We arrived about an hour before shooting time and set up. About a half hour before shooting time, we were approached by a couple guys who wanted to know what we were doing in their blind. One guy proceeded to tell us that his name was all over it (it was dark) and that he had been hunting there for 8 years. I told him that I had been hunting there about that long too and had always deferred to someone that arrived before me. I know the blind was built far more than 8 years ago, so he clearly hadn't built it. After a short discussion, he finally went elsewhere.

Over the years, I have added camo to this blind and performed some repairs, but I never felt that I owned it. In 8 years of hunting this area, I have never encountered someone like this and I was extremely disappointed. One of my hunting partners who had never hunted there before commented on why that's why he doesn't like hunting around other people as he has had similar encounters.

How do you all generally operate in a situation like this. Love to hear your thoughts.
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Re: Blind Etiquette

Postby JustinNH » Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:42 pm

Public land = public blind, no matter who did what to it. You were in the right :thumbsup:

I would have told him to find another spot, nicely. I get up earlier than needed most days to secure my spot. If I am beat, they deserve the spot and I have plenty of time to move on to another spot (same pond/river, etc or whole new spot).

I have two spots that have multiple blinds like that. One I no longer hunt since it gets hammered and people have no common sense or etiquette, the other has much better spots to set up.

Welcome to the forum too :welcome:
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Re: Blind Etiquette

Postby HeritageHunter » Tue Oct 23, 2012 4:03 am

I would have handled it exactly how you did. Welome to the forum!
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Re: Blind Etiquette

Postby NHDuckHunter » Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:35 am

I guess if you've done work to the blind as well, then its fair game. I hunt a pounded spot like previously mentioned, and I hunt out of two blinds that have been there longer then I have been alive (literally). Both of them over the years have fallen in and collapsed. I never hunted out of either of them until that happened. When the first blind collapsed, I waited a year, and then the next summer went in, tore out all the old wood, and rebuilt a new blind there. I would consider that my blind. However, if I wasn't there hunting, I would have no problem if someone else hunted it, and have told as much to a few people including another member of this site. The other blind, same thing happened a few years ago. I never say anyone else hunt it, the seat fell apart, one wall fell down. I went in, fixed it up, brushed it back in and spent countless hours getting it ready for the season. I would be burned if someone else was in it when I showed up (although I do have another blind close by). That said, I do however make sure I am the first one in the lot every morning. That way I know it won't happen.

You want to talk about blind etiquette- I'd like to slap the guy that has been using the blind and not cleaning up after himself. If someone else takes the time to build a blind, and takes the many many hours to brush it in properly- Don't show up, cut down his branches and brush because you don't think you can see good enough. Then when its time to go, leave piles of empty shells all over the place... I do however thank you for leaving me half a box of full Federal #6 steel loads though. :clapping:
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Re: Blind Etiquette

Postby Rise and Shine Retrievers » Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:28 am

I agree with what's been said here.

I went to a spot a few years ago with a buddy who knew the area. When we got to the launch, other hunters showed up and asked where we were going. My buddy told him and he stated that it was too close to "his blind". We set up and he came right in and set up 50 yds from us. Now, he didn't own the land and he told us that he had another blind down river but chose not to use it that day.
In the end we had a much better shoot than they did.

Unless you own the land that "your blind" is on, it's not "your" blind and it should be first come, first served. If you're setting up a deer stand you need landowner permission to trim any branches, etc. Are people getting permission from the landowner to cut vegetation to put on the blind? I doubt it. We are very fortunate to have as much access to land as we do here in NH thanks to "current use". Let's not abuse it.

When I run into idiots, slob hunters or land grabbers, I just go someplace else. It's not worth it.
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Re: Blind Etiquette

Postby kfran12345 » Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:16 am

Oh and in the end, it was really slow but my friends each shot a woodie and the other guys got squat.
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Re: Blind Etiquette

Postby vt.honker » Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:12 pm

JustinNH wrote:Public land = public blind, no matter who did what to it. You were in the right :thumbsup:

I would have told him to find another spot, nicely. I get up earlier than needed most days to secure my spot. If I am beat, they deserve the spot and I have plenty of time to move on to another spot (same pond/river, etc or whole new spot).

I have two spots that have multiple blinds like that. One I no longer hunt since it gets hammered and people have no common sense or etiquette, the other has much better spots to set up.

Welcome to the forum too :welcome:

:hi: On opening day of the Conn. River Zone,I arrived (ALONE), at a public location, at 3:30 a.m.I intended to set out decoys/brush a blind/ before legal shooting. :mad: The pothole I wanted to hunt ALREADY had decoys set out in it so I left.Found out later that the" hunter" had laid out his spread on the Sunday :mad: BEFORE :mad: the Tuesday opener and did not show up until legal shooting to hunt.I have been a waterfowler for over 45 years(age 69) and have never encoutered this before.On the same day went to another location(PRIVATE LAND I HAD PERMISSION FOR) where there was a cut cornfield .Found a decoy spread which REMAINED THERE FOR 3 DAYS.I ended up not hunting the whole first week I was so disgusted.WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO OUR SPORT AND OUR HUNTING ETHICS????? MISSED ALL OF LAST SEASON WITH A BUSTED LEG AND NOW THIS BULL@#^*T.SORRY :oops: ..FEEL A LITTLE BETTER NOW :lol: :beer: !!
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Re: Blind Etiquette

Postby JTR » Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:30 am

Public land = public blind.... regardless of who built it. I hunted a spot like this on opening day and I was set up and napping in the canoe 3 hours prior to shooting light, because there was no way that I was going to be beat to a spot on public land.

Here is the catch though - if someone shows up later than me, I invite them to hunt with me 100% of the time. If they don't want to, then so be it. But, I understand that I am setting up on land owned by everyone and I might as well have the courtesy to share that with others.

I actually set up in a fellow DHC member's blind a couple of weeks ago. Didn't know it, and the brush in the blind looked old, so I took a seat and waited for shooting light. He was very cordial when he showed up and we had a good morning of hunting, even though the birds didn't show up like we had both planned.

I go into places that are heavily pressured with the intention of beating everyone there. But I also have a back up plan every time. The bottom line is that if you want to secure a spot on public land, then get your ass out of bed and get there.
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Re: Blind Etiquette

Postby kfran12345 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:43 am

Well, i contacted fish and game about this because I really wanted to know what I was talking about. Here is the response I received:

There are no laws on the books regarding the scenario you describe. I spoke with a Conservation Officer that is an avid waterfowl hunter to find out what the norm is for this. He stated that generally if a person builds a blind it is considered theirs to use and it is not on a "first come, first serve" situation. He stated that generally people don't use other person's blinds. He described it as much the same as going deer hunting and finding someone's tree stand and climbing up and using it....it may not be illegal but it is not considered ethical.

So I asked about a scenario where the builder of the blind was not involved.

In that scenario where a blind has been there for years then it would revert to a "first come/first serve" basis. The officer did mention that there have been those types of situations where a blind has been in a particular location for years and no longer maintained by it's original builder.

Since there are no laws on the books, I guess there is no absolute answer. The tree stand comparison is an interesting one though. What do you all think?
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Re: Blind Etiquette

Postby vt.honker » Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:52 am

:no: I feel it is unethical and unsportsmanlike to set out decoys on public land 3 days BEFORE THE SEASON EVEN STARTS .Get your ass out of bed early the day of the hunt....NOT 3 days BEFORE you are even ALLOWED to hunt :fingerpt: .
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Re: Blind Etiquette

Postby JustinNH » Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:25 pm

kfran12345 wrote:Well, i contacted fish and game about this because I really wanted to know what I was talking about. Here is the response I received:

There are no laws on the books regarding the scenario you describe. I spoke with a Conservation Officer that is an avid waterfowl hunter to find out what the norm is for this. He stated that generally if a person builds a blind it is considered theirs to use and it is not on a "first come, first serve" situation. He stated that generally people don't use other person's blinds. He described it as much the same as going deer hunting and finding someone's tree stand and climbing up and using it....it may not be illegal but it is not considered ethical.

So I asked about a scenario where the builder of the blind was not involved.

In that scenario where a blind has been there for years then it would revert to a "first come/first serve" basis. The officer did mention that there have been those types of situations where a blind has been in a particular location for years and no longer maintained by it's original builder.

Since there are no laws on the books, I guess there is no absolute answer. The tree stand comparison is an interesting one though. What do you all think?



Can't say I fully agree with the officer's opinion that it is unethical. If I found the spot and beat the person there, I will hunt it and I will do so with a clean conscious. I would find it more unethical for someone to try and kick me out when they show up 15 min prior to shooting time expecting to have 'their' spot on the PUBLIC area.

Why should someone be able claim a particular spot on a PUBLIC area just because his blind is there?

I still stand by first come, first serve.
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Re: Blind Etiquette

Postby kfran12345 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:43 pm

I agree, are you supposed to wait until the last minute to see if anyone even shows up to use it that particular day?
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Re: Blind Etiquette

Postby JustinNH » Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:57 pm

kfran12345 wrote:I agree, are you supposed to wait until the last minute to see if anyone even shows up to use it that particular day?


Crossed my mind as well :thumbsup: :thumbsup:


Good topic, thanks for posting it up.
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Re: Blind Etiquette

Postby NHDuckHunter » Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:34 pm

If someone was hunting beside my blind, fine, you beat me there. But God damn you lazy bastard if you climb in to it after I busted my ass fixing it up all July and August...

Want to talk about beating someone there, beat ME there in August when its 90 and full of mosquito's and I am busting my hump. Get the hell out of my blind. I can't even believe this is a conversation. Its not about a law, its about etiquette, its about being a man and building your own crap.
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Re: Blind Etiquette

Postby kfran12345 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:01 pm

It is about etiquette. So when you're in a blind that has been there forever and you've spent time fixing it up, you don't want some clown telling you it's his because he scratched his name in it.
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Re: Blind Etiquette

Postby tgs » Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:00 am

Not your blind...don't hunt it. Set up beside it, in front of it, around it... But if you didn't sweat to build it, why should you hunt it. My same thoughts apply to tree stands, I don't hunt others and don't expect them to hunt mine, it's just the right thing to do, in my opinion. But I also do not hunt public duck areas like you are talking about, however I hunt all public land, both deer and ducks. Good luck either way.
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Re: Blind Etiquette

Postby JustinNH » Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:14 am

Ok, so after reading a few of the last posts, I guess I should mention that my mindset is more on the spot itself, not necessarily the blind itself.

I do not feel people can 'reserve' a spot just because they have a blind there... that is more where I was going. Using the blind in my examples was more a second thought compared to the actual physical location on the body of water. My mind kinda went that way because I seen people think they were entitled to hunt a certain spot due to their blind, when several groups (including my own) beat them that morning. No one hunted their blind, but there was no safe way for them to use it.



I can't say I would not be upset if someone was using a blind I created, whether it be a nice one or a quick yet efficient spot to hide... BUT I know this is NH and I know it is first come first serve and I accepted that when I created the blind. I would never tell someone to move because I set up that area.
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Re: Blind Etiquette

Postby HeritageHunter » Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:19 am

I think we are talking about two different scenarios here.

One hunting out of an old abandoned blind. In that sceanrio if you find an old abandoned blind and decide to hunt out of it to me it is on first come first serve basis. If you take a step further and decide to fix it up then in my eyes it becomes your's. The only thing I would ask is you put our name on it.

Second is hunting a an active blind that you are not the person who is maintianing it. That to me is the sceario where hunting out of the blind is wrong. If it is on public land and you beat the guy to the spot then you get the spot for that day, but hunting out of someone's blind is a bush league move.

I hunt out of treestands and hold them in the same regard. It is my treestand period. I mark all my treestands with my name on them. Have I gone into my teestand and found someone in it. Yes. I kindly asked them to leave. On a few occassions they have claimed the stand is their's and I pointed out my name was on the stand. Most of the time this worked. One occassion a guy told me the stand was his and that I had marked it with my name. I told him to produce the key to the lock on it. He said he left it at home. I then climbed up the stand an unlocked the chain with the keys I always carry with me. He left...

Have guys hunted out of my treestands...Absolutely...I hate it but it is part of hunting on public land...Are there treestands in the woods that are abandoned....Sure...To me the ethical thing is not use something that is not mine.
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Re: Blind Etiquette

Postby JustinNH » Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:11 am

I fully see what you are saying, especially when tree stand is used instead of duck blind... but what about this...

So to play the role of devils advocate... say there is a wood duck hole, 100% pubic (parking, trail, pond, etc) that is all unhuntable marsh/muck around the edges except for one point at the end of the trail. At the end of this point is a well maintained blind. In front of the blind is water too deep to stand and to the sides as well. The only huntable spot on this great honey hole is this blind.

Would you hunt it? Or would you skip the pond in the off chance the blind maintainer shows up?

Does this scenario change if the pond is not easy to find and you put in your time scouting google earth and actually driving to it?

Honest question.

Do you go there for a limit of ducks or do you go 10 miles down the road to another spot you know and get 1 or 2?
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Re: Blind Etiquette

Postby HeritageHunter » Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:02 pm

Excellent question.

If it truly only had one place to hunt that spot I would stand behind the blind.

If that did not make sense I might consider getting in the blind, but would have a tough time doing it. And if the other guy showed up I would move on.

Treestands are probably not the best comaprison since so many of them are purchased in a store and set-up in the woods versus being built into the tree.
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Re: Blind Etiquette

Postby Me and Black Betty » Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:27 pm

If you want a blind that is yours, you have two options, buy some land next the river/pond/field and build a blind, or buy a boat and build a blind in it, so you can take it with you when you are done. I personally put in my time scouting and my building my own blinds, so I wouldn't feel it is unethical to sit in "somebody elses" blind if it is on public land. Personally, I don't sit in other people's blinds, because it usually means that other people might show up, and I hunt to get away from people. If you are a scab that only puts in enough work to scout out where other people are building blinds, that's pretty low, but if you do some scouting and find a nice spot that you think will be holding birds, and you get there and there is a blind, fair game.

You could always invite the guy in "your" blind to hunt with you, and then invite him to help you brush it out next year. God knows there are enough liberals out there that we could be fighting to fight amongst ourselves. :beer:
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Re: Blind Etiquette

Postby NHDuckHunter » Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:07 pm

JustinNH wrote:I fully see what you are saying, especially when tree stand is used instead of duck blind... but what about this...

So to play the role of devils advocate... say there is a wood duck hole, 100% pubic (parking, trail, pond, etc) that is all unhuntable marsh/muck around the edges except for one point at the end of the trail. At the end of this point is a well maintained blind. In front of the blind is water too deep to stand and to the sides as well. The only huntable spot on this great honey hole is this blind.

Would you hunt it? Or would you skip the pond in the off chance the blind maintainer shows up?

Does this scenario change if the pond is not easy to find and you put in your time scouting google earth and actually driving to it?

Honest question.

Do you go there for a limit of ducks or do you go 10 miles down the road to another spot you know and get 1 or 2?



If the place is truly that awesome, and truly that hard to hunt, I would move on figuring the other guy was going to show up.

honestly, I don't care if there is 100 banded mallards sitting in front of a blind, I am not getting in to it if someone else took the time to work on it. A season goes by and nobody touches it? Its fair game after that. :lol3:
Like I said earlier though, I still offer up my blind to other people all the time. I just hate people taking the easy way out.

Besides that, blinds are over-rated anyway. I only hunt out of them when I bring my kids or my father. Makes it easier on the old people and the kids. I'd rather hunt out of my kayak or sitting in a bush
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Re: Blind Etiquette

Postby JustinNH » Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:25 pm

NHDuckHunter wrote:Besides that, blinds are over-rated anyway. I only hunt out of them when I bring my kids or my father. Makes it easier on the old people and the kids. I'd rather hunt out of my kayak or sitting in a bush



This is a good healthy conversation/debate... but for my hunting style, I cannot agree with you more on the above. :thumbsup: I either hunt out of my buddy's V Hull we created a boat blind for, or out of my otter stealth boat or in a bush like you said... over 95% of the time. So many less limitations that way.
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Re: Blind Etiquette

Postby HeritageHunter » Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:31 am

I am the same way...Never hunt out of blinds.

I set-up based on wind direction, cover, and where I think the birds are coming from. So beingtied to one spot does not interest me.
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Re: Blind Etiquette

Postby native brookie » Sat Oct 27, 2012 6:33 pm

One way to resolve this issue is to have a law that no permanent blinds are allowed on public land or water.

Merrymeeting Bay went this way many many years ago. I can't imagine what a PITA it would be to hunt there if everyone and his uncle set up permanent blinds and spent their season worrying about whether someone was "poaching" their blind.

Another way to deal with it is what Virginia does--blind sites are awarded/leased via a complicated system, and the law does not allow you to hunt within a certain distance of any of the leased blind sites. In practice, this means that most of the general public can't duck hunt these areas without hiring a guide.

I prefer the no permanent blinds system, but your mileage may vary.
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