I'm new to the forum, and let's just say I'm "renewed" to the sport. I grew up mostly in Mathews County and hunted when I was a teenager, but gave it up for years. Now I'm 32 and getting back into hunting, and since I live in Richmond, I don't know many people who hunt anymore. I deer hunted last year, but duck hunting was always my passion, and I think I've caught the bug again.
My dad grew up duck hunting the New River in Giles County and when I was a little boy I vividly remember the smell of epoxy emanating from the basement when he built his first hand-made duck boat. That boat is long gone, and even though we meandered our way around the state until we wound up in Mathews, much of his other duck gear was still in storage. I went to home last weekend and picked up all his old decoys, weights, blind material, and an old Columbia Gore-Tex marsh camo jacket from the 80's that's just as cozy as it was when it I used to borrow it as a 15 year old and the sleeves went to my fingertips. The last thing he gave me, almost in tears, was a little DU satchel that had obviously been with him on every hunt since he got it. He told me, "whatever you do, don't lose this".
So I've got a warm jacket, three 8'x10' blind cloths, a shotgun, a couple boxes of Kent Fasteel, 6 geese, a mixed dozen or so woodies, mallards, and pintails, and a bright red Mad River canoe to let all the ducks know to steer clear of me (and unfortunately i've heard polyethylene ain't easy to paint).
I used to hunt on a doctor's land in Mathews, right on the Mobjack Bay, and I'm not sure if I can get permission again, or if I care to drive that far each time I want to go. I've been thinking about trying places our closer to Richmond. It seems the blind restrictions are pretty intense east of 95, so I'll probably be scouting out western WMA's like Hardware River and Powhatan. My buddy is interested in joining me as well, and I borrowed a shotgun for my dad for him to use.
Still need to get some calls, learn how to use them (who the heck knows how many ducks I scared off when I was a teenager with that darn call). Might build some stabilizers for the canoe so we don't wind up frozen to death in a river somewhere.
The sheer number of people complaining about the blind laws and trying to find out where they can legally hunt has got me thinking of an idea.... If VDGIF can give info of blind license holders (or just the location of the blinds) through the Freedom of Information Act, what if there was map that showed you a location of every registered blind and showed a 500yd circle around each one to show you where you couldn't (and therefore possible could) hunt? I'm a database developer by trade, and learning other types of programming in school, so it might make for a fun project.
Anyways, I'm sure I'll be posting more on here to ask some basic questions, and look forward to contributing what I can.