Public Waterfowling’s 10 Commandments

Duck Hunting for puddlers like Mallards, Sprig (Pintails), Black ducks, Widgeons, Woodducks, Teal, and other ducks.

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Public Waterfowling’s 10 Commandments

Postby hawkeye55 » Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:45 am

Public Waterfowling’s 10 Commandments

by M.D. Johnson
For many duck hunters, the late Alfred Hitchc*** could not have penned a more fitting work of horror than that which could be set at any of the nation’s more popular public waterfowling locations. Many of you, I’m sure, have either experienced, or at the very least, heard tell the tales. Boats crammed gunwale to gunwale; hunters in such close contact, they should be sharing coffee. Nocturnal drag races from the launch, also running in darkness without lights.
Not everyone has a private duck hole, so public waterfowling spots are important.

Avian maestros, thinking themselves skilled at duck speak, who insist on screaming through their pieces of wood and acrylic at every bird, duck or otherwise, that happens to enter their airspace. And then there are the long-range enthusiasts; individuals who operate their ‘fowling arms with the mantra, “If I can see it, I can shoot it at.” Some would call it a circus; to others, it’s Hell Incarnate. For many, though, these scenarios are just another day on the WMA – and that’s wildlife management area, just in case you didn’t know.
But does public waterfowling have to be this way? No more, I don’t believe, than any other function in which the general public might be involved. Those partaking of these public opportunities, however, should take to heart 10 simple rules designed to minimize the aggravation while maximizing the overall enjoyment of the experience. So follow along, and for some, it might not be a bad idea to print these out and carry them in your blind bag, just in case.


I – Thou shalt remember a shotgun is a short-range weapon
Unless your name is Tom Roster, shooting at ducks 80 yards away is a waste of ammunition, at best. At worst, it’s a tremendous irritation to the man 300 yards away. A shotgun is, and always has been, a short-range weapon. Those 100-yard Poke ’n Hopes at every passing mallard aren’t going to be effective, unless, that is, the goal is to make a neighbor angry. In that regard, long-range shooters might be successful.


II – Thou shalt not crowd nor interfere with the hunts of others
If you’re going to set up 75 yards away from an already established and in-use spread, you may as well ask that other man if you can shoot out of his blind. How much space is enough between you and the next guy? Common sense comes into play here. If it’s too tight and you weren’t there first, go somewhere else.




III – Thou shalt not shoot another man’s swing
You’ve allowed yourself 300 yards from the next group; however, you’re downwind, and positioned as such, you’re tempted to shoot into every flock making their approach to your neighbor’s spread. Just how long do you think it will be after you bust the third bunch swinging before you get The Visit? Here, it’s common courtesy. Work your own birds, share, or a little of both. Trust me; The Visit usually isn’t friendly.
If another hunting group beats you to your favorite spot, don’t set up close to them.

IV – Thou shalt know and adhere to waterfowl regulations
Ignorance is no excuse when the man in green is standing at the door of the blind asking about that third canvasback hanging from your strap and then explaining how the limit is two. On public wetlands, perhaps the most commonly ignored regulation concerns legal shooting times, both opening and closing. It’s best you know when to start and stop, or someone’s going to inform you.


V – Thou shalt not blow thine duck call in a never-ending manner
We’ve all heard him – the man with the monster lungs. This guy starts blowing into his duck call when he gets into the blind, and doesn’t stop until the owls hoot. Mallards, wood ducks, pintails, show tunes; this guy knows it all, and isn’t afraid to demonstrate his audio prowess in a mind-numbingly nonstop manner. Duck calls are, without question, effective tools when used correctly, but really? Eight straight hours?
With duck hunting, over-calling is a common mistake, and it’s particularly a negative on crowded public land.

VI – Thou shalt not dawdle nor linger at set-up or teardown
If you’re going in well after legal shooting time, the rules are simple. Get in, get set, and get hidden. Don’t cruise around endlessly in search of THE spot, and once there, take 60 minutes to throw out 10 decoys while screaming at the dog and revving the mud motor to the redline. Be efficient, and be polite.


VII – Thou shalt not leave ‘fowl carcasses at the ramp nor parking lot
Not everyone who visits the boat ramp at a public hunting area is a hunter. And as such, a pile of breasted birds haphazardly discarded off the edge of the gravel, yet still in plain view, could very possibly transform that middle-aged non-hunting birder into a budding anti-everything. I don’t want to see that either. Nor do I want to see Styrofoam cups, Walmart bags, cigarette packs or Little Debbie wrappers. It’s all garbage; take it home.


VIII – Thou shalt not be ill-tempered with thy fellow ‘fowler
Unfortunately, there may come a time when a confrontation with an individual afield cannot be avoided. Perhaps they’re at fault. Or maybe it’s you they believe isn’t acting accordingly. Either way, it’s generally unwise to confront a complete stranger whom you know to be (1) armed and (2) highly agitated. No duck is worth it. If it’s you who’s getting tight, step back, and relax. If you’re the target of another’s wrath, ignore it best you can. Failing that, a phone call to the local conservation officer might not be a bad idea.


IX – Thou shalt work harder than thine neighbor
When it comes to public waterfowling areas, working harder pays off. Get up earlier, stay later, set a different spread, call more realistically, hide better. Success here isn’t easy, but the secret isn’t nuclear physics, either.


X – Thou shalt not lose sight of ‘fowling’s recreational aspect
Never forget waterfowling is supposed to be enjoyable. Anything involving firearms is a serious matter; however, it’s possible to take entertainment, i.e. the quest for fun, too seriously, and in doing so, lose sight of the true reasons we’re afield. Besides, if I want to raise my blood pressure and foster the urge to beat something, I’ll sit and pay bills
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Re: Public Waterfowling’s 10 Commandments

Postby cluckmeister » Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:53 am

Hawkeye55, the 10 commandments you came up with are great, unfortunately 99% of what I call new Duck Dynasty inspired duck hunters will never be on this site to read them. Ive encountered more idiots this year than ever in the public marshes. In a way, the 10 commandments shouldn't be commandments at all but simply common sense. I realize we all were first year hunters at one stage in our hunting careers, but damn most of us I hope were bright enough to know how far shotgun pellets could travel, know that you don't set up 150 yards in front of another mans fire/kill zone etc. Ive even talked to one fellow that said he was set up and another group set up about 150 yards from him, the ducks were working his dekes pretty good because of the way the wind was blowing and completely ignoring the other group, SO whats the other group do, they leave their decoys and walk passed him and to the direction the ducks had been coming and stand in the reeds 70 yards from his setup and skybust everything in sight. On second thought even if that 99% did happen to find this good web site, Im not so sure they would know how to read those 10 Commandments. As for me, Id love to see the days of a 3 bird limit and 2 day limit possession return, then, maybe some of the guys just out to kill something would sell their equipment and stay the hell home.

BTW please read my thread in the Kansas chapter called,,, Inconsiderate Idiots verses Good Guys
If you're there for the limit, you're there for the wrong reason
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Re: Public Waterfowling’s 10 Commandments

Postby NyDuckMan » Wed Oct 30, 2013 11:32 pm

Wow, I just came upon this, and being a wma hunter, this is all too funny, sad and true all at the same time.

I am passing on these commandments to all my buddies that duck hunt, and a few that're considering it.
**2014 - 2015**
3 - Wood Ducks
1 - Mallard
4 - Canada Goose
5 - Pheasants
1 - Crow
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Re: Public Waterfowling’s 10 Commandments

Postby greenster » Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:02 pm

MY public Timber version.

1. Thou shall not tree top. generally if you cant get them within 40yds, hunt with someone who can. This is the reason for the Highly supported 15 shell limit.
2. Thou shall not set-up too closely. In the timber it's difficult to range distance. If you can hear them talk, or see the light clearly, Your too close. IF there is not an option, try to combine groups.
3. Thou shall not ever disclose location of hunt, especially if hunting with thy neighbor. If caught hunting thy neighbors fore mentioned hole, be prepared to be stabbed in the neck with a giant stick. :umm:
4. Thou shall ALWAYS be respectful to other hunters no exceptions, well except for stabbing with a stick. this includes, Not blowing the call in a horrible manner all day, Shooting just to be shooting, Yelling or screaming.
5. Thou shall follow local regulations and law at all times while on public land. This includes bag limits, littering, and game laws.
6. Thou shall always remain hidden. Period, From the birds and from the neighbor.
7. Thou shall make a reasonable attempt to retrieve ALL downed game.
8. Thou shall always make use of the taken game..ALWAYS Kill All you legally are allowed, but let that life have purpose, Use the game. Also See #5 wanton waste.
9. Thou shall always be prepared for any situation.
10. Thou shall make the most of what your have, Hunting should be enjoyable but it is friggin serious.
"Thomas Jefferson said I had a God-given right to pursue happiness. What makes me happy is to take a mallard's head smooth off at about 20 feet.

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Re: Public Waterfowling’s 10 Commandments

Postby cwsmith » Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:31 pm

Love this! Definitely passing it on.
13-14 Season

40 mallards
14 GWT
13 pin
10 spoony
10 buff
9 wigeon
8 rgnk
6 woodie
6 gad
5 barrow's ge
3 merg
3 ruddy
2 l scaup
1 g scaup
1 comm ge
1 can
TOTAL DUCKS = 132

77 canada
4 snow
2 speck
TOTAL GEESE = 83

TOTAL WATERFOWL = 215
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Re: Public Waterfowling’s 10 Commandments

Postby RShockley » Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:41 pm

Wish some of the fisherman would read this. I had 3 fishing boats sit about 75-100 yards infront of my blinds. Birds flying all morning but flaring when they see the fishing boats. I guess my public duck honey hole is also, unfortunately for me, a white bass honey hole as well. Next time I will bring my own pole just invade they show up fishing again or the birds aren't flying.
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Re: Public Waterfowling’s 10 Commandments

Postby Grouse » Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:33 pm

So alot of the areas that I hunt are also hunted by deer hunter both archery and gun. Now generally im there 1 to 4 hours before lst. Now if I happen upon a vehicle I leave that area because I do not wish to be intruder. Its not that hard folks.
I have often thought a sign in my truck that says 1 grouse hunter 2 dawgs.
Nature teaches more than she preaches. There are no sermons in stones. It is easier to get a spark out of a stone than a moral.
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Re: Public Waterfowling’s 10 Commandments

Postby dakotashooter2 » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:29 am

Can we slip "Thou shall have/ learn patience" in there somewhere. That is one of the biggest issues I have seen with the "Duck Dynasty" hunters. It kind of goes hand in hand with the "if I can see it I can shoot at it", ideal.

I hunted with a group of youngsters this year (combined forces) that were bound and determined to shoot geese that wanted to land in their lap, at 60 yards.


How about "thou shall enjoy a hunt regardless of if a limit is taken". Some guys are so consumed with taking a limit they start the blame game when they don't. In the aformentioned hunt "roost busters/line shooters" were blamed for the lack of geese, dispite the fact that several hundred were willing to decoy.....if they had let them.......................

I blame the lack of mentoring.................
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Re: Public Waterfowling’s 10 Commandments

Postby greenster » Mon Nov 04, 2013 3:05 pm

I agree dakotashooter2 Patience is something that is missing from MOST hunter's in the field and On here. Hell Mojo outdoor's TV show is Bad about it. I see them taking shot's difficult shots @ 30+ yards and I'm yelling WHY!? They was about to be in your lap!
"Thomas Jefferson said I had a God-given right to pursue happiness. What makes me happy is to take a mallard's head smooth off at about 20 feet.

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