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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First, please let me introduce myself, since I'm new to this forum. This is my second season duck hunting. A friend introduced it to me last year and I'm hooked. I bought a 16' aluminum with an outboard in the spring, and spent the past summer fishing and also scouting for potential duck/goose spots on the Delaware and Susquehanna Rivers, and a few lakes.

The Delaware is closer to home for me. A friend and I have marked a bunch of spots on the GPS and hope to make it out a few days during the late season. We're looking for tips people may have on hunting the river, esp. in Bucks County and above (up toward DE Water Gap) and lessons that hunters on this forum can pass along based on their experience. We're not looking for locations.

I know that we need to be careful to not hunt on the NJ side. I also found out that if you put your boat in on NJ side and show up back at the ramp with dead ducks/geese, you better have NJ license ($150!! - ouch), regardless of whether you hunted only on PA side. Beyond that, we're not familiar with how much the local riverside residents may object to hunters, areas to avoid, any particularly dangerous spots, etc.

Thanks for the advice.
 

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Welcome to the forum.

As far as your fine is concerned, I really doubt that would hold up in court, especially if you had field tags on your birds (see parallel discussion) and produced a valid PA license at the time. It would be impossible for a warden to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that you had killed the birds in NJ, especially if you had witnesses (hunting partner?) to vouch on your behalf. That having been said, wardens are afforded certain "priviledges" beyond ordinary police officers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Dave,

I definitely agree that a fine might be something to challenge. That said, I called the northern region office of the NJ fish/game commission and spoke with the communications officer on duty (Carol). She checked with a field officer and called me back to let me know that he said a field officer would fine you if you show up at a dock on the NJ side with ducks and did not have a NJ license. So, even if it can be challenged, it woud mean paying time/money to go to court. Frankly, it's disappointing on the part of NJ, but what can you do except stay out of NJ or pay $150 for the license?
 

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Yep - thats disappointing, and unfortunately going to court is often more of a hassle than just paying the ticket.

As if I needed any more reasons to avoid New Jersey...
 

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Hey:

I am also new to the site. I have been hunting the Delaware River since 2004. I hunt mostly between Delaware Water Gap and Dingmans Ferry from my duck boat. Hunting the Delaware River is great, but like all things it has its pro and cons.

The Pros:
1) There is plenty of area to hunt. On both the Jersey and PA sides of the river it is mostly National Park land. Which gives you a lot of access to the river.
2) When the pocket water freezes the hunting can be good.
3) Its always an adventure on the river.

The Cons:
1) Because there is so much water, you have to be exactly where the ducks want to be. If not, it can be really tough to get them to decoy into your spread. The answer is scouting. It sounds like you fish a lot. So thats good because you have a lot of spots. But if there are no birds there, it will be difficult. You can try jump shooting from your boat, or floating until you see a congregation of ducks, then kick them out and set up. A lot of times they will come back for some action.
2) You have to be prepared with a good boat. When I hunt the river it is always a production. Get up early, put the boat in, find your spots. Its definitly not as easy as hiking your dekes into a small pond or swamp. But I like that. It keeps it interesting.
3) A lot of times I feel like there are not enough duck hunters on the river. Most of the time the ducks by me come to the river to loaf, so they arent moving a lot. If we had some more people moving the ducks around we would probably have some more shooting.

Anyway, I wish you the best of luck on the river. My best tips for you are to:
1) Hunt when the cold hard weather blows south from the north and freezes the swamps, etc.
2) Hunt after a storm. After hard rains they come back because the river comes up and creates new feed and small flooded timbers on the edges.
3) Set your decoys in places where you can get lots of shots, what I mean by that is, put them in a place where you can pass shoot a corridor maybe over an island or inlet and decoy a few birds as well.
4) Enjoy the early woodies, and then be ready for a lull until the flight birds come.
5) Be safe and hunt with a friend, as you know, it can be nasty on the river.
6) Be happy with 1 or 2 ducks in your game bag a day. I can count the times I shot a limit on the river on 2 hands.

In regards to the previous posts about putting your boat in from Jersey... I have asked every ranger I have ever seen this question, and literally gotten a different answer everytime. Some say yes, some say no, some dont know. Others tell me it depends. The concencus is.... who knows. I think that it depends on the ranger and his mood. Therefore, I dont chance it. I wish we could because it would make it super convenient for me. As far as the islands, I know which ones are PA from memory, but if you contact the park service they have a map as to which ones they consider each state. On some different maps there is conflicting data, however I use what they use.

Hope this helps, let me know how you do this season. I will be really curious to know how other duck hunters do on the river.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the great advice. River is definitely challenging, but I see more ducks/geese there than anywhere else. Was out day after Thanksgiving and was able to get some geese into range. Also saw a nice group of Canvasbacks that surprised me by flying behind me.
 

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Hello, I have been hunting the river for many years, as for getting fines I have paid my share for many reasons, but it does depend on the ranger, one explained to me fishing you can do from both sides if standing in water, hunting, the main channel of the river is the boundary! State line how ever you want to put it. How ever some rangers don't agree with that, so they will let it slide, as far as using NJ boat launch with PA license, I would be carefully just bc you are carrying a gun across state line, plus if you have game birds and not NJ hunting license is double trouble, I have done it but now being older I done chance it.
Please let me know if you have had any experience with that bc I do like hunting in an area that is much easier to access on The jersey side, I stopped hunting there bc of that reason, just don't want the trouble anymore.
 
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