I am planning several trips to the area in November and December... Have not hunted the area before and would like some advice on what to expect, type of birds, water level, big spred of deeks or small, mixed or matched, and lodging.
Usually our divers dont show up until late December. I mostly hunt pamlico river, south creek or pungo creek. Last year was so so on bluebills they showed up late. Alot of greenwing teal and ringnecks gave us somethig to shoot at though. I use at least 4 dozen dekes (bluebills) sometimes more depending on how much pressure and time of year. A boat blind works best for me though you can hunt from the bank until the birds get decoy shy after weeks of being shot at.
If you haven't previously hunted Currituck, Dare, or Pamlico counties, then you need to familiarize yourself with the local regulations. hunters (read: Outsiders) cannot hunt without county permits for their blinds. In Currituck and Dare you cannot get a permit unless you already have one--catch 22, or if you already have a blind, or if your parents were signers of the Magna Carta. In Pamlico County you cannot get a permit unless you own the land adjacent to the water. :thumbsdown: You could hunt with written permission from a land owner of course. (lots of luck there.) The next thing you need to be aware of is the identification of corn in the waters, particularly around the shoals and points where ducks tend to congregate. Strange phenomena, but corn somehow magically appears in large quantities in the waters of the Pamlico Sound and Currituck Sound, around the areas of duck blinds, shoals, and points suitable for hunting. The up side there is that duck shooting is tremendously fantastic around those sights. The down side there is that shooting over corn is illegal (so I hear).
I think if I were coming from Charlotte to hunt, I'd try Ocracoke in December or January. I think using a boat blind on the shoals behind Ocracoke would be a safe bet. You can check any NOAA chart to see the shoal I'm talking about, its about knee deep on a low tide, depending on the wind. The up side to Hyde county is that there are no local permit regulations in place like those of surrounding counties.
I'd bring as many decoys as I could beg borrow or steal for a monstrous diver spread, along with some geese. The puddlers would come to that spread same as the divers. Also be sure to apply for a SWAN permit, just in case. If you get a shot at a swan, go for a gray colored juvenile if you want eating meat. If you want a trophy mount, go for the biggest bird you see. Aim for the tip of the beak, or just ahead of it. DON'T SKY BUST!!!!!!! 25 yards max shooting distance with steel is the cardinal rule. If you let the birds work, you'll get kill shots.
If you make Ocracoke, stay at Blackbeard's Lodge. The people there are super friendly. You should be able to tie up your boat at the public dock with no problems, then just load and go in the early morning hours.
Hope this two cents worth is helpful and informative. :thumbsup:
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