Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Public land and the Private Blind

Leaves starting to turn,good time of the year

It's extremely upsetting to me that it has come to this but I had to build a stationary blind for duck hunting.So what's the big deal?Well for the past 5 years I have licensed my boat as a floating blind and hunted mostly public marshes and rivers.This year the other very few "grown" men that hunt the area decided to have a war.A stationary blind war,on public water at that.So a quick rundown on Virginia and it's waterfowl blind laws,this may give you a headache.Landowners have the first right to put up a stationary blind.If they choose not to then the common man has the right to pay his 23.50 to get a tag and put up a blind by a certain date,November 1.If no stationary blind is erected by said date a floating blind may be used in that area of public land.So for the last few years it worked pretty good because there were absolutely no stationary blinds.The 3 main hunters in the area would call each other the night before a hunt and discuss locations we planned to hunt so we wouldn't step on each others toes.I guess that wasn't good enough for some and here we are coming up on the duck opener and the entire stretch of river is now locked up with stationary blinds in some sort of public land stand off.One guy says everyone is hunting "his" spot to much.Another is new to the scene and jumped the gun without talking to the locals.Then there was me,little 'ol me.So I stayed on the sidelines as long as I could and then I stood up and put my big boy pants on.

Blackwater River October 2011

If you follow the blog then you know I moved last Summer and have really just started to settle in.Last duck season I hunted mostly the same areas I had grown to know,see above paragraph.This year I have made a few contacts but none have come through so far.This meant that last month while all this stationary blind craziness was going down I made a choice.I talked to the original leader of the "grown" men.It's at this point that I need to tell you that this fella hadn't said a word to me in over two years.I left messages,I was cordial at the boat ramp,I received the stink eye.Now all of a sudden I'm his buddy because he needs me to put in for a stationary blind tag to lock down this magical spot that I haven't hunted for 3 years because he said it was his.I agreed,like an idiot,I agreed.So a few weeks on the boat got me thinking,why the hell do i want to drive all the way there and have to deal with the fuss.I just couldn't see what I was getting out of it.The simple answer was maybe a few ducks but definitely a political headache.I would quickly become that guy who took the other guys side.This my friends is duck hunting in 2011 in South Eastern Virginia.It's disgusting,inexcusable,pathetic and I won't have any of it.

OK I give up,let's build this blind!

So they can have it!It took me a few weeks to come around but they can have it.One of the only places I knew I could go to and almost always get ducks and geese to work I'm willing to give up.I Duck hunt because I love the water,sunrises,sea smoke in early December and the camaraderie of friends in the blind.I don't hunt because I like harming small animals,it's just part of it and they do happen to taste good so that's not my fault.I took that stationary blind tag and I headed to my local river around my new house and my brother and I built a boat hide.Will it hold ducks?No idea and I don't care.I know that this year I will be able to go out there,watch the sunrise through the cypress trees and tell a few jokes to some good friends.Friends that don't care how much shoreline I locked up with the strategic placement of my blind.Wood Duck season opens this Thursday so it's time to do some scouting.Fall weather is here,get outside and enjoy it friends.


The Reverend Fowl ™ said...

I only hunt from shore where the shore and water bottom are solid. In Minnesota, if your boat fails, you cannot always swim to shore, because there may be 100’s of yards of cattails and mud that will swallow a man. I travel to a hunting position much earlier than most, but have found others already in my intended position. I always have a backup position and will never again venture into unfamiliar areas, predawn, when there is no moon. I once fell into a bottomless, icy, column of water that was only as big as round as I am while rushing to find an alternate spot. I walk approximately 2 miles to my favorite hunting position with a game cart made from a jogging stroller. Everyone must walk this distance from the parking lot except those who park illegally and sneak in.

tugboatdude said...

I hate to say this but I'm glad other people in different areas are struggling through some of the same situations.Public land hunting/fishing won't get any easier so I guess we need to get used to it or find another hobby

The Reverend Fowl ™ said...

Last year I set up early and thought I could sleep for an hour. Instead I had to keep wading way out into the water to shine a light at people trying to set a position too close to me. Eventually I had to erect a branch way out in the water with a flashing light hung on it.

tugboatdude said...

I have been in quite the same situation Rev.Is there a clear cut answer for how to make public hunting better?No unfortunately I don't think there is.All we can hope for is courtesy and that's hard to come by around here.