When hunting public ground do not shoot at birds when they are cupping into someone else's spread


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By Iron Chef - 11/2/2012 5:12:04 AM
Being away from home on temporary assignment for work this season the only chance I get to hunt is on public ground. This was my first experience hunting public land...so far I have had many frustrations with people legitmately shooting at ducks while I am working a group and while frustrating I can understand it is what it is. But yesterday took the cake for me, it was a very slow morning but I did have a group of geese commit. As they were cupping in about 75 yards out a neighboring group of hunters unloaded on them. The geese had already flown over this group of "hunters" and then as they cupped in to my spread they unloaded flaring the birds. Not only did they shoot birds they already passed by but the shot they took was well over 100 yards not to mention I could here their shot crashing into the trees behind me which, by the way, stand on a metropark.

I understand that it is public land and I can't expect to have it to myself but I would have thought a little etiquette would be in order when birds are working someone else's spread. Especially if you are shooting with the sould intention of ruining someone's hunt. If anything this season's experience have really driven home an appreciation that I have had private property to hunt on up to this point. I guess there is a silver lining to everything.

On a side note, there are many people out there that would like to see hunting of all kinds outlawed. Even though these individuals probably didn't think about the consequences of their actions at the time...unloading your guns into a metropark certainly isn't helping the cause when it comes to ensuring public hunting land is available to future generations. Have a little respect for the public, fellow hunters, the environment, and yourself.
By JTFrisque - 11/2/2012 5:00:35 PM
I havent found many guys on public who even knew what etiquette meant? Makes ya loose hope in people
By blizzardhunter - 11/3/2012 8:51:09 PM
All i get to hunt is public ground.  It is so frustrating and many days are ruined by how disrespectful other hunters are.  I just dont understand what these people are thinking.
By blackjack10 - 1/1/2013 1:43:57 AM
I hunt a lot of public land managed conservation areas and it happens every time. Always at least one idiot who would rather scare ducks off than see them work for someone else. Very frustrating indeed.
By dloeks - 3/4/2013 2:20:24 PM
Oh, it's not acceptable for someone to hunt your blocks, sky bust, and try to claim your birds?  That neeeeveeeer happens...:angry:  It's never really been said out loud but, when scouting, we're secretly looking for places where there are no other hunters rather than where the ducks are. haha
By BDhunter - 3/12/2013 11:00:05 AM
all i hunt is public from ducks to deer and small game. i try to stay away from hunters but ive set up a 100 yard from an other group but never shot at ducks while the worked there spread or were out of my range so the wouldnt fly over to theres.ive ran into pheasant hunter in parking lots and waited for the and offered to walk down the field with them to help them get ther birds rather then walk ahead of them.in hope of them not coming over to were i was planning to hunt ducks and made clear to them were i was going to be for safty reasons.it is what it is.hunters leaving there trash pisses me off.
By rednecknavy - 3/16/2013 8:14:48 PM
I have had it happen every time i've gone out. I leave early in the morning, pick out my spot well away from other hunters,but it never fails that people will set up within 50 yards of me. and they will sky bust at the ducks that are clearly commiting to my spread! and every hunt,there is that one guy that blows his duck call like he is in the world championship for duck calling!!! 
By dovehunter75 - 4/13/2013 9:06:43 AM
The respect for others on public grounds are gone. Not just in duck hunting in every type. I have many years hunting experince. This year was my first year duck hunting. I love the sport. But some of the things I witnessed were even a what the @#Q$ are they doing for a novice like me. Every thing from being cut off to watching guys shooting at birds 70 plus yards away. 
By DJfan - 5/14/2013 9:39:58 PM
We lost our private land two years ago due to a new line drawn by the city.  Since then it's all been public land.  Sucks.  Our group of three went from 50+ geese a year to about 10.  The respect and understanding is not there.

Finally got a private blind again.  Next year it's NE for me!!!
By USMC0341 - 6/1/2013 9:44:14 PM
I've never had any opportunity but to hunt public land and I can say its been a disappointing experience. It's always been crowded and the other hunters always took no consideration to your efforts working the birds.
By brmotorhead - 7/25/2013 8:24:56 PM
I have plenty of success on public land. maybe its different in your area, maybe not. i have plenty of public places that i will never go to again for the reasons stated above. however, i think a little differently than others, and spend more time on foot than others. This has led me to find places that people overlook. I have hiked and or paddled miles to a spot, only to find it full of birds and no hunters. i will agree that public land can be tough, and alot of the people that hunt it are, well, a$$h0les. which is why they only hunt public land. landowners dont want people like them around. I like to find the small swamps, bogs, ponds etc. on public areas that only a deer hunter would know about. i say deer hunter because usually a deer hunter will put more miles by foot during a hunting season than a waterfowl hunter. find a spot that you have to hike to, and believe me you will be glad you put in the leg work. most of the people you complain about dont do their homework, they are just tossing decoys out there and shooting at anything that flies by. by doing your homework and finding the overlooked spots, your one step ahead of the game and free of idiots that do not deserve the right to own a shotgun (imo). and the most important thing, DO NOT tell anyone about your spot. keep it to yourself. most people dont like that part, but that spot is overlooked for a reason. no one knows about it! keep it that way
By deadshot7 - 7/31/2013 2:54:22 PM
Where it's "free for all" public land, I absolutely refuse to hunt. I have had too many experiences with people shooting at birds clearly working your decoys, setting up across from you then asking YOU to move, arguing, etc.

There are some areas in Colorado that offer reservations and allow 1/4 mile of river or a 5-10 acre pond of privacy for hunters. However, getting one of those locations is a crap-shoot, and more often than not you are forced to drive 3 hours out of town to get there.

Mid-way through last season I was invited to a private club just on the outskirts of town.

Left home 40 minutes from shooting time, drove right to the blind, threw out decoys, hid the vehicle, sat down and shot a limit in a couple hours.

Safe to say my last public hunt occurred the weekend before that trip. The convenience and lack of moronic neighbors is well, well worth it.
By TexasPublicDucks - 8/22/2013 11:28:07 AM
Yep, it's been said several times already, but you cannot expect any decency on public land.  Every now and then, you'll be pleasantly surprised, but most of the time you're going to encounter selfish and incompetent hunters.  The worst is when you get there earlier than everyone else, and another group rolls in just after sunrise and tries to set up right on top of you.

I try to avoid Saturdays and other high traffic days whenever I hunt on public land (which is about 99% of the time).  I also try to get to places inexperienced hunters might not know about or might have trouble reaching.  In general, the harder it is to get to your honey hole, the less interference you'll face.

By SoTex - 9/8/2013 2:43:09 PM
The main problem I've seen is from Novices who don't understand shooting range.  Shooting at ducks that are 70 yards away will only permanantly scare them away from your area.  I would never fault someone for beating me to an area or shooting at any and all ducks within range but it pisses me off to no end with these dumbasses sky bust and ruin the hunting for everyone.

Fortunately I have enough out of the way spots that I don't have too much of a problem with that but my best spot has been ruined by kite surfers and sky busters.
By canvasback66 - 9/9/2013 12:25:52 PM
I hunt public land only and yes it can be very annoying when you have hunters set up within 50 yards of you or when you have the guy that's always late getting out come out at daybreak if you cant get up in time please stay home
By Lewisabc123 - 9/25/2013 8:39:35 AM
This is the first time in 15+ years I have been out duck/goose hunting.  My boys talked me into it this year.  Since it's our first year and the boys have no experience I would rather have them on public land than private.  I figured we would get our chances at some birds, but I could also pick out a number of things others were doing and show them what was appropriate and what was not.  So far there have been very few bad things other than hunters starting early and one guy shooting over us.  I am sure there are some hunters who are not appreciating the kids hitting some sour notes with the calls, but they are learning and both have called in outgoing geese when other hunters were not able to. 

I figure this year is a learning experience and any birds we get are a bonus.
By Tao of Life - 9/26/2013 3:23:05 PM
Here goes my first post!  I'm a second-year hunter but this is my first year hunting ducks.  I tried to practice proper etiquette in all aspects of life therefore I've approached hunting with a humble attitude and a willingness to try to learn from everyone.

I decided to take advantage of early teal season here in Southeast Texas.  I went to the public hunting grounds to shake down everything I had been learning through reading.  I also purposely picked a spot I figured no one would be working, I didn't want to screw up anyone's hunt.

I got everything ready, it was my first time throwing decoys and setting up a blind.  I was ready to go with time to spare.  I did start hearing other hunters making calls a long way off about 10 minutes prior to legal shooting time.  I also heard some hunters making some real good teal calls a lot closer to me than I figured anyone would be.  After sunrise I decided to stand up and take a look around to see if I could locate any other hunters blinds, I could not.  Then I saw a flock of Green-winged teal fly right over in front of those guys making such great Teal calls.  It suddenly occurred to me that those were not great man-made teal calls but actual teal calls.  I decided to try to move over close enough to the marsh where the teal were congregating and try to get a few shots in.

I moved super slowly and as cautiously as possible, unfortunately there was not a lot of cover between myself and where I wanted to be.  It also became apparent to me that there were no other hunters around (I could clearly see the entire area).  It took me a very long time but I did get close enough to the ducks where I figured if I spooked them I could take a shot, I was within 30 yards.  They spooked, I took aim and missed with my first shot got one with my second!  I saw exactly where he landed.  I moved up behind the only cover in the area and decided to wait a minute to see if another flock would pass by, this seems like a hotspot.  Unbelievably a flock did pass by, I took another shot and downed a second one!  I hit this one more solidly than the first.  I was on cloud nine!  It was time to go collect my bounty.

Although I thought I knew exactly where both ducks landed after TWO HOURS of searching I didn't recover either one!  Needless to say I had sunk into depression.  So many thoughts kept going through my mind as I covered the entire area using the techniques I had read about.  The possibility exists that an alligator got one of the ducks because it landed in the water and I was in a coastal marsh, the other one disappeared into that grassy, thick marsh and I was dumbfounded.  I later talked to a good friend of mine (an avid hunter) and he explained to me that a duck's will to live is almost second to none.  He also said that it probably wouldn't be the last time I'd lose one (especially since I don't have a dog).  Believe me when I say that I was crushed to waste those two birds.  Learning took place.

It was time to head back to where I originally set up so I could pack up and get out of there. Apparently it was time for the other hunters up the way to head back as well, they were hunting from boats.  As the first boat past by he was out probably 100 yards from shore, saw me, and gave a wave.  They looked like two "older" gentleman (I'm 37 and they were also middle-aged).  The second boat came screaming by 5 yards off the shoreline with two younger looking gentleman in the boat.  I waved, they didn't wave back.  As they saw my spread they said loudly enough for me to hear, "Good luck with that shit!"

If you decided to read this entire post you realize I was already pretty upset.  I contemplated the two younger gentleman and in time I feel I understand them.  I don't have to tell most of you that a larger and larger percentage of young people in United States suck (great adjective right).  In the moments they saw my haphazard blind, my resting mallard duck decoys, and my poor location the only thing they could think to do was to cast out an insult. It's impossible to know what the two older gentleman thought about my set up because the only thing they could think to do was wave at a fellow hunter.

I can tell you now without a doubt the only thing I can do is continue to try to have my fun and ignore the imbeciles.  I learned so much from my first experience I can almost guarantee you the next time I go out my success will be greater.  I'm getting to be so cynical that I think if the two young hunters had a chance to read what I've said here it wouldn't change them one bit.  Critical thinking is not a trait many young people possess.
By ShadowFoxME - 9/28/2013 9:02:45 PM
The one thing that burns me on public land is when hunter(s) leave their shells. I was walking out of my spot today and happened to pass a groups spot that was behind me. Piles of shells on the ground, floating in the water and crushed into the bog. Granted it was amateur hour with these guys as all of them would empty their semi's at a flight and I'm sure they didn't him much seeing I was picking off their fly-aways. Either way, what not to do on Public land your taxes pay for...Dont trash it, pick up your brass/shells. 

Nuff Said.  
By Trackmyer - 9/29/2013 5:18:03 PM
"Tao of life", what a very pleasant read you have written.  Idiots are abundant in all aspects of modern society.  Luckily, the majority of folks on this board are the select few who are not.  

Good luck with your future hunts, and keep after 'em.  This is one highly intoxicating sport.
By MarshRanger - 10/10/2013 1:30:31 AM
I hunt almost strictly public land or refuges, and i've met some really winners. one morning comes clearly to mind, i was hunting a refuge and had been set up for 30 minutes or so and just waiting for the magic time to arrive, and people started pouring in late and setting up wherever i flashed my headlamp at them and was ignored, at shoot time i could see 4 other spreads the furthest in any direction was 75 yards from my spread, the pond was several acres in size and big enough for 5 spreads had they shown respect and spread out, we all could have had a decent day. to top it all off i watched a guy stone a hen pintail get up look at her and leave her for me to pick up.
By uknowme62 - 10/19/2013 12:01:02 AM
This why I am glad I have some weekdays off during season. Much less pressure.
By wvz71 - 11/1/2013 10:35:52 AM
What gets me is all the above mentioned stuff but what takes the cake is........

Showing up with no decoys, waders, dog, etc then proceed to shoot birds with no way to retrieve them..

My daughter was out of school on the last Friday of our early season so we headed for the swamp as I still had to go to work. We got there early to get to our spot we scouted the day before and get setup. 10 minutes before LST a dude walks by, stops & looks around then proceeded to walk another 75 - 100 yards past us.. So im out adjusting some dekes and see his light shining around too close for me. We get hunkered down and load guns. He then walks back to me and says..

" I hope it doesnt look like im short standing you but thats the best place for me as I dont have waders.. I said thats fine as long as you respect that if birds are workiing us you dont shoot and likewise for us.."

He goes back and the first group to dump in our decoys hes shooting at!!!!!! So a little bit goes by and he walks out.. NO DOG, NO WADERS.. NOTHING TO RETRIEVE BIRDS!!!

thats what gets my goat!!!
By sprigsss - 11/7/2013 11:30:53 AM
If I set up on Public ground I will be a minimum of 300 yards away from the nearest hunter.

If someone is hunting less than 300 yards from me, it is because they set up too close to me.

I'm shooting at every duck in range.  If they are willing to set up right on top of me, I doubt they are going to pass on birds working my spread.
By Hanging Brain - 1/10/2014 9:14:32 AM
My buddy and I were hunting a couple of weeks ago, and these guys come roaring in with a mud engine on their boat ten minutes from shooting time.  I am a rookie duck hunter, but have common sense about sky blasting, or just shooting at ducks too far away.  These guys didn't.  

My buddy was back in our same spot a couple of days later, and told me these jack wagons come in again, but this time run straight through his dekes.  He just sat their in awe.  I'm surprised he didn't throw them a beating, but I suppose when guns are around, it is probably best not to be getting into fisticuffs with idiots.
By CoreyB - 1/27/2014 9:47:05 AM
Hunting public land is something i do a lot for ducks! and since i lost the private land i use to hunt on i will be hunting everything on public land and i will say a lot of public land hunters are punks and dont give a crap about other people or their safety or their how their hunt goes! My advice to anyone would be to try and find a hunting lease! if you pay to hunt land it will help you get away from the dumb folks that hunt that public land! 
By USCDU803 - 2/24/2014 12:22:23 PM
I feel you guys.  I still have a couple of holes on private land to hunt, but it is all roost hunting.  Afraid I am going to have to get into public land at some point.  Always remember you are not alone against yahoo hunters.