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 Posted 6/7/2012 11:46:24 AM
 

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Does anyone know a good resource for duck hunting on big rivers?  I'm pretty close to the Mississippi and have heard from a few and read some articles talking about how great it is.  I'm interested and would like to learn about it.  I don't know what to look for or where to start.  The river bank just all looks the same in my area.  Any advice would be great.

A bad day in the blind beats a good day at work.
Post #768438
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 Posted 6/7/2012 4:01:28 PM
 

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I hunt the Arkansas River a ton. It's not quite as big as the Mississippi, but it's still a big boy that will get you in a mess of trouble if you are careless.
Before I had ever hunted a river, I thought the same thing--what the heck? how do you hunt a river? Fast current, bank all along it, etc.
What you cannot always see from a bridge or ramp is that there are all sorts of channels and islands throughout the river where the river is down to shin-dip shallow and even completely void of a current.
So, the key is to just drive down the main channel, and then there will often be jetties sticking out of which you can drive your boat around. Be careful around these because they stretch very far out and are mostly underwater and will F up your lower unit as you try to get around one.
Anyways, drive around the jetties because those generally block off the main channel from channels that branch off. In those branched off channels will be backwater or islands, where the water is shallow and still. Once you get out on the river you will be surprised at the number of shallow backwater locations that are excellent for duck hunting.
One bit of advice...it is possible for people to own islands in the middle of a river. I won't go into that bull crap, but if you see purple paint, yes it's possible somebody actually owns it.
Hope this helps, I'd be glad to go further into detail.
I love hunting the river!



"Old school hunters used to say...if you can't land 'em on the water, you're not a duck hunter."
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Post #768444
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 Posted 6/8/2012 11:27:58 PM
 

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When I hunt the river I take the wind and current into consideration. I like to hunt the lee side of islands where there is a small eddie of water for ducks to hang out in, but obviously if the wind is blowing in you're face that won't work. Often I have different islands/directions of islands for different wind conditions. Seems to work for me.

One great thing about hunting a river is that when everything freezes up, the river is still open and ALL the birds go to it.

Make 'em dead!
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 Posted 6/10/2012 10:53:23 PM
 

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So I'm guessing I need to start with finding areas of slack water where the current is weaker and sheltered from the wind/weather.

A bad day in the blind beats a good day at work.
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 Posted 6/11/2012 9:35:00 AM
 

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Growing up we hunter the Trinity River and Lake Livingston all the time.  The islands are great because you can always change side if the wind changes.  The oxbows / slues are good for all conditions because wind whirls in them.  But stake it out first to make sure it’s not a roost.  I don’t know about PA yet but back home if there is a stand already there everyone would leave their cell number, or forum link with user name, and a name for the blind Example - “Duck Smasher” on a blacker to call or chat if you wanted to hunt it and give feedback after you’re done.  Nothing is worse when you setup a blind and someone shows up thinking they could hunt it “Open Game”concept.  These people that do this are usually out of Towner’s and just show up a couple of days before opening day to find a place to hunt.  The one issue you will get into is land owners and property lines if you don’t know the area.  I’m still not sure how it is regulated herein PA but back home were the water ended and land started was the property line no matter how much the water level changes. But it’s not the same in Louisiana.  You can understand how that can be a headache.  So if you don’t know the owner just avoid those areas till you do.  It’s amazing what dropping off a ham or turkey on a holiday to land owners to say thanks will do.  Tall grass areas on open river water will really let you know how good of a conservationist you can be.  When you see those duck way up there and you talk them all the way down to 20 feet in front of you = rush!  That’s a true duck hunter!  I have never hunted the bank of the main river where the current is mainly because of all of the traffic, peppering, and keeping the decoys from getting tangle would seem to be challenging.   



Edited: 6/11/2012 9:38:14 AM by Jeff - Mars
Post #768482
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 Posted 6/11/2012 4:49:39 PM
 

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One of the reasons I'm interested in hunting the river is here in western KY there isn't many people out there hunting.  Now the farm ground down the river bank is another story.  It is full of private clubs or just family farms where they always hunt their fields.  I have never got a strait answer on the property line issue.  Some say if its water then its part of the river and open for anyone, and others say even if the water is up when you drop anchor or tie up to a try you are tresspassing because you then are making contact with private property.  I've had game wardens on both sides of that argument. 

A bad day in the blind beats a good day at work.
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 Posted 6/14/2012 4:39:54 PM
 

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blizzardhunter (6/11/2012)
Some say if its water then its part of the river and open for anyone, and others say even if the water is up when you drop anchor or tie up to a try you are tresspassing because you then are making contact with private property.  


Thats what I was told last hunting season when the Missouri River went back in its banks.  You can hunt and fish from a boat on private ground and be legal, but once you weight touch the bottom then you better have permission from the land owner.


Critter Gettem with one shot
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 Posted 6/15/2012 7:54:12 PM
 

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blizzardhunter (6/11/2012)
One of the reasons I'm interested in hunting the river is here in western KY there isn't many people out there hunting.  Now the farm ground down the river bank is another story.  It is full of private clubs or just family farms where they always hunt their fields.  I have never got a strait answer on the property line issue.  Some say if its water then its part of the river and open for anyone, and others say even if the water is up when you drop anchor or tie up to a try you are tresspassing because you then are making contact with private property.  I've had game wardens on both sides of that argument. 




Whatever you decide to do, make sure you have an official copy of the regulations with you and also one at home is a safe place so there is no question that you are following the law. 

Also check blind regulations. You may be able to put a blind in the water so you never have to touch the river's banks, but can stay concealed. Maybe something like the put hut or a boat blind.
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 Posted 7/7/2012 1:18:43 PM
 

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blizzardhunter (6/7/2012)
Does anyone know a good resource for duck hunting on big rivers?  I'm pretty close to the Mississippi and have heard from a few and read some articles talking about how great it is.  I'm interested and would like to learn about it.  I don't know what to look for or where to start.  The river bank just all looks the same in my area.  Any advice would be great.



I hunted the Mississippi up here in Missouri for a couple years.

Some areas of the river you can't hunt from a boat, others you have to be in a blind that is usually drawn on the state. I know Missouri and Illinois both have blind location draws every couple years and you can't hunt from a boat between certain mile markers.

Hunting the river is hard work, sometimes the typical weights won't keep your decoys from floating away. A lot of guys around me use bricks and or make their own 1lb weights made from a muffin tin and scrap lead.

The river does freeze up, ice flows around us will freeze every boat ramp up, but the channel is still open. Breaking skim ice in an alum boat makes some interesting sounds.
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 Posted 7/10/2012 9:19:14 AM
 

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I wish I could hunt the Mississippi River which I live on. The problem is it's pretty much only accessible if you have the money to build a blind and own a good boat. I just wish there were parts of it where you could just drive up to the bank, throw out a dozen decoys and hide in the cattails.
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