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What Would You Do...

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What Would You Do...
Our season opened Friday. I was out due to a painful back strain. Thomas and a group of friends scouted the week leading up to the opener and found very few ducks and were at a bit of a loss as to where to go for the opener. Thursday afternoon they got a call from a hunting buddy who said he had located a few ducks on a local WMA and they should all hunt the opener together. So with that being the plan they left after Thanksgiving dinner to try and be at the ramp first, and they were. This WMA has a rule of no activity before 2 a.m. so they waited at the launch, first in line, until 2:00 and then launched and motored to the location, a short ten minute boat ride. When they arrived there were two hunters, who henceforth shall be referred to as the ill reputes, who had walked in long before 2:00 a.m. as evidenced by their campfire and had set up exactly where Thomas and co. planned to hunt.

The boys told the ill reputes they had beat them to the spot illegally so they needed to leave. The ill reputes then misquoted the regulation as "no boats prior to 2:00 a.m." and they were legal to walk in. The rule clearly states "No activity" making the ill reputes dead wrong. The ill reputes refused to yield the spot so Thomas's group went to a lesser location and when the hunt was over had little to show for the long morning. They did call the game warden who was unsuccessful at locating the ill reputes.

So with the above facts I ask what would you have done? I have talked to Thomas and his friends at length as to what I would do but they are more flexible than I and conceded to the ill reputes. I'll share what my moves would have been in a later post but would like to hear what you would have done.

Eric Patterson
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Re: What Would You Do... In reply to
That sucks. Not sure there is much more they could have done without a confrontation that could end badly for all.


Carl
Mobile, AL
DHBP Member since 1998

"Life is too short to drink bad beer."
Disclaimer: This post and/or report is not a substantiation of or reflection on the true accuracy of the present surveying methods. It is only a report on or comment concerning local observation and/or results. Your results and observation may vary based on your location, local water conditions, food supply, weather conditions and migratory patterns "
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Re: What Would You Do... In reply to
I might take a photo or video to document the discussion and make it clear the warden would see it. Maybe remind them the phone timestamps everything. The camera can be quite intimidating. Beyond that, if they still refused to yield I'm with Carl...if tempers flare with guns aboard it's bad all around. What makes it potentially dangerous is that if the "ill reputes" really believed, erroneously, that they were in the right, from their perspective Thomas and friends were the "ill reputes". I say kudos to Thomas and his buddies for not escalating the situation.
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Re: What Would You Do... In reply to
Just something you have to deal with. 99% of the land we hunt in NJ is public. Whether it's WMA's or "grey areas" (coastal spots non-claimed, with proper safe zones). No use getting into a dispute. It's a pain for sure. In the end at least you got there and found them vs you taking the time to setup and they setup on top of you.
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Re: What Would You Do... In reply to
Weeeeell I suppose it would depend on my mood at the time. I can tell you what I have done in somewhat similar situations in the past.

1. Do as Thomas did and leave and go somewhere else.

2. Sit far enough away that I'm not in danger of being shot but be a major pain in their butts. This I do mostly with fishermen who are rude enough to come into my decoys, especially when I have made myself perfectly clear by standing up and asking them politely to move on. Usually that works but there are fishermen who don't care so I usually start banging the side of the boat with a paddle, stomping my feet and singing quite loudly some crazy song or another.

3. Tell them okay, we'll just join you.

Whatever I would have chosen, I likely would have called the game warden right then and there. And gotten the GPS coordinates for the spot from my phone and given it to the warden right then. Likely I would have taken pictures of the people to send to the warden as well or turned on the video recorder on my phone to catch what the people were saying to me so that I could hand that over to the warden as well. If the boat is registered, I would have tried to get the hull numbers on the vessel/s to give the warden.

These days, since I like being alive and you really can't tell anymore what people will do (I see so many cases come in of people being shot for petty, ridiculous reasons), I more than likely would have chosen to do just as Thomas did (maybe wish them very poor luck) and move somewhere else as well as calling the game warden right then and there.

It is a sucky situation for sure.

Dani
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Re: What Would You Do... In reply to
Dani wrote:
Weeeeell I suppose it would depend on my mood at the time. I can tell you what I have done in somewhat similar situations in the past.

1. Do as Thomas did and leave and go somewhere else.

2. Sit far enough away that I'm not in danger of being shot but be a major pain in their butts. This I do mostly with fishermen who are rude enough to come into my decoys, especially when I have made myself perfectly clear by standing up and asking them politely to move on. Usually that works but there are fishermen who don't care so I usually start banging the side of the boat with a paddle, stomping my feet and singing quite loudly some crazy song or another.

3. Tell them okay, we'll just join you.

Whatever I would have chosen, I likely would have called the game warden right then and there. And gotten the GPS coordinates for the spot from my phone and given it to the warden right then. Likely I would have taken pictures of the people to send to the warden as well or turned on the video recorder on my phone to catch what the people were saying to me so that I could hand that over to the warden as well. If the boat is registered, I would have tried to get the hull numbers on the vessel/s to give the warden.

These days, since I like being alive and you really can't tell anymore what people will do (I see so many cases come in of people being shot for petty, ridiculous reasons), I more than likely would have chosen to do just as Thomas did (maybe wish them very poor luck) and move somewhere else as well as calling the game warden right then and there.

It is a sucky situation for sure.

Dani


Not saying Eric did anything wrong, but I usually try and do the work together vs work against approach. For example, on Saturday, the last hunt I had a truck pulled up at the ramp as I launched. I chatted with the gentleman and introduced myself. I said I planned on hunting a specific cove and being new to the area, I didn't want to setup where he was planning to go. We agreed, and I told him to give me a shot if he ran into any issues. Low and behold, he approached me as I was setting decoys and said he had to head in with his dog because his motor didn't want to stay running. I asked if he wanted me to follow him to the ramp real quick, but he declined.

I get it, it's tough when it's a spot you had your heart set on. It makes it even harder when someone camps out illegally and has an unfair advantage.
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Re: What Would You Do... In reply to
I would short stand them by 50 yards




Joe
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Re: What Would You Do... In reply to
Life's too short to get in a shooting match over a duck...
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Re: What Would You Do... In reply to
I'd have followed their tracks back to their vehicles and sliced their tires while they were busy hunting Then I'd of gone home and had coffee.

Seriously though, It ain't a good idea to get into an arguement with guys in the dark that are strangers to you and have them all be armed with shotguns. It just isn't, and who the hell would want to hunt WITH them?
Either they go find a new spot, or suffer the consequences.

(Consequences may vary depending on what kind of a mood I am in.)
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Don't just do something, Stand there!
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Re: What Would You Do... In reply to
 
I would chalk it up as First Day & Weekend BS, add it to the many reasons not to hunt first days, and some weekends.

It's the type of thing that has been going on forever, and will continue to do so.

Good luck trying to stop it.

I have witnessed some very stupid, alarming, and very dangerous things while waterfowl hunting, including someone wanting to shoot someone else.

The aggravation, and a helluva lot more is at risk. Never forget that.

my 2 cents











"Art does not reproduce what is visible - but makes things visible." ~ Paul Klee, artist, 1920
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Re: What Would You Do... In reply to
Eric,

Tough break for Thomas and his friends.

Hard to say exactly How it would have played out, but I would attempt to have a civil brief discussion with the other party. I carry the appropriate rules stored on my phone so they can be referenced during such a discussion. A discussion with the intent to educate them, if in fact they truly had a misunderstanding of the regulation. If they knowingly violated the rules, no amount of arguing will change anything, only escalate the situation.

In the event that having a discussion still results in their refusal to concede and leave, one is really left with limited choices. Yes the other party violated the rules, yet at that point in time, there is no "emergency", no immediate threat to life, property or to the resource. In my mind no reason to do anything other than back off and put some distance between myself and the other party.

In reality what the other party did is comparable to someone cutting in line at the buffet table and getting the last piece of cake. Sure it rubs you wrong, it's not right, it's frustrating, it happens in other aspects of our life all the time and in the end, it's still small potatoes.

Yes, a call to a "tip line" can be made at 3:00am but if calling a LEO means getting him out of bed, it can probably wait a bit.


Now if you had asked; What would you LIKE to do,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, oh the possibilities are endless. AngelicAngelic





Take care, Huntindave McCann Smile SHELL ROCK IA. ,,,,,, "As sailors grow older, the wiser ones move to smaller boats." Thomas Firth Jones, Multihull Voyaging

Last edited by:

Huntindave McCann: Dec 2, 2019, 3:17 PM
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Re: What Would You Do... In reply to
Jay K wrote:
Just something you have to deal with. 99% of the land we hunt in NJ is public. Whether it's WMA's or "grey areas" (coastal spots non-claimed, with proper safe zones). No use getting into a dispute. It's a pain for sure. In the end at least you got there and found them vs you taking the time to setup and they setup on top of you.


I'm firmly in the "it's duck hunting, I am not getting in a fight" and "chalk it up to opening day and weekends and don't hunt them" camps. Also the "thank God I live in a rural state blessed with lots of good duck habitat and few duck hunters." camp.

I'm curious, though, about the reference to "coastal spots non-claimed". What does that mean?

Here, anything tidal is legal to hunt so long as it's 100 yards from an occupied building or a boat launch, and it's all first-come/first-served. That's true even if the land is posted. Hunters are legal so long as they stay below normal high water line.

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: What Would You Do... In reply to
My advice to Thomas and friends differ from what most of you posted. Everyone who said leave and safety comes first I completely agree, but I would have tried the following first.

For starters my advice is not to enter into a screaming match, but rather speak respectfully, calmly, and with confidence. I believe I would have said something to the effect that we had stayed up all night to secure the spot for our party of six that included two soldiers back from Afghanistan for less than a month and hoped to enjoy that particular spot. I would have clarified the "no activity" regulation and said we complied with it and they did not and that carries a fine and embarrassment if caught. I would have told them my party was hunting there and encouraged the people in my party to start setting out decoys. I would have further told the ill reputes that there is no first-come-first serve law in Alabama nor minimum distance law so we were well within our right to stay, and should they stay we would report everything to the Game Warden.

I hear everyone's concern for safety but also know these two 20 year-olds, or thereabouts, probably wouldn't want to get into an altercation, especially given Thomas's party of six (four were still on the boat ride to the location but almost there) was significantly larger. Over the years I have seen and read about many yelling contests but can't remember any single one where it came to blows or anyone injured. Not saying it hasn't happened, but things rarely escalate to that level in my experiences. I've always run across hunters who lie, e.g. "You're on private property", and bluff or bully their way knowing most hunters will concede. I'm not one to be buffaloed, haven't been for a long time. I learned years ago other duck hunters will take advantage of those types. I have no interest in a physical confrontation and would never ever make an aggressive move. If the other party did I can promise I would put forth great effort to see the law did their job. In the end I think more often than not ill reputes will back down when you show controlled resolve. They do what they do because they feel bold or have learned they can get their way by lying and sounding tough or mad. I'm not interested in a fight and will avoid it if it means I leave, but I'll not go away very easily. And when I go every effort possible to bring the law to them will be expended. I will concede my hunt and go straight to the authorities.

Those are my thoughts. I can't argue with anyone's elses. I just rely on what I know and observed over 37 seasons and what seems like a reasonable response to someone trying to gain an unfair, and illegal advantage over me and probably has done it before and will do it again until they meet resistance.
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Re: What Would You Do... In reply to
The joys of hunting. I make it a point to know the game wardens in the area I intend to hunt. More than just a passing conversation, I tend to meet them Nd spend a day with them. I also try to fully understand the rules of the road. With that said I would have done the following:

1. Tell them I plan to hunt right there with or without their blessing.
2. If they chose to make this an issue, I would tell them I am going to call ?Joe the warden? right now and report the situation.
3. Tell them the warden is joining Our group a little later in the morning and they will have some explaining to do when he arrives.
4. Mention they are welcome to stick around if they want. They can then explain their understanding g of the regulations.
5. If they call your bluff, show them the wardens contact info on your phone. Mention your patience is about 5 minutes before you make the call. Tell them warden Joe really doesn?t like getting up early, and is generally in a foul mood if waken by a call reporting illegal activity. They better be prepared to be given the twice over when he arrives.
6. All the warden on speaker phone if they do not leave.

Using this technique has worked many times and not just for hunting purposes.

Then I would have found an obnoxious rap station and played it loudly.

For what it?s worth. Know the rules, know the warden, and be confident.

Mark
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Re: What Would You Do... In reply to
Personally, I like the document via phone video clip approach, then contact CO immediately to share it with them. I doubt a fire in a WMA would be considered a wise choice as well by the C.O. Michigan has a Report All Poaching line that catalogs and then forwards illegal activity calls by area of coverage to the individual COs, leaving it to their discretion in terms of prioritization.
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I absolutely hate when people try to find a loophole or some BS way to chose to misinterpret the rules to serve their own selfish needs. We see it all the time here with fishing, parking, 4x4 usage of the beach, and of course hunting. All this "you don't own the bay" business. What it boils down to me is access. I happen to live on the water and have access to the entire bay. While you could drop a rock into the bay from the parking lot, the legal ramp is 8 miles away. So here you have guys disassembling their boat to "throw" it off the bulkhead then hand down the engine and gas line and can and gear etc and then will stone faced tell the Constable that "we didn't launch" we "entered" the bay......Oh Lord......the logic of the Fool......
A few years ago I dealt with a guy like this. I was rigged out for brant way early on a beautiful still morning. I watched this guy pull into the lot and begin to put his kayak together and start out. He had one of those bicycle kick type kayaks and he literally paddled through my decoys with my deeks bumping into his yak as he passed. I was slack jawed. I didn't say a word although I probably could have reached him to whack him with my shoving pole. He ended up rigging out on the other side of a small spit of land, probably 80' away....I just thought that "this is going to be fun." I dropped a brant on a first pair to come in and when I went to retrieve it, I could see his nifty blue kayak and his seagull decoys (and two brant).....and boy oh boy did we get into it. I got a text from a friend a mile away asking "are you yelling at someone?"