Sorry in advance for the long post. This has been kind of stuck in my craw since yesterday.
My two hunting partners and I were unable to hunt on Saturday due to each having prior family duties, but we decided to head out to the Palmer Hay Flats and hunt Sunday. I have hunted the Palmer Hay Flats for over 25 years and have 3 or 4 spots that I regularly hunt. I have never had a confrontation with another duck hunter out there and always try my best to assist other hunters/boaters when I can.
We launched the boat before first light, and motored down under spotlight to the same exact spot we hunted last weekend. The spot we decided to hunt is about a 20 minute walk from where we anchor the boat. When we got to the spot we were going to set up, we discovered there were decoys already there, but there was no sign of anybody around hunting them. We didn’t see the decoys until we were right on top of them. There was no established blind, no chairs, no buckets, no people, nothing. My hunting partners and I discussed for about 5 minutes of going somewhere else, or just putting our full decoy bags down in the toolies and sitting by the already-placed decoys until the person that left the decoys arrives. Keep in mind that this spot is a one-way-in one-way-out hunting location. If the person were to arrive late to his decoys, we could see him walk in from a quarter-mile away and we would promptly relocate. We decided we were going to just sit in the toolies, not establish a blind, and hunt over the decoys that were left behind. One of my hunting partners took his decoy bag about 100 yards across the pond and setup a few on the other side of us.
There were hardly any ducks flying and matter of fact we didn’t even fire our guns. Well guess what? 90 minutes past shooting time, out walks the hunter that had left his decoys there. We see him coming from a quarter-mile away and my partner across the pond picks up the few decoys he deployed. By the time my partner across the pond picked up his decoys and started walking back, the other hunter starts yelling at us from a couple hundred yards away. “What the *!@# is going on here”...repeatedly. It totally caught us off-guard. We told him we had no intention of sticking around and we were going to relocate. Knowing full-well that he nor we had any claim to that small piece of swamp, we picked up and moved anyway. We were doing the nice thing by leaving, and he decided to berate us. He insisted that we were in the wrong and used the analogy of us coming into his home. “I would never just walk into your home and watch TV”, he yelled. I thought that was quite comical. He was totally irate. My hunting partners and I were cordial the entire time, however, I couldn’t take much more, and used the proverbial line of, “do you own this land?”. That got him to pipe down but he was still fuming. Maybe he woke up on the wrong side of the bed.
We decided to move a quarter-mile away. I know they say there are 3 sides to every story, but I’m telling you, this is exactly what we did, what his actions were, and what our intentions/actions were. If I were a jerk I could have sat there and argued with him, but based on his actions I knew that would get us nowhere.
1) There were no signs of anybody there (no blind, no chairs, no buckets, no person, etc.) except decoys in the water.
2) We never touched his decoys.
3) We had intentions and followed through with those intentions by leaving if someone were to arrive.
4) He arrived 90 minutes after shooting time ready to start a fight with 3 guys carrying guns that he did not know.
5) He stated he hunted the day before in the same spot.
6) The hunting was very very poor and not one duck came within shooting range while we were “in his home”.
1) Have/would you ever hunt over decoys that were just left there?
2) Based on this post, were we in the wrong to do such thing?
3) Do you “mark your spot” by leaving your decoys the day before?
By process of elimination at the boat launch due to hardly anyone being out there, I’m pretty sure this guys’ license plate says “DUKSLR”. Hey DUKSLR, if you read this post, chill out man, and if you see us out in the Hay Flats again, come say Hi. We really are an easy-going group of hunters.