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Thread: Hello. Want to start duck hunting.

  1. #1
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    Default Hello. Want to start duck hunting.

    Hi.
    I just moved to anchorage last month. I want to get started in duck hunting, what I've been able to determine so far is that Palmer Hay Flats would be my best bet for walking access hunting close to Anchorage.
    I'm posting here to see if I can get any guidance on getting started in duck hunting. I'm really excited about getting started this season.
    Thanks for any advice at all.

    Thanks.
    Mitch

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    Lightbulb Welcome to the Great North

    The first thing you have to consider when hunting around the Inlet are the tides. The minute you don't respect them, well, you know what happens.

    You can get a small game license and state and federal stamps and then grab your shotgun and shells and you're ready to go.

    There are several places you can try around the Inlet. There's, first of all, Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge that generally runs from the southside of town to the north. You will need to get a permit from ADFG or the Park Service -- I don't remember which.

    Going north out of Anchorage, there are the Hay Flats, which can be accessed at several points, the most popular being off of Fairview Loop out of Wasilla.

    Also there's Goose Bay at the end of Knik Goose Bay Road, also limited access.

    Going south out of town, there's the Portage area.

    Any way you look at it there's a lot of hard walking, unless you have a boat (let me know!)

    Anyway, these should get you started.

    Good luck and quack, quack: BOOM BOOM

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    Default

    Thanks for the reply emrdux,

    I have a canoe. So I'm interested in any recommendations you have in regards to access with a paddled canoe (no motor, it's not a square stern). I'm planning to start out duck hunting in areas that I have walk in access.But I'm open to suggestions.
    Thanks for your help.

    Mitch

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    Default Mitch

    Hello and welcome,

    A easy place to check out that the canoe would be helpful is the jim/swan lake area. It is off of maud road on the old glen highway. I've killed a few ducks over the years out there by just walking around the lakes, If I would of had a canoe it would of been much better I think. Need any directions let me know. Try and become friends with Google Earth It really helps with scouting.

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by emrdux View Post
    The first thing you have to consider when hunting around the Inlet are the tides. The minute you don't respect them, well, you know what happens.
    Seeing as how he just moved to Anchorage last month, I doubt he knows what happens. I don't know much about the tides or tidal flats, so maybe you could fill SinglerM in a little better than I could.

    -Eric

    Sorry, supposed to be lab man.

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    Default Thanks Patrick

    Thanks for the heads up about Jim/swan lake . I'll check it out on Google earth and go canoeing there to scout it out before duck season.
    Thanks to everyone here for all of the information.

    Mitch

    Quote Originally Posted by patrickwellis View Post
    Hello and welcome,

    A easy place to check out that the canoe would be helpful is the jim/swan lake area. It is off of maud road on the old glen highway. I've killed a few ducks over the years out there by just walking around the lakes, If I would of had a canoe it would of been much better I think. Need any directions let me know. Try and become friends with Google Earth It really helps with scouting.

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    Default Tidal flats.

    Hi Eric,

    I've read about the tidal range here, and staying off the flats. I'm a sea kayaker (Klepper kayak) as well as a canoeist (wenonah prospector). Before I started planning y move up here, I read all I could about the Alaska kayaking and canoeing places and hazards. I have read a little bit about the tidal range here, don't now much other than stay off the flats. I haven't bought a tide table book yet, there is one in the phone book, however.
    I have never duck hunted at all. That's one of the things I really want to get into here.
    Any tide info or warnings would be greatly appreciated.
    I'm looking to take a simple/beginner approach to duck hunting, so I figured I'd walk in to a place at first. But I am really interested in using my canoe as I get some experience.

    Thanks again for all the help.

    See ya around.
    Mitch

    Quote Originally Posted by Ak River Rat View Post
    Seeing as how he just moved to Anchorage last month, I doubt he knows what happens. I don't know much about the tides or tidal flats, so maybe you could fill SinglerM in a little better than I could.

    -Eric

    Sorry, supposed to be lab man.

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    Default

    I think what emrdux was trying to say. Is if you get stuck in the silt, it may be the last mistake you will make! when walking the flats stay out of the guts .Those are where water runs out of low areas when the tide goes out.They make deep channels.You will know one when you see it. If you shoot a duck and it falls on the other side don't try crossing it where thay are deep. You will find your self stuck and when the tide rolls back in. Well unless you can breath under water. Get the picture.You will have to walk around it.Could be 100 yards, could be over 1/2 mile or longer.Same with the sloughs when the tide is out. If you can't stand in one spot for say 5 to 10 seconds with out getting stuck don't go any farther.And unless you know what your doing don't hunt alone. The life you might save could be your own. And remember the longer you stand in one spot the more likely you will get stuck so keep moving. Good luck

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    Default ak duckman said it!

    Very good info from duckman, but in my opinion. Don't stay away from the flats out of fear alone- go down to the ship creek harbor during high tide and then again during a low tide. Notice where the water is at both levels. Get a tide book and keep it on you when you are on the water, also make sure to have a way to tell time (or tide book is useless). So many people miss out on opportunities for recreation/hunting because they are scared to death of the tides here, Just respect the tides and learn how they fluctuate and you will be fine. a lot of people think i'm crazy for taking my 15' zodiac out in the inlet, I just remember if I get stuck out on the flats somewhere because of my carelessness- I have to sit there and wait for the water to come back and pick me up again.

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    Default

    Patrick is right on the general fear of the tides in Cook Inlet and its arms. Many people are afraid of something because they don't understand it. Once you understand something the fear is gone but the respect for it remains. This applies to anything with risk.

    That said, the biggest tidal issue in Knik Arm is the boar tides that occassionally sweep up it and into the tidal guts in the Hay Flats. The boar tides in the Knik appear to be smaller than those in Turnagain. However, the likelyhood that someone is in a place where the boar tide could affect them is higher in the Knik. I have been told by third parties of boar tides coming up the Rabbit Creek slough and flipping boats. What is a 2 foot tall "wave" on the arm becomes an 8 foot tall wall of water in the slough according to the folks that have seen them. Many paddle users of the Hay flats come and go at high tide to avoid any problems. Others in power boats don't seem to care about the tides.

    The one thing about Knik tides to be aware of is the magic number of 29 feet for a high tide. If the conditions are right this level of high tide will start to flood any marsh on the edge of the arm. If there is a 32 foot high tide then the Hay Flats will flood. And if the wind is helping push water the actual high tide will be over 35 feet. You will be swimming in some spots that were ankle deep a few minutes ago. The last few years these overly high tides have occured in the early mornings in late september.

    Now on to your original question. Walk in hunting is limited to a few spots and will limit the amount of gear you use. It may also limit the amount of ducks you get an opportunity to see. If you are in really good shape you can go to the Twenty Mile grass marshes and do a forced march behind a dog like the guy from the paper does each fall (BTW he is crazy). Clues to a classic walk in spot are: Fire Creek, Beach Lake, Birwood Airport. But *everyone* already knows about this spot.

    Your canoe can be put to good use in the Hay Flats on Rabbit Slough and then drag it over the bank and into sheet water lakes on either side. You will be joined by dozens of other people. Out at Mud/Jim/Swan/Gull your canoe can get you into lots of areas that the power boats drive right by on their way to Swan. On the Fairview Loop access to the northern part of the Hay Flats there is an ATV trail and lots of walk in spots, but lots of people too.

    If you are completely new to the sport then you will need only a few decoys and some camo gear. I recommend reading up on things by searching "the duck hunters refuge" forum posts for various tag words like "canoe", "first time hunter" and such. Calling does not appear to matter too much up here since most of the birds are still in small family flocks until October and not talking too much to other birds.

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    Default Thanks.

    Thanks AK Ray, AK Duckman and Patrick,

    Thanks for the insight into tides/flats as well as the 29 ft. reference and how it affects hay flats.
    I'll do some day paddling canoe trip here shortly...I'll reference the tide tables for these paddling days, and get a feel for the tides and that area.
    It seems like I may just start out hunting in areas that I can access with my canoe. It does sound like the walk in areas might get a bit crowded.
    I have to get a more detailed map to hay flats and the other areas mentioned for both walk in and canoe access.
    At the moment I only have an Anchorage and vicinity road and recreation map. Off to sportsman warehouse.
    Thanks for all of you time in posting some advice for me.
    I appreciate it.
    Thanks for the lead on duck hunters refuge.

    Take care,
    Mitch

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    Default so...

    Just curious Mitch, What is your story? (if you don't mind) I like to get to know what drives a person, where they are from and the like. Did you come up here because of a job? I think it's very interesting that you want to get into waterfowl all by yourself. Over 12 years of hunting these things from ark to ak- I think your the very first person i've ever met that wasn't dragged in by a father, sibling or friend. I think it's great that you have the drive to look into this, welcome to alaska.

    Nationwide waterfowlers- Pro staff, "Expanding the Tradition"

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    Default My Story.

    Hi Patrick,

    My wife and I just moved up here, we're from Mississippi originally. We lost our house to Hurricane Katrina. After all of the dust settled, we decided to move to Salt Lake City. We wanted to live someplace close to skiing, Salt Lake offered job opportunities that were close to great skiing. We both we in the military at different times, so we've lived placed where the skiing was good (germany, japan) as well as taking trips.
    Anyway, we like Salt Lake, great snow. It's a little, shall we say....different in some ways.;-)
    but we did like it there....lots of outdoor stuff to do.
    But being from the MS. Gulf coast, we also sea kayak. and kind of missed the ocean. Like many people, we've talked about Alaska over the years.
    It offers skiing, sea kayaking, biking. Plus all of the fishing, ect.ect.ect.
    You know all the cool Alaska stuff!!
    The kind of place we want to live and have our kids grow up.
    So, we both have jobs that allow us to travel and still find work.
    So we took a shot and came here.
    I don't know anyone that duck hunts, but I've always thought it would be a great thing to get into. Coming here has really sparked my interest in duck hunting, among other things.
    I'm a machinist, have been for the past 10 years. I just went to an aircraft sheetmetal school, and I'm in the Air Force Reserve. I was active Army, but got out after the Gulf War in '91.
    Good to meet you.

    See ya around.
    Mitch

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    If you have the coin ($160 each?), stop by Aero-Metric (formerly AeroMap) on the south side of Merril Field and get a couple of large aerials of the flats or the Jim/Swan area. They have a good string of photos from September 1996 during an apparent low water year. There are things seen on the photos that you do not notice when on the water. The image I have shows parts of Gull, Mud, all of Jim, most of Leaf, and most of Swan lakes. None of the information on the image will appear on any map in any store. Not even on Google Earth since these images are not part of anyone's digital domain.

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    Default steel shot

    hi mitch dont forget to use steel shot for all water fowl . be safe and good hunting.

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    mitch pm me with your phone # Im part owner in a cabin at Jim creek maybe we can get togather. AK Ray knows me I have a 16 duck boat with a prodrive. O nice to meet you chris

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    Hey Chris,

    I have to go out of town for most of August for work. I thought I would be going for just a couple of weeks, but things keeps expanding the time frame. Looks like the boat will have to wait until this winter.

    Have you been out to the swamp yet this year? How are the water levels?

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    Default PM sent, skybust. Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by skybust View Post
    mitch pm me with your phone # Im part owner in a cabin at Jim creek maybe we can get togather. AK Ray knows me I have a 16 duck boat with a prodrive. O nice to meet you chris
    That's be great! Thanks alot.
    I've sent a PM

    Thanks,
    Mitch

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