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Thread: Shooting ducks on the water-Unethical?

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    Default Shooting ducks on the water-Unethical?

    I was hunting today with 3 buddies, 1 with years of experience, but the other 2 had only been out a few times. We had teal and widgeon landing in out decoys, and even when we popped up to try to get them to fly, some would stay in the water. So we shot them on the water, as long as they weren't too close to any decoys. The 2 new guys had no problem with it, and I don't have a problem with it, but the older guy wouldnt shoot unless it was flying. He considers it "unethical" to shoot ducks on the water. Obviously, we try to take them on the wing, but if the shot presents itself, we won't hesitate to blast one sitting. I don't get the reasoning behing shooting them on the water "unethical". I think ethical means killing them fast and letting as few wounded birds get away as possible. If a bird is sitting on the water, you can get off a steady shot that is very likely to kill the bird, rather than wound it. If it doesn't die on the first shot, you can usually get off another one before it has lifted off, making it that less likely to fly off wounded. And I don't know about anyone else, but I absolutely hate the thought of an injured bird getting away, just to die somewhere else in a couple of hours.

    Thoughts?

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    Member Toddler's Avatar
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    AK Char
    Have you ever heard of the term "Sitting Duck"? In my OPINION it is at least unsporting. I am not so sure I agree with your clean kill idea either. When the duck coming to the decoys and has the feet down and the breaks on his breast and vitals are exposed to the shot. When he is sitting most of his vitals are on or below the waterline and his wings are covering his body - more for the pellets to pass through on the way to the vitals IF they get there. If you are opposed to losing crippled birds hunt with a dog - it will make the hunt a lot more fun and you would be surprised at how few birds you loose.

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    Shooting birds on the water is like fishing in a hatchery....
    I believe that duck hunting is about the sport of it and not filling a bag limit no matter what.
    If the idea was to shoot them off the water they would allow hunters to use rifles. I won't shoot a bird off the water either.
    I do agree with the wounding vs killing idea. I always "double tap" a wounded bird to lessen my chances of loosing it.
    FarouT

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    I have heard the term "pot shot". That refers to killing a sitting duck for the pot. I don't do it because I like to improve my wingshooting skills. I can't do that if I fill my bag with pot shots.

    If you want to fill your pot and shoot them on the water I don't really have a problem with it. It is illegal to shoot ducks with a rifle. Using a rifle is illegal because rifle bullets shot at sitting ducks will skip off water and can kill another hunter in the marsh after ricochet.

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    I guess thats why they have skeet shooting. Ive shot flying ducks and geese and ducks on the water..Im not there for the sport of knocking something out of the air,Im for the tasty meal. If i cared about that part of knocking down one from the air ,,id skeet shoot like i said. I guess moose should be on the run too and all other critters,instead of sitting like ducks in a pond for that easy shot.

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    I was also thinking about Grouse and Ptarmigan hunters, or rabbits. Should they only be shot with shotgun while flying, or rabbits running? I use a .22 and only do head shots. Some folks blast them with a shotgun or .22 right in the middle of the bird or rabbit. I see that as a waste of meat, not to hard to hit them in the head if you have your .22 sighted in. To each there own.

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    Default All about perception

    Quote Originally Posted by jake windemere View Post
    I have heard the term "pot shot". That refers to killing a sitting duck for the pot. I don't do it because I like to improve my wingshooting skills. I can't do that if I fill my bag with pot shots.

    If you want to fill your pot and shoot them on the water I don't really have a problem with it. It is illegal to shoot ducks with a rifle. Using a rifle is illegal because rifle bullets shot at sitting ducks will skip off water and can kill another hunter in the marsh after ricochet.
    I have been hungry for meat at spring camp and taken ducks on the water. I was given the moniker "Groundsluicer". Did I care that it was "unsporting"? Not one bit! Some people won't snag when it is legal, or force feed reds. Some people look down on those who don't fly fish. Some people think dip netting is unsporting. Some folks look down on trapping. Some will only take small game with a .22 and consider a shotgun unsporting.... if you are a meat hunter, it is less about how you (legally) get the meat than getting the meat. There are always elitists and dudes who are more into form than function. Maybe I lived around Native people too long to care about what is "sporting".

    Aren't decoys kind of sneaky? Isn't a blind kind of unfair? Calls... downright deceptive! It's all about perception.

    Having said all that, I take 'em on the wing whenever I can, especially when they are flaring.
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    Ak Char,

    That you put the question to a public forum shows that you have some reservations about it. The truth is, if it is legal then you only have yourself to answer to. Much of that comes from upbringing. I have a strong feeling about shooting sitting ducks but at the same time I am not kidding myself about putting "meat on the table." I suspect if I were to tally it all up over the 43 years I've been hunting waterfowl the cost per pound would land somewhere around $40. For many of us it is the traditions of the activity that are so compelling and the shooting takes a back seat to most everything else. When your labrador retriever (or whatever dog you have) goes out and finds the duck you dropped in marsh grass and brings it back, proud as a peacock, that's the best part of the hunt for many of us. Watching the birds work the decoys, letting the lone duck swim around your deeks unmolested while you listen to her quack, sitting in the blind drinking coffee and watching your dog look at the sky in anticipation while night turns to day and the world comes alive are some of the things that are much more important than how many ducks you kill. Your thoughts of wounding and losing are spot on but someone pointed out that shooting on the water does not assure a kill. One thing you can do to increase the odds of "sitting duck" clean kills is to have some 7.5 shot for those times. Much better odds of hitting the duck in the head and killing it clean.
    It sounds like you may be new to duck hunting and the personal meaning for you may change over time. The thing we have to remember about hunting is everyone has their own opinion of what it means to them and so long as it is legal then so be it. Good luck in the future...and seriously, get a dog, nothing like it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sameyer View Post
    Ak Char,

    That you put the question to a public forum shows that you have some reservations about it. The truth is, if it is legal then you only have yourself to answer to. Much of that comes from upbringing. I have a strong feeling about shooting sitting ducks but at the same time I am not kidding myself about putting "meat on the table." I suspect if I were to tally it all up over the 43 years I've been hunting waterfowl the cost per pound would land somewhere around $40. For many of us it is the traditions of the activity that are so compelling and the shooting takes a back seat to most everything else. When your labrador retriever (or whatever dog you have) goes out and finds the duck you dropped in marsh grass and brings it back, proud as a peacock, that's the best part of the hunt for many of us. Watching the birds work the decoys, letting the lone duck swim around your deeks unmolested while you listen to her quack, sitting in the blind drinking coffee and watching your dog look at the sky in anticipation while night turns to day and the world comes alive are some of the things that are much more important than how many ducks you kill. Your thoughts of wounding and losing are spot on but someone pointed out that shooting on the water does not assure a kill. One thing you can do to increase the odds of "sitting duck" clean kills is to have some 7.5 shot for those times. Much better odds of hitting the duck in the head and killing it clean.
    It sounds like you may be new to duck hunting and the personal meaning for you may change over time. The thing we have to remember about hunting is everyone has their own opinion of what it means to them and so long as it is legal then so be it. Good luck in the future...and seriously, get a dog, nothing like it!
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    Growing up, I was always taught it was unethical to do so. I introduced a young hunter this year. I explained this to him as well, After many misses... I allowed him to shoot his first one this season on the water..but will continue to sway him from proceeding..explaining my philosophy on fair chase. I see no sport in doing this and have no need to put them in the pot while doing so. I am fortunate enough to have a dog thats keeps them in the air...lol so no problems on "flushed" birds.

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    I have popped a few on the water over the years. Mostly when I was beginning my duck hunting. I remember my first duck hunt we were walking a series a "pot hole" that were great for jump shooting. I saw a duck in front of me that hadn't flushed, everyone else was waiting for the dog to go put it in the air, but I just pulled up and blasted it. After that my dad said, it's not illegal but definitely frowned upon by the majority of waterfowl hunters. If it's ok with you, do it. But don't be confused or offended if other people questions it.
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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    when its slow cold and the hunting is tough i will admit it...i will shoot em one on the water but mostly i just wait till the back peddle or their toe nails hit the water , then i will shoot them.

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    Going to add a new wrinkle to this one, it has been bugging me for a while now. Firstly I don't care where the duck is it's meat. However I not only shoot them on the water I am not at all above sneaking up on them with the boat! Thats right I use a canoe with the intent of "jump hunting" the tastey little buggers. "Lowest form of human life" right purists? Well how about this I use a bow for all my waterfowling! In fact I have never killed a duck with anything that gose bang. For the way I hunt and the areas I hunt in "jump hunting" and shooting ducks on the water dosen't conflict with my ethics.
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    Rick

    There you go!!!! FLU FLU arrows and fun.....how has finger lake been treating you this year?

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    I will shoot em on the water any time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick P View Post
    Going to add a new wrinkle to this one, it has been bugging me for a while now. Firstly I don't care where the duck is it's meat. However I not only shoot them on the water I am not at all above sneaking up on them with the boat! Thats right I use a canoe with the intent of "jump hunting" the tastey little buggers. "Lowest form of human life" right purists? Well how about this I use a bow for all my waterfowling! In fact I have never killed a duck with anything that gose bang. For the way I hunt and the areas I hunt in "jump hunting" and shooting ducks on the water dosen't conflict with my ethics.
    I am sure you know that Nancy Lake Rec Area is archery only. Did you know that ducks raft up on the lake when the swamps start to freeze?

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    I most certainly finish off a wounded duck on the water, but I hunt for fun, sport and not because I am staving. Matter of fact, it is a bonus to me if I can give the ducks away when done. I dont like duck or liver, and they taste the same to me, however I have had some very good recipies that make it taste very good, and there were some posted on here a while ago that I may try if I get stuck with some I can't give away. Shooting them on the water is legal, and for somebody who is just interested in filling their limit, it is fine. I consider the same people who shoot them or the water most likely will take 60 yrd shots with steel, and start blasting 10 min before shooting time. But that may not be true, just my on ideas. Bud

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    I reserve the right to give anyone who "ground pounds" a hard time. That said, I think (at least in this state) it's up to the shooter. If you hunt with me, you won't see me do it.... Unless the hunting's real slow

    And I would also like to echo the fact that the "putting food on the table" argument really does not hold much water for duck hunting. Maybe for some of you in rural areas, it is valid. For most of us, the money we spend in gas, equipment, etc. coupled with the amount of meat we get from small game will never work out to cost less than the fanciest restaurant you can find. $40 a pound? That sounds about right.

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    I enjoy shooting them on the wing. It's more of a challenge, and it's cool to watch a spectacular shot pulled off. Like hitting a scotch tripple, or a surprise shot at a bird that zooms over your head. Not only that but you get a better chance at a kill shot. I have a couple buddies who will shoot them on the water, and I think only about 25% of them actually get killed. The rest fly off crippled. When I was growing up, my dad always told me it was illegal to shoot them on the water, so I never got into the habit of doing it. I agree with what sameyer said. It's cool to just watch them in the spread when they land. I try to strike up a conversation with them with my duck calls. And you get some first hand experience on what calls a real duck uses when birds are flying.
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    Since you asked for an opinion, I'll give you mine. I don't think ground-sluicing a duck is unethical...but in my book, unsporting. I'm out for the hunt not for survival...I definitely want the meat, but if I don't get something my kids will still eat. Nothing "purist" or high-brow about it. That's my value-system and the way I look at it. I've hunted with guys that do....and no one really careed. But, it was fun to bust his chops for it. That being said, what you do is up to you.

    Too many folks are so worried about how others hunt, whether they have stickers on their truck, what gun is best, what camo, what dekes. Sometimes seems like middle school mentality, especially on forums. Bottom line, long as you're legal, safe and ethical, let your conscience be your guide.

    And BTW, shooting a duck with a bow isn't in the same category.
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