First, a disclaimer: Duck hunters are among the world’s finest folks, and you’ll usually become great friends with people who share your blind.
However, some guys — rather, some behaviors — irritate fellow hunters and diminish the enjoyment and camaraderie usually associated with a duck blind or pit. Let’s meet these dirty half-dozen duck-blind jerks.
He’s been everywhere and done it all. In fact, he’s experienced some of the world’s finest waterfowl hunting — much better than anything in the blind that day. It doesn’t matter where he’s been, whether it was Arkansas, Argentina or the prairies. It was far superior to that day’s hunt, and he’s not shy about telling you so.
I don’t get too worked up by this dude. Some folks like to brag a bit, so I let it slide. And honestly, if he has access to world-class duck hunting, he doesn’t need to make a return trip to my place.
My right ear hums with tinnitus every day thanks to this fellow. During an October 2000 trip to North Dakota, I watched three drake wigeon float into a pothole 90 degrees to my left. I rose for the easy shot, fired and saw a bull fall. But something felt wrong, so I didn’t go for a double. Then I realized why. The guy directly to my right had also shot — the same bird, mind you — and his muzzle had been right by my head. “Did you shoot, too?” he asked. At least that's what I think he said.
This fellow ticks me off because he’s unsafe and can injure people. He needs to be reminded of his safe zone of fire, from 10 to 2 o’clock. One mistake because of excitement is forgivable. Repeated infractions earn him a trip home.
Hey, decoys get hit with pellets. It’s part of the game, especially when you’re diver hunting and a cripple is swimming away. However, some guys get a little swat-happy and pound your blocks when it’s unnecessary. I’d never present this guy with a bill for decoy replacement or repair, but I might think twice about having him back or at least tailor a spread with a very large open area next time.
It doesn’t matter how many people shot. This fellow got the bird. And he’ll make sure everyone knows it. He irritates me, probably because we all exhibited a bit of this behavior when we were young and insecure. Nowadays, when The Claimer extolls his latest smash, I just roll my eyes and hand him the duck. That way, he’s one bird closer to a limit, and I can keep shooting after he’s claimed a strap full of birds. And it’s amazing that ducks continue to fall after he’s done shooting.
On His Way to Stuttgart
Hey, didn’t we read about this guy in the recent blog on folks you’ll meet when hunting public areas? Sure did. But he’s not about to stop hammering on that call just because you’re sitting next to him in a blind. Hail call after hail call at ridiculously high flocks will eventually wear on your eardrums — maybe to the point that you try to switch seats after lunch. This guy is usually a pretty good caller, actually. He just needs to tone things down a bit, especially when the barrel of his single-reed is a foot from your temple.
The hunt’s finished, and a pile of birds awaits the cleaning table. Well, except for the ducks this guy shot. He doesn’t really like eating ducks, and he’s in a hurry. Someone can take his birds. Um … no. There’s no group bagging in waterfowl hunting, buddy, and if you didn’t want those ducks, you shouldn’t have shot them. The federal government has strict guidelines on waterfowl possession limits, and I’m not about to break them because you just wanted to kill something but didn’t want to make proper use of it. Take your birds on your way out of the blind, and if you waste them, shame on you. Don’t come back.
Maybe I’m too harsh with these folks. We’ve all probably been guilty of one or more of these infractions, albeit unintentionally or without malice. Perhaps these guys actually perform a service by reminding us about proper blind behavior and making us realize that enjoyable moments with like-minded folks represent the true joy of a duck blind.
Realtree waterfowl editor Brian Lovett has been an obsessive duck and goose hunter for more than 30 years, chasing his passion on the Dakota prairies and the marshes and open water of his home state of Wisconsin. He's been a writer and editor in the outdoors industry since 1991.