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Hunting Ethics: Shooting Ducks on the Water

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November 01, 2012

Hunting Ethics: Shooting Ducks on the Water

By Phil Bourjaily

Today we have a hunting ethics question.

For the record, I have never shot a duck on the water and I never will, with, of course, the exception of cripples. When I taught my kids to hunt I didn’t let them shoot their first ducks on the water, either, no matter how many they missed in the air. However, I have looked in the regulations and can’t find any mention that birds must be in the air to be legally shot. And, an incident the other morning made me re-examine my conviction that there is something unethical about shooting birds on the water.

I was hunting with a young man in his 20s who has been waterfowling for a couple of years now. At sunrise we worked a lone mallard that came in low over our heads from behind on its final approach (we were set up with the wind in our faces out of necessity) and neither of us took the easy shot as it came over top, although we should have. Then the duck slid off and landed out of range, then swam downriver. We lay still on the sandbar we were hunting and quacked and drake-grunted softly. After half an hour we had coaxed the mallard upriver and into our decoys 20 yards from where we hid. 

“This is your shot. I’m backing you up,” I said.

We sat up and raised our guns, assuming that would startle the duck into the air. It didn’t. We looked at the duck for a second, waiting for it to fly. I may have even yelled “Scat!” at it. I was thinking about whether I should wave my arms or throw something to scare it into the air when my friend shot it on the water. “I kept waiting for it to fly and it wouldn’t,” he said. “So I shot it.”

I was taken aback, but before I said anything critical I thought the following: the goal of duck hunting is to fool birds into range, then make a clean kill so you can recover the bird, take it home and eat it. Using that rationale my friend had acted ethically. We fooled this duck once when we lured it into our hole, and again when we called it back into the decoys. It died instantly and was easy to retrieve. The shot was safe as there was no one across the water from us and, in fact, we had a high river bank as a backstop in case the steel ricocheted off the water. Okay, I wouldn’t have done it but what I said was “Good job! We got one.”

Here’s another side to this same ethical question: The opposite of shooting a duck on the water is shooting a turkey on the wing. Years ago I read about a turkey hunter who called birds in close, then “to give them a chance” deliberately spooked turkeys into the air and shot them in flight. To me, the only chance that gave the bird was a chance to get its wing broken and run off to die a slow death. That seemed unethical to me because it increased the chance of making the turkey suffer. Why make a shot more difficult if the goal of hunting is a quick and painless kill?

So, what is so wrong about shooting a duck on the water? Or is there nothing wrong with it?

Comments (124)

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from elkslayer wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I don't think there is anything wrong with shooting a duck on the water. Whether I called it in and it landed in the decoys or swam into them or if I am stalking along a river, creek or lake shore the goal is to make a clean kill. Once you get into range the hunting is over and the shooting starts, if the target is stationary all the better. Don't we prefer stationary targets for big game hunting, why should birds be any different, most grouse I shoot are on the ground too.

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from TM wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Shooting a sitting duck is not sporting, but neither is shooting a high fence deer, a stocked pheasant, or an animal over bait. In many locations, these are all legal and many enjoy it. Don't think there's an ethical problem with taking a sitting duck, but I wouldn't want to make a habit out of it.

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from Bob81 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

As a rule, I try not to shoot ducks on the water, but on occassion have.

I am torn between my desire to be more ethical by "giving the bird a chance", and my desire to be more ethical by minimizing lost and injured birds.

I don't think there is any question that shooting ducks on the wing results in more lost cripples than shooting them on the water. For this reason, I will never criticize someone for shooting a "sitting duck".

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from Nixstyx wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

It's a good question. Personally, in any hunting situation, as long as you're following the law, it's really up to the individual hunter to decide what is ethical for him. I've never hunted ducks before, but I see this playing out when upland hunting a lot. Where I live, all the pheasant are stocked, which I think makes them more hesitant to fly. This year I watch from a distance while a man ran across a field after a rooster that was running away but wouldn’t fly. It was a funny sight to watch. Finally, the bird ducked into some cattails. The man was able to kick it up and get a flying shot. The shot broke the bird's wing, but it took off running again and the man never found it. I couldn't help but thinking it would have been more ethical to shoot it on the ground in the first place.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Totally unethical. The hunter moves from being a sportsman to being a meathunter. But the question should be answered as to how to kill a wounded duck on the water? What is the technique that should be used? I was hunting doves one year, and really never see other dove hunters when I hunt doves in Sept. I ran into these two fellows, and told them fine, we can have a better hunt if one of us moves down field, and we can get better shooting by moving doves towards each of our locations. These guys moved down, and then in towards some high tension wires. I watched them wait, and then shoot at what I thought were doves on the wires. I approached them, and that is exactly what they were doing. I told them how many thousands of dollars in fines, and replacement costs they would incur if they broke the wires,as well as problaby doing time. They left, and I never saw them in that field again.

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from FOX wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I don't hunt ducks but I still bird hunt and i have ground swatted only two bird in my current hunting career. Both were out of frustration my first was my first grouse which i had been chasing them for months and i couldn't stand it any more. The last was a pheasant that was running toward a river and i couldn't let it get in the water.

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from vthunter4 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

In reference to a different bird, but the same situation, most if not all of the guys we hunt with in VT will shoot partridge on the ground or in the tree. Without a dog, in the thick northern woods it is extremely difficult to shoot a bird after its flushed. If you can see it for 20 yards we would consider that a wide open shot. As a result none of us hesitate if we get a chance to shoot before the bird is airborne.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

What you find is you can wound birds by shooting at them on the ground...wings closed, and body cavity much more protected when they are on the ground, or water; especially if they are some distance away from you when you shoot. There is a technique to best kill wounded ducks on the water...hope that someone mentions it.

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from smccardell wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

What if that duck, landed instead in a cornfield? Should goose hunters only shoot at flying geese when hunting out of a cornfield? And for the record, there is NOTHING wrong with being a meathunter or a MeatEater. Shooting a bird and not eating the meet, to me, is more unethical than it is shooting a duck on the water.

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from Douglas wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I have shot ducks on the water. Problem is that they are harder to kill that way, as their wings seem to protect them from a killing shot. Therefore, I avoid it now. The places I hunt them are gnarly and it is easy to lose cripples since I don't have a water dog. So I wait and hope for a shot as they come in with wings spread over the limited open water available.
I usually go home with nothing, which is OK, for I am not starving.

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from jcarlin wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

This brings up an interesting question I've been wondering. I'd like opinions. I live in a fairly rural area, but do have a couple of close by houses. Live at the confluence of 2 creeks and a mill race.
If I can manage the stalk, would you consider it unethical for me to take a duck or goose on water or ground with a bow?

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from Nathan Ryver wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

good thoughts everyone. As for me, technically I can't see anything wrong with it. But tradition is no small thing, and traditionally, many people frown upon it. I guess it would depend on whom I'm hunting with.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

jcarlin.
Our local community had a news special of a duck in our city park with an arrow stuck in it. Guess how that played out amongst the local citizens? A vet donated his time, and saved the duck. PR does matter, and a lot of PR goes against the right to hunt.

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from Anhinga wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

My grandfather, Pap, taught me to duck hunt beginning about 60 yrs ago. I hunted with him for many years then he hunted with me for the last 10 years of his life. I took him the last time and he shot his last duck when he was 92, on the wing. His admonition was to shoot flying ducks (preferably feet down, coming into the 'spread'), but if you brought them into the deeks, there was nothing wrong with shooting them while floating -- just don't blast the deeks. We ate what we shot; I still do.
Try #7 Hevishot for dispatching cripples on the water; tight patterns and lots of shot for hitting the heads.

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from ITHACASXS wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I can tell you it's a pretty scary practice in a public marsh.

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from ITHACASXS wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I can tell you it's a pretty scary practice in a public marsh.

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from abiddle013 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I don't hunt to hurt animals. So, whatever the species, my only goal is to make the cleanest and quickest kill possible. From time to time that may include shooting a duck (sitting on the water) that I was fortunate enough to fool into range. I feel that is quite ethical.

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from timvance8 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Phil, I like how you handled the situation. Part of being a sportsman (or woman) is that we kill our quarry as quickly and cleanly as possible. Some people interpret being sporting as giving our prey every available opportunity to evade us, ie, only shooting birds on the wing. However, I would contend that once the animal is within our proficient shooting range, we have done all that is required of us to be sporting.
Hunting is a blood sport. That is the nature of it. We owe it to the game we hunt to kill them as best we can, as quickly as we can. However that is best achieved is up to the hunter.

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from jcarlin wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Clinchknot,
While I respect your opinion and insight I have trouble with that particular logic. Sentiment could just as easily apply to all cripples and using bow for big game, who are a lot more likely to survive an arrow strike with it visible than a 5lb bird is. Additionally I've seen more than a couple of otherwise healthy deer with a leg that appeared to have been shot off over the years.

Scnario wise, I'm not talking about sneaking into a residential area or park and poaching, I'm talking about a rural wooded area where there are residences just close enough to be within a firearms safety zone, and that I wouldn't fire a shotgun due to the safety, legality, noise, and the rattle of pellets in gutters.

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from dneaster3 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Reminds me of a story...

Billy-Bob: "Do you shoot ducks when they're swimming on the water?"

Bubba : "No, stupid! I wait for them to stop swimmin' and be still!"

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from 8Crow wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Great post, Phil. As others have alluded, I believe whoever coined the phrase, "sitting duck" either didn't know what they were talking about, or they enjoyed some sort of significant advantage that I've yet to figure out. I wish I had a dollar for all the times I've unloaded a gun on a cripple.
Aside from cripples, I've never taken one on the water, but admittedly that has everything to do with the "everyone frowns on it" mentality and nothing to do with logic or actual reflection on the situation. Perhaps the notion that it is more ethical and therefore more sporting to shoot a duck on the wing originated from the sentiment that it is actually easier to kill a duck on the wing than on the water? Your scenario apparently played out perfectly for the young hunter. But just as often than not for me, I can see the pellets hitting the water all around the duck, so I know I'm on the money, and yet the duck does not go down. Anhinga's suggestion to use small shot for a denser pattern might be just the trick.

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from Steve in Virginia wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Phil -- you've presented a good illustration of a practical limitation to a commonly accepted ethical practice. Honestly, I've never encountered the situation you've described -- ducks are either shot on the wing or, if on the water, quickly take off at the slightest noise or movement. I accept that one goal of the hunt is a clean kill, but we also accept certain limitations in the name of sporting ethics. It sounds like you and your hunting partner did everything reasonably possible to get that duck into the air, but it also sounds like the better angels of your conscience would have preferred a different outcome.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

As an aside, is it illegal to shoot ducks on the water anywhere? I've not seen it in the game regs here. Cripples on the water? That is what many Labrador Retrievers do to earn their keep.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Still it appears no one knows how to shoot a wounded duck on the water...amazing.

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from vtbluegrass wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I hunt because its fun and I love the outdoors, but a lot of my motivation is the meat and somewhat justifies the money I spend. A duck and especially a goose on the water will be shot at. Now I am not going to wait for an in range flying bird to land for no reason but if something lands away and swims to me or if I can sneak boat them I will be going home with birds. Still game is always going to be the easiest to hit and a load of #2 strafed across the head and neck of a swimming goose tend to tip it like a wobbly canoe.

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from blevenson wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I stand if they land and if they don't fly, damn straight I'm gonna ground pound. I have given them an opportunity to fly and if they don't well then I guess I am going to shoot. If it makes me less of a sportsman in somebodys mind well you have to live with that.

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from DSMbirddog wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I think it is one of those questions we have to answer for ourselves. I would not shoot a duck on the water unless it was a cripple or a game bird on the ground. That's my choice. It is a iffy thing to do on crowded marshes.

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from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

-As 8crow and Douglas wrote I've found killing ducks on the water extremely difficult. Why I don't know.

-I feel shooting anything towards the ground/on the ground potentially dangerous compared to shooting in the air.

-If I was pot hunting due dire need, the rules of sport can be ignored. I don't think most of us are there, though, nor do most of us hunt as gainful employment.

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from HogBlog wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Shooting waterfowl or upland birds on the ground or water isn't stylish.

It's not particularly sporting, according to the spirit of wingshooting.

It can be dangerous if there are other hunters in the marsh.

But according to the generally accepted code of hunters' ethics, in which the goal of a quick, clean kill is paramount... well, it's definitely a step up from shooting them on the wing. In fact, taking a relatively low-percentage shot at a flying bird is completely contrary to hunting ethics.

And there's the ever-tightening noose that comes of justifying hunting with "ethical purity."

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from oldmotorcop wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

It's called wingshooting for a reason.
If you can't shoot them on the wing, you shouldn't try.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

WA MTN..Far from true about labs and wounded ducks ont he water. I know, I hunted many a ducks over water with a lab. A wounded duck can dive while a lab circles around looking for it...then the duck pops up somewhere else. NO, there is an effective way to kill a duck on the water that no one seems to know how to do. I would think Phil would speak up, and inform them on the technique. Oldmotor..like your reasoning.

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from Sb Wacker wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

On this side of the pond roosting or feeding Wood Pigeon with an air rifle makes for thrilling stalking

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from 99explorer wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Maybe as a a last resort, as in the case at hand.
But generally speaking, shooting ducks on the water is in the same league as shooting doves on a telephone wire.

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from Tigerbeetle wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Hey 99... I generally agree with you. But over the last 60+ years of hunting I have shot ducks on the water and doves on a high line. I like to eat both. I have even shot rabbits while they were sitting still. And I have shot a bunch on the run. As a teenager I had a cocker spaniel that caught 2 pheasants buried in the grass right beneath my feet. I didn't let them go. I like to eat what I shoot. I even shot quail on the ground one time. If all I want to do is shoot a flying target, I shoot skeet and trap.

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from Tigerbeetle wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Post script: I should have said "eat what the dog catches."

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from CCMJS wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Clinchknot, to kill a duck on the water one must shoot it. Again and again if you must and use a 10 gauge thunderf#(^&r.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

CCMJS Please! Have you ever shot at a duck sitting upright on the water that is wounded? One say out there some 30 yds, and not up close to you? Shot hits all around the duck on the water, and often never kills the duck! You act like you never witnessed that. No, there is a technique that takes out, and kills the duck, and it has been publicized many times before I knew about it.

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from Savageshot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I think an the important aspect of your story to bring up is that the shot was safe, no one on the other bank and hill to catch any ricochets. other than that its like turkey hunting, shot them in the head. waterfowl are just more likely float in then strut.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

No it is not. You do not shoot at the ducks head! Embarrassing how many shots you can take at a duck sitting on the water, and not kill it that way. You can go through a lot of shells, and I can kill it in ONE SHOT. I just like folks to respond, and feel I am not talking to the wall because I've felt like I've done that in the past on these threads. Good feed back is important to me. I would have thought Phil would have responded by now.

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from idduckhntr wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Clinchknot, just yesterday I shot a teal on the water that landed in my decoys. Guess what.... I shot it in the head. I can also tell you it took but 1 shot.

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from FARMBOY wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I taught my 2 boys it was not ethical to shoot ducks on the water. One day while hunting with my oldest son, age 12, a tight group of about 20 teal came whistling by at about 25 yards. I told him to take a shot. He raised his gun, followed the group as they passed by, then lowered his gun without shooting as they flew away. I said "Son, why didn't you shoot?" He said "Dad, they were too close together and I would have wounded too many." This is still my proudest moment as a father. He is now 25 and I have seen the ethics he learned from hunting become the foundation of his moral values.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

idduck. A lot depends on how far away the duck is. I would guess you didn't set your decoys 30 yds out. And guess what. You didn't use the best technique.

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from philbourjaily wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Clinchknot -- you're going to have to enlighten me. All I know about shooting crippled ducks is that I second the use of 7 hevishot because it gives you a combination of density and energy for hitting a duck's vitals. I have tried holding a little low on the theory that the top of the pattern hits the duck and the bottom skips up off the water to give you additional chances of hitting the vitals but I can't tell much differece in effectiveness.

I agree with everyone who says ducks on the water are hard to kill which is one reason I don't shoot them swimming. At any distance past about 25 yards it's hard to kill them on the water.

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from idduckhntr wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Clinchknot, my deeks were 25yrds out and I can tell you right know that I have forgoton more about duck huntin than you will ever know. Phill, I have heard that #7 or 6 steel works good on criples but have not tried it.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Phil..trust me on this one. If you shoot in the water short of the sitting duck, the pattern squishes for lack of a better term. The top part of the pattern meets the bottom part of the pattern on the water, and the round pellets will not deflect high like a bullet might, they skim along the water, and just over the top of the water. It takes the duck out with many more pellets hitting the duck than if you shot right at the duck. I'm getting old. I thought a lot of duck hunters realized that. But that tip was probably presented to me many years ago, and could have come in a F & S magazine. I've had a chance to try it both ways..at the duck, and short of the duck shooting at the water, and there is no comparison..given the duck is out in the water a decent distance.

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from PbHead wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Phil, I too have had ducks swim up close and fail to fly after repeated vocal encouragement and movement. I have decided that such a duck may be deaf or have vision problems. It also might be suicidal and want to die. I would rather swat this type of duck and enjoy eating it rather than feed a coyote or stray pet.

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from Hunter_Fass wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I personally don’t believe there is anything wrong with shooting a duck on the water/ground. If I wasn’t out there to kill him I would leave the gun at home. I don’t believe it is very sporting but that’s not the question. Whether it’s ethical is left for the hunter to decide. As far as I know it’s legal and haven’t heard otherwise, so who am I to judge? He who is without sin shall cast the first stone.

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from SD Bob wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

When I first read this, I thought my response would not be popular but many echoed my oppinion which is if they land in the decoys, fire away, just don't shoot my mojo.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Proud of'ya Sir Phil!

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

There can be nothing wrong or illegal about it, but an example. Guy gets invited to hunt ducks in the group's blind. Ducks are decoyed in, the signal given to shoot, shots are taken, and then this invite shoots a duck that landed in the decoys. Do you think the guy would get invited back by most duck hunting groups? I haven't hunted over decoys for some years now. Could be I'm wrong. Depends on the guys I guess.

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from Gtbigsky wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

The people that are pro shooting birds on the water or ground have a point. Personally, I wouldn't do it because its not very sporting just like I wouldn't intentionally snag a trout while fly fishing because I like to catch fish. However, the question was not about sport its about ethics.

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from RandyMI wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

It’s not much different from fishing trout with worms instead of flies…. Some find it abhorrent, others natural. Neither practice makes one man superior or more sporting or ethical than another. Same license fee; same shooting hours; same bag limit; et al…. It does rankle my hackles when a few elitists can get a prime “blue ribbon” stretch of a public trout stream declared exclusively open to their type of fishing and off-limits to lures or bait. That’s a crock of crap! As for fowl or critter on the water or ground or a branch, I’ve deliberately flushed many but have also shot a few such. They died immediately and ate just fine---I had no sense of shame or guilt then or now. Same with rabbits & squirrels.

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from Gtbigsky wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Randy,

I completely disagree. It does make someone more sporting to shoot a bird while flying rather than when it is stationary. Fly fishing is more sporting that baitfishing.

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from Gtbigsky wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Randy,

how can you disagree with the fact that shooting a moving target is more difficult than shooting a stationary target?

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from Robert Dawson wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Ethics are trickier than simply whatever's legal. Ethics have more to do with tradition. In big game hunting ask what "fair chase" means? Especially on private land with a guide. What is considered "fair chase" in Idaho where 80% plus of land is public owned versus in Texas where very little public land is hunt able and it's all "pay to play".

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from spuddog wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Regular practice? No. Ethical? Yes. Safety is the biggest concern after fair chase. Think about it. With opposable thumbs and the ability to reason we are always somewhat at the advantage, at least with technology. Fair If a deer stops running do I not shoot? Fair chase is never totally fair and how we hunt fairly depends on the animal we hunt. I've often wondered if I could sneak into range on a flock of geese in a field with my 22 mag. Not the way we'd typically hunt them, but I would consider it fair as it could be. Fairer, even. Good question, Phil.

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from Longbeard wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Boy Howdy, Phil, you really got the gang going this time. Good topic, sir!

Personally, one of the reasons I hunt is to challenge myself in the skills needed to accomplish the task at hand, ie, killing the critter. But how I kill it is at least as important to me as whether I kill it. I prefer using methods that test me and force me to increase my skill level. That’s why I took up bow hunting and why I prefer to shoot birds on the wing.

However, having said that, there have been a few times, just like Phil’s example, when the bird just would not cooperate. I was pheasant hunting on a preserve one time when a rooster just ran and ran until he finally flew up out of range and landed in a tree. He was clearly visible to me, my hunting partner and the dog handler. We approached to within 20 yards or so and the bird didn’t move. We tried shouting at it, throwing sticks and actually hitting the branch it was perched on, and finally shooting deliberately low to try and scare it into flying. The bird would not budge. Finally, I just said “OK, the heck with you” and shot it off the branch. Not a shot I was going to write home about, but what are you going to do? My friend had chosen the preserve with some pride, wanted the bird for dinner that night and was not offended in the least (and, brother, did he make a fine meal of that bird and the others our party took that blustery Virginia day).

So, sometimes the occasion calls for a little bending of our sporting standards. But I do not consider that to have been an unethical shot.

Finally, I like the way you handled your situation, Phil. You are clearly a gentleman.

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from dale freeman wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

You can't legislate morality and you can't dictate ethics.
To each situation, his own.

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from scratchgolf72 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

no bird should be shot on the ground other then turkey. theres a right and a wrong way to do things, and shooting ducks on the water is the wrong way to do it. shake my head.......

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from elmer f. wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

i think it is more of a "fair play" rule rather than an ethical law. while having a duck or goose in flight is our preferred method, testing our skill, and giving the bird a "chance". i do not see anything wrong with shooting a bird on the water, as long as it is SAFE for all others. the biggest concern about doing so, other than the obvious safty factor, is destroying your own decoys. if shooting the duck involves destroying $60.00 worth of decoys, then it is a rather foolish thing to do. when i was a kid, the one thing i was always taught was to never destroy the equipment. it deteriorated fast enough on its own, and we could not afford to be buying new things every hunt. the same still applies today. if i had to start over from scratch, i would not be hunting for a few years. our forefathers hunted out of necessity. but for us, it is sport. hunted game is about 10 times the cost of anything i could buy in a store. but for most of us, it is 10 times as good also. if pure economics were applied to hunting, our sport that we love so much, would be a thing of the past.

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from fishman417 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I do not hunt ducks but the right thing to do was try to scare the duck into the air maybe throw a rock at it.

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from Hunter_Fass wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I think a voting poll would have been nice to see. Not sure if there is anyway Mr. Bourjaily would be able to add one or not. It is election year.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Phil..Hope you get a chance to read my "how to water sloose a sitting, wounded duck. I sure enjoyed watching you on that Franchi O/U critique on cable tv. and the shooting tip on how to efficiently mount a shotgun. I forget what show it was I watch so many of those outdoor shows.

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from fox4 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

If you rattled or grunted in a buck, would you wait until he was spooked to shoot? If you did a good enough job to get the prey to pose in front of you for a shot at close range, you hunted well.
Of course an unsafe or foolish shot is unsafe and foolish.
The rest is fable or preference.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Clinchknot,

Thanks for the tip on sluiceing ducks. Never tried that before. Shooting at a low angle to the water is not a safe practice in general.

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from Bob81 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Just curious.

For those that are dead-set against ever shooting a bird on the water, why? To make the shot more arbitrarily difficult? If so, why do we only apply this to wingshooting? Why not also insist that all big game be shot on the run (to make it more sporting)?

Just curious because I don't really see the difference.

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from Nixstyx wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Bob81, I'm wondering the same thing. It goes back to Phil's example of the turkey. If you would only shoot other birds on the wing, why wouldn't you scare up a turkey to "give it more of a chance?" It would certainly make for a more difficult shot, if your goal is to be more sporting. What makes turkeys different? I just don't understand.

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from RyanDeer wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

For someone starting out that wants to start hunting yes that can be fine at first. But once someone becomes more experinced at hunting they should stick to the birds in the air.

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from outdoorsman170 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I personally see nothing wrong with taking a sitting duck. Is it funner blasting them out of the sky? of course it is! Bottom line is, ethics and fair chase collide on this, I'll go with ethics before I go with fair chase

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from Longbeard wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Nixstyx: It is almost impossible to kill turkeys on the wing (almost), at least within a short enough distance and sufficient time to recover them. They are usually flying away from you and their wing feathers are very tough to penetrate even with heavy turkey loads. If you do hit them, you are most likely to wound them just bad enough that they will likely die later that day, not enough to kill them. That's why turkey hunters typically aim for the head and neck area for a sure kill. If you are really good enough to shoot them in the head while they are flying, then maybe you can accomplish the task. But, even though the head and neck may appear to be a large target, certainly long, it really isn’t.

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from Longbeard wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

also, turkey hunter use very tight chokes to concentrate as many pellets in that small kill zone as possible, which means a wing shot is that much more difficult. Even shooting a bird that is bobbing or weaving its head can be a tough shot. Best to kill them on the ground.

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from JRE19 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I have heard many different point of views on this subject. Im not 100% sure where i stand on this subject, I believe strongly in making sure you have the perfect shot. Although a siting duck is like shooting fish in a barl, you did have to conceal yourself and call well enough to get a duck that close.

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from MattM37 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I like the author's thought process in coming to the conclusion that his partner did, indeed, earn the duck. I hunt grouse without a dog, and I put a lot of effort and thought into each outing. I read everything I can get my hands on about the birds and try to learn as much as I can. I miss eighty percent of the birds I flush, but still love to be out there. Every three or four seasons, I actually spot a bird before it flushes -- and when I do, I shoot it. I figure I've earned it. Not to mention the possibility that it's earned simply because I've spotted it, since actually seeing a motionless grouse is one of the hardest things to do in the woods (unless they're silhouetted on a tree limb, which doesn't happen all that often). Anyway, for me the deciding factor with any kill is the simple question: Was it earned? And there can be all kinds of answers to that.

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from Nixstyx wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Longbeard, just to play devils advocate, I'd say it's very possible to shoot turkeys on the wing. You just need the correct equipment... like a 10 gauge and No. 4 buckshot. That would drop 'em. Not saying anyone should do that, I'm just pointing out that it's entirely possible. Wouldn't that make for a harder shot and be "more sporting?"

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from idduckhntr wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

If you can kill a goose on the wing than you can kill a turkey when it is in the air.

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from Bob81 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

idduckntr,
I would tend to agree with you. Never tried shooting a turkey on the wing before, but I would think a full choke and a load of T shot would bring a turkey down just as well as a load of BBs and an imp. choke brings down a goose.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I know a young fellow that when he was in HS not too many years ago he and his dad climbed up over a river bank, and watched a flock of turkeys go into a willow thicket patch not all that big. His dad tells the kid. I'll go around back, and try to flush them out toward you, you stay on the river bank. Dad goes around back the turkeys flush towards the kid, and he dumped one in the air. I asked him about the difficulty of bringing it down, having heard it was darn near impossible. He shook his head...one shot, and down it came. He even had time to pick out the one he wanted to shoot.

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from nchunt101 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

O agree with one of the above posts...it is easier to kill a duck/goose decoying in with feet locked and wings set than on the water. Shooting on the water is a bad idea because unless the bird is fairly close you actually have less target area and the wings seem to shed shot like water. Robert Ruark wrote about this.

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from NorCal Cazadora wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Having not grown up in a hunting family, I've had to sort out hunting ethics on my own, and the paramount ethic, to me, is clean kill.

Obviously I'm far more proud of making a challenging shot. But I don't set my alarm for 2:30 a.m. and run off to chew through $50-60 worth of gas, ammo and travel food just to come home empty-handed. I hunt ducks because I eat ducks.

I think all of my effective (read: instant death) water shots, whether at a crip or an unfortunate duck that swam into range, have been within 15-20 yards, where a fairly dense pattern makes it likely some shot will hit the head or neck. Anything farther than that invariably involves more shells, a vigorous chase and a risk of failure.

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from BackRoad600 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I don't have a problem with it, and I've done it to dispatch the wounded. (or apparently so.)

I have had a similar situation to what you described, but not fired. I dunno, I just wasn't really that keen on shooting at an un-wounded duck swimming around...Tried to get it to fly, but it wouldn't.

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from andyp311 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Ethics in this case is a matter of opinion. If it's a legal method of take, then I'll consider it ethical. If a person doesn't find the regulations in their state or unit to be ethical, they are entitled too feel that way, but they have no room to pass judgement onto someone else that is hunting within their states laws.

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from bounty1 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I jumped on my cousins case one time for shooting a duck on the water. He said "Would you shoot a sitting rabbit, or make it run first?" He had me there.

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from derik wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

If it's legal to do so, "You hunt the way you want to, I'll hunt the way I want to".

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Puddle ducks are much more vulnerable just as they jump from the water and are clawing for air. I have taken as many as nine mallards in one shot that way. I don't think shooting them on the water is particularly deadly. At least my extensive experience has shown that to be the case. Also, in forty some years of waterfowl hunting I have never seen shot of any sort or size ricochet when taking birds on the water, crippled or otherwise. I don't have a problem with folks who sluice ducks or shoot geese that land in their field decoys, etc. I usually set my deeks so far out in the field that I can't kill a goose if it lands in them anyway. I take them passing around for a look.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I'm tired. A long brutal but productive day of pheasant hunting. The point I was trying to make above is that shooting ducks as they are jumping from the water is statistically probably less "sporting" than shooting them on the water. I don't hear any of the sports on this thread balking at jump shooting. Hmmmmm.

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from bounty1 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Nine mallards with one shot Ontario Honker? And the limit is what? Was that back in your market hunting days with a one pound punt gun? 3 with one shot I could see. 3X3 with one shot... I don't think so.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Lead shot days (1982). #2 size shot heavy loads in 3" magnum. About a hundred mallards huddled together at thirty yards. Got a bead above them, stood up out of the tulies and when the birds jumped off the water, fired away. Took one shot and only one shot because two days before in the same spot on the same pond I shot seven mallards in one shot. The next day I shot eight in one shot and then the third day nine in one shot. The daily limit was six. Sorry but I can't revive the birds exceeding the daily limit killed in one shot and send them along their way. Ours was a large family and other members appreciated the extra birds. Nevertheless, I laid off hunting for a while after that. I had returned to college then anyway and needed to quite playing and put my nose back in the books. Also, my lab was done for. She wouldn't go back out after the last two birds. I had to take her home (about two miles), let her rest, and came back in the evening and picked them up (without a shotgun to avoid further temptation).

Again, I can only emphasize that puddle ducks are extremely vulnerable when they first jump off the water. Geese and divers less so because they have to run on the water before take off. Puddle ducks expose their undersides and wings.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

OPntario...It is just the nature of duck hunting. Most duck hunters, or many good ones anyway, accept the fact that ducks should be taken in the air, not shot sitting on the water. Personal rules, I guess, that many accept. Jump shooting? Sure, they are vulnerable with wings out, and chance at clean kills, and they are flying! Other game, other rules of engagement. And when you are low to the water as you usually are, the pellets will "skip" deflect low off the water.

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from bounty1 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Ontario Honker. Now you're telling us that you downed 2 dozen mallards with 3 shots. OMG... How many others believe this one?

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from Pathfinder1 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Hi...

Shoot a sitting duck? Never have, never will. Very un-sporting.

I miss enough of them when they're flying, and don't mind a bit...!!

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

bounty.. I think Ontario hunts out of one of those old "punt boats" were they called? The low, flat boats the gunner would lay in, and then slouce ducks on the water with a cannon type gun. I think the barrel was loaded with nails, and whatever. Just kidden. Ontario seems to be a dedicated hunter. He just often hunts in the bitter cold, and then comes in and posts before his head thaws it appears.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I think a few of you young guys weren't behind the business end of a shotgun back in the days of lead shot. Probably only the business end of your diapers. I once shot more than a dozen ducks in three shots from a flock jumped off a small puddle in a Western Montana agricultural ditch. Probably a hundred mallards were stacked up the banks in there and my brother and I got the drop on them accidentally when pheasant hunting (he was so surprised he never fired a shot). In those situations it was hard not to knock down at least a half dozen in one shot. I have also shot three honkers in one shot on more than one occasion. This year alone using only steel shot I took two geese in one shot on two occasions and not in situations where that is typically done (i.e. not when they are sitting in the decoys or about to land in them - both were pass shooting situations).

Perhaps some of you young naysayers should take a look through my profile photos. All seventy of them, not just the last page. I have checked out your illustrious photo albums. Pffft! Nothing to show for yourselves but a lot of inexperience. Any experienced duck hunter would not scoff at the possibility of shooting that many ducks from a large flock settled into a small spot (especially when using heavy shot). You young fellas need to book yourselves into a waterfowl hunting trip in Manitoba or North Dakota. You'll see situations that will easily make a believer out of you. Many times over.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I use to wait for mallards and honkers to cross, and get two with one shot back in the days when I couldn't afford shells, but you gots me beat Ontario. :)

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from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

There are lots of things that are legal. Eighteen year old girls are legal. If you are an old man and ONLY ground swat 18 year old girls, then you are probably there only for the meat and not the sport. Make sense?
The same goes for the birds/waterfowl. Why are you there? Are you there for the game the romance, the meat or different combinations of the above?
Bow Hunting, Fly Fishing, Muzzle Loading, etc....are not always the most efficient way to play (Yes, there are times when each has an advantage, but in general a scoped rifle and bait SHOULD give a huge advantage, in the right hands)so why do you do it? Sport? Is it because you've mastered the others and in order to make it more sporting, you even things up to keep the game more interesting? Is stalking with yards hunting and dropping an animal at 400 yards shooting?
While I have enjoyed most metheods of bloodsport over the years, I have pretty much settled on fly fishing and wingshooting 95% of the year. Why? Because I enjoy it! I've caught enough fish and shot enough birds that I no longer HAVE TO. Sometimes when it's to easy, I even stop and try and make it harder (but not to the disadvantage of the game like not enough gun or rod when releasing fish). It doesn't make me feel holier than thou or like an elitest. I just do it for me.Hell, sometimes I call a kid over and enjoy watching them catch the fish instead of me. Then again, if I had to have the meat....to live... I might use any legal metheod.
I try not to judge how anyone goes about the bloodsports as long as it's legal. Hell, the shot I would have taken at 20, isn't the shot I'd probably take today...which is why we get older and 18 year girls SHOULD get further and further from our mind. As Sportsmen, we evolve at different stages. A young man who hasn't seen much game often NEEDS to swat the bird so he has something to return with and strut. And older man may pass and still have a good day, because he's shot thousands of birds and doesn't need to prove anything. Which is right? Probably both....THAT IS...until safety becomes and issue. Risking deer shots, swatting birds on the water, etc...can all lead to problems down the road for the guy WHO HAS TO COME BACK WITH SOMETHING ..for the strut.
So if after a year or two of hunting if a YOUNG MAN HAS TO GROUND SWAT...I'm not going to judge...if 40 years you are still doing it...and consider it SPORT...maybe you are a killer instead of a sportsman? I don't know, it's not why I go...and like I said AS LONG AS IT'S SAFE AND LEGAL...I'm not going to judge why the old guy is leaving the bar with an 18 year old. ;)

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Haverod...And here is my bigger picture. IN the age of information/communication, when we have features such as the internet to find out how people live, and function, and aren't blind to what is happening in other areas outside our own narrow scope, it contributes to class divide, to polorization of peoples. That is why there are so many locked gated communities, and private hunting clubs etc. Many don't complain about the values, and ethics of others they just segregate themselves from them, not wanting to be exposed to them whether they are legal to do what they do, or not.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Well said, Haverod. I should add that I might take a sluice shot even today at age 60 if it's been a nothing kind of day. Or a couple of nothing kinda days. However, I don't do it because I need something to strut with. It's because the dogs would like something to strut with. The last two birds I took in Ontario this year were on the water shot through horrible brush. Lucky I got anything. It's the only shot I would get and it's the only bird I'd had a shot at for two days. I took it and the dogs were thrilled to be able to make a water retrieve for a couple of nice greenheads. But, like you said, at my age I generally pass on that kind of thing these days. I don't need the meat that bad and I have better things to do with my time than gutting out waterfowl. Like packing for a trip to Montana to shoot pheasants. And I took a rooster on the ground here too. Gad, the hunting is so crumby this year that I was to the point where I'd do anything to give the dogs some action. Not terribly sporting but they don't care. Old Pearl, who is supposed to be dying of cancer, was desperate to put her teeth around a bird. She was singing like an opera queen when those birds landed in the field road in front of my Jimmy. Sure made her happy to finally get a bird. And that made me very happy. Threw the limp bird on the floor in front of the passenger seat, let Pearl back in, and just as I fired up the engine that rooster came back to life. Whooee! Exciting times there for a bit with three dogs and a squawking pheasant going haywire all at once. Damned near gave me a heart attack. Glad we didn't miss out on the experience though.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Well said, Haverod. I should add that I might take a sluice shot even today at age 60 if it's been a nothing kind of day. Or a couple of nothing kinda days. However, I don't do it because I need something to strut with. It's because the dogs would like something to strut with. The last two birds I took in Ontario this year were on the water shot through horrible brush. Lucky I got anything. It's the only shot I would get and it's the only bird I'd had a shot at for two days. I took it and the dogs were thrilled to be able to make a water retrieve for a couple of nice greenheads. But, like you said, at my age I generally pass on that kind of thing these days. I don't need the meat that bad and I have better things to do with my time than gutting out waterfowl. Like packing for a trip to Montana to shoot pheasants. And I took a rooster on the ground here too. Gad, the hunting is so crumby this year that I was to the point where I'd do anything to give the dogs some action. Not terribly sporting but they don't care. Old Pearl, who is supposed to be dying of cancer, was desperate to put her teeth around a bird. She was singing like an opera queen when those birds landed in the field road in front of my Jimmy. Sure made her happy to finally get a bird. And that made me very happy. Threw the limp bird on the floor in front of the passenger seat, let Pearl back in, and just as I fired up the engine that rooster came back to life. Whooee! Exciting times there for a bit with three dogs and a squawking pheasant going haywire all at once. Damned near gave me a heart attack. Glad we didn't miss out on the experience though.

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from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I never worry about men who own dogs taking unsafe shots at birds, be they low fliers, on the water or on the ground.THEY GET IT.It's why I prefer to hunt with other dog men.
When I take people upland bird hunting I tell them, don't give the dog instructions I DO and make sure there is blue sky over and under the bird. "You shoot my dog or another member of the party,I'm going to hit you so hard, you won't wake up until the cops arrive."....and I mean it.
No man or dog is worth taking a dumb shot for a bird breast.
When I had Retrievers I was also CLEAR AS A BELL, before we got in the blind. "Do not shoot crips...I will. Do not sluice ducks, anything with no blue sky under their feet is a shot taken ONLY BY ME and I will tell you when and why." " Also...DO NOT SHOOT WHEN THE DOG IS OUT OF THE BLIND UNLESS I CALL IT..PERIOD!" I know what stage the dog is at and I also know that in the heat of the moment, anyone used to sluicing can forget the dog is out...and that makes for a horrible day.We've all seen ducks and geese circle right after being shot at and try to land on their own dead..,hapens all the time. One time a guy ignored me so I took his box of shells and tossed them in the water. I suggested he leave...he thought I was kidding until I threatened to do the same with his gun.
Forty years ago I had a GSP. An older gent was helping me refine my one year old and letting her run with his dog, a finished GSP that was his pride and joy. As we neared the top of a hill the older dog locked up on point on a clump of grass. The bells went silent.
Mine didn't really honor him (we hadn't worked on that yet) she just caught wind of the bird and went on point right behind him. As we are both looking for a camera in my vest a shot rang out. A sluicer coming up the other side of the hill had seen the same pheasant run into the clump from the other side...he shot the clump, the bird and the dog right in the face, mine only got some pellets in her mouth because she was downhill(her attempt at backing saved her life) . I remember the man sobbing and I swear if I hadn't grabbed his gun he'd have killed the slucier. His dog was in bad shape, and mine had to be tackled and taken to the vet. His dog was put down and mine blinked until she was 2.(lots of work bringing her back).
Even when the warden came the guy felt he had done nothing wrong. He believed that since he didn't have a dog,it was ok to sluice in a WMA. In fact all he was worried about was a pheasant breast that probably would have cost a buck in those days, without pellets in it.
The important thing is IT'S A BIRD. There are millions of them. Only shoot the ones that are 100% safe and everyone is happy. ;)

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from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

P.S. I know this might offend some guys here, but bird hunting without a dog is kind of like dancing with your sister. It ain;t the same.....Like Ontario,much of my hunting is FOR the dogs. ;)

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Don't quite understand your concerned for sluicing a wounded duck on open water when the situation is right, and presents itself. If, and when I sluice a wounded duck there is open water before and after the duck, and I know if a dog is on water that could be hit. Some have suggested this is dangerous. Not when I do it. No skipped shot that I take out a duck with is going to skip across the water for 100's of yards and injury someone on the other bank. And I have never hunted in waters with a number of hunters on the water.

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from sticky wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

People need to lighten up. We're taking about a duck for God's sake. Let's see, it's"sporting" to hide in a blind, put life-like decoys in the water, and use a device to imitate the sounds made by ducks, and blast it with your semi-auto firing 3 inch magnum loads when it is most vulnerable. But shouting a duck on the water isn't?

Ethical hunting begins and ends with safety and making the cleanest kill possible. The rest is provincialism and snobbery.

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from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Clinch,all I'm saying is if MY dog is in the blind, I'm making that call. Every blind needs a Captain...especially when there is aq dog in it.

Sticky, ALL sporting metheods are a degree of provinialism and snobbery...otherwise you can use nets, dynomite and unplugged guns.

Like I said...within the law, hunt and fish as you wish and so won't I. However, if I'm your host...you're only welcome if you play by my safety standards.

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from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Just to be clear. If the Retriever is in the water or the Upland dog out in front....and someone is used to sluicing crips...then you are only asking for trouble.
Say the Lab breaks, it's a young dog...he's in without command...no one should be shooting that low until the guy in charge calls it.....and I want my hand locked on the collar if and when someone does.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I walk out om front of the blind where I can see everything, and away from anyone to shoot a wounded duck on the water. Simple as that. Not out of the blind. And it is too sporting and difficult for me to get up at O'dark 30 anymore, and set out deeks, the work involved, and the work after. I've given up duck hunting. But I did get two more roosters again yesterday, and shots at huns today, but no cigar. Luv to hunt those huns, but they get skiddish into the season, and not due to being hunted either. I haven't quite figured that one out yet.

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I think whatever way to make a cleaner kill is very ethical. Not shooting a Duck on the water is like saying lets spook the deer(or Elk,Moose,Caribou) to shoot it on the run.

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from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

FARMBOY.....You have every right to be proud. You done a good job with your boys. Nothing makes me prouder than hunting or fishing with my son and watching his sporting ethics and respect. ;)

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I almost always hunt alone in remote areas and well after the season opener so the probability of an accident ground shooting or sluicing a bird is about akin to having a Martian space ship drop on me or my dogs.

When hunting from a layout blind with someone else (I don't own one), I leave the dogs home. Too dangerous with dogs that break on shot. I hate shooting off my butt so I rarely accept the offer for that kind of hunting.

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from O Garcia wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

One of the reasons the Germans wouldn't use shotguns for clearing trenches during WW1 was that they regarded the shotgun as a sporting weapon, specifically as a wingshooting gun. They wouldn't use it on ground bound people, even if they're enemies.

So they invented the submachinegun.

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from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I have lay out blinds. I hate sitting up to shoot.Making an old man like me use a lay out at 60 in December is cruel and unethical treatment on the part of the geese.
;)

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Ralph...NO it isn't. There are rules of engagement for the different species we hunt. So you consider a Cape Buffalo hunt the same as a Rock Chuck hunt when it comes to the ethics of how we hunt them?

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from johnmn wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

To spuddog and others thinking about rifles and geese... I'm pretty sure that's illegal. It's illegal in MN to use single ball ammunition, and I thought that was a federal regulation. And when I'm in a public slough with guys on the other side, I'm happy for that regulation! Spuddog, the situation you described (sneaking up to geese in a field with a rifle) sounds safe and fun, but the regulation that protects us in the marsh doesn't allow for your case.
To jcarlin... using a bow for a duck is left in a little bit of a grey area. I'd check with your local CO before proceeding.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

In all jurisdictions on both sides of the border it is illegal to use any firearm that is not a shotgun to hunt migratory fowl. And no shotgun larger than a 10 gauge (unfortunately, no minimum size requirement). Spuddog, if you're shooting geese with a rifle you are a purposeful poacher (as opposed to my inadvertent poaching episodes above). Clean up your act! As far as I know it's legal to take waterfowl with a bow and arrow just about anywhere one wants to try it. I have been told North Bay, Ontario allows hunters to take geese inside the city limits but only with a bow (they have a serious honker problem down there!).

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Haverod, I was also born in 1952. Not ready to give in to Father Time yet though. I literally walked the legs off my dogs yesterday. Got a limit of roosters ... finally, within the last hour of daylight. My little Britt pup was so pooped she had to lay down to eat when we got home. But they love it! Old Pearl lasted the whole day and is looking pretty good this morning. She'll be going in for her final chemo treatment next week so we'll have to make hay now while we can.

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from PbHead wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Gee Phil, four days and over a hundred comments on this topic. Please don't bring up wife beating and dog training for topics.

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from joejv4 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Completely ethical. Maybe not quite as challenging, or what some would call "sporting", but nothing unethical about it as far as I am concerned. If I have a bird surprise me by dropping into my spread, BANG! it's going to count against my bag limit. If I have shots at them after they land, that won't destroy my dekes, It's like shooting sitting ducks and I'll have at 'em. I guess I'm what clinchknot would call a meathunter. As far as I'm concerned, anybody who has a problem with meathunting, by the way, and thinks that hunting should only be for sport, has too much free time and disposable income.

I hunt for meat. I'm one of those guys who would prefer to fill a doe tag over tagging a big bruiser buck because the meat isn't as tough and I can't eat antlers.

Now to seemingly contradict myself a little bit with regard to "on the water/ground vs in the air", probably 99% of my waterfowl shooting is at birds in the air.

With waterfowl you'll have a lot more opportunity to drop birds with wings set and feet down than you will to take birds on the ground or water. So, while I do primarily shoot birds in the air, it's for entirely different reasoning - playing the numbers game to get me to my limit sooner and get them home and into the freezer. If I waited for water/ground shots - I'd be spending a lot more at the grocery store.

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Hey Clinchknot-
Maybe my opinion on ethical killing of an animal was misunderstood? If any act is against local, and or federal, game laws; I do engage in such practices in the killing of game animals. As for the "rules of engagement" I reserve that for war ethics discussion.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

So Ralph, you're a self-confessed dedicated poacher? I think this is the wrong site for you.

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from uglymike wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

If it' legal, do it if you must. I prefer mine on the wing.

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from RES1956 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Boy this thread has turned into a first class urinating competition,,,,

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from wisc14 wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

in my opinion their is a difference between something that isn't all that sporting and something that is unethical.

just the other day i was grouse hunting with my dog. she flushed a grouse that flew directly up into a tree. it was towards the end of the day so i shot it out of the tree. i wanted to give the dog a retrieve plus it tasted darn good that night. maybe not my most sporting shot but i wouldn't call it unethical. especially considering i really manage my land for woodcock and ruffed grouse more than anything else by keeping the young aspen stands

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from Jarod Smith wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

So im looking for my first deer rifle. i cant get anything to expensive. Also i dont wont any thing to big

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from Jarod Smith wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

So im looking for my first deer rifle. i cant get anything to expensive. Also i dont wont any thing to big

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from Jarod Smith wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

any ideas

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from Jarod Smith wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

any ideas

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from smccardell wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

What if that duck, landed instead in a cornfield? Should goose hunters only shoot at flying geese when hunting out of a cornfield? And for the record, there is NOTHING wrong with being a meathunter or a MeatEater. Shooting a bird and not eating the meet, to me, is more unethical than it is shooting a duck on the water.

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from Bob81 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Just curious.

For those that are dead-set against ever shooting a bird on the water, why? To make the shot more arbitrarily difficult? If so, why do we only apply this to wingshooting? Why not also insist that all big game be shot on the run (to make it more sporting)?

Just curious because I don't really see the difference.

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from Tigerbeetle wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Hey 99... I generally agree with you. But over the last 60+ years of hunting I have shot ducks on the water and doves on a high line. I like to eat both. I have even shot rabbits while they were sitting still. And I have shot a bunch on the run. As a teenager I had a cocker spaniel that caught 2 pheasants buried in the grass right beneath my feet. I didn't let them go. I like to eat what I shoot. I even shot quail on the ground one time. If all I want to do is shoot a flying target, I shoot skeet and trap.

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from vthunter4 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

In reference to a different bird, but the same situation, most if not all of the guys we hunt with in VT will shoot partridge on the ground or in the tree. Without a dog, in the thick northern woods it is extremely difficult to shoot a bird after its flushed. If you can see it for 20 yards we would consider that a wide open shot. As a result none of us hesitate if we get a chance to shoot before the bird is airborne.

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from Nixstyx wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Bob81, I'm wondering the same thing. It goes back to Phil's example of the turkey. If you would only shoot other birds on the wing, why wouldn't you scare up a turkey to "give it more of a chance?" It would certainly make for a more difficult shot, if your goal is to be more sporting. What makes turkeys different? I just don't understand.

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from timvance8 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Phil, I like how you handled the situation. Part of being a sportsman (or woman) is that we kill our quarry as quickly and cleanly as possible. Some people interpret being sporting as giving our prey every available opportunity to evade us, ie, only shooting birds on the wing. However, I would contend that once the animal is within our proficient shooting range, we have done all that is required of us to be sporting.
Hunting is a blood sport. That is the nature of it. We owe it to the game we hunt to kill them as best we can, as quickly as we can. However that is best achieved is up to the hunter.

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from elkslayer wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I don't think there is anything wrong with shooting a duck on the water. Whether I called it in and it landed in the decoys or swam into them or if I am stalking along a river, creek or lake shore the goal is to make a clean kill. Once you get into range the hunting is over and the shooting starts, if the target is stationary all the better. Don't we prefer stationary targets for big game hunting, why should birds be any different, most grouse I shoot are on the ground too.

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from HogBlog wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Shooting waterfowl or upland birds on the ground or water isn't stylish.

It's not particularly sporting, according to the spirit of wingshooting.

It can be dangerous if there are other hunters in the marsh.

But according to the generally accepted code of hunters' ethics, in which the goal of a quick, clean kill is paramount... well, it's definitely a step up from shooting them on the wing. In fact, taking a relatively low-percentage shot at a flying bird is completely contrary to hunting ethics.

And there's the ever-tightening noose that comes of justifying hunting with "ethical purity."

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from idduckhntr wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Clinchknot, just yesterday I shot a teal on the water that landed in my decoys. Guess what.... I shot it in the head. I can also tell you it took but 1 shot.

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from Anhinga wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

My grandfather, Pap, taught me to duck hunt beginning about 60 yrs ago. I hunted with him for many years then he hunted with me for the last 10 years of his life. I took him the last time and he shot his last duck when he was 92, on the wing. His admonition was to shoot flying ducks (preferably feet down, coming into the 'spread'), but if you brought them into the deeks, there was nothing wrong with shooting them while floating -- just don't blast the deeks. We ate what we shot; I still do.
Try #7 Hevishot for dispatching cripples on the water; tight patterns and lots of shot for hitting the heads.

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from CCMJS wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Clinchknot, to kill a duck on the water one must shoot it. Again and again if you must and use a 10 gauge thunderf#(^&r.

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from fox4 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

If you rattled or grunted in a buck, would you wait until he was spooked to shoot? If you did a good enough job to get the prey to pose in front of you for a shot at close range, you hunted well.
Of course an unsafe or foolish shot is unsafe and foolish.
The rest is fable or preference.

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from sticky wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

People need to lighten up. We're taking about a duck for God's sake. Let's see, it's"sporting" to hide in a blind, put life-like decoys in the water, and use a device to imitate the sounds made by ducks, and blast it with your semi-auto firing 3 inch magnum loads when it is most vulnerable. But shouting a duck on the water isn't?

Ethical hunting begins and ends with safety and making the cleanest kill possible. The rest is provincialism and snobbery.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Clinchknot,

Thanks for the tip on sluiceing ducks. Never tried that before. Shooting at a low angle to the water is not a safe practice in general.

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from jcarlin wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Clinchknot,
While I respect your opinion and insight I have trouble with that particular logic. Sentiment could just as easily apply to all cripples and using bow for big game, who are a lot more likely to survive an arrow strike with it visible than a 5lb bird is. Additionally I've seen more than a couple of otherwise healthy deer with a leg that appeared to have been shot off over the years.

Scnario wise, I'm not talking about sneaking into a residential area or park and poaching, I'm talking about a rural wooded area where there are residences just close enough to be within a firearms safety zone, and that I wouldn't fire a shotgun due to the safety, legality, noise, and the rattle of pellets in gutters.

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from PbHead wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Phil, I too have had ducks swim up close and fail to fly after repeated vocal encouragement and movement. I have decided that such a duck may be deaf or have vision problems. It also might be suicidal and want to die. I would rather swat this type of duck and enjoy eating it rather than feed a coyote or stray pet.

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from spuddog wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Regular practice? No. Ethical? Yes. Safety is the biggest concern after fair chase. Think about it. With opposable thumbs and the ability to reason we are always somewhat at the advantage, at least with technology. Fair If a deer stops running do I not shoot? Fair chase is never totally fair and how we hunt fairly depends on the animal we hunt. I've often wondered if I could sneak into range on a flock of geese in a field with my 22 mag. Not the way we'd typically hunt them, but I would consider it fair as it could be. Fairer, even. Good question, Phil.

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from Bob81 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

As a rule, I try not to shoot ducks on the water, but on occassion have.

I am torn between my desire to be more ethical by "giving the bird a chance", and my desire to be more ethical by minimizing lost and injured birds.

I don't think there is any question that shooting ducks on the wing results in more lost cripples than shooting them on the water. For this reason, I will never criticize someone for shooting a "sitting duck".

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from dale freeman wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

You can't legislate morality and you can't dictate ethics.
To each situation, his own.

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from TM wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Shooting a sitting duck is not sporting, but neither is shooting a high fence deer, a stocked pheasant, or an animal over bait. In many locations, these are all legal and many enjoy it. Don't think there's an ethical problem with taking a sitting duck, but I wouldn't want to make a habit out of it.

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from abiddle013 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I don't hunt to hurt animals. So, whatever the species, my only goal is to make the cleanest and quickest kill possible. From time to time that may include shooting a duck (sitting on the water) that I was fortunate enough to fool into range. I feel that is quite ethical.

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from wisc14 wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

in my opinion their is a difference between something that isn't all that sporting and something that is unethical.

just the other day i was grouse hunting with my dog. she flushed a grouse that flew directly up into a tree. it was towards the end of the day so i shot it out of the tree. i wanted to give the dog a retrieve plus it tasted darn good that night. maybe not my most sporting shot but i wouldn't call it unethical. especially considering i really manage my land for woodcock and ruffed grouse more than anything else by keeping the young aspen stands

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from Hunter_Fass wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I personally don’t believe there is anything wrong with shooting a duck on the water/ground. If I wasn’t out there to kill him I would leave the gun at home. I don’t believe it is very sporting but that’s not the question. Whether it’s ethical is left for the hunter to decide. As far as I know it’s legal and haven’t heard otherwise, so who am I to judge? He who is without sin shall cast the first stone.

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from Robert Dawson wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Ethics are trickier than simply whatever's legal. Ethics have more to do with tradition. In big game hunting ask what "fair chase" means? Especially on private land with a guide. What is considered "fair chase" in Idaho where 80% plus of land is public owned versus in Texas where very little public land is hunt able and it's all "pay to play".

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from Pathfinder1 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Hi...

Shoot a sitting duck? Never have, never will. Very un-sporting.

I miss enough of them when they're flying, and don't mind a bit...!!

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from MattM37 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I like the author's thought process in coming to the conclusion that his partner did, indeed, earn the duck. I hunt grouse without a dog, and I put a lot of effort and thought into each outing. I read everything I can get my hands on about the birds and try to learn as much as I can. I miss eighty percent of the birds I flush, but still love to be out there. Every three or four seasons, I actually spot a bird before it flushes -- and when I do, I shoot it. I figure I've earned it. Not to mention the possibility that it's earned simply because I've spotted it, since actually seeing a motionless grouse is one of the hardest things to do in the woods (unless they're silhouetted on a tree limb, which doesn't happen all that often). Anyway, for me the deciding factor with any kill is the simple question: Was it earned? And there can be all kinds of answers to that.

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from philbourjaily wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Clinchknot -- you're going to have to enlighten me. All I know about shooting crippled ducks is that I second the use of 7 hevishot because it gives you a combination of density and energy for hitting a duck's vitals. I have tried holding a little low on the theory that the top of the pattern hits the duck and the bottom skips up off the water to give you additional chances of hitting the vitals but I can't tell much differece in effectiveness.

I agree with everyone who says ducks on the water are hard to kill which is one reason I don't shoot them swimming. At any distance past about 25 yards it's hard to kill them on the water.

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from vtbluegrass wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I hunt because its fun and I love the outdoors, but a lot of my motivation is the meat and somewhat justifies the money I spend. A duck and especially a goose on the water will be shot at. Now I am not going to wait for an in range flying bird to land for no reason but if something lands away and swims to me or if I can sneak boat them I will be going home with birds. Still game is always going to be the easiest to hit and a load of #2 strafed across the head and neck of a swimming goose tend to tip it like a wobbly canoe.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

As an aside, is it illegal to shoot ducks on the water anywhere? I've not seen it in the game regs here. Cripples on the water? That is what many Labrador Retrievers do to earn their keep.

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from dneaster3 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Reminds me of a story...

Billy-Bob: "Do you shoot ducks when they're swimming on the water?"

Bubba : "No, stupid! I wait for them to stop swimmin' and be still!"

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from Bob81 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

idduckntr,
I would tend to agree with you. Never tried shooting a turkey on the wing before, but I would think a full choke and a load of T shot would bring a turkey down just as well as a load of BBs and an imp. choke brings down a goose.

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from RandyMI wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

It’s not much different from fishing trout with worms instead of flies…. Some find it abhorrent, others natural. Neither practice makes one man superior or more sporting or ethical than another. Same license fee; same shooting hours; same bag limit; et al…. It does rankle my hackles when a few elitists can get a prime “blue ribbon” stretch of a public trout stream declared exclusively open to their type of fishing and off-limits to lures or bait. That’s a crock of crap! As for fowl or critter on the water or ground or a branch, I’ve deliberately flushed many but have also shot a few such. They died immediately and ate just fine---I had no sense of shame or guilt then or now. Same with rabbits & squirrels.

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from idduckhntr wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

If you can kill a goose on the wing than you can kill a turkey when it is in the air.

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I think whatever way to make a cleaner kill is very ethical. Not shooting a Duck on the water is like saying lets spook the deer(or Elk,Moose,Caribou) to shoot it on the run.

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from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

There are lots of things that are legal. Eighteen year old girls are legal. If you are an old man and ONLY ground swat 18 year old girls, then you are probably there only for the meat and not the sport. Make sense?
The same goes for the birds/waterfowl. Why are you there? Are you there for the game the romance, the meat or different combinations of the above?
Bow Hunting, Fly Fishing, Muzzle Loading, etc....are not always the most efficient way to play (Yes, there are times when each has an advantage, but in general a scoped rifle and bait SHOULD give a huge advantage, in the right hands)so why do you do it? Sport? Is it because you've mastered the others and in order to make it more sporting, you even things up to keep the game more interesting? Is stalking with yards hunting and dropping an animal at 400 yards shooting?
While I have enjoyed most metheods of bloodsport over the years, I have pretty much settled on fly fishing and wingshooting 95% of the year. Why? Because I enjoy it! I've caught enough fish and shot enough birds that I no longer HAVE TO. Sometimes when it's to easy, I even stop and try and make it harder (but not to the disadvantage of the game like not enough gun or rod when releasing fish). It doesn't make me feel holier than thou or like an elitest. I just do it for me.Hell, sometimes I call a kid over and enjoy watching them catch the fish instead of me. Then again, if I had to have the meat....to live... I might use any legal metheod.
I try not to judge how anyone goes about the bloodsports as long as it's legal. Hell, the shot I would have taken at 20, isn't the shot I'd probably take today...which is why we get older and 18 year girls SHOULD get further and further from our mind. As Sportsmen, we evolve at different stages. A young man who hasn't seen much game often NEEDS to swat the bird so he has something to return with and strut. And older man may pass and still have a good day, because he's shot thousands of birds and doesn't need to prove anything. Which is right? Probably both....THAT IS...until safety becomes and issue. Risking deer shots, swatting birds on the water, etc...can all lead to problems down the road for the guy WHO HAS TO COME BACK WITH SOMETHING ..for the strut.
So if after a year or two of hunting if a YOUNG MAN HAS TO GROUND SWAT...I'm not going to judge...if 40 years you are still doing it...and consider it SPORT...maybe you are a killer instead of a sportsman? I don't know, it's not why I go...and like I said AS LONG AS IT'S SAFE AND LEGAL...I'm not going to judge why the old guy is leaving the bar with an 18 year old. ;)

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from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I never worry about men who own dogs taking unsafe shots at birds, be they low fliers, on the water or on the ground.THEY GET IT.It's why I prefer to hunt with other dog men.
When I take people upland bird hunting I tell them, don't give the dog instructions I DO and make sure there is blue sky over and under the bird. "You shoot my dog or another member of the party,I'm going to hit you so hard, you won't wake up until the cops arrive."....and I mean it.
No man or dog is worth taking a dumb shot for a bird breast.
When I had Retrievers I was also CLEAR AS A BELL, before we got in the blind. "Do not shoot crips...I will. Do not sluice ducks, anything with no blue sky under their feet is a shot taken ONLY BY ME and I will tell you when and why." " Also...DO NOT SHOOT WHEN THE DOG IS OUT OF THE BLIND UNLESS I CALL IT..PERIOD!" I know what stage the dog is at and I also know that in the heat of the moment, anyone used to sluicing can forget the dog is out...and that makes for a horrible day.We've all seen ducks and geese circle right after being shot at and try to land on their own dead..,hapens all the time. One time a guy ignored me so I took his box of shells and tossed them in the water. I suggested he leave...he thought I was kidding until I threatened to do the same with his gun.
Forty years ago I had a GSP. An older gent was helping me refine my one year old and letting her run with his dog, a finished GSP that was his pride and joy. As we neared the top of a hill the older dog locked up on point on a clump of grass. The bells went silent.
Mine didn't really honor him (we hadn't worked on that yet) she just caught wind of the bird and went on point right behind him. As we are both looking for a camera in my vest a shot rang out. A sluicer coming up the other side of the hill had seen the same pheasant run into the clump from the other side...he shot the clump, the bird and the dog right in the face, mine only got some pellets in her mouth because she was downhill(her attempt at backing saved her life) . I remember the man sobbing and I swear if I hadn't grabbed his gun he'd have killed the slucier. His dog was in bad shape, and mine had to be tackled and taken to the vet. His dog was put down and mine blinked until she was 2.(lots of work bringing her back).
Even when the warden came the guy felt he had done nothing wrong. He believed that since he didn't have a dog,it was ok to sluice in a WMA. In fact all he was worried about was a pheasant breast that probably would have cost a buck in those days, without pellets in it.
The important thing is IT'S A BIRD. There are millions of them. Only shoot the ones that are 100% safe and everyone is happy. ;)

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from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

FARMBOY.....You have every right to be proud. You done a good job with your boys. Nothing makes me prouder than hunting or fishing with my son and watching his sporting ethics and respect. ;)

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from FARMBOY wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I taught my 2 boys it was not ethical to shoot ducks on the water. One day while hunting with my oldest son, age 12, a tight group of about 20 teal came whistling by at about 25 yards. I told him to take a shot. He raised his gun, followed the group as they passed by, then lowered his gun without shooting as they flew away. I said "Son, why didn't you shoot?" He said "Dad, they were too close together and I would have wounded too many." This is still my proudest moment as a father. He is now 25 and I have seen the ethics he learned from hunting become the foundation of his moral values.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Proud of'ya Sir Phil!

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from Longbeard wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Boy Howdy, Phil, you really got the gang going this time. Good topic, sir!

Personally, one of the reasons I hunt is to challenge myself in the skills needed to accomplish the task at hand, ie, killing the critter. But how I kill it is at least as important to me as whether I kill it. I prefer using methods that test me and force me to increase my skill level. That’s why I took up bow hunting and why I prefer to shoot birds on the wing.

However, having said that, there have been a few times, just like Phil’s example, when the bird just would not cooperate. I was pheasant hunting on a preserve one time when a rooster just ran and ran until he finally flew up out of range and landed in a tree. He was clearly visible to me, my hunting partner and the dog handler. We approached to within 20 yards or so and the bird didn’t move. We tried shouting at it, throwing sticks and actually hitting the branch it was perched on, and finally shooting deliberately low to try and scare it into flying. The bird would not budge. Finally, I just said “OK, the heck with you” and shot it off the branch. Not a shot I was going to write home about, but what are you going to do? My friend had chosen the preserve with some pride, wanted the bird for dinner that night and was not offended in the least (and, brother, did he make a fine meal of that bird and the others our party took that blustery Virginia day).

So, sometimes the occasion calls for a little bending of our sporting standards. But I do not consider that to have been an unethical shot.

Finally, I like the way you handled your situation, Phil. You are clearly a gentleman.

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from nchunt101 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

O agree with one of the above posts...it is easier to kill a duck/goose decoying in with feet locked and wings set than on the water. Shooting on the water is a bad idea because unless the bird is fairly close you actually have less target area and the wings seem to shed shot like water. Robert Ruark wrote about this.

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from Savageshot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I think an the important aspect of your story to bring up is that the shot was safe, no one on the other bank and hill to catch any ricochets. other than that its like turkey hunting, shot them in the head. waterfowl are just more likely float in then strut.

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from Nixstyx wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Longbeard, just to play devils advocate, I'd say it's very possible to shoot turkeys on the wing. You just need the correct equipment... like a 10 gauge and No. 4 buckshot. That would drop 'em. Not saying anyone should do that, I'm just pointing out that it's entirely possible. Wouldn't that make for a harder shot and be "more sporting?"

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from oldmotorcop wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

It's called wingshooting for a reason.
If you can't shoot them on the wing, you shouldn't try.

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from ITHACASXS wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I can tell you it's a pretty scary practice in a public marsh.

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from blevenson wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I stand if they land and if they don't fly, damn straight I'm gonna ground pound. I have given them an opportunity to fly and if they don't well then I guess I am going to shoot. If it makes me less of a sportsman in somebodys mind well you have to live with that.

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from bounty1 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I jumped on my cousins case one time for shooting a duck on the water. He said "Would you shoot a sitting rabbit, or make it run first?" He had me there.

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from bounty1 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Nine mallards with one shot Ontario Honker? And the limit is what? Was that back in your market hunting days with a one pound punt gun? 3 with one shot I could see. 3X3 with one shot... I don't think so.

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from bounty1 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Ontario Honker. Now you're telling us that you downed 2 dozen mallards with 3 shots. OMG... How many others believe this one?

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from outdoorsman170 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I personally see nothing wrong with taking a sitting duck. Is it funner blasting them out of the sky? of course it is! Bottom line is, ethics and fair chase collide on this, I'll go with ethics before I go with fair chase

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from Jarod Smith wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

So im looking for my first deer rifle. i cant get anything to expensive. Also i dont wont any thing to big

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from Douglas wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I have shot ducks on the water. Problem is that they are harder to kill that way, as their wings seem to protect them from a killing shot. Therefore, I avoid it now. The places I hunt them are gnarly and it is easy to lose cripples since I don't have a water dog. So I wait and hope for a shot as they come in with wings spread over the limited open water available.
I usually go home with nothing, which is OK, for I am not starving.

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from jcarlin wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

This brings up an interesting question I've been wondering. I'd like opinions. I live in a fairly rural area, but do have a couple of close by houses. Live at the confluence of 2 creeks and a mill race.
If I can manage the stalk, would you consider it unethical for me to take a duck or goose on water or ground with a bow?

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from SD Bob wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

When I first read this, I thought my response would not be popular but many echoed my oppinion which is if they land in the decoys, fire away, just don't shoot my mojo.

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from PbHead wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Gee Phil, four days and over a hundred comments on this topic. Please don't bring up wife beating and dog training for topics.

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from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

-As 8crow and Douglas wrote I've found killing ducks on the water extremely difficult. Why I don't know.

-I feel shooting anything towards the ground/on the ground potentially dangerous compared to shooting in the air.

-If I was pot hunting due dire need, the rules of sport can be ignored. I don't think most of us are there, though, nor do most of us hunt as gainful employment.

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from 8Crow wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Great post, Phil. As others have alluded, I believe whoever coined the phrase, "sitting duck" either didn't know what they were talking about, or they enjoyed some sort of significant advantage that I've yet to figure out. I wish I had a dollar for all the times I've unloaded a gun on a cripple.
Aside from cripples, I've never taken one on the water, but admittedly that has everything to do with the "everyone frowns on it" mentality and nothing to do with logic or actual reflection on the situation. Perhaps the notion that it is more ethical and therefore more sporting to shoot a duck on the wing originated from the sentiment that it is actually easier to kill a duck on the wing than on the water? Your scenario apparently played out perfectly for the young hunter. But just as often than not for me, I can see the pellets hitting the water all around the duck, so I know I'm on the money, and yet the duck does not go down. Anhinga's suggestion to use small shot for a denser pattern might be just the trick.

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from NorCal Cazadora wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Having not grown up in a hunting family, I've had to sort out hunting ethics on my own, and the paramount ethic, to me, is clean kill.

Obviously I'm far more proud of making a challenging shot. But I don't set my alarm for 2:30 a.m. and run off to chew through $50-60 worth of gas, ammo and travel food just to come home empty-handed. I hunt ducks because I eat ducks.

I think all of my effective (read: instant death) water shots, whether at a crip or an unfortunate duck that swam into range, have been within 15-20 yards, where a fairly dense pattern makes it likely some shot will hit the head or neck. Anything farther than that invariably involves more shells, a vigorous chase and a risk of failure.

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from Sb Wacker wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

On this side of the pond roosting or feeding Wood Pigeon with an air rifle makes for thrilling stalking

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from Steve in Virginia wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Phil -- you've presented a good illustration of a practical limitation to a commonly accepted ethical practice. Honestly, I've never encountered the situation you've described -- ducks are either shot on the wing or, if on the water, quickly take off at the slightest noise or movement. I accept that one goal of the hunt is a clean kill, but we also accept certain limitations in the name of sporting ethics. It sounds like you and your hunting partner did everything reasonably possible to get that duck into the air, but it also sounds like the better angels of your conscience would have preferred a different outcome.

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from idduckhntr wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Clinchknot, my deeks were 25yrds out and I can tell you right know that I have forgoton more about duck huntin than you will ever know. Phill, I have heard that #7 or 6 steel works good on criples but have not tried it.

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Hey Clinchknot-
Maybe my opinion on ethical killing of an animal was misunderstood? If any act is against local, and or federal, game laws; I do engage in such practices in the killing of game animals. As for the "rules of engagement" I reserve that for war ethics discussion.

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from elmer f. wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

i think it is more of a "fair play" rule rather than an ethical law. while having a duck or goose in flight is our preferred method, testing our skill, and giving the bird a "chance". i do not see anything wrong with shooting a bird on the water, as long as it is SAFE for all others. the biggest concern about doing so, other than the obvious safty factor, is destroying your own decoys. if shooting the duck involves destroying $60.00 worth of decoys, then it is a rather foolish thing to do. when i was a kid, the one thing i was always taught was to never destroy the equipment. it deteriorated fast enough on its own, and we could not afford to be buying new things every hunt. the same still applies today. if i had to start over from scratch, i would not be hunting for a few years. our forefathers hunted out of necessity. but for us, it is sport. hunted game is about 10 times the cost of anything i could buy in a store. but for most of us, it is 10 times as good also. if pure economics were applied to hunting, our sport that we love so much, would be a thing of the past.

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from andyp311 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Ethics in this case is a matter of opinion. If it's a legal method of take, then I'll consider it ethical. If a person doesn't find the regulations in their state or unit to be ethical, they are entitled too feel that way, but they have no room to pass judgement onto someone else that is hunting within their states laws.

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from derik wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

If it's legal to do so, "You hunt the way you want to, I'll hunt the way I want to".

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from O Garcia wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

One of the reasons the Germans wouldn't use shotguns for clearing trenches during WW1 was that they regarded the shotgun as a sporting weapon, specifically as a wingshooting gun. They wouldn't use it on ground bound people, even if they're enemies.

So they invented the submachinegun.

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from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

P.S. I know this might offend some guys here, but bird hunting without a dog is kind of like dancing with your sister. It ain;t the same.....Like Ontario,much of my hunting is FOR the dogs. ;)

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from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Clinch,all I'm saying is if MY dog is in the blind, I'm making that call. Every blind needs a Captain...especially when there is aq dog in it.

Sticky, ALL sporting metheods are a degree of provinialism and snobbery...otherwise you can use nets, dynomite and unplugged guns.

Like I said...within the law, hunt and fish as you wish and so won't I. However, if I'm your host...you're only welcome if you play by my safety standards.

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from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Just to be clear. If the Retriever is in the water or the Upland dog out in front....and someone is used to sluicing crips...then you are only asking for trouble.
Say the Lab breaks, it's a young dog...he's in without command...no one should be shooting that low until the guy in charge calls it.....and I want my hand locked on the collar if and when someone does.

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from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I have lay out blinds. I hate sitting up to shoot.Making an old man like me use a lay out at 60 in December is cruel and unethical treatment on the part of the geese.
;)

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I'm tired. A long brutal but productive day of pheasant hunting. The point I was trying to make above is that shooting ducks as they are jumping from the water is statistically probably less "sporting" than shooting them on the water. I don't hear any of the sports on this thread balking at jump shooting. Hmmmmm.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I think a few of you young guys weren't behind the business end of a shotgun back in the days of lead shot. Probably only the business end of your diapers. I once shot more than a dozen ducks in three shots from a flock jumped off a small puddle in a Western Montana agricultural ditch. Probably a hundred mallards were stacked up the banks in there and my brother and I got the drop on them accidentally when pheasant hunting (he was so surprised he never fired a shot). In those situations it was hard not to knock down at least a half dozen in one shot. I have also shot three honkers in one shot on more than one occasion. This year alone using only steel shot I took two geese in one shot on two occasions and not in situations where that is typically done (i.e. not when they are sitting in the decoys or about to land in them - both were pass shooting situations).

Perhaps some of you young naysayers should take a look through my profile photos. All seventy of them, not just the last page. I have checked out your illustrious photo albums. Pffft! Nothing to show for yourselves but a lot of inexperience. Any experienced duck hunter would not scoff at the possibility of shooting that many ducks from a large flock settled into a small spot (especially when using heavy shot). You young fellas need to book yourselves into a waterfowl hunting trip in Manitoba or North Dakota. You'll see situations that will easily make a believer out of you. Many times over.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Well said, Haverod. I should add that I might take a sluice shot even today at age 60 if it's been a nothing kind of day. Or a couple of nothing kinda days. However, I don't do it because I need something to strut with. It's because the dogs would like something to strut with. The last two birds I took in Ontario this year were on the water shot through horrible brush. Lucky I got anything. It's the only shot I would get and it's the only bird I'd had a shot at for two days. I took it and the dogs were thrilled to be able to make a water retrieve for a couple of nice greenheads. But, like you said, at my age I generally pass on that kind of thing these days. I don't need the meat that bad and I have better things to do with my time than gutting out waterfowl. Like packing for a trip to Montana to shoot pheasants. And I took a rooster on the ground here too. Gad, the hunting is so crumby this year that I was to the point where I'd do anything to give the dogs some action. Not terribly sporting but they don't care. Old Pearl, who is supposed to be dying of cancer, was desperate to put her teeth around a bird. She was singing like an opera queen when those birds landed in the field road in front of my Jimmy. Sure made her happy to finally get a bird. And that made me very happy. Threw the limp bird on the floor in front of the passenger seat, let Pearl back in, and just as I fired up the engine that rooster came back to life. Whooee! Exciting times there for a bit with three dogs and a squawking pheasant going haywire all at once. Damned near gave me a heart attack. Glad we didn't miss out on the experience though.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Well said, Haverod. I should add that I might take a sluice shot even today at age 60 if it's been a nothing kind of day. Or a couple of nothing kinda days. However, I don't do it because I need something to strut with. It's because the dogs would like something to strut with. The last two birds I took in Ontario this year were on the water shot through horrible brush. Lucky I got anything. It's the only shot I would get and it's the only bird I'd had a shot at for two days. I took it and the dogs were thrilled to be able to make a water retrieve for a couple of nice greenheads. But, like you said, at my age I generally pass on that kind of thing these days. I don't need the meat that bad and I have better things to do with my time than gutting out waterfowl. Like packing for a trip to Montana to shoot pheasants. And I took a rooster on the ground here too. Gad, the hunting is so crumby this year that I was to the point where I'd do anything to give the dogs some action. Not terribly sporting but they don't care. Old Pearl, who is supposed to be dying of cancer, was desperate to put her teeth around a bird. She was singing like an opera queen when those birds landed in the field road in front of my Jimmy. Sure made her happy to finally get a bird. And that made me very happy. Threw the limp bird on the floor in front of the passenger seat, let Pearl back in, and just as I fired up the engine that rooster came back to life. Whooee! Exciting times there for a bit with three dogs and a squawking pheasant going haywire all at once. Damned near gave me a heart attack. Glad we didn't miss out on the experience though.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I almost always hunt alone in remote areas and well after the season opener so the probability of an accident ground shooting or sluicing a bird is about akin to having a Martian space ship drop on me or my dogs.

When hunting from a layout blind with someone else (I don't own one), I leave the dogs home. Too dangerous with dogs that break on shot. I hate shooting off my butt so I rarely accept the offer for that kind of hunting.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

In all jurisdictions on both sides of the border it is illegal to use any firearm that is not a shotgun to hunt migratory fowl. And no shotgun larger than a 10 gauge (unfortunately, no minimum size requirement). Spuddog, if you're shooting geese with a rifle you are a purposeful poacher (as opposed to my inadvertent poaching episodes above). Clean up your act! As far as I know it's legal to take waterfowl with a bow and arrow just about anywhere one wants to try it. I have been told North Bay, Ontario allows hunters to take geese inside the city limits but only with a bow (they have a serious honker problem down there!).

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Haverod, I was also born in 1952. Not ready to give in to Father Time yet though. I literally walked the legs off my dogs yesterday. Got a limit of roosters ... finally, within the last hour of daylight. My little Britt pup was so pooped she had to lay down to eat when we got home. But they love it! Old Pearl lasted the whole day and is looking pretty good this morning. She'll be going in for her final chemo treatment next week so we'll have to make hay now while we can.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

So Ralph, you're a self-confessed dedicated poacher? I think this is the wrong site for you.

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from Gtbigsky wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

The people that are pro shooting birds on the water or ground have a point. Personally, I wouldn't do it because its not very sporting just like I wouldn't intentionally snag a trout while fly fishing because I like to catch fish. However, the question was not about sport its about ethics.

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from RES1956 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Boy this thread has turned into a first class urinating competition,,,,

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from Hunter_Fass wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I think a voting poll would have been nice to see. Not sure if there is anyway Mr. Bourjaily would be able to add one or not. It is election year.

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from Tigerbeetle wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Post script: I should have said "eat what the dog catches."

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from Longbeard wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Nixstyx: It is almost impossible to kill turkeys on the wing (almost), at least within a short enough distance and sufficient time to recover them. They are usually flying away from you and their wing feathers are very tough to penetrate even with heavy turkey loads. If you do hit them, you are most likely to wound them just bad enough that they will likely die later that day, not enough to kill them. That's why turkey hunters typically aim for the head and neck area for a sure kill. If you are really good enough to shoot them in the head while they are flying, then maybe you can accomplish the task. But, even though the head and neck may appear to be a large target, certainly long, it really isn’t.

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from Longbeard wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

also, turkey hunter use very tight chokes to concentrate as many pellets in that small kill zone as possible, which means a wing shot is that much more difficult. Even shooting a bird that is bobbing or weaving its head can be a tough shot. Best to kill them on the ground.

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from DSMbirddog wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I think it is one of those questions we have to answer for ourselves. I would not shoot a duck on the water unless it was a cripple or a game bird on the ground. That's my choice. It is a iffy thing to do on crowded marshes.

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from johnmn wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

To spuddog and others thinking about rifles and geese... I'm pretty sure that's illegal. It's illegal in MN to use single ball ammunition, and I thought that was a federal regulation. And when I'm in a public slough with guys on the other side, I'm happy for that regulation! Spuddog, the situation you described (sneaking up to geese in a field with a rifle) sounds safe and fun, but the regulation that protects us in the marsh doesn't allow for your case.
To jcarlin... using a bow for a duck is left in a little bit of a grey area. I'd check with your local CO before proceeding.

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from Nixstyx wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

It's a good question. Personally, in any hunting situation, as long as you're following the law, it's really up to the individual hunter to decide what is ethical for him. I've never hunted ducks before, but I see this playing out when upland hunting a lot. Where I live, all the pheasant are stocked, which I think makes them more hesitant to fly. This year I watch from a distance while a man ran across a field after a rooster that was running away but wouldn’t fly. It was a funny sight to watch. Finally, the bird ducked into some cattails. The man was able to kick it up and get a flying shot. The shot broke the bird's wing, but it took off running again and the man never found it. I couldn't help but thinking it would have been more ethical to shoot it on the ground in the first place.

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from FOX wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I don't hunt ducks but I still bird hunt and i have ground swatted only two bird in my current hunting career. Both were out of frustration my first was my first grouse which i had been chasing them for months and i couldn't stand it any more. The last was a pheasant that was running toward a river and i couldn't let it get in the water.

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from Nathan Ryver wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

good thoughts everyone. As for me, technically I can't see anything wrong with it. But tradition is no small thing, and traditionally, many people frown upon it. I guess it would depend on whom I'm hunting with.

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from uglymike wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

If it' legal, do it if you must. I prefer mine on the wing.

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from ITHACASXS wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I can tell you it's a pretty scary practice in a public marsh.

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from joejv4 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Completely ethical. Maybe not quite as challenging, or what some would call "sporting", but nothing unethical about it as far as I am concerned. If I have a bird surprise me by dropping into my spread, BANG! it's going to count against my bag limit. If I have shots at them after they land, that won't destroy my dekes, It's like shooting sitting ducks and I'll have at 'em. I guess I'm what clinchknot would call a meathunter. As far as I'm concerned, anybody who has a problem with meathunting, by the way, and thinks that hunting should only be for sport, has too much free time and disposable income.

I hunt for meat. I'm one of those guys who would prefer to fill a doe tag over tagging a big bruiser buck because the meat isn't as tough and I can't eat antlers.

Now to seemingly contradict myself a little bit with regard to "on the water/ground vs in the air", probably 99% of my waterfowl shooting is at birds in the air.

With waterfowl you'll have a lot more opportunity to drop birds with wings set and feet down than you will to take birds on the ground or water. So, while I do primarily shoot birds in the air, it's for entirely different reasoning - playing the numbers game to get me to my limit sooner and get them home and into the freezer. If I waited for water/ground shots - I'd be spending a lot more at the grocery store.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

WA MTN..Far from true about labs and wounded ducks ont he water. I know, I hunted many a ducks over water with a lab. A wounded duck can dive while a lab circles around looking for it...then the duck pops up somewhere else. NO, there is an effective way to kill a duck on the water that no one seems to know how to do. I would think Phil would speak up, and inform them on the technique. Oldmotor..like your reasoning.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I know a young fellow that when he was in HS not too many years ago he and his dad climbed up over a river bank, and watched a flock of turkeys go into a willow thicket patch not all that big. His dad tells the kid. I'll go around back, and try to flush them out toward you, you stay on the river bank. Dad goes around back the turkeys flush towards the kid, and he dumped one in the air. I asked him about the difficulty of bringing it down, having heard it was darn near impossible. He shook his head...one shot, and down it came. He even had time to pick out the one he wanted to shoot.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Haverod...And here is my bigger picture. IN the age of information/communication, when we have features such as the internet to find out how people live, and function, and aren't blind to what is happening in other areas outside our own narrow scope, it contributes to class divide, to polorization of peoples. That is why there are so many locked gated communities, and private hunting clubs etc. Many don't complain about the values, and ethics of others they just segregate themselves from them, not wanting to be exposed to them whether they are legal to do what they do, or not.

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from BackRoad600 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I don't have a problem with it, and I've done it to dispatch the wounded. (or apparently so.)

I have had a similar situation to what you described, but not fired. I dunno, I just wasn't really that keen on shooting at an un-wounded duck swimming around...Tried to get it to fly, but it wouldn't.

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from JRE19 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I have heard many different point of views on this subject. Im not 100% sure where i stand on this subject, I believe strongly in making sure you have the perfect shot. Although a siting duck is like shooting fish in a barl, you did have to conceal yourself and call well enough to get a duck that close.

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from fishman417 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I do not hunt ducks but the right thing to do was try to scare the duck into the air maybe throw a rock at it.

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from Jarod Smith wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

So im looking for my first deer rifle. i cant get anything to expensive. Also i dont wont any thing to big

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from Jarod Smith wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

any ideas

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from Jarod Smith wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

any ideas

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from 99explorer wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Maybe as a a last resort, as in the case at hand.
But generally speaking, shooting ducks on the water is in the same league as shooting doves on a telephone wire.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Puddle ducks are much more vulnerable just as they jump from the water and are clawing for air. I have taken as many as nine mallards in one shot that way. I don't think shooting them on the water is particularly deadly. At least my extensive experience has shown that to be the case. Also, in forty some years of waterfowl hunting I have never seen shot of any sort or size ricochet when taking birds on the water, crippled or otherwise. I don't have a problem with folks who sluice ducks or shoot geese that land in their field decoys, etc. I usually set my deeks so far out in the field that I can't kill a goose if it lands in them anyway. I take them passing around for a look.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Lead shot days (1982). #2 size shot heavy loads in 3" magnum. About a hundred mallards huddled together at thirty yards. Got a bead above them, stood up out of the tulies and when the birds jumped off the water, fired away. Took one shot and only one shot because two days before in the same spot on the same pond I shot seven mallards in one shot. The next day I shot eight in one shot and then the third day nine in one shot. The daily limit was six. Sorry but I can't revive the birds exceeding the daily limit killed in one shot and send them along their way. Ours was a large family and other members appreciated the extra birds. Nevertheless, I laid off hunting for a while after that. I had returned to college then anyway and needed to quite playing and put my nose back in the books. Also, my lab was done for. She wouldn't go back out after the last two birds. I had to take her home (about two miles), let her rest, and came back in the evening and picked them up (without a shotgun to avoid further temptation).

Again, I can only emphasize that puddle ducks are extremely vulnerable when they first jump off the water. Geese and divers less so because they have to run on the water before take off. Puddle ducks expose their undersides and wings.

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from Gtbigsky wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Randy,

how can you disagree with the fact that shooting a moving target is more difficult than shooting a stationary target?

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

There can be nothing wrong or illegal about it, but an example. Guy gets invited to hunt ducks in the group's blind. Ducks are decoyed in, the signal given to shoot, shots are taken, and then this invite shoots a duck that landed in the decoys. Do you think the guy would get invited back by most duck hunting groups? I haven't hunted over decoys for some years now. Could be I'm wrong. Depends on the guys I guess.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Phil..Hope you get a chance to read my "how to water sloose a sitting, wounded duck. I sure enjoyed watching you on that Franchi O/U critique on cable tv. and the shooting tip on how to efficiently mount a shotgun. I forget what show it was I watch so many of those outdoor shows.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

OPntario...It is just the nature of duck hunting. Most duck hunters, or many good ones anyway, accept the fact that ducks should be taken in the air, not shot sitting on the water. Personal rules, I guess, that many accept. Jump shooting? Sure, they are vulnerable with wings out, and chance at clean kills, and they are flying! Other game, other rules of engagement. And when you are low to the water as you usually are, the pellets will "skip" deflect low off the water.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

bounty.. I think Ontario hunts out of one of those old "punt boats" were they called? The low, flat boats the gunner would lay in, and then slouce ducks on the water with a cannon type gun. I think the barrel was loaded with nails, and whatever. Just kidden. Ontario seems to be a dedicated hunter. He just often hunts in the bitter cold, and then comes in and posts before his head thaws it appears.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I use to wait for mallards and honkers to cross, and get two with one shot back in the days when I couldn't afford shells, but you gots me beat Ontario. :)

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Don't quite understand your concerned for sluicing a wounded duck on open water when the situation is right, and presents itself. If, and when I sluice a wounded duck there is open water before and after the duck, and I know if a dog is on water that could be hit. Some have suggested this is dangerous. Not when I do it. No skipped shot that I take out a duck with is going to skip across the water for 100's of yards and injury someone on the other bank. And I have never hunted in waters with a number of hunters on the water.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

I walk out om front of the blind where I can see everything, and away from anyone to shoot a wounded duck on the water. Simple as that. Not out of the blind. And it is too sporting and difficult for me to get up at O'dark 30 anymore, and set out deeks, the work involved, and the work after. I've given up duck hunting. But I did get two more roosters again yesterday, and shots at huns today, but no cigar. Luv to hunt those huns, but they get skiddish into the season, and not due to being hunted either. I haven't quite figured that one out yet.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Ralph...NO it isn't. There are rules of engagement for the different species we hunt. So you consider a Cape Buffalo hunt the same as a Rock Chuck hunt when it comes to the ethics of how we hunt them?

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from Gtbigsky wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Randy,

I completely disagree. It does make someone more sporting to shoot a bird while flying rather than when it is stationary. Fly fishing is more sporting that baitfishing.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

jcarlin.
Our local community had a news special of a duck in our city park with an arrow stuck in it. Guess how that played out amongst the local citizens? A vet donated his time, and saved the duck. PR does matter, and a lot of PR goes against the right to hunt.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

idduck. A lot depends on how far away the duck is. I would guess you didn't set your decoys 30 yds out. And guess what. You didn't use the best technique.

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from RyanDeer wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

For someone starting out that wants to start hunting yes that can be fine at first. But once someone becomes more experinced at hunting they should stick to the birds in the air.

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from scratchgolf72 wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

no bird should be shot on the ground other then turkey. theres a right and a wrong way to do things, and shooting ducks on the water is the wrong way to do it. shake my head.......

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

CCMJS Please! Have you ever shot at a duck sitting upright on the water that is wounded? One say out there some 30 yds, and not up close to you? Shot hits all around the duck on the water, and often never kills the duck! You act like you never witnessed that. No, there is a technique that takes out, and kills the duck, and it has been publicized many times before I knew about it.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Still it appears no one knows how to shoot a wounded duck on the water...amazing.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

No it is not. You do not shoot at the ducks head! Embarrassing how many shots you can take at a duck sitting on the water, and not kill it that way. You can go through a lot of shells, and I can kill it in ONE SHOT. I just like folks to respond, and feel I am not talking to the wall because I've felt like I've done that in the past on these threads. Good feed back is important to me. I would have thought Phil would have responded by now.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

What you find is you can wound birds by shooting at them on the ground...wings closed, and body cavity much more protected when they are on the ground, or water; especially if they are some distance away from you when you shoot. There is a technique to best kill wounded ducks on the water...hope that someone mentions it.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Phil..trust me on this one. If you shoot in the water short of the sitting duck, the pattern squishes for lack of a better term. The top part of the pattern meets the bottom part of the pattern on the water, and the round pellets will not deflect high like a bullet might, they skim along the water, and just over the top of the water. It takes the duck out with many more pellets hitting the duck than if you shot right at the duck. I'm getting old. I thought a lot of duck hunters realized that. But that tip was probably presented to me many years ago, and could have come in a F & S magazine. I've had a chance to try it both ways..at the duck, and short of the duck shooting at the water, and there is no comparison..given the duck is out in the water a decent distance.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Totally unethical. The hunter moves from being a sportsman to being a meathunter. But the question should be answered as to how to kill a wounded duck on the water? What is the technique that should be used? I was hunting doves one year, and really never see other dove hunters when I hunt doves in Sept. I ran into these two fellows, and told them fine, we can have a better hunt if one of us moves down field, and we can get better shooting by moving doves towards each of our locations. These guys moved down, and then in towards some high tension wires. I watched them wait, and then shoot at what I thought were doves on the wires. I approached them, and that is exactly what they were doing. I told them how many thousands of dollars in fines, and replacement costs they would incur if they broke the wires,as well as problaby doing time. They left, and I never saw them in that field again.

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