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Dove Hunting Etiquette: When Strangers Set Up Too Close

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September 23, 2013

Dove Hunting Etiquette: When Strangers Set Up Too Close

By Phil Bourjaily

I got to the best field at our local WMA first on Labor Day and sat near one corner. A couple of other parties arrived in the dark, the closer one set up 150-200 yards away. No problem.

Ten minutes after shooting time a father and his teenage son came crashing through the bushes behind me and plunked their buckets down 30 yards away. “Good morning,” I said, assuming they hadn’t seen me tucked in the bushes and would perhaps go somewhere else. “Morning,” the man said, and proceeded to set his decoys ten yards from mine.

That was it. He didn’t introduce himself or ask if it was okay to sit there. Nothing. Some people think there’s nothing wrong with doing this on public land because it’s, well, public. Others — me, for instance — would never do it.

I was torn between wanting to be welcoming to a father taking his son hunting and not wanting to reward them for their very bad manners by asking them to hunt with me. So, I said nothing. All I wanted to do was enjoy the first day of the new season.

So what do you do when strangers set up 30 yards away from you in a public dove field? Which one of these choices would you have done?

a.) Yell at them
b.) Invite them to hunt with you
c.) Tell them to move farther away
d.) Leave

What I wanted to do was say “Hey kid, your dad’s a jerk. Come hunt with me.”

What I probably should have done is said, “You guys are too close. We should either hunt together or you should move.”

What I did was d.) leave.

And while d.)  is not the strongest answer, it worked for me. I let them shoot at the first dove that came past me, which they lost in the woods at the end of the field. We all opened up on the next couple — and missed — so I decided this was ridiculous and packed my stuff up and left. I bounced around the wildlife area all day, scratching down three doves in the process. In the evening I came back to the field where I started and, to my surprise, found it empty. I shot the dozen birds I needed to finish my limit in a couple of hours.

Comments (31)

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from hermit crab wrote 30 weeks 3 days ago

Good post, similar things happen to all of us from time to time. I think you did the right thing. This might have been the kid's first time hunting, and maybe the father's too. Had you given them an earful, that kid might never have an interest in hunting ever again and the same for his dad. Shame on them for setting up so close, but kudos to you for taking the high road. Besides, I bet you had a better time hunting that afternoon with nobody around than you would have if you stayed.

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from etexan wrote 30 weeks 3 days ago

You chose (d) because you did not expect the father to respond positively to your pointing out his bad manners. You already had a hint about his attitude when he set up too close to your spot. Raising a ruckus would have made it even more uncomfortable. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.

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from Steve in Virginia wrote 30 weeks 3 days ago

You were the better man that day, Phil.

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from jjas wrote 30 weeks 3 days ago

While I admire you keeping your cool and walking away, I don't know that I could have done the same.

And with all due respect, I have to ask this question....

Didn't you reward that man's boorish behavior by letting him have the spot? Not only that, but by leaving didn't you also indirectly tell the kid that his father acting that way was okay?

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from Mark-1 wrote 30 weeks 3 days ago

'D' was right and good, as was coming back to your original spot to find them gone. I'd have expected them to be gone rather quickly.

These types never see where they are rude and suffocating with their lack of hunting etiquette. Best hope is they read this blog.

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from buckhunter wrote 30 weeks 3 days ago

If "D" also means finding a new spot then you chose wisely.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 30 weeks 3 days ago

I would have discussed it with the guy. His kid needs to know what proper etiquette is. Most of the time this sort of thing is the result of ignorance not malice. Usually explaining how setting up too close impacts everybody's day MAY help the ignorant see sense. Sufficient elbow room is an unwritten rule but if this guy can't abide by it, you could certainly have ensured that he didn't get any shooting ... by simply firing off your gun anytime something showed up in the sky headed for the decoys.

Last year I was setting up my goose decoys in the dark when a young man and his dad about my age showed up with a pickup and trailer outfit. He had asked for permission to hunt and expected to have the field to himself. I informed him that the farmer was a good Christian man and gave everyone permission to hunt. A bit crestfallen they asked if I knew of another field where they might set up. "Hell, set up in this one! You have a layout blind so go set up out in the middle. I have to hunt the fringes because of the dogs. The geese will come to you primarily. I won't shoot at anything that's set up for your deeks. Just make sure you're far enough out there so my dogs aren't tempted to try to pick up your birds." Both fellas were a bit incredulous. "Thanks so much!" "For what? They're your birds too." As predicted the geese fell all over him. I passed on several family groups that circled my way first. He was a real sportsman too. Never shot at a small group of geese that actually managed to land in his deeks out of his vision. They were walking around close enough for him to almost grab them. Instead he waited for the next flight and took those shots rather than blowing up something next to him. I don't think the guy was out there a half hour when I saw the headlights of his father's truck on the other side of the field. It came tearing over, the two frantically tossed layout blind and fancy full body deeks into the trailer willy nilly and then sped out of there. He had his limit and they left as quickly as possible for my benefit. Wish everyone was like that.

But they aren't. In the same field several years ago a bunch of arseholes set up in the next field and then came and parked their truck about thirty yards on the other side of my decoys. I hollered at them and they just gave me the finger. Okay, that's how it's going to be, is it. I knew a couple of things they obviously didn't. First, all the geese would leave the river behind me heading for the fields. They had to fly right over me. I was nice enough to let the scroungy snows/blues go by early and they managed to get one or two in spite of some shockingly sad shooting! Then the big honkers started moving. They were at treetop level so it was long shooting for me but I dropped one bird from each of the first three flocks that came over. Suddenly more obscenities were flying my way than geese! By now it was pouring down rain and the dummies finally figured out the other thing I knew: that a neighboring dairy farmer had spread manure on their field earlier that week. Ugh, that stuff was getting smelly! They were miserable literally laying in crap. It was also now obvious I was NOT going to let any more birds come to their decoys. They packed it in. And, yes, I received the phalangeal salute again, but as they got in their truck I made sure I stepped out into the field so they could see the very broad smile on my face and three big geese in my hand. Took me about fifteen more minutes after they left to get the other two birds and fill out my bag. Had those clowns stayed I would have continued to fill the air with shot even after I had all my honkers (technically I could remain in the field to hunt snows/blues). And yes, there was a kid with them too. Wish I could say he learned a lesson but I doubt it. However, without a doubt if I had packed it in and just left that certainly would have sent the WRONG message.

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from Dangle wrote 30 weeks 3 days ago

Can't believe how fortunate I am here in Idaho. I'm still shooting doves virtually every day, and seeing lots of birds. I've seen one hunter, and that was coming back to my rig after hunting, and I talked to him. Most guys are big game hunters around my parts. I hunt all the grouse, huns, rabbits, and see very few other hunters. Hunting the plant sites for pheasants is another story, but I'm amazed there aren't more of those hunters as well.

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from NorCal Cazadora wrote 30 weeks 3 days ago

I think you chose the best course of action. While there are some people out there who are amenable to learning (and given how these people acted, I can only hope they're aware that they're still learning). But most people don't take kindly to unsolicited advice from strangers.

It's just hard to keep people from getting defensive when you tell them they've done something wrong - defensive is a natural reaction. I suppose if you felt like having a conversation 10 minutes into shoot time, you could walk up and say, "Hey, I've hunted here before and found that hunting this close together tends to pose problems, so I'm going to move 50 yards farther away from you." It would be completely unsatisfying for you, but I suppose there's a chance they'd get the hint and possibly even be apologetic.

Or not.

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from FSU70 wrote 30 weeks 3 days ago

Well Phil, what you experienced on the WLM Field is pretty much what you can come to expect on public land. Good Sportsmanship and ettiquet are pretty much gone. I probably would have gone over and talked to the father about there being plenty of room on the field and the logic of it being advantagous to he and his son to be furhter from me. Many people are reasonable and they may have been just a little anxious to get on the field and get set up. However if they wanted to be hard heads I probably would have done like you and opted for the safer alternative and left or found another place on the field.
That is one of the reasons I so appreciate the dove club I'm in now. Our fields have stands that are placed at a safe distance apart. We draw for stands and rotate every hour to give everyone a chance to have a good place on the field to shoot. We stress no low birds, pickup your spent shells and don't shoot over the limit. If we have new members that can't seem to comply they don't usually last the season and their invited to look else where to hunt doves. They deffinitly don't get back in the following year.

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from Longbeard wrote 30 weeks 3 days ago

In spite of the fact that he's a Seminole (I presume), I'd take a similar tack as FSU70. If the intruders were newbies, they may be just oblivious to what they've done and may desire to learn the correct etiquette. Sometimes you can take their temperature, so to speak, with a friendly hello. Sometimes, folks are just selfish oafs and moving is the smarter move.

The only "public" bird hunts I used to go on were those you pay for seasonally and which place the hunters in specific spots so as to avoid this situation altogether. Of course, that means you may not get one of the good spots...which is why I quit going to those hunts.

Oh, and Go Gators!

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from CJ wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

Just open up at every bird that comes in sight. He might get the message. Never reward bad behavior or argue with an armed idiot unless you are ready to present a final solution, which is unthinkable over a bird spot.

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from Douglas wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

I have run into this scenario more than once both in waterfowl and deer hunting. I am non confrontational, so I just leave and crawl into the brush or some pug hole where the rude ones don't go.
I usually manage to get my share and have a quality time afield to boot.

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from DSMbirddog wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

Option B might have worked but I probably would have chosen D also. I try not to let that sort of thing ruin my day. If I were deer hunting on a WMA I would have to ask them to move off.

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from Dangle wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

Doesn't anyone like kids? Invite them over to hunt with you. I'd enjoy seeing the kid shoot, and hopefully score, and get excited. That would make my day. I would have to factor in safety though. I do not feel comfortable being within shotgun range of folks I do not know, and even some that I do know. Gave up calling a guy to go several years ago because of his unsafe practices.

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from jay wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

I think you made a mistake by not saying anything. People need to be called out when they are acting like jerks. Maybe if someone had called him out the year before he would not have ruined your morning. It is this lackadaisical attitude toward bad behavior that will breed bad behavior. If there is no response to bad behavior, then you are giving them a free pass to continue.

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from small game sportsman wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

I would have told them to move.

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from Dangle wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

You guess can forget about the fact that public lands are public. I have criticized folks on "MY" river regarding their disturbing others, and guides, for example, that think they have priority on public waters because they are commercial, and making a living. That's why you are seeing hunters exercise their option, and leasing land making it private. It can get down to what right have you on public lands to dictate others code of ethics.

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from HogBlog wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

This is the worst thing about public land hunting, and it doesn't appear to be getting any better. I probably sound like my grandfather, but it seems like folks these days are really getting more and more wrapped up in this selfish, entitlement mentality. But still, it's a two-way street.

Avoiding confrontation, as Phil does in the story, doesn't resolve anything and likely makes it worse... positively reinforcing bad behavior. Sure, it was more comfortable just to duck and leave to find other places, and I guess that's OK. It sounds like it worked out. But to leave without telling the other guy why was counterproductive... it's like stiffing a waitress without telling her why you kept the tip. Nobody learns from that.

I see no reason you couldn't have told the guy, "look, you're too close. If you don't want to move, I will."

Sure. Odds are he'll get defensive. He might even get belligerent. Oh well. At least you made a point. Don't argue or try to get one up... just pack your stuff and go. Or maybe, lightning will strike and you'll get some guy who's genuinely clueless but willing to learn... and you'll have a new friend, the kid will learn something good, and pigs will fly with the monkeys over the rainbow clouds.

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from deadeyedick wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

What you did was the gentlemanly thing to do but since I'm not a gentleman I would have told him very politely to move his stinkin' carcass a few hundred yards down wind so I did not have to smell the stench of a Slob Hunter. I wonder what old crabby Dave Petzel would have said ??

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

Another good reason to avoid public land hunting unless you can out-distance the goobers.

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from FirstBubba wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

I'm fortunate in that I live on a bit of acreage. This leads to...I don't have to hunt public land....and there is a 2500 acre WMA with a small Wetland Development Unit on it.
I just don't go to public land. A neighboring farmer allows me to hunt two of his farms.

DEP, you probably chose wisely. But by not introducing yourself, you may be the one who "missed out". Now you'll never know.

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from Tim Platt wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

WMA's are filled with people with little to no hunting experience. The first dove my son ever shot was at a WMA and it fell towards another group of hunters who blew it into dust as it fell on top of them and then they went and picked it up, whooping it up and hollering, "we finally got one".

There is a WMA with 27,000 acres nearby and if you walk an hour you can get away from the Elmer Fudds. I killed my biggest buck there, but they had imported a bunch of Michigan deer to mix in with our Tennessee herd so they did have some serious wall hangers.

There is no etiquette on WMA's, they are to be avoided like the plague. Just be glad no one sprayed you with shot...

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from Tim Platt wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

I guess I didn't answer your question. I would have invited them to hunt but only because of the child, and then educated the boy on proper etiquette. Seems like the right thing to do.

If it was just some idiots who were full grown men I would have moved too... I try not to yell at people when we are both armed. Not that I am scared but I don't back down and I shoot every day.

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from TLF Nevada wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

I've had this fishing as well. My wife and I were fishing a stream in Colorado and a family came in and set up right between us. There was lots of room elsewhere on the stream but they just had to be there.

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

I would have probably left as well, Dave...

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

I would have probably left as well, Dave...

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from Dangle wrote 30 weeks 1 day ago

Here is an incident that just took place with me. I've concluded my sage grouse hunt, and am headed out the gravel road...come upon a Game Vehicle, and two wardens pull me over, and want to check for A bird if I have one. I show the officer my license, and tell him I did't get a grouse. He looks in my SUV, and says "can I go around, and open that cooler?" I say "Sure" But where is the other officer? He is standing back behind me, and the rig. WHY? The awkward aspect was that when the officer opened my back door he would have been looking right at my O/U gun barrels. I reached back, and pulled the barrels out of his line of sight, and this guy ducked when I did so. Now Phil was smart, and considered the situation the same as the officers did.

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from Buckshott00 wrote 30 weeks 1 day ago

As a public land hunter I have had this happen many many times. I guess my response is based on the cordiality of the other hunters. I generally initiate contact for safety reasons. Some times I leave, sometimes I say something. One time, I had a guy setup in a ground blind I had prepared for deer season. Other times I have been waterfowl hunting and invited guys over.
I know it's weird but I've never met any jerk bow hunters, but when I've been waterfowling or firearm deer hunting (can only speak for MI) I've met some real jerks and occasionally, I will say something if they're being too offensive or unsafe.

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from Del in KS wrote 30 weeks 1 day ago

Gang,

On this year's opener I took an 8 year old youth on his first dove hunt. The State of Kansas holds youth mentor dove shoots all over the state. You can find them on the KDWP website. The number of hunters is limited and doves abound. That little guy and I had 10 acres of sunflowers to hunt. The birds were thick as skeeters. It was legal for me to shoot but I had more fun teaching this young lad and shot my limit at another event. If you want to avoid crowds find a kid and take him hunting. You might even feel better about the whole thing anyway. To see our hunt click my name and check out the photos.

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from Gunny Bob wrote 28 weeks 5 days ago

Had the same thing happen while angling for spotted seatrout at 0500 at the swing bridge at Onslow Beach on the Intracoastal in November 1995. George Misko and I got there first and both sides have hundreds of feet available for wading. This clown shows up third and wades in within 10 feet of me. I told him to shove off. He refused and started running his suck. I put on my war face and closed with him, and he split most ricky-tick, screeching like a girl as he departed.

What is it with some people?

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from etexan wrote 30 weeks 3 days ago

You chose (d) because you did not expect the father to respond positively to your pointing out his bad manners. You already had a hint about his attitude when he set up too close to your spot. Raising a ruckus would have made it even more uncomfortable. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.

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from Douglas wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

I have run into this scenario more than once both in waterfowl and deer hunting. I am non confrontational, so I just leave and crawl into the brush or some pug hole where the rude ones don't go.
I usually manage to get my share and have a quality time afield to boot.

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from jjas wrote 30 weeks 3 days ago

While I admire you keeping your cool and walking away, I don't know that I could have done the same.

And with all due respect, I have to ask this question....

Didn't you reward that man's boorish behavior by letting him have the spot? Not only that, but by leaving didn't you also indirectly tell the kid that his father acting that way was okay?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from HogBlog wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

This is the worst thing about public land hunting, and it doesn't appear to be getting any better. I probably sound like my grandfather, but it seems like folks these days are really getting more and more wrapped up in this selfish, entitlement mentality. But still, it's a two-way street.

Avoiding confrontation, as Phil does in the story, doesn't resolve anything and likely makes it worse... positively reinforcing bad behavior. Sure, it was more comfortable just to duck and leave to find other places, and I guess that's OK. It sounds like it worked out. But to leave without telling the other guy why was counterproductive... it's like stiffing a waitress without telling her why you kept the tip. Nobody learns from that.

I see no reason you couldn't have told the guy, "look, you're too close. If you don't want to move, I will."

Sure. Odds are he'll get defensive. He might even get belligerent. Oh well. At least you made a point. Don't argue or try to get one up... just pack your stuff and go. Or maybe, lightning will strike and you'll get some guy who's genuinely clueless but willing to learn... and you'll have a new friend, the kid will learn something good, and pigs will fly with the monkeys over the rainbow clouds.

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from Steve in Virginia wrote 30 weeks 3 days ago

You were the better man that day, Phil.

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from FSU70 wrote 30 weeks 3 days ago

Well Phil, what you experienced on the WLM Field is pretty much what you can come to expect on public land. Good Sportsmanship and ettiquet are pretty much gone. I probably would have gone over and talked to the father about there being plenty of room on the field and the logic of it being advantagous to he and his son to be furhter from me. Many people are reasonable and they may have been just a little anxious to get on the field and get set up. However if they wanted to be hard heads I probably would have done like you and opted for the safer alternative and left or found another place on the field.
That is one of the reasons I so appreciate the dove club I'm in now. Our fields have stands that are placed at a safe distance apart. We draw for stands and rotate every hour to give everyone a chance to have a good place on the field to shoot. We stress no low birds, pickup your spent shells and don't shoot over the limit. If we have new members that can't seem to comply they don't usually last the season and their invited to look else where to hunt doves. They deffinitly don't get back in the following year.

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from small game sportsman wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

I would have told them to move.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

Another good reason to avoid public land hunting unless you can out-distance the goobers.

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from jay wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

I think you made a mistake by not saying anything. People need to be called out when they are acting like jerks. Maybe if someone had called him out the year before he would not have ruined your morning. It is this lackadaisical attitude toward bad behavior that will breed bad behavior. If there is no response to bad behavior, then you are giving them a free pass to continue.

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from Del in KS wrote 30 weeks 1 day ago

Gang,

On this year's opener I took an 8 year old youth on his first dove hunt. The State of Kansas holds youth mentor dove shoots all over the state. You can find them on the KDWP website. The number of hunters is limited and doves abound. That little guy and I had 10 acres of sunflowers to hunt. The birds were thick as skeeters. It was legal for me to shoot but I had more fun teaching this young lad and shot my limit at another event. If you want to avoid crowds find a kid and take him hunting. You might even feel better about the whole thing anyway. To see our hunt click my name and check out the photos.

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from Tim Platt wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

WMA's are filled with people with little to no hunting experience. The first dove my son ever shot was at a WMA and it fell towards another group of hunters who blew it into dust as it fell on top of them and then they went and picked it up, whooping it up and hollering, "we finally got one".

There is a WMA with 27,000 acres nearby and if you walk an hour you can get away from the Elmer Fudds. I killed my biggest buck there, but they had imported a bunch of Michigan deer to mix in with our Tennessee herd so they did have some serious wall hangers.

There is no etiquette on WMA's, they are to be avoided like the plague. Just be glad no one sprayed you with shot...

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from Tim Platt wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

I guess I didn't answer your question. I would have invited them to hunt but only because of the child, and then educated the boy on proper etiquette. Seems like the right thing to do.

If it was just some idiots who were full grown men I would have moved too... I try not to yell at people when we are both armed. Not that I am scared but I don't back down and I shoot every day.

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from Mark-1 wrote 30 weeks 3 days ago

'D' was right and good, as was coming back to your original spot to find them gone. I'd have expected them to be gone rather quickly.

These types never see where they are rude and suffocating with their lack of hunting etiquette. Best hope is they read this blog.

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from buckhunter wrote 30 weeks 3 days ago

If "D" also means finding a new spot then you chose wisely.

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from NorCal Cazadora wrote 30 weeks 3 days ago

I think you chose the best course of action. While there are some people out there who are amenable to learning (and given how these people acted, I can only hope they're aware that they're still learning). But most people don't take kindly to unsolicited advice from strangers.

It's just hard to keep people from getting defensive when you tell them they've done something wrong - defensive is a natural reaction. I suppose if you felt like having a conversation 10 minutes into shoot time, you could walk up and say, "Hey, I've hunted here before and found that hunting this close together tends to pose problems, so I'm going to move 50 yards farther away from you." It would be completely unsatisfying for you, but I suppose there's a chance they'd get the hint and possibly even be apologetic.

Or not.

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

I would have probably left as well, Dave...

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

I would have probably left as well, Dave...

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from CJ wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

Just open up at every bird that comes in sight. He might get the message. Never reward bad behavior or argue with an armed idiot unless you are ready to present a final solution, which is unthinkable over a bird spot.

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from FirstBubba wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

I'm fortunate in that I live on a bit of acreage. This leads to...I don't have to hunt public land....and there is a 2500 acre WMA with a small Wetland Development Unit on it.
I just don't go to public land. A neighboring farmer allows me to hunt two of his farms.

DEP, you probably chose wisely. But by not introducing yourself, you may be the one who "missed out". Now you'll never know.

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from deadeyedick wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

What you did was the gentlemanly thing to do but since I'm not a gentleman I would have told him very politely to move his stinkin' carcass a few hundred yards down wind so I did not have to smell the stench of a Slob Hunter. I wonder what old crabby Dave Petzel would have said ??

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 30 weeks 3 days ago

I would have discussed it with the guy. His kid needs to know what proper etiquette is. Most of the time this sort of thing is the result of ignorance not malice. Usually explaining how setting up too close impacts everybody's day MAY help the ignorant see sense. Sufficient elbow room is an unwritten rule but if this guy can't abide by it, you could certainly have ensured that he didn't get any shooting ... by simply firing off your gun anytime something showed up in the sky headed for the decoys.

Last year I was setting up my goose decoys in the dark when a young man and his dad about my age showed up with a pickup and trailer outfit. He had asked for permission to hunt and expected to have the field to himself. I informed him that the farmer was a good Christian man and gave everyone permission to hunt. A bit crestfallen they asked if I knew of another field where they might set up. "Hell, set up in this one! You have a layout blind so go set up out in the middle. I have to hunt the fringes because of the dogs. The geese will come to you primarily. I won't shoot at anything that's set up for your deeks. Just make sure you're far enough out there so my dogs aren't tempted to try to pick up your birds." Both fellas were a bit incredulous. "Thanks so much!" "For what? They're your birds too." As predicted the geese fell all over him. I passed on several family groups that circled my way first. He was a real sportsman too. Never shot at a small group of geese that actually managed to land in his deeks out of his vision. They were walking around close enough for him to almost grab them. Instead he waited for the next flight and took those shots rather than blowing up something next to him. I don't think the guy was out there a half hour when I saw the headlights of his father's truck on the other side of the field. It came tearing over, the two frantically tossed layout blind and fancy full body deeks into the trailer willy nilly and then sped out of there. He had his limit and they left as quickly as possible for my benefit. Wish everyone was like that.

But they aren't. In the same field several years ago a bunch of arseholes set up in the next field and then came and parked their truck about thirty yards on the other side of my decoys. I hollered at them and they just gave me the finger. Okay, that's how it's going to be, is it. I knew a couple of things they obviously didn't. First, all the geese would leave the river behind me heading for the fields. They had to fly right over me. I was nice enough to let the scroungy snows/blues go by early and they managed to get one or two in spite of some shockingly sad shooting! Then the big honkers started moving. They were at treetop level so it was long shooting for me but I dropped one bird from each of the first three flocks that came over. Suddenly more obscenities were flying my way than geese! By now it was pouring down rain and the dummies finally figured out the other thing I knew: that a neighboring dairy farmer had spread manure on their field earlier that week. Ugh, that stuff was getting smelly! They were miserable literally laying in crap. It was also now obvious I was NOT going to let any more birds come to their decoys. They packed it in. And, yes, I received the phalangeal salute again, but as they got in their truck I made sure I stepped out into the field so they could see the very broad smile on my face and three big geese in my hand. Took me about fifteen more minutes after they left to get the other two birds and fill out my bag. Had those clowns stayed I would have continued to fill the air with shot even after I had all my honkers (technically I could remain in the field to hunt snows/blues). And yes, there was a kid with them too. Wish I could say he learned a lesson but I doubt it. However, without a doubt if I had packed it in and just left that certainly would have sent the WRONG message.

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from Gunny Bob wrote 28 weeks 5 days ago

Had the same thing happen while angling for spotted seatrout at 0500 at the swing bridge at Onslow Beach on the Intracoastal in November 1995. George Misko and I got there first and both sides have hundreds of feet available for wading. This clown shows up third and wades in within 10 feet of me. I told him to shove off. He refused and started running his suck. I put on my war face and closed with him, and he split most ricky-tick, screeching like a girl as he departed.

What is it with some people?

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from Longbeard wrote 30 weeks 3 days ago

In spite of the fact that he's a Seminole (I presume), I'd take a similar tack as FSU70. If the intruders were newbies, they may be just oblivious to what they've done and may desire to learn the correct etiquette. Sometimes you can take their temperature, so to speak, with a friendly hello. Sometimes, folks are just selfish oafs and moving is the smarter move.

The only "public" bird hunts I used to go on were those you pay for seasonally and which place the hunters in specific spots so as to avoid this situation altogether. Of course, that means you may not get one of the good spots...which is why I quit going to those hunts.

Oh, and Go Gators!

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from DSMbirddog wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

Option B might have worked but I probably would have chosen D also. I try not to let that sort of thing ruin my day. If I were deer hunting on a WMA I would have to ask them to move off.

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from hermit crab wrote 30 weeks 3 days ago

Good post, similar things happen to all of us from time to time. I think you did the right thing. This might have been the kid's first time hunting, and maybe the father's too. Had you given them an earful, that kid might never have an interest in hunting ever again and the same for his dad. Shame on them for setting up so close, but kudos to you for taking the high road. Besides, I bet you had a better time hunting that afternoon with nobody around than you would have if you stayed.

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from TLF Nevada wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

I've had this fishing as well. My wife and I were fishing a stream in Colorado and a family came in and set up right between us. There was lots of room elsewhere on the stream but they just had to be there.

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from Buckshott00 wrote 30 weeks 1 day ago

As a public land hunter I have had this happen many many times. I guess my response is based on the cordiality of the other hunters. I generally initiate contact for safety reasons. Some times I leave, sometimes I say something. One time, I had a guy setup in a ground blind I had prepared for deer season. Other times I have been waterfowl hunting and invited guys over.
I know it's weird but I've never met any jerk bow hunters, but when I've been waterfowling or firearm deer hunting (can only speak for MI) I've met some real jerks and occasionally, I will say something if they're being too offensive or unsafe.

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from Dangle wrote 30 weeks 3 days ago

Can't believe how fortunate I am here in Idaho. I'm still shooting doves virtually every day, and seeing lots of birds. I've seen one hunter, and that was coming back to my rig after hunting, and I talked to him. Most guys are big game hunters around my parts. I hunt all the grouse, huns, rabbits, and see very few other hunters. Hunting the plant sites for pheasants is another story, but I'm amazed there aren't more of those hunters as well.

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from Dangle wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

Doesn't anyone like kids? Invite them over to hunt with you. I'd enjoy seeing the kid shoot, and hopefully score, and get excited. That would make my day. I would have to factor in safety though. I do not feel comfortable being within shotgun range of folks I do not know, and even some that I do know. Gave up calling a guy to go several years ago because of his unsafe practices.

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from Dangle wrote 30 weeks 2 days ago

You guess can forget about the fact that public lands are public. I have criticized folks on "MY" river regarding their disturbing others, and guides, for example, that think they have priority on public waters because they are commercial, and making a living. That's why you are seeing hunters exercise their option, and leasing land making it private. It can get down to what right have you on public lands to dictate others code of ethics.

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from Dangle wrote 30 weeks 1 day ago

Here is an incident that just took place with me. I've concluded my sage grouse hunt, and am headed out the gravel road...come upon a Game Vehicle, and two wardens pull me over, and want to check for A bird if I have one. I show the officer my license, and tell him I did't get a grouse. He looks in my SUV, and says "can I go around, and open that cooler?" I say "Sure" But where is the other officer? He is standing back behind me, and the rig. WHY? The awkward aspect was that when the officer opened my back door he would have been looking right at my O/U gun barrels. I reached back, and pulled the barrels out of his line of sight, and this guy ducked when I did so. Now Phil was smart, and considered the situation the same as the officers did.

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