Generally the only time I travel to a big city is to catch a flight to a far-off hunt. But, for hunters living in those population-dense centers, getting afield can be challenge—but not an insurmountable one. I learned this the day I stepped off a plane at Boston’s Logan Airport and, in 30 minutes or less, was hip deep in a marsh, shotgun in hand. The buddy I was hunting with had gone suburban commando and knew every duck hole between his downtown job and home. Here’s how he does it.
In urban areas, protecting your hunting spot takes every sneaky trip in the book. A pickup truck covered in Bone Collector stickers is a tip-off to other hunters. Instead, go undercover in a suburban commando hunting vehicle. My buddy co-opted his wife’s Volvo, complete with Audubon Society sticker on the back window. This also keeps anti-hunters off your back.
Keep Your Eyes Open
You never know when or where you’ll find your next great hunting spot. My friend discovered a 10-acre duck-hunting hole on his commute when he spotted mallards dumping in over the rail line. Another one, nicknamed Grand Slam, was just past the outfield of a baseball field and, I swear to God, had softballs bobbing amongst the decoys the day I hunted it.
People think most suburbanites don’t support hunting and a lot of hunters won’t ask permission, fearing rejection. Use this myth to your advantage. If you’ve found a hot spot, be persistent, but not pushy, with the landowner. Stop by for a visit once a year, and you may just work your way into his good graces.
Size Doesn’t Matter Here
In the Northeast, size doesn’t matter. Another friend who worked in a Manhattan high-rise let me in on a secret spot just 30 minutes from his office. He did so only I after I swore to him I had no intention or desire to get that close to New York City, ever. He hunted the postage-stamp-size spot every year during turkey season, always taking a good bird and never seeing another soul. Every pond or patch of woods, no matter how small, holds potential.
Know The Rules
As you search for your own hunting spot, take the time to read up on the legalities of hunting in suburbia. Find out how far from a dwelling or roadway you have to be to discharge a firearm. Bring a rangefinder with you when you go hunting. Study maps for township boundaries. Learn about trespass laws and private property rights. Call the local department of wildlife or conservation and ask about hunting regulations or state game lands. You never know what suburbia holds.