Monday, August 1, 2016

Duck Guide Rant

Capt. George,  
Can you recommend a duck guide(s) for mid January?

We would have to have a long talk about your expectations before I could make a recommendation.  So tell me specifically what you are looking for.  ----Capt. G

Capt. George
I understand. Didn't mean to put you in a bad spot. You put me with a good guide for drum fishing last summer so I thought you might have a recommendation.
 I'm a 40 yr old dad and went duck hunting for first time in my life this past Jan. Had a great time, got plenty of ducks, but I didn't like that the guide drank crown royal all day. I drink my fair share but not with a gun in my hand.
Me and another dad want to take our 11year old boys in late Dec.
 Another group of 4 guys going mid Jan.  All fairly new to duck hunting.  Very easy going.  Don't care what we shoot.  Just want to shoot ducks. Talked on phone to Captain Froggy tonight. Unless you tell me he's an axe murderer, I'll go with him. 
 Thanks,  ----B

I don't know who you hunted with before but it sounded successful, probably because, unknown to you, it was an illegal hunt.   The guide drinking in the blind was also illegal, but the baiting of the ducks in order to get you "plenty of ducks" is the only way to  commercially  duck hunt  and provide consistent success.    The reality is that legal wild duck hunting is a lot of work which most often results in a cold boat ride, beautiful sunrise, hopefully seeing lots of ducks in the distance and perhaps getting a few shots, sometimes the gun is never fired.   Rarely do you "get plenty of ducks". 
 "If you don't care what you shoot, you just want to shoot ducks", then I suggest that you go to a shooting preserve.
 There are several types of commercial duck hunting operations, the illegal ones, which are most of them and:    
 The  "private impoundments" which by definition are not going to be commercially successful because of the high costs of maintaining these impoundments increases the price/hunter beyond what most people are willing to pay.  Therefore these guides settle for lower prices and pack more people into their impoundments than the impoundments can support and the hunting sucks.   The only consistently successful private impoundments are extremely expensive with 6 digit membership costs and annual dues often in excess of 5 digits.  
 Then you have the scissor boat rigs.  Yes mobile, successful, more often legal, but my idea of duck hunting is not done from a boat. 
 These scissor rigs are also productive with sea ducks, but my idea of duck hunting is shooting ducks that are edible and not giving them away because they taste like rotten clams.
 Then you have those who lease shoreline and hunt the open water from shore.   If done legally without bait, then these hunters are at the mercy of the weather and the migration.   They can have the weather, but no ducks or most often they have several thousand ducks in the area but no weather to move them around.
 Then you have the public lands.  I would recommend some of these hunts in order to gain some appreciation for what  legitimate duck guides have to invest to be successful, not just in the expenses, but the time and knowledge. 
 If you want to shoot at ducks from a boat, I can tell you who has scissor rigs.
 If you want to sit in the marsh and hope the weather is such that some ducks fly by, then I can tell you who has a blind or two and is dabbling in it.
I met Capt. Froggy last year and he seems like a nice guy who has been doing it a while.   Give him a try and let me know how it works out, but no matter who you go with, if you measure success by how many times the gun is fired, you will most often be disappointed.  
For over 10 years I leased miles of shoreline, had multiple dogs, boats and hundreds of decoys.  Decreasing limits and the costs of doing it right exceeded what people were willing to pay, therefore we are no longer promoting that we still have a couple of blinds and a couple of guides whom may dabble in it.   Costs is usually about $200/person for a half day and if you have a greatly successful day, you will have your limit of bluebills which is 2/person.  If it is a day like most, the only guarantee is that the steaks and oysters in the blind will be good. 
I know this is  a lot more detail  than you wanted ........, but every once in a while I am prone to rant. 
----Capt. George