Crispin Powley has seen some pretty coarse behavior in the duck marsh, but nothing prepared him for the guy who waded through flooded corn at first light and stuck a spinning-wing decoy on the edge of the standing crop. By itself, that wasn’t so bad, but the hunter had set his lone decoy on the edge of Powley’s spread.
“There were eight of us in a pole blind, and I think we were all just in shock that this guy would do that,” he explained. “I mean, how could he not know we were there? “Powley and his friends were on a western Kentucky public hunting area in a blind he won in an annual drawing. The blind was his for the season. However, regulations allow other hunters on the management area as long as they set up no closer than 200 yards to a permanent blind. This guy was just 60 yards from Powley and his friends.
“I waded over to him and explained that while we would certainly be careful, he was dangerously close to eight guys, and that it was illegal to set up within 200 yards of another blind,” he recalled. “He got the message and pulled up his decoy and left.”
Race to the Ramp
Talk to anyone who frequently hunts public land and you’ll likely hear similar stories. Hunters set up right next to another group, shoot at birds working someone else’s spread or claim ownership to a spot that belongs to no one. Boat ramps on some Arkansas wildlife management areas resemble a demolition derby as hunters jockey for the pole position.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources waterfowl biologist, Ray Marshalla says many hunters sleep in their trucks on Rend Lake Public Hunting Area boat ramps in order to be the first ones on the water.
“You have to be off the water at 2 p.m. and you can’t launch until 4:30 a.m., so some guys do everything they can to be the last ones off the water. Then they leave their truck on the ramp so it blocks everyone else the next morning,” he said. “These guys will actually stay there all day and all night just so they could be the first ones out the next morning.”