8 Tips for Conquering Public-Land Walk-In Hunts

We humped down the levy, almost a mile, three rookie public-land walk-in hunters. The groups behind us unwillingly (or maybe unwittingly) peeled off one by one, stopping short of where the birds wanted to be. Blue-wings strafed our decoys, and at shooting light the first birds of the year were on our straps.

It was early teal season in a hot, mosquito-infested marsh. The sweat still dangled from our hat brims when the first flights rushed us. In all, our trio took six blues, a banner morning we later discovered after running into some conservation officers who must've watched "Zero Dark Thirty" a few too many times, ambushing us on the death march home.

"We've checked a lot of hunters, and you guys are the high total for the day," one of the men in green said.

Were we lucky? Absolutely. But a good amount of research and preparation put us on those birds, too. And here's how you can have walk-in success as well.

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