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Float hunting regs


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Hi all,
I have never duck hunted, but would like to try it.
I own a canoe, and would like to try float hunting down a small river.
I have heard of others doing this, but I'm not sure about the regs. Is this type of hunting legal, because each bend in the river "partially covers" your boat and the river isn't considered "open water"?

How many of you have done this? Have you ever been stopped by a CO?

Thanks, Nels

[This message has been edited by Nels (edited 10-21-2003).]

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I have hunted the Crow river this fall, the water was low, but it was fun anyway. We did not get checked by a C.O. but this form of hunting is pefectly legal. I talked to a kid the next day that walked the river also. All I can tell you is keep your eyes peeled, because those woodies jump up pretty fast and if you don't see them beforehand, you might not get a shot, and you end up chasing them down the river. Hope this helps.

[This message has been edited by Farley (edited 10-21-2003).]

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Float hunting is perfectly legal as long as your boat is not powered by a motor .. any time a motor is running (gas or elec) your gun must be cased. There is nothing illegal about float hunting a river or lake as long as shooting is permitted in the area. The only way a watercraft must be partially covered in natural cover, or moored(anchored) with a blind is when hunting with decoys.

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I am a bit confused by this one. Where in the regs does it talk about what open water is considered? I look at all over and I was unable to find it anyone know where it would be located. Going by what I found I would have to go under the assumption that you would not be able just to paddle down the river and take game. Here is the regs that I found covering this.

Taking on the open water-
A person may not take migratory waterfowl, coots or rails in the open water unless that person is:
A) within a natural growth of vegetation sufficient to partially conceal the person or boat.

Watercraft
-A person using a watercraft to take migratory waterfowl must comply with the provisions for "Taking in Open Water" specified above.
-Migratory waterfowl may be taken from a floating watercraft if the craft is drifting, beached, moored resting at anchor , or is being propelled by paddle, oars, or pole.

I guess if a river is not considered open water it would be legal but I what is considered open water. But I do walk the Minnesota river bottoms and it is pretty fun jumping the woodies down there.


JegerJack

P.S. WhooWhoo, my 100th post.....

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"What did the old man trade for these guys, a used puck bag?"

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Jump shooting a river from a canoe is perfectly legal, and you will not break any laws as long as you do not have a motor propelling you when you shoot or have the gun uncased. In this case the law is meant to prevent people from chasing ducks on large open flats of water. I'm not sure, but my hunch is this regulation came into place when people would paddle out to a large raft of bluebills, take a couple shots, and hope they came back into their partner's dekes.

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Why do you think it is perfectly legal? I am not saying your wrong but with my luck I would try it and get busted.... Where in the regs does it cover this type of the topic. All it takes is one ornery CO to see you and good bye boat, good bye gun and good bye wad of cash.

JegerJack

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"What did the old man trade for these guys, a used puck bag?"

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Ok, I spoke to someone at the DNR and they answered my question. Any river is considered public land or water and therefore it is considered open water. So the regs that apply to open water are in in force. So to sum it up, if you do go down a river, you will need to be in some sort of vegitation to take a shot. That one had been bugging me all morning.....

JegerJack

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"What did the old man trade for these guys, a used puck bag?"

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This sums it up right here:
"Migratory waterfowl may be taken from a floating watercraft if the craft is drifting, beached, moored resting at anchor, or is being propelled by paddle, oars, or pole."

It is legal to canoe or drift a river and shoot ducks.

Don't mix up the law that states open water is public water. All water is public granted it is accessed on public land.

The vegetation rule is stated to keep people from using duck skiffs, sink boxes and whatnot in the middle of large lakes (like they do on the great lakes for diver ducks). That is a MN state law.

[This message has been edited by CD (edited 10-22-2003).]

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One other thing to note on this:
Be sure you are not within the distance limits of dwellings.
Example would be if you are floating a river that may have houses, be sure you are not pounding away at ducks, and just up the hill is someone's house.
Illegal if you are too close.

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I just spoke with a CO. I was told your watercraft must be at least partially concealed to be legal. Also, it is common practice and is up to the CO on site whether or not to issue a ticket. confused.gif

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Well I guess the CO would know, but it seems like whenever they say "it's up to that particular warden" they're a little fuzzy on the definition themselves. Paddling slowly through a windy river or creek and jump-shooting ducks is common and has never bothered any CO I'v talked to. I even saw a show on the local news about the jump-shooting like this in the past year with Scott and Marty Glorvigan from Grand Rapids. Hard to believe this practice is restricted. I'll try to get in touch with the CO in my area and see what he says about it.

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When you people are asking CO's about this, are you making it CLEAR that you are talking about a float trip down a river?
Or are you just asking if you can shoot from open water.
The MN Outdoor News has had articles on float trips. In fact, I think Steve Carney has written about it a few times in his weekly updates over the years.

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That quote I stated above is a major loop hole for floating rivers and shooting ducks. People float creeks and rivers all the time, including myself.

Let's not get too technical and get lost in everything.

I agree biglakeba$$, are you guys asking specific questions to this scenario?

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I'm not real sure of MN. regs, being from WI. In WI., "open water" hunting is illegal. However "jump shooting" is legal. Skirting the edges of rivers and lakes with your boat being partially concealed in natural vegetation is perfectly legal. A few sticks or reeds laying on your boat/canoe is partial concealment. The law does not state that the natural vegetation must be rooted to the ground. That's how I read it. I hunt a river/flowage, wide in a lot of spots with many finger sloughs branching off. When I jump shoot it, I tie up a bunch of sticks, weeds, reeds, etc. to the front of the skiff. One man paddleing, while the other shoots. I've never had any problems with the law and have come in contact with several CO's while hunting this way. Just my experience's.

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When I spoke to the DNR I was specific, about what I was asking. They said under the regs you may not just be floating without any type of vegetation and it must be natural vegetation, homemade duck blinds do not count even if you are using natural materials. Canitbeluck is right, if you are along the side in some sort of cover you can shoot. At lest that is what they told me.

JegerJack

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"What did the old man trade for these guys, a used puck bag?"

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I find it sort of funny that a lot of hunter/fisherman realize that it's not the laws they're worried about, it's the demeanor and "way" a CO views your activity. Lots of gray area? It makes me think of the threads involving boat searchs and the likes. Cripes, here comes a CO, I hope he's in a "good mood". I feel that way, and I see others do too.

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What a bunch of talk. How do they know if the vegatation is natural or is from a bunch of weeds you threw in your canoe at home. To me taking ducks on open water is when you aren't concealed either by vegetation or by the silhouette of the land around you (river bank, bend in the river, etc). Any CO ticketing me for jump shooting illegally cause I don't have a "natural" cattail draped across the bow of the canoe is going to see me in court. smile.gif

Jegerjack, thanks for taking the time to talk to the game warden. In no way was my little rant directed towards you.

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Lowe, I'm with you. If a duck sees a big clump of grass paddeling down the river with guns sticking out, I bet they fly away just the same as if it was a bare canoe. I don't see why this rule would be in effect on a river. I can see what benifits it would have on a lake but rivers are different. On a lake if you're out in the middle with a home-made blind, it gives you an advantage so the ducks land, whereas when you float down the river, you're jumping ducks that are already there. THEY CAN SEE YOU COMMING. How does this make it an advantage for you? I honestly don't think a C.O. would make a big deal out of something like this.

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I wouldn't bet on it, you'll get much closer hidden behind what appears to be a floating "island" of cover vs. being "wide open". Deer, and most birds sit and stare at cars and other machinery, step out of the vehicle and bye bye. I watched a show where the hunters approached birds in a field, sneaking up on them while hideing behind cow silhouettes. That was pretty neat. As I said earlier, partial concealment can be a handful of vegetation. That's how I read it, I just choose to hunt this way because it works for me on my particular waters. On smaller rivers I hunt with twists and turns, a few armfuls of vegetation is thrown in the canoe. For legal purposes. I'm not sure of the "reasons" of certain laws, but I follow them the way they read. Everyone should make thier own call when it comes to this. Each situation is going to be different. smile.gif

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No prob Lowe, the regs can be a pain in the butt at times, but like everyone here it would probably be best to speak with your local co and see what they have to say.

Good luck, JegerJack

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"What did the old man trade for these guys, a used puck bag?"

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I talked to a CO a couple years ago about this and he said it was indeed illegal to float a river or creek, but it is one of the grey areas that they don't seem to enforce. He had never heard of anyone getting a ticket but if a CO wanted to he/she could give you one. I also asked him if I could tie up to the side of a piece of floating bog giving me partial concealment and he said that I better be in the middle of it not tied to the side. It is a very vague law, I guess it all comes down to the definition of "partially concealed" and "natural vegetation". It would be nice to have some ducks around to make this stuff worth talking about. frown.gif

Tom

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I've asked a CO about this one and he told me if the river was small enough so you could have a reasonable chance of killing a bird on the opposite side from where you were shooting it was OK in his opinion. I know many that have hunted this way and no one has ever gotten in trouble.

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Oilguy is the CO you talked with Kevin N. from around Snelling State park area? I had this discusion with him in a class we were teaching and thats the same answer I received. Just wondering if other CO's treat this grey area similar.

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