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Laying in the rice and swimming with the ducks.


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It continues to be very mild here.  While that hasn't pushed any new ducks here, it was probably a good thing today because my son dumped in the drink adjusting his camo after retrieving some ducks.  (He dumped himself and his gun last year retrieving ducks.  I've got to get him to calm down I believe).  It was warm enough that he was able to continue hunting.

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On the other thread Wi Outdoor Nut mentioned that wild rice is good to a point, but you need a landing zone.  I agree with the need for a landing zone:

 

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However we like thick beds of rice.  They thin as the season progresses.  As you can see from the picture of my son the rice cover is getting sparse.  We were okay today because it was windy, we set up to have a crossing wind and we set up 25 yds from the decoys.  The ducks actually decoyed well for as thin as the cover was:

 

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Interesting. At least in my state the boat can't be in the open (needs to be concealed by natural habitat) which makes hunting rice beds a bit confusing from a regulations perspective as to what is, or is not, an open water boat blind. Based on the photo you have posted that would no doubt be an illegal setup. At a minimum there would need to be a lot more rice around the boat blind. 

 

Anyways, as I've said before you really have to know what you're doing to effectively hunt rice beds...especially on lakes and rivers where there is a lot of it. 

 

A lot of good memories about hunting the rice over several decades. I loved it. 

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4 hours ago, MDash2 said:

Interesting. At least in my state the boat can't be in the open (needs to be concealed by natural habitat) which makes hunting rice beds a bit confusing from a regulations perspective as to what is, or is not, an open water boat blind. Based on the photo you have posted that would no doubt be an illegal setup. At a minimum there would need to be a lot more rice around the boat blind. 

 

Anyways, as I've said before you really have to know what you're doing to effectively hunt rice beds...especially on lakes and rivers where there is a lot of it. 

 

A lot of good memories about hunting the rice over several decades. I loved it. 

Each rice bed is different as you know.  Most we hunt from shore or close to shore or on bogs.  This one is too deep and soft bottomed.  This set up is totally legal here and is a popular spot which is why we were here on a weekday.  You can also be legal anytime you can stand on the bottom, but as you know rice generally is on soft bottoms so you need a shallower bed to hunt standing or in a marsh seat.

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Rick Hall
4 hours ago, MDash2 said:

Interesting. At least in my state the boat can't be in the open (needs to be concealed by natural habitat) which makes hunting rice beds a bit confusing from a regulations perspective as to what is, or is not, an open water boat blind. Based on the photo you have posted that would no doubt be an illegal setup. At a minimum there would need to be a lot more rice around the boat blind.

 

Don't know how long those regs have been in place, but, beck in the '80s, a senior federal agent told me "Flying over a Minnesota marsh on opening weekend is like flying over a Grumman showroom - and they still kill ducks."

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molliesmaster
9 hours ago, MDash2 said:

Interesting. At least in my state the boat can't be in the open (needs to be concealed by natural habitat) which makes hunting rice beds a bit confusing from a regulations perspective as to what is, or is not, an open water boat blind. Based on the photo you have posted that would no doubt be an illegal setup. At a minimum there would need to be a lot more rice around the boat blind. 

 

 

What is the logic behind this kind of rule?   I've never heard anything like it. 

 

 

To the OP, looks like an awesome hunt.   My friends and I do a lot of duck hunting from small 1-man boats down here as well.  It is a lot of fun.   The times were the boat turns over just makes for a better story later.

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59 minutes ago, molliesmaster said:

What is the logic behind this kind of rule?   I've never heard anything like it. 

 

 

Maybe we have the only department of natural resources which has endless regulations in which logic cannot be applied. I wouldn't dare be a spokesperson in explaining or defending such regulations. That said, with the drastic decline in state waterfowl hunters the department has been changing many regulations they had defended for decades as necessary and appropriate although never could fully explain as to why as other state's didn't have them. Odd how the loss of license revenue has influenced their views on regulations. There are mixed opinions about the "we are now willing to change a wide range of regulations to attract waterfowl hunters" approach the department is taking. What we need are more ducks and more quality public locations to hunt. Prior to this season the department had suggested about a dozen reg changes with open water blinds be made legal as one of them...not sure if they made a final decision. 

 

6 hours ago, Reeba said:

Each rice bed is different as you know.  Most we hunt from shore or close to shore or on bogs.  This one is too deep and soft bottomed.  This set up is totally legal here and is a popular spot which is why we were here on a weekday.  You can also be legal anytime you can stand on the bottom, but as you know rice generally is on soft bottoms so you need a shallower bed to hunt standing or in a marsh seat.

Just to be clear there was no judgements on the setup...just surprised me (maybe a little jealous). We always hunted from a 14' aluminum boat which complicated navigation and blind setup on the rice beds but it was a compromise as we also needed a boat that could handle big water diver hunting. We made it work pretty well in both situations. 

 

Actually, many of the rice beds we hunted required long boat rides across large lakes or bays or down/up rivers. I remember complaining to my dad about needing a smaller boat for the the smaller rice beds locations and he refused to even talk about it. Eventually he told the story about a good friend and his wife that often hunted from a small duck boat. They went on the river bottoms one morning and never came back...boat tipped over was what he heard at the funeral. My dad quickly exchanged his flat bottom 10' jon boat for a 12' and then a 14' aluminum boat. Anyways, I'm babbling about days long ago. Much of the boat dynamics I suspect was my mother saying get a bigger boat. 

 

Much of the rice beds, boat, shallow water, mud bottoms and blinding challenges were resolved with mud motors but we had started fading away from waterfowl hunting in our state and transitioning to North Dakota. 

 

All good stuff. Glad to see hunters are still enjoying the thrills of hunting rice beds.

 

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No offense taken.  The actual rule here is:• Hunters may also hunt in open water with the aid of blinds if any of the following applies:• Any part of the boat or blind is located within 3 feet of any shoreline, including islands.• Any part of the boat or blind is located within 3 feet of a naturally occurring and un-manipulated growth of vegetation rooted to the navigable waterway's bed or shoreline. The vegetation must conceal at least 50% of the hunter and boat or blind when viewed from at least one direction.

 

 The last sentence obviously would be subjective.  Those rice beds which we hunt here right in the rice would be very difficult to hunt otherwise,  have been traditionally hunted longer than I have been hunting (55 years), and as long as hunters have stayed within the rooted vegetation, I've never heard of anyone being cited.  And all would have abundant open water nearby to provide refuge for ducks.

 

Today we hunted a different rice bed from a bog.  Copper watching for ducks:

 

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Copper broke a toenail today retrieving, but it doesn't seem to bother him.

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