What's Changed? The good and bad

Hunting Nut

Twelve Pointer
There is one thing about a duck. If he gets shot at a lot or harassed he is leaving and not stopping in that same spot next year.
Not sure I agree.
The county with the "safe hunter laws" with blinds every 500 yards has been pounding ducks legally and illegally for decades.
And when the weather pushes ducks down, ducks still go there.


The biggest problem I can personally see and account for is no food on public waters. Everything is dead thanks to Duke energy. They've poisoned everything they have powerplants on. Started in the early 2000's that I know of. From the mountains to the sounds. Everything is dead all the time.
 

Neverfail

Button Buck
Neverfail, I would try to find a way to make it work in NJ. That is the place for you. Could you talk some of the people coming to Johnston from NJ to stay there?

Come on MR Boat! NC kills more ducks than any other state in the Atlantic Flyway. There are locations in NC with insane number of ducks. Some people know how to legally attract them. Pintails, wigeon, gadwall, teal are coming regardless and they know where the food and low pressure is. I do agrre with you on the Pacific Flyway. It is so much better.
Hyde marsh. Thanks for the suggestion but I would have stayed if I could of. NJ has very very few private impoundments if any. The birds have to use public areas because that’s where the food is. some of us don’t have the resources to have our own honey holes like you have. I’m not begrudging you I’m just stating facts. Also there are many more guides down here guiding on public lands. That makes it harder for the single hunter trying to kill a few birds on public land. I tried to get permission to hunt private marshes. Since I’m not from here I always get a no even if I offer to help with things. I’m not begrudging anyone. I’m just saying what I‘ve observed the last 5 years living here. I’m way to far from the coast to consider hunting there.
 

woodmoose

Administrator
Staff member
Contributor
one of the better duck/brant hunts I have done was in Jersey,,,, they got ducks (at times),,,, state still stinks (who the HECK doesn't allow you to pump your own dang gas??? and yes, I know parts of oregon are the same way),,,
 

cootmayne

Button Buck
In my opinion pretty much all of the statements made are correct. Warm winters, no food, more hunting pressure, and more boaters on the water have all hurt the hunting. So many trout fisherman at the coast its no wonder ducks arent resting as much on open water as they used to. With 70 degree weather who can blame them though. Lakes have fishermen all through the winter fishing now too. Didnt used to see many fishermen running around in december and january. Need a freeze to push what few ducks are hanging around swamps and ponds to the big water and that doesn't happen often anymore. Divers need grasses and shellfish to feed and those food sources are not there anymore. Adding insult to injury, the best managed places with the most food are all wildlife refuges where you cant hunt, unless you have a well managed private impoundment. Even then you are competing with all the other impoundments for birds.
 

JONOV

Twelve Pointer
Hyde marsh. Thanks for the suggestion but I would have stayed if I could of. NJ has very very few private impoundments if any. The birds have to use public areas because that’s where the food is. some of us don’t have the resources to have our own honey holes like you have. I’m not begrudging you I’m just stating facts. Also there are many more guides down here guiding on public lands. That makes it harder for the single hunter trying to kill a few birds on public land. I tried to get permission to hunt private marshes. Since I’m not from here I always get a no even if I offer to help with things. I’m not begrudging anyone. I’m just saying what I‘ve observed the last 5 years living here. I’m way to far from the coast to consider hunting there.
Do they have different trespass rules there? Curious. I've lived/hunted in enough different states that those rules make a big difference. IE there's a lot of water that I can't hunt in NC that I could have hunted in other states, and I'm not referring to blind laws.
 

coachcornbread

Six Pointer
I could write an encyclopedias worth on what has changed over the years, but I'll do the cliff notes version (younger guys probably have no idea what either of those are).

1. No SAVs in the lakes or sounds.
2. Less areas for public hunting due to urban sprawl.
3. Social Media
4. farming practices
 

TH7

Six Pointer
I was told Sunday some good impoundments in Pamlico were at a kill count in the 100s this year, when last year this time they were in the 700s. They did say the salt water impoundments were doing better.
 
SOCIAL MEDIA IS THE DEVIL! In many ways, these kids wanting to be "Pro Staff" and try to boost their numbers to get free hats, barrel stickers and lanyards. Totally forgot about social media. I had many good hunts in college, we didn't even have cameras on our phones then, hell we could barely text. We shot them, high fived, put in a dip, packed up, went home and cleaned the birds, ate them, and counted down until the next day.
 

darkthirty

Old Mossy Horns
SOCIAL MEDIA IS THE DEVIL! In many ways, these kids wanting to be "Pro Staff" and try to boost their numbers to get free hats, barrel stickers and lanyards. Totally forgot about social media. I had many good hunts in college, we didn't even have cameras on our phones then, hell we could barely text. We shot them, high fived, put in a dip, packed up, went home and cleaned the birds, ate them, and counted down until the next day.

Yeah and back in my college days, we didn’t have phones either but yet I can guarantee there was at least one wood duck roost shoot a week that would put the kill numbers near triple digits every hunt. But yet look at wood duck numbers today. They don’t seem to have been too impacted from those mid 90’s eastern NC wood duck smash fests. Lol. Glad I never partook in such shenanigans……..
 

kahunter

Eight Pointer
Social media hurt public hunting, not hunting in general. More people are now crammed in a ever shrinking area of public access.
There are too many guides in NC, many who dont know sh*t about duck hunting.
The SAV situation is a problem. You cant look at a wetland wrong without getting in trouble but you can spray for SAV all day long. I will never get this and would love to try and push back on the spraying of these areas.
I love this state and I love duck hunting here, but it is changing and it is gonna get tougher. You best bet is to try and get a small slice somewhere and enjoy it the best you can.
 

Mallard Cutter

Six Pointer
No food , social media, warmer winters, it all adds up. One big part is social media , I’ll be glad when duck hunting is no longer the “ cool “ thing to do. Long gone are the days that you could get to a spot an hour before shooting time , set up and if someone came in on ya you just shined the light and they would move on. Now they think it’s an invitation to set up 30 yards from ya. I have a couple of private ponds that I hunt , I only shoot each one of them about once a week but I’m not camping out three days ahead of time and I’m not worrying about someone setting up on top of me.
 

Plottdog

Six Pointer
Let me clarify. When I said the ducks will leave when they are harassed I was referring to the guys that shoot ponds everyday or 3-4 times a week.
 

Woods and water

Ten Pointer
Yeah and back in my college days, we didn’t have phones either but yet I can guarantee there was at least one wood duck roost shoot a week that would put the kill numbers near triple digits every hunt. But yet look at wood duck numbers today. They don’t seem to have been too impacted from those mid 90’s eastern NC wood duck smash fests. Lol. Glad I never partook in such shenanigans……..
I have heard of one shoot In the 90s where 4 fellers went through 18 boxes of 71/2. The main culprit is no longer alive. Glad he didn't pass those shenanigans down.
 

kahunter

Eight Pointer
I have heard of one shoot In the 90s where 4 fellers went through 18 boxes of 71/2. The main culprit is no longer alive. Glad he didn't pass those shenanigans down.
Wow that is crazy. What a way to ruin an area for hunting.
Wood ducks seem to be doing great in NC. That is one positive to what we are seeing now. I have been seeing consistent or increased numbers over the last 10 - 15 years.
 

Duckmauler dhc

Ten Pointer
I don’t personally see anywhere near the numbers of wood ducks that I was seeing in the early 2000s. But the areas I always saw them the habitat has diminished so that could be why. But even while fishing i don’t see that many these days. This is in the Piedmont though so it probably is just my experience and not a wide spread thing. I never cared that much for hunting woodies anyways except before class in my High school days.
 
I don’t personally see anywhere near the numbers of wood ducks that I was seeing in the early 2000s. But the areas I always saw them the habitat has diminished so that could be why. But even while fishing i don’t see that many these days. This is in the Piedmont though so it probably is just my experience and not a wide spread thing. I never cared that much for hunting woodies anyways except before class in my High school days.
Certain areas I used to see a lot I don't, and the inverse - other areas I didn't see them I see a lot. A friend of mine has old hog lagoons down east, 10 years ago we'd shoot bluebills off them all the time. Now days it's a few bills, mostly ruddy's and bufflehead and wood ducks! Tons of woodies come off the river and loaf around. Never saw that many a decade ago.
 

Clark

Ten Pointer
Guess I've come full circle. Started hunting the Piedmont lakes and marshes, we were lucky to kill a couple of birds. Started chasing them at the coast, 4 hour drive but killed a lot more birds. NC started the permit system and I quit duckin for a few years until my son said he missed going. So back to hunting but generally limited to sound hunts, and that has gone way downhill. Switched to the layout boat (which takes 2 people), worked OK until son had kids and quit going. So now I hunt alone, sometimes in the Pamlico off the marsh shore but more often just back in the Piedmont, where I'm thrilled to find a marsh where I can kill even a single woodie.
 

Sportsman

Old Mossy Horns
I duck hunted off and on, and avidly at times in the mid/late 80's, 90's, and early 2000's. It was decent back then. A few outstanding barn-burner hunts scattered amongst plenty of dud hunts. As the 2000's became 2010's......I began to get over duck fever. More and more hunters, less birds, minimal bag limits, more and more expensive, my old lab's passing, life responsibilities all lead to me setting my decoys and waders aside. This day and age, I couldn't even begin to think about dealing with the chaos today. I'll go occasionally, whenever my impoundment owning/leasing buddies call to tell me it's worth going.....but, that's not very often anymore. IF (BIG IF) I were to ever decide to get back into duck hunting, I'd likely be buying/leasing an impoundment which would cost me more than I think it's worth. I just can't justify the cost per duck after it's all said and done. Duck hunting has become a wealthy man's sport.......or should I say, consistent successful duck hunting.
 

kahunter

Eight Pointer
Certain areas I used to see a lot I don't, and the inverse - other areas I didn't see them I see a lot. A friend of mine has old hog lagoons down east, 10 years ago we'd shoot bluebills off them all the time. Now days it's a few bills, mostly ruddy's and bufflehead and wood ducks! Tons of woodies come off the river and loaf around. Never saw that many a decade ago.
In response to this and alot of things that have been said on this thread is duck hunting is constantly changing. Birds change and adapt, usually from situations we throw at them. The geese dont come to NC anymore like they used to. Different birds using different areas (my dads #1 bird in currituck in the 70s was gadwall, not we shoot a few, but not many). More swan in NC and they seem to be using further west than in years past. More wood ducks, less blackheads, less public land, more permit hunts etc etc. Just gotta adapt the best you can. I have hunted public and private land my whole life. I have stopped hunting some areas for one reason or another and moved to other ways to hunt. I have 2 kids now and no time to do what I used to so I am not out trying new stuff just going with what I know best. I manage what I can in the off season and hunt as much as my wife allows. I hope we can keep hunting into the future and my son's son will have the opportunities I have had
 
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Clark

Ten Pointer
Duck hunting has become a wealthy man's sport.......or should I say, consistent successful duck hunting.
Well said. Even unsuccessful duckin can be expensive - ask me how I know ;) . Don't get started unless you just like spending time in the marsh - or you got $$$ for impoundments or trips to Argentina. I hunt even when I expect to see nothing, and occasionally one will fly by.
 

Woods and water

Ten Pointer
Wow that is crazy. What a way to ruin an area for hunting.
Wood ducks seem to be doing great in NC. That is one positive to what we are seeing now. I have been seeing consistent or increased numbers over the last 10 - 15 years.
I don't duck hunt and have only been a few times, just didn't care for it . I see plenty of wood ducks and always have. I don't know if those fellows ruined an area or not but I know they would only shoot a place once a year when everything was perfect. I think perfect meant several hundred birds and no wardens. Back in those days I didn't know anyone who actually duck hunted . Seemed to be more of an available opportunity.
 
LOL and the duck breasts tasted especially sweet. We used to hunt near a sewage treatment plant in Texas, those ducks loved to hang out there.
The good things the lagoons hadn't been used in over 15+ years. But the ducks do love them, good wind block and they're hidden. Luckily I never got close enough to feel the bottom or bring it back up with me
 

vibesalive

Button Buck
I'm surprised nobody mentioned the longer seasons. Duck behavior has completely changed since 1997 when they were implemented. My $.02.
 

woodmoose

Administrator
Staff member
Contributor
all I know is duck hunting is better for me now than it was back in the 70s,,,, point system sucked!
 
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