If it hasn’t already, this is bound to eventually happen to you: You arrive in the pre-dawn darkness to find another group of hunters setting up in your field. When faced with this situation, the first step is to establish that your group is indeed in the proper field; it’s not unusual to get a little mixed up in the dark.
Once you’re sure you’re in the right place, don’t be shy about asking the group who gave them permission to be on the property. If they can’t answer to your satisfaction, politely ask them to leave—they clearly need to learn a lesson about legal and ethical hunting.
What you’ll likely find, however, is that each party independently received permission, but from different people associated with the property. One may have been given the green light by the husband, for example, and the other by the wife. Whatever the case, there’s nothing to be gained by arguing or calling the landowner so early in the morning—all you’ll do is ruin two hunts. If you have another field to hunt, be gracious and use it.
Another solution is to accept the situation for what it is and work together with the other hunting party to make the best of it. With a little cooperation, you’ll not only salvage the hunt, but you may also see it turn into something spectacular. You’ll have twice the decoys and twice the workers, after all. Just make sure you settle on who’s going to direct the hunt, deciding how and where to set out the blinds and decoys, and establishing who’s going to call the shoot when the birds arrive.
In such situations, it always pays to be diplomatic—mistakes happen. The other hunters will inevitably be as disappointed as you, and how you comport yourself can easily affect future hunts on the property. You just never know when the other guy turns out to be the landowner’s brother-in-law!