Eight ways your duck or goose hunt can go sideways, and how to fix it when it does
#4 OTHER HUNTERS ARE IN YOUR FIELD
This will eventually happen to you, if it hasn’t already: You arrive in the pre-dawn darkness to find another group of hunters setting up in the same field as you. If you have another field to hunt, be gracious and use it. Most often, however, you won’t.
Check that both parties are in the right field; it’s not unusual to get a little confused in the dark. Don’t be shy about asking who gave them permission. If they can’t answer to your satisfaction, politely ask them to leave—they need to learn their lessons about legal and ethical hunting. What you’ll generally find, however, is that each party received permission from someone different (the wife vs. the husband; one brother vs. another; the renter vs. the owner, and so on). If that’s the case, there’s nothing to be gained by arguing or calling the landowner at such an early hour. Get into a squabble and all you accomplish is ruining two hunts.
Instead, accept the situation for what it is and work together to make the best of it. You’ll have twice the decoys and twice the workers on hand, and with a little cooperation, not only will you salvage the hunt, it may also turn into something spectacular. Make sure to decide who’s going to direct the hunt, including making decisions about how and where to set out the blinds and decoys, and calling the shots when the birds arrive.
In such situations, it always pays to be courteous—mistakes happen. The other group of hunters will inevitably be as disappointed as you are, and how you comport yourself can impact future hunts. You just never know when that other hunter may well turn out to be the landowner’s relative!