NE Arkansas public hunt DIY

Discussion in 'Arkansas Flyway Forum' started by Fishuhalik, Jun 1, 2016.

  1. Fishuhalik

    Fishuhalik Refuge Member

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    Oct 29, 2014
    Location:
    TX
    Well, a good bud just moved to Jonesboro, so we're looking at finally fulfilling a lifelong dream of mine. Shooting greenheads & woodies in timber. Been doing some research, been learning a lot, but I wanted to ask some experts some very vague, non-specific questions.
    1. If a guy were to try this with a 15' jon boat and 15hp outboard, is it doable? Or is a longtail a requirement?
    2. On a scale of 1-10, how hard is a DIY hunt on, say, DD if I have NO IDEA where I'm going and jut winging it? Is there cell phone service (AT&T) so I can follow my gps, or do I need to refresh my compass skills?
    3. I've hunted MN rice and beaver ponds (basically, smaller flooded timber), North and South Dakota fields and potholes, big water Texas coast divers and Texas coastal slough puddlers and had pretty good success at all of it. What I'm trying to say is, I'm not a novice. Think I can pick up what to look for on these educated, end-of-the-line mallards?
    4. How do you find these holes in the timber? Just sit in the river channel your first morning, watch ducks and their flight patterns, and start hoofing it? Or just randomly walk through the flooded woods and hope you find something?
    I'm sure I'll think of a few more, but that's all I gots for now. Thanks a ton for any help!
     
  2. Fishuhalik

    Fishuhalik Refuge Member

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    Oct 29, 2014
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    I shoulda added, bring on the topwater, dirty Texan (just moved here btw) skyblaster or whatever else ya got in your bag. I got thick skin :)
     
  3. brake man

    brake man Senior Refuge Member

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    Franklin, TN
    Make sure where you are hunting is public land and not private land. Boating along a river at flood stage and then just heading off into adjacent woods and fields is trespassing in Arkansas. The belief you can go wherever you want as long as you don't drop an anchor or get out of your boat is incorrect.
     
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  4. Fishuhalik

    Fishuhalik Refuge Member

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    Awesome reply, thanks for the heads up brake man! That's the kinda stuff I need to know, and something I think would really help the whole "non-local hunters suck" stigma. I would have gone into this trip thinking that if it's under water and connected to a natural waterway, it's accessible. Any idea how I can find out what's public vs private? Is most of it clearly posted, or do I need access to plot books?
     
  5. 3inch3's

    3inch3's Illinois Forum Moderator Moderator

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    In a slough off the Wabash
    A lot of the public areas are pretty well marked. Maps off the fish and game website are a good start. It is doable but there are definitely do's and don'ts. You are on the right track by asking and you will probably get some good natured BS maybe even some not so good natured. A couple of us try to make the trip down annually so here are a few of the do's and don'ts we have witnessed......
    Don't
    1) don't wait till right before LST and move in on a group who is already in a spot, especially downwind.
    2) Don't shoot the swings of birds working another group if you end up close... let them work...
    3) don't block the ramp. Lots of boats will show in some areas so be ready to drop and move.
    4) don't share any info gathered from others on the WWW. Remember all ducks taken were in AL,LA, TN, etc.
    5) don't take glory pics with defining background...others will figure it out...
    6) don't treetop if you can't get them in the hole... work harder, change something.
    Do
    1) be courteous.
    2) scout later in the mornings for the next days spot.
    3) have 3 or 4 spots lined up (back to not crowding others)
    4) enjoy the hunt not the harvest. Sure, killing birds is the goal but it takes some practice to get good at it in these conditions.
    5) try to form a network of others you encounter who can help with vague questions.... i.e. seeing any in XYZ area.
    6) do burn gas and check out places but not during prime shooting time.

    I'm sure others will have more to add. I know I have left out a lot..........
     
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  6. Fishuhalik

    Fishuhalik Refuge Member

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    Thanks 3inch3s, I'll definitely keep that all in mind. With that said, I hate that you actually had to say stuff like "don't flare other guys birds" and "don't set up next to other people right at lst". Can't believe we're in a generation where this kinda elementary school bs even needs to be said.

    As far as enjoying the hunt, well...I'm one of those crazy guys that likes to kill birds ;P I definitely enjoy a good sunrise as much as the next guy, but if birds are working and won't come in or I'm hearing guys crush em further down in the swamp, man, nothin frustrates me more!! I mean, I don't need to have a film-worthy hunt every time, but if I'm gonna make the +/-8 hour trip, I'd like to at least bring a few home with me
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2016
  7. Fishuhalik

    Fishuhalik Refuge Member

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    One of your points brings up a question though. How do you scout these areas? Last thing I wanna do is be scooting around during prime time, like you said. So how do I find where the birds are hanging out? By the look of videos I've watched, the trees are so thick that if they don't pretty much fly right over top of you, you aren't gonna be able to see where they're going
     
  8. bill cooksey

    bill cooksey Elite Refuge Member

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    Location:
    Bartlett, Tn., USA
    1. If a guy were to try this with a 15' jon boat and 15hp outboard, is it doable? Or is a longtail a requirement? Outboard is very much preferred. Just don't try to be first in line launching or you'll have boats flying by you all the way in. Better to let the crowd go and head in a little later. Besides, even if you had a fast boat, you don't know your way around well enough to use it. You won't see many "mud motors."
    2. On a scale of 1-10, how hard is a DIY hunt on, say, DD if I have NO IDEA where I'm going and jut winging it? Is there cell phone service (AT&T) so I can follow my gps, or do I need to refresh my compass skills? The hunt is easy. Killing ducks is the hard part. No idea about AT&T on DD.
    3. I've hunted MN rice and beaver ponds (basically, smaller flooded timber), North and South Dakota fields and potholes, big water Texas coast divers and Texas coastal slough puddlers and had pretty good success at all of it. What I'm trying to say is, I'm not a novice. Think I can pick up what to look for on these educated, end-of-the-line mallards? Sure. Barring a lot of direct (on location) help from locals, it should only take you a few seasons of going regularly to start killing birds more often than not. You could get lucky first time out, but I'd bet hard against it. I've hunted all over the US and Canada, and public timber in AR has the steepest learning curve when it comes to really killing ducks consistently.
    4. How do you find these holes in the timber? Just sit in the river channel your first morning, watch ducks and their flight patterns, and start hoofing it? Or just randomly walk through the flooded woods and hope you find something? Depends on the place and whether you are trying to find big holes, little holes or a myriad of other options since ducks change their preference.

    Not at all trying to discourage you, but unless your buddy gets in tight with some good locals, don't expect much killing for awhile. When you're in the wrong spot on the right place, it's the most frustrating hunting in the world...and you're going to find yourself in that spot A LOT.
     
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  9. bill cooksey

    bill cooksey Elite Refuge Member

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    Bartlett, Tn., USA
    Best time to scout is right after the season closes. You'll learn your way around well and won't have to worry about others. You can figure out how to get to out-of-the-way places to avoid other hunters, if you want. Also, by spending time in the areas you hear all the shooting coming from, you'll better understand how ducks relate to woods.
     
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  10. Fishuhalik

    Fishuhalik Refuge Member

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    Awesome, thanks again guys. Not gonna lie, I'm kinda impressed with all the good responses and tips. I pretty much expected to get lambasted but yall have been extremely helpful. I'll take any other advise you're willing to offer! Much appreciated

    I think I might be changing my expectations after what yall have said. I don't have the time to go up every weekend due to a pretty hectic job. Not to mention, the hunting down here on the coast is world-class, so it's kinda hard to travel 8-9 hours to learn a new area & tactics when I know I can take a short drive & limit out on pins, wigeon, divers and other puddlers. I'm thinking it'll be a 1-2x a year trip, so it might take a couple years for me to get a finger on it. I really like the idea of after season scouting though. Definitely gonna try to get that done this winter
     

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