Mud motor boats

Discussion in 'Utah Flyway Forum' started by mudderfodder, Nov 27, 2015.

  1. mudderfodder

    mudderfodder Senior Refuge Member

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    A question for those hunters who used to be foot soldiers and have joined the mud motor ranks. How has it changed your hunting success? This is a question that comes up for me every year but as I get older it becomes a more serious question.

    I have been out on a boat a few times with a friend and the hunting has rarely been as close to good as it is when I hoof it into the marsh. Wednesday was a classic example. I pulled into the parking lot at 1:15 on Wednesday. The parking lot was packed, mostly with trucks pulling trailers. But I wasn't hearing a lot of shooting. I walked the two miles to my usual area, still hearing very little shooting. I was set up by 2:30. I had a limit by 3:30 and had passed up quite a few. Every duck I shot was cupped into the decoys. It's the type of hunting I haven't had from a boat and I still heard very little shooting coming from the big lake where the boaters were.

    But the problem is that I don't know how many of those major hikes I have left in me. The majority of the hike is through swamp and not dike. I'm definitely facing a change in hunting tactics in the coming years. Hopefully I can postpone it as long as possible, but it's coming. But is it even worth buying a boat? It must be because it seems like most hunters have them these days. But it seems like it will be a let down. So what have others' experiences been? Do you still find some consistently good hunting? Maybe there are other solutions. Or maybe it will be time to mostly call it good and focus on fishing.
     
  2. skybusterbob

    skybusterbob Senior Refuge Member

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    Boats don't mean you will kill more ducks. Boats usually mean a lazier hunt with ability to bring more gear.
     
  3. silverkittens73

    silverkittens73 Senior Refuge Member

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    We use our boat to get us from the Point A (Boat Launch) to Point Z (6 miles away) in a quick 15 minutes. We then park the boat and walk into some great areas that without a boat would require either a couple hour walk, or by bicycle. We found that by hunting out of a boat (sitting in the boat) we had to cover everything on the boat to avoid birds flaring away out of gun range. I used to belong to a club that I paid a yearly fee to hunt. When it went away - I got a boat as I prefer birds cupped and coming into the decoys.
     
  4. dubob

    dubob Senior Refuge Member

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    Boats, in and of themselves, do not guarantee better or worse success. They do, however, guarantee easier access to selected locations. Success is determined more by location choice. If you are walking/biking to a location that is X miles from where you park, would the use of a boat shorten the distance to that same location by a large margin? If yes, than a boat might be a good investment. If no, and you are unwilling to trade a guaranteed success for finding another location that a boat would make it easier to get to, then maybe the boat isn’t a good idea for you.

    I hunt a private club and public marshes. My club requires hunting from permanent blinds that can be accessed on foot or by boat. I use both types with varying success. In public marshes, I generally use a boat to get to selected locations. However, there are days when a walk in hunt is indicated due to weather conditions or flight patterns based on those conditions.

    Yesterday, we hunted a public marsh. It was 99% frozen with a few pockets of open water. We broke ice nearly a half mile to get to our location. We were in position around 10 AM. We shot our first 2 birds about 10:45 and then didn’t shoot another until about 1:30 PM. We had our 2-man limit by 3 and headed home. We had 3 mallards, 1 shoveler, and 10 widgeon. There were 3 other boats on the pond we hunted and only heard each of them fire maybe 2 or 3 times each while we killed 12. Location was everything. We were on the “X” and they were not.

    I’m 73, so walking on a regular basis into public marshes is NOT an option for me. I can do it occasionally on ice or in areas with little or no phrags/cattails. But my boat is required most of the time. Walking the dikes and pass shooting at birds on oxygen is NOT duck hunting in my opinion.

    I think the other thing you need to consider is how you judge success. If the key is a full bag every time you go and you achieve that goal by walking into remote areas, then maybe a boat isn’t the answer. On the other hand, if the experience of going and enjoying the outing irrespective of number of birds killed is the measure of success, then maybe a boat will open up some new areas that will give you more varied successes that you would otherwise not experience.

    There is no one size fits all answer that will work for all individuals. You can find success from a boat if you work at it and learn to use it to your advantage. It can also turn out to be just a big waste of money if you don’t use it to your best advantage. Good luck with your decision.
     
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  5. mudderfodder

    mudderfodder Senior Refuge Member

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    Thank you for your responses. This will definitely prove to be a tough decision. A boat would not help me get to any of my current hunting spots faster. They are almost all entirely marsh walks. But I guess a boat would help me explore new areas. It's definitely not about numbers for me, but it's also not just about getting out. It's about getting into the marsh, setting out a decoy spread that fools birds, and watching the birds come in. There are plenty of times that I pass on more than I shoot. There are obviously plenty of places to toss out decoys, but I've found that it takes effort to consistently find "the X." I still have time though. I feel the strain more as the years go by but I'm only in my mid 50s. I just know that change is coming. Kind of sucks. I'm guessing I will also end up going more to marshes farther away from the Wasatch front. The drives are longer but the walks are shorter. All my friends have mostly given up waterfowl hunting. They do the opening only. So I'm also kind of getting a bit tired of hunting alone. Maybe I will ultimately give it up sooner rather than later.
     
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  6. rjefre

    rjefre Elite Refuge Member

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    Change is coming...I feel it too. Dammit!
    R
     
  7. mudderfodder

    mudderfodder Senior Refuge Member

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    One thing that I think will change sooner rather than later is the type of cover in which I hunt. On my last two hunts I was kneeling or sitting in cover less than 3 feet tall. That's where the ducks were. But sitting and kneeling in water for hours stiffens the joints and makes it slow to move and get up. Curse the human body.
     
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  8. dubob

    dubob Senior Refuge Member

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    Nah! Curse the aging process within the body. ;)
     
  9. mudderfodder

    mudderfodder Senior Refuge Member

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    You're right. I shouldn't curse the human body. There are in fact many human bodies that I greatly admire.
     
  10. salthunter

    salthunter Moderator Moderator

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    As already mentioned its all about the location. Many of my best hunts have not been out of a pit or a boat.
    Hot one or two days, or a short time each year , and a place that typically isnt pressured because it is walk in.
    With so many boats many places arent what they use to be.
    But nothing wrong with boat hunting either
     

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