Date: 10/10/18 10:18 am
From: Steve Long <steve.long4...>
Subject: Re: [MDBirding] Ducks in Danger
A few comments:

1. What you propose is illegal in Maryland, and not a good idea,
either.  Birders don't own the ducks, and don't need to be in conflict
with hunters, either.  Hunters provide a lot of the money needed to
preserve habitat here and in Canada for migratory ducks - not just fees,
but voluntary contributions to groups like Ducks Unlimited.

2.  Hunters don't want to permanently scare ducks away from their blinds
any more than you want them not to scare ducks permanently away from
your birding area.  So, hunters behave in manners that allow ducks to
come back and come close, so they can get a shot from the blinds that
they have spend significant amounts of time and energy to build.  (A
birder can identify a duck at greater range than a hunter can shoot a
duck.)  What you are proposing to do to scare the ducks away from the
hunters would probably be more disruptive to birding than what the
hunters do.

3.  It is illegal to hunt ducks on Sundays, and many hunters have day
jobs and don't get to hunt except on Saturdays, so there will be days
that birders can use without any conflict from hunting activities.

4.  I and my neighbors buy the "blind site" permits in the waters off
our properties so that we can prevent hunters from building blinds right
off our waterfront properties.  As the landowners adjacent to the
designated sites, we get first priority.  But, you would not get that
priority to buy the permits for the sites off State land, and would need
to try to get them before anybody else does.  I am not sure exactly how
"renewals" work for the hunters, so you would have to check that out to
see if it is even feasible to compete with them.

5.  Hunters do not need to use blinds - they can hunt from boats so long
as the motors are off while they hunt (and it is not a "sink box" type
of boat).  Whether hunters could hunt from a boat in an area where a
birder has bought a blind permit but not constructed a blind is
something that you should check-out before you invest time and energy in
buying permits for established blind sites off State lands.

Steve Long, Oxford


On 10/10/2018 11:01 AM, bob augustine wrote:
> Last winter I was at Violette's Lock when I noticed duck decoys near the Maryland shore upstream, about halfway to Riley's Lock. Looking further right, I detected a well-concealed blind with a duck hunter in it. I thought, "It can't be legal to hunt from the park!" I photographed the blind and the license plates of the 2 other cars in the parking lot. Then I went to Riley's where there was only one car and photographed its license plate also.
>
> Later, I ran into a park ranger. He told me the duck hunters had discovered a "loophole". It seems the Potomac River is Maryland state property where hunting is legal right up to the shoreline. So the hunters place their blinds an inch offshore. I had heard shots farther up the river too--near the turning basin.
>
> We all know how much ducks love this stretch of the river. At least 25 species of ducks are regularly seen there as well as geese, swans, loons, grebes, and coots. It would be a shame if we allow duck hunters to scare them all away.
>
> Duck hunters depend on concealment to succeed. If I see this again, I will stand on land nearby and make a fuss to warn the ducks. Others could position canoes, kayaks, or rowboats to foil the hunters. Brightly colored wooden blocks could be drifted into the decoys or perhaps radio-controlled toy boats. Loud music from a boombox might help.
>
> Last spring I encountered a team at Riley's evaluating the effects of a large visible orange balloon near River Road on the golf course simulating a cellphone tower on the enjoyment of the park by its patrons. If the County is concerned about a cell tower a mile away, how about hunters along the shore?
>
> If you have other ideas, I urge you to share them here. It is essential that action be taken in a timely manner as duck hunting season in Maryland begins Oct. 13, this Sat., extending through Oct. 20 and also Nov.10-23 and Dec.11-Jan. 26.
>
> Bob Augustine
> Rockville
> 10 Oct. 2018
>

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