Yesterday was the start of a one week goose season and from some reports there needs to be a refresher on how to hunt ethically and legally in the field or waters edge. Let’s review some things for the benefit of new hunters (and some returning hunters who may not remember what is what).
In no particular order:
* you need current permission to enter private property. Not last year’s permission but this year’s permission. Better yet, get it in writing.
* scrutinize and commit to memory the shooting map for your area. If you are hunting the LML, this means the Fraser Valley shooting map. Don’t just rely on what your buddy told you.
* the shooting map and the Hunting Synopsis tells you specific distances for certain areas. For example, 150m away from dykes in certain areas. Don’t quote us, check it out yourself. Some areas are 180 metres!
* do not shoot toward land, especially if there are paths and dykes. Your continued access to shooting areas is at risk if other trail users see risky behaviour. You are sharing the land and representing not just yourself but other hunters.
* be respectful of other hunters. Keep a minimum of 50 yards from other hunters for safety and also so all can have a fair opportunity. If you are arriving late, enter and set up with a minimum of fuss.
* Sky busting is attempting a shot beyond the effective range of your shotgun and your skill. Shooting with a hope and and prayer can lead to cripples, non-retrievable birds, and educates the flock to stay away, which punishes other hunters.
* do not attempt shots where you will not be able to safely retrieve. Some are lucky to have dogs or boats, the rest of us have to be able to walk or wade to bring back a downed bird.
* Waterfowl eyes in general are very attuned to what is different from the terrain. If you can easily spot another hunter and their blind, so can the birds and from a greater distance.
* Stay hidden and stay still. One of the pleasures of being out on the water’s edge is to take in the sounds and sights of the natural area. (Also birds can appear out of nowhere, especially when you are playing on your phone )
* pick up your garbage and any garbage you find
Waterfowling is a pleasurable activity, is part of scientific conservation, and is a chance of bringing back a delicious meal. By following ethics and making sure those with you understand why we follow the regulations and guidelines we can preserve and pass on our hunting access to future generations.