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Author Topic: Legal hunting land question - Puget Sound  (Read 3973 times)

Offline bigmike86

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Legal hunting land question - Puget Sound
« on: November 23, 2017, 08:32:00 AM »
Greetings! First, happy thanksgiving! I hope you all have something to be thankful for this year.

Second, I have a question about legal hunting areas. Still relatively new to this state and figuring things out. A buddy and I are really interested in killing some sea ducks and hopefully tagging the elusive harlequin. I have been scouring the GoHunt Washington app on wdfw and the bay hunting areas seem pretty slim pickens! I am not implicating anyone in poaching, but I feel like I have seen others hunting outside wdfw wildlife boundaries in the Sound a lot, can you hunt anywhere out on the open sound if you are far enough from land? I have tried to do some research on this and come up empty. I am assuming the answer is no...?

I am just wondering how people get it done on public land with such small bay/open water offerings by the state. Unless the population of sea duck hunter is just so small that it doesn't matter.

Thanks for any guidance you can lend. Take care!
"I love the infantry because they are the underdogs. They are the mud-rain-frost-and-wind boys. They have no comforts, and they even learn to live without the necessities. And in the end they are the guys that wars can't be won without." -Ernie Pyle

Online bobcat

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Re: Legal hunting land question - Puget Sound
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2017, 08:45:53 PM »
I don't really have a definitive answer to this but since nobody else has commented yet, I'll just say as far as I know, you should be able to hunt pretty much anywhere on Puget Sound, as it's all owned by the state. I don't even know that there's any particular distance you must be from land, except in cases where there may be a county ordinance. But I don't have any experience hunting on saltwater so I just can't say for sure, so I'd probably recommend getting a hold of perhaps a WDFW law enforcement officer, and ask that question.

Offline Boss .300 winmag

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Re: Legal hunting land question - Puget Sound
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2017, 08:51:55 PM »
@lokidog can probably help you with this.  :tup:
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Offline Odell

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Re: Legal hunting land question - Puget Sound
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2017, 09:20:00 PM »
You can float and hunt just about anywhere and you can anchor on lots of public land  as well as hunt from shore in miles of public land. There are also a lot of private tide beds that you canít access. Just gotta get the maps out or onX or something. Even then itís tricky and people lie about what they own or donít. 


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Offline lokidog

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Re: Legal hunting land question - Puget Sound
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2017, 09:26:53 PM »
@lokidog can probably help you with this.  :tup:

As far as I know any navigable waters are open for hunting as long as they are not in a no shooting/hunting zone.  Some places, like Skagit County, have rules that include not shooting from a boat unless it is anchored or on shore, not a problem unless you anchor on private tidelands. There are places in the South Sound that will say they are no hunting, but they are just BSing people.

Offline Stein

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Re: Legal hunting land question - Puget Sound
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2017, 04:50:39 PM »
It is tough, some of the bays are actually privately owned out in the water and others are "enforced" by people that aren't too happy when you hunt near their land legal or otherwise.

If I was going to chase sea ducks, I would probably show up at some boat launches in the obvious places near the bays and watch where people go and start from there.  Since the limit is 1 per year, you may get some helpful pm's.

If you are willing to put in time researching, burning some gas and asking around you can figure it out.

Offline huntingfool7

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Re: Legal hunting land question - Puget Sound
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2017, 05:22:32 PM »
Be aware that just because you're on the water, doesn't mean that you're outside of city limits. 

Offline lokidog

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Re: Legal hunting land question - Puget Sound
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2017, 05:28:32 PM »
It is tough, some of the bays are actually privately owned out in the water and others are "enforced" by people that aren't too happy when you hunt near their land legal or otherwise.

If I was going to chase sea ducks, I would probably show up at some boat launches in the obvious places near the bays and watch where people go and start from there.  Since the limit is 1 per year, you may get some helpful pm's.

If you are willing to put in time researching, burning some gas and asking around you can figure it out.

Unless you anchor, they cannot do crap about you hunting as long as hunting/shooting is legally allowed. They cannot own below extreme low tide either, the state "owns" all of that.

Offline bigmike86

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Re: Legal hunting land question - Puget Sound
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2017, 05:48:17 PM »
Awesome, thanks guys! I was hoping this was the case. This gives me the motivation to do some more research and pinpoint specific areas in question to ask the game wardens about.

Since we're on the topic, does anyone know of any resources that talk about how to hunt harlequins? I have found little info on the interwebs about it. What I have found makes it seem pretty straightforward. Find em, set up some long lines, shoot em. But I am assuming it's more complicated than that? Unless it's not and finding them is the only hard part...? But I am wondering if I can find any info on migration patterns, what type of shoreline and terrain features to look for etc.

Thanks. I know I am asking some pretty serious questions as I am sure harly hunting is pretty well protected. But I assure you I will only live in this state for one more season and your harvest will not be threatened ;)
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Offline constructeur

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Re: Legal hunting land question - Puget Sound
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2017, 01:41:16 PM »
If you are in a time crunch you may just want to hire a guide.

http://peninsulasportsman.com/sea-duck-hunting/

Offline Odell

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Re: Legal hunting land question - Puget Sound
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2017, 03:32:21 PM »
Awesome, thanks guys! I was hoping this was the case. This gives me the motivation to do some more research and pinpoint specific areas in question to ask the game wardens about.

Since we're on the topic, does anyone know of any resources that talk about how to hunt harlequins? I have found little info on the interwebs about it. What I have found makes it seem pretty straightforward. Find em, set up some long lines, shoot em. But I am assuming it's more complicated than that? Unless it's not and finding them is the only hard part...? But I am wondering if I can find any info on migration patterns, what type of shoreline and terrain features to look for etc.

Thanks. I know I am asking some pretty serious questions as I am sure harly hunting is pretty well protected. But I assure you I will only live in this state for one more season and your harvest will not be threatened ;)

Find them. Set up 5-6 decoys. Wait a few minutes. Shoot one. The challenge to harli's is location. And making sure you pick a nice mature drake
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Offline bigmike86

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Re: Legal hunting land question - Puget Sound
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2017, 08:54:44 AM »
If you are in a time crunch you may just want to hire a guide.

http://peninsulasportsman.com/sea-duck-hunting/

I have thought about this, and I appreciate the advice. But as for me, the satisfaction in something like this truly comes from the fact that I did it myself (with the help of you all, obviously :). I have done guided fishing trips before and I thought it was the biggest waste of money (again, for me). I would rather catch one fish by myself than a hundred with a guide.

As far as location, that's what I'm struggling with. I plan on taking my binoculars and doing a huge loop of the Skagit and upper sound areas around Whidbey, port Townshend, and down hood canal. Are these the right places to be looking?

I'm stationed at Fort Lewis but it seems that there are rarely harlequins down in the lower sound/Nisqually area. Again, hard to tell since most people are keeping their cards close to their chest.

Again, I thank you all very much for any info you can lend. I know how hard everyone works for their spots. I don't want to take your spot from you, I just want to make sure I am not driving and boating around for hours in the wrong region of Washington!
"I love the infantry because they are the underdogs. They are the mud-rain-frost-and-wind boys. They have no comforts, and they even learn to live without the necessities. And in the end they are the guys that wars can't be won without." -Ernie Pyle

Offline aaronoto

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Re: Legal hunting land question - Puget Sound
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2017, 01:03:00 PM »
As far as location, that's what I'm struggling with. I plan on taking my binoculars and doing a huge loop of the Skagit and upper sound areas around Whidbey, port Townshend, and down hood canal. Are these the right places to be looking?

You're headed in the right direction, look for rocky shorelines, they like rocks. 

Offline ASHQUACK

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Re: Legal hunting land question - Puget Sound
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2017, 02:15:04 PM »
I do a fair bit of sea duck hunting, while some of the above information is correct some is not. On the private property questions I have had numerous run ins with land owners and law enforcement while hunting sea ducks. I have had the opportunity to tell millionaires to kiss my hind end and the fun of explaining to the local law enforcement why I can hunt certain areas. The biggest thing you're going to run into is people who think they own the water. The WILL call law enforcement on you, they do it to me every year. If you have a certain area in mind ask, I can probably help you with the landownership and or private propert clam beds in the area.

As far as giving up general areas that hold birds, you are on your own. Pretty sacred bird and not easy to find in huntable numbers in the south sound. There are a few just scarce.

Offline Stein

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Re: Legal hunting land question - Puget Sound
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2017, 02:41:19 PM »
It is tough, some of the bays are actually privately owned out in the water and others are "enforced" by people that aren't too happy when you hunt near their land legal or otherwise.

If I was going to chase sea ducks, I would probably show up at some boat launches in the obvious places near the bays and watch where people go and start from there.  Since the limit is 1 per year, you may get some helpful pm's.

If you are willing to put in time researching, burning some gas and asking around you can figure it out.

Unless you anchor, they cannot do crap about you hunting as long as hunting/shooting is legally allowed. They cannot own below extreme low tide either, the state "owns" all of that.

Check out some of the popular hunting bays at extreme low tide.  There is a bunch of private land way, way out there including some entire bays.

 

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