Author Topic: Hunting from a Boat - Whatcom  (Read 2302 times)

Offline Sea Axe

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Hunting from a Boat - Whatcom
« on: July 31, 2019, 11:48:27 PM »
I am a brand new hunter.  I was really lucky that last year some slightly more experienced hunters took me under their wing and let me hunt with them on a great piece of land near Ferndale, just a few minutes from home.  This off season I have been shooting clays and practicing with a call in the truck to be ready for my first full season this winter. 

While it's nice having some access to private land, the days I can hunt with them are limited and I would like to explore public areas near me this season.  However, understanding where it's legal and safe to hunt is one of the most difficult and stressful parts of being a new hunter.  I tried to visit as many quality hunt sites as possible last season, usually just a drive by, and I have been scouting in some of the larger hunting areas including Marietta, Tenant Lake, and Lake Terrell.  What I am wondering though, is if my boat opens up any new opportunities to me that I may not be seeing.  I have a 14' flat bottom boat that would be a good platform for a portable blind if there is an area where I can hunt from it.  But from what I can find it seems like every lake in the area is either not a legal/safe place to hunt, or restricts hunting to established blinds only.  Is there another place I am missing?  Should I try the saltwater?  I know the nooksack delta/tideflats is reservation, but can I hunt it if I stick to the water only?  I've also considered getting a hunting specific kayak to be able to sneak into some smaller water, I just don't really know where I would go.  I would certainly drive to Skagit Valley if there are better spots down there. 

I'm not looking to beat anyone to their spot or setup in someone's bend they have been scouting for years.  I just could use some really general information about safe, legal areas to float some decoys and enjoy the sunrise, birds will come later.  PMs are great too.


Offline Special T

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Re: Hunting from a Boat - Whatcom
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2019, 06:58:09 AM »
I'm of the opinion that if you hunt close to home you will do it more often and more successfully. You guys are on the leading edge of the migration so every cold snap brings waves of birds across the border.

As a new hunter you've scouted the public locations. Walk them all this summer with an arial map. Write downs many details from last year as you can remember. Date temp, wind direction weather ect. What direction does it come from most of the time? How does the Frazier Valley cold snaps affect wind direction and open water?

Join the Washington Waterfowlers Association in Whatcom  I belive the normally meet at the Laural Farm supply shop once a month. They are a great way to learn the public land.

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Online Stein

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Re: Hunting from a Boat - Whatcom
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2019, 09:15:10 AM »
I agree, I used to drive by birds to get to birds up by you.  When I started finding close spots, I hunted them much more frequently, learned them better and did better overall.  Plus, it's nice to get an extra 45 minutes of sleep.

Boats are a tradeoff between getting to some areas you may not be able to hunt on foot and much more complicated logistics and more work.  I do a ton of boating but haven't gone that route for ducks just because I don't want the extra work and complication and be tied to the tide schedules.

Some guys exclusively hunt from boats, so it all depends on what you want to do.  I will say that saltwater boating in the winter is something to be very careful with.

Offline T-Bone

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Re: Hunting from a Boat - Whatcom
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2019, 07:25:14 AM »
I second attending a meeting of the Whatcom Chapter of WWA. They meet the 1st Tuesday of the month at 7 PM at Laurel Farm Supply. The Chair is Lyle Galloway (360-201-1775).
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Offline EagleEye

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Re: Hunting from a Boat - Whatcom
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2019, 03:01:47 PM »
My recommendation would be to keep it simple for your first season and hunt mostly out of established blinds. There is a lot to learn so if you spend the first season keeping it simple, figuring out decoy setups, wind, calling, and concealment, then you'll do a lot better when you decide to add the boat. You mentioned a few of the public areas near you - they'll all work. Some of the established blinds in those areas are hard to find, others stick out like a sore thumb. If you check them out in the off season and make notes or drop pins so you can find them in the dark, you'll be fine. There are blind maps in the parking lots.  Arrive early, have a plan to go for blind X, if it's taken start moving down your list. Leave yourself time to brush up the blind. You won't set records hunting from those spots but you'll get birds. Last piece of advice is to pick duck blinds far from wherever the orange vests are walking during pheasant season. Good luck.

Offline metlhead

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Re: Hunting from a Boat - Whatcom
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2019, 05:21:58 PM »
Different perspective for you. Leave those public areas and lakes alone and spend as much time this summer running that boat everywhere you may want hunt. Learn that boat like it is a part of you. 14' is plenty, even huntable areas of Puget Sound will open up to you. You will be into so many more birds, and learning quicker than you ever would sitting at an empty state blind, complaining about everyone before and around you. The stories never end. That boat is your access to an immense amount of land. You'll never look back. Also, hold off on the blind for now and just use the boat foe access. Many places you'll be more likely to just park it aways. Stay safe and good shooting.

Offline aaronoto

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Re: Hunting from a Boat - Whatcom
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2019, 02:34:29 PM »
This county is more suited for a smaller (paddle-able) marsh boat/kayak then a big boat.  Some of the quality hunt spots can hold a lot of water at times too, so you can paddle into them, or at the very least use it to haul your decoys out there.   


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