collapse

Advertisement


Author Topic: Where to duck hunt around Skagit Area?  (Read 1021 times)

Offline Axistails

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Pilgrim
  • *
  • Join Date: Oct 2019
  • Posts: 11
  • Location: Whidbey Island
  • Groups: USN, NRA, Central Whidbey Sportsman's Association
Where to duck hunt around Skagit Area?
« on: June 28, 2020, 09:35:13 PM »
I’m stationed up here and have no idea where to duck hunt besides on the seaplane base which isn’t to good, plus id love to do some goose hunting as well. I have a kayak and a canoe that I’d be willing to use if that helps. I know no one wants to give away secret spots I just want to know where I can legally hunt, seems a lot of places just off island are private owned. Is there any lakes around Mt. Veron, Seedro Wooley area that you can hunt?
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

Offline ctwiggs1

  • Non-Hunting & Covid-19 Topics
  • Trade Count: (+9)
  • Frontiersman
  • *****
  • Join Date: Mar 2009
  • Posts: 3573
Re: Where to duck hunt around Skagit Area?
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2020, 10:32:02 PM »
Send me a PM I’ll connect you with a local vet who is passionate about getting vets out on ducks.  You’re in a great area. Fantastic duck hunting up there.

Offline Special T

  • Truth the new Hate Speech.
  • Washington For Wildlife
  • Trade Count: (+13)
  • Legend
  • ******
  • Join Date: Aug 2009
  • Posts: 21510
  • Location: Skagit Valley
  • Make it Rain!
    • Silver Arrow Bowmen
    • Silver Arrow Bowmen
Re: Where to duck hunt around Skagit Area?
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2020, 08:45:03 AM »
Washington waterfowl Association  NW chapter has members from Whidby. Meetings are 2nd tuesday of each moth 7pm.
Lots of tidal area to hunt, and them also the private lands program. WDFE normally has a presentation before the season talking about where the blinds are at and what supplemental plantings have been done  on public ground.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself. 

Confucius

Offline hunterednate

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Hunter
  • ***
  • Join Date: May 2017
  • Posts: 201
  • Location: Tacoma
Re: Where to duck hunt around Skagit Area?
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2020, 08:55:31 AM »
You should look into WDFW's Quality Waterfowl Hunt Program:

https://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/locations/waterfowl-quality-hunts

This is an excellent option for an out-of-stater. These units are private land that has been enrolled by WDFW to allow hunter access. If you can drive around and scout these areas the afternoon before a hunt, you can usually find a productive shoot for the next morning. Keep in mind that some access sites are first-come, first-served, while others are reservation only (you can make the reservation online). A little exploring and binocular use from your car can get you on productive shoots in the Skagit area.

Thanks for your service and best of luck in the upcoming season! Just don't let any of your out-of-state friends know how fun duck hunting in WA is....

Offline hunterednate

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Hunter
  • ***
  • Join Date: May 2017
  • Posts: 201
  • Location: Tacoma
Re: Where to duck hunt around Skagit Area?
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2020, 08:56:02 AM »
Send me a PM I’ll connect you with a local vet who is passionate about getting vets out on ducks.  You’re in a great area. Fantastic duck hunting up there.

This is awesome. Hope this guy can get you on some ducks.

Online Stein

  • Non-Hunting & Covid-19 Topics
  • Trade Count: (+4)
  • Old Salt
  • ******
  • Join Date: Sep 2013
  • Posts: 7440
Re: Where to duck hunt around Skagit Area?
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2020, 10:10:41 AM »
You should look into WDFW's Quality Waterfowl Hunt Program:

https://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/locations/waterfowl-quality-hunts

This is an excellent option for an out-of-stater. These units are private land that has been enrolled by WDFW to allow hunter access. If you can drive around and scout these areas the afternoon before a hunt, you can usually find a productive shoot for the next morning. Keep in mind that some access sites are first-come, first-served, while others are reservation only (you can make the reservation online). A little exploring and binocular use from your car can get you on productive shoots in the Skagit area.

Thanks for your service and best of luck in the upcoming season! Just don't let any of your out-of-state friends know how fun duck hunting in WA is....

There are two big challenges with the quality program, just to level set expectations.

1.  WDFW has been loosing properties over the last few years, several of the best ones are now not available.  I think they are either outbid or the landowner doesn't want to participate anymore.  Pick up junk and respect the land and we can help here.  Last year was particularly grim, a couple great spots disappeared. 

2.  The good units are camped on by locals.  You aren't supposed to get in there before a certain time, but people will either spend the night there or leave trucks and swap them out when they are ready to hunt.  WDFW doesn't enforce this at all, I've called several times and I don't think they have followed up on any of them.  You could get lucky, but be prepared for some frustration when some of them are basically taken for the season.

Good luck, drive around, make friends and I'm sure you will find something that works.  If you have access to a boat that opens a bunch of area.

Offline hunterednate

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Hunter
  • ***
  • Join Date: May 2017
  • Posts: 201
  • Location: Tacoma
Re: Where to duck hunt around Skagit Area?
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2020, 02:24:38 PM »
You should look into WDFW's Quality Waterfowl Hunt Program:

https://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/locations/waterfowl-quality-hunts

This is an excellent option for an out-of-stater. These units are private land that has been enrolled by WDFW to allow hunter access. If you can drive around and scout these areas the afternoon before a hunt, you can usually find a productive shoot for the next morning. Keep in mind that some access sites are first-come, first-served, while others are reservation only (you can make the reservation online). A little exploring and binocular use from your car can get you on productive shoots in the Skagit area.

Thanks for your service and best of luck in the upcoming season! Just don't let any of your out-of-state friends know how fun duck hunting in WA is....

There are two big challenges with the quality program, just to level set expectations.

1.  WDFW has been loosing properties over the last few years, several of the best ones are now not available.  I think they are either outbid or the landowner doesn't want to participate anymore.  Pick up junk and respect the land and we can help here.  Last year was particularly grim, a couple great spots disappeared. 

2.  The good units are camped on by locals.  You aren't supposed to get in there before a certain time, but people will either spend the night there or leave trucks and swap them out when they are ready to hunt.  WDFW doesn't enforce this at all, I've called several times and I don't think they have followed up on any of them.  You could get lucky, but be prepared for some frustration when some of them are basically taken for the season.

Good luck, drive around, make friends and I'm sure you will find something that works.  If you have access to a boat that opens a bunch of area.

Yes, this is all true, unfortunately. #2 can be mitigated a bit if have the flexibility to go on a weekday, but the "4 am" designation is basically useless.

Offline Cougar125

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Scout
  • ****
  • Join Date: Aug 2012
  • Posts: 261
  • Location: NAS Whidbey
  • Groups: NRA, DU
Re: Where to duck hunt around Skagit Area?
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2020, 01:13:25 AM »
I'm here on the rock as well.  I know some places and can give you some pointers.

Offline JBG

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Hunter
  • ***
  • Join Date: May 2010
  • Posts: 155
Re: Where to duck hunt around Skagit Area?
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2020, 12:36:29 PM »
You should look into WDFW's Quality Waterfowl Hunt Program:

https://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/locations/waterfowl-quality-hunts

This is an excellent option for an out-of-stater. These units are private land that has been enrolled by WDFW to allow hunter access. If you can drive around and scout these areas the afternoon before a hunt, you can usually find a productive shoot for the next morning. Keep in mind that some access sites are first-come, first-served, while others are reservation only (you can make the reservation online). A little exploring and binocular use from your car can get you on productive shoots in the Skagit area.

Thanks for your service and best of luck in the upcoming season! Just don't let any of your out-of-state friends know how fun duck hunting in WA is....

There are two big challenges with the quality program, just to level set expectations.

1.  WDFW has been loosing properties over the last few years, several of the best ones are now not available.  I think they are either outbid or the landowner doesn't want to participate anymore.  Pick up junk and respect the land and we can help here.  Last year was particularly grim, a couple great spots disappeared. 

2.  The good units are camped on by locals.  You aren't supposed to get in there before a certain time, but people will either spend the night there or leave trucks and swap them out when they are ready to hunt.  WDFW doesn't enforce this at all, I've called several times and I don't think they have followed up on any of them.  You could get lucky, but be prepared for some frustration when some of them are basically taken for the season.

Good luck, drive around, make friends and I'm sure you will find something that works.  If you have access to a boat that opens a bunch of area.

Yes, this is all true, unfortunately. #2 can be mitigated a bit if have the flexibility to go on a weekday, but the "4 am" designation is basically useless.
WOW they had 47 properties signed up in 2018 and now they have 11.  What an abject failure of the program in the PS.

Online Stein

  • Non-Hunting & Covid-19 Topics
  • Trade Count: (+4)
  • Old Salt
  • ******
  • Join Date: Sep 2013
  • Posts: 7440
Re: Where to duck hunt around Skagit Area?
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2020, 12:47:46 PM »
This is one area I will stick up for WDFW, or more specifically the regional bio that runs the program.  I've talked with him a few times and am very familiar with the areas and what has been added or dropped for the last 3-4 years.

1.  The money they have to give to landowners is very modest.  First problem is some landowners don't find it worth it.  Second problem is that other private organizations can outbid them.  I won't name names, but there are private "clubs" that are outbidding WDFW and taking public access sites private.

2.  Much of the good private ground is leased up already, there aren't many places worth hunting that are open willing or not.

3.  Some sites experience problems with garbage, access on days they are supposed to be closed, not respecting speed limits, access hours, etc.  For a small amount of money, we shouldn't expect landowners to put up with nonsense.

4.  I believe some of the program money goes unspent and with government, there is a risk of "use it or lose it" where the budget goes down as the sites drop and replacements aren't found which starts a spiral.  They also have issues with people not filling out surveys which are used to track hunter days to justify future spending.  If they can't show people use them, competing uses for the money will win.

This is an area I think WWA or other clubs could help with and I'm hoping to be part of that solution.  I know WDFW has asked for help in identifying willing landowners.  I would also be interested in a discussion on boosting the program funding, especially some type of access fee, either an annual fee or a small daily fee under the premise that those funds are 100% dedicated to the program and can't be used for other stuff (particularly the destruction of public waterfowl hunting areas).

Another change I would like to see is a reservation system for every site, assuming enforcement of the rules continues to be near zero.  Everyone should have an equal chance at using the sites and people that leave trucks there overnight every weekend rob the rest of the hunters.

My understanding which may be wrong, is that the big bottleneck is finding willing landowners.  Funding isn't directly an issue although if the payments were higher there may be more willing landowners.

Anyway, that's my view.  We are certainly on a downward slide, every year we lose at least one good site and there aren't many left and it's nearly impossible to get into the ones that are left.

Offline Special T

  • Truth the new Hate Speech.
  • Washington For Wildlife
  • Trade Count: (+13)
  • Legend
  • ******
  • Join Date: Aug 2009
  • Posts: 21510
  • Location: Skagit Valley
  • Make it Rain!
    • Silver Arrow Bowmen
    • Silver Arrow Bowmen
Re: Where to duck hunt around Skagit Area?
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2020, 01:03:25 PM »
This is one area I will stick up for WDFW, or more specifically the regional bio that runs the program.  I've talked with him a few times and am very familiar with the areas and what has been added or dropped for the last 3-4 years.

1.  The money they have to give to landowners is very modest.  First problem is some landowners don't find it worth it.  Second problem is that other private organizations can outbid them.  I won't name names, but there are private "clubs" that are outbidding WDFW and taking public access sites private.

2.  Much of the good private ground is leased up already, there aren't many places worth hunting that are open willing or not.

3.  Some sites experience problems with garbage, access on days they are supposed to be closed, not respecting speed limits, access hours, etc.  For a small amount of money, we shouldn't expect landowners to put up with nonsense.

4.  I believe some of the program money goes unspent and with government, there is a risk of "use it or lose it" where the budget goes down as the sites drop and replacements aren't found which starts a spiral.  They also have issues with people not filling out surveys which are used to track hunter days to justify future spending.  If they can't show people use them, competing uses for the money will win.

This is an area I think WWA or other clubs could help with and I'm hoping to be part of that solution.  I know WDFW has asked for help in identifying willing landowners.  I would also be interested in a discussion on boosting the program funding, especially some type of access fee, either an annual fee or a small daily fee under the premise that those funds are 100% dedicated to the program and can't be used for other stuff (particularly the destruction of public waterfowl hunting areas).

Another change I would like to see is a reservation system for every site, assuming enforcement of the rules continues to be near zero.  Everyone should have an equal chance at using the sites and people that leave trucks there overnight every weekend rob the rest of the hunters.

My understanding which may be wrong, is that the big bottleneck is finding willing landowners.  Funding isn't directly an issue although if the payments were higher there may be more willing landowners.

Anyway, that's my view.  We are certainly on a downward slide, every year we lose at least one good site and there aren't many left and it's nearly impossible to get into the ones that are left.

Reservation only does not accommodate very many sportsmen. When Rob has given talks at the WWA meetings he has ALL the usage numbers and some of the land owners only sign up under the reservation program. he stated that when he has a hesitant landowner he tries to start them out on the reservation system as some documentation and accountability  is provided.  :twocents:
In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself. 

Confucius

Online Stein

  • Non-Hunting & Covid-19 Topics
  • Trade Count: (+4)
  • Old Salt
  • ******
  • Join Date: Sep 2013
  • Posts: 7440
Re: Where to duck hunt around Skagit Area?
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2020, 01:11:55 PM »
He doesn't have all the usage information.  For reservation sites, he knows who reserved them, but not if they hunted them.  For FFTH, he only has the surveys people fill out.  For register to hunt, he has the forms for those that registered.

I agree there is an issue of some degree with reservation holders not using them.  This could be addressed through a usage fee or further limitations on the number of reservations you can get in a given time (week, month).  Right now, you can have three so some people get them in hopes they will be able to hunt.  They could also limit the number of reservations a year, you only get X so if you don't hunt a reservation you lose one of the few chances you will get.

They also don't let you cancel a reservation the day before, so if you learn you can't use it you can't put it back in the pool for someone else to get.

I would argue that even with these issues, there would be better access than the "first come" joke.  There are a couple sites that literally have the same people there all the time.  Truck goes in Friday and doesn't come out until Sunday night and often during the week too.

Three years ago I hit a particular site at 4 am for 10 days in a row (weekday and weekends) and couldn't get in, same group of hunters there, several times nobody there hunting but just keeping others out.  That doesn't accommodate many hunters in my opinion.

Offline JBG

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Hunter
  • ***
  • Join Date: May 2010
  • Posts: 155
Re: Where to duck hunt around Skagit Area?
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2020, 03:59:06 PM »
Thanks guys for the context.  I agree the land owners need more $$ to stay in the program.  I think if its managed like a quality area should be managed sportspeople would be willing to pay for it.  They do now on the federal refuges.  Here are my thoughts:
-Charge a per person fee, like $20 per blind or $10 per hunter which ever is more or sell an annual pass, give most of this money back to the landowner after admin costs are covered.  2 hunters at $20 x 40 properties x 50 days =$80,000 potentially to spread around so an additional 2k per site to the owner theoretically.  it seemed like most owners had 2 or more sites on their property.

-Make an part of the on line portal a reporting tool where hunter#'s, Hours, and results can be submitted.
 
- Only hunt the sites every other day at most

-Allow someone to reserve a site in real time when someone no shows a reservation

-Charge the account a no show fee
If sportsmen dont like it they dont have to sign up.  At this point with 11 properties in PS and 4 of those I think are for blacktail this program is circling the toilet fast. 


Offline Special T

  • Truth the new Hate Speech.
  • Washington For Wildlife
  • Trade Count: (+13)
  • Legend
  • ******
  • Join Date: Aug 2009
  • Posts: 21510
  • Location: Skagit Valley
  • Make it Rain!
    • Silver Arrow Bowmen
    • Silver Arrow Bowmen
Re: Where to duck hunt around Skagit Area?
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2020, 04:02:56 PM »
Tomorrow the Washington Waterfowl Association is doing a tour of the farmed island unit. 10am till 1pm ish meet at the headquarters boat launch. Event is free and Curran will be talking about the different kinds of crops he plants as food for the ducks. I went a few years back and learned a bunch. If you have never been to the island before this is the easiest way to do so!
In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself. 

Confucius

Offline JBG

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Hunter
  • ***
  • Join Date: May 2010
  • Posts: 155
Re: Where to duck hunt around Skagit Area?
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2020, 04:09:31 PM »
Special T -- I know you need a boat to get to the island.  For the purposes of the tour do they allow stowaways?

 


* Advertisement