Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby Doc E » Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:39 am

There is a difference between unethical and illegal.
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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby jlw034 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:05 am

What's the minimum altitude a bird has to be before it's deemed an ethical shot?

10 ft?
10 inches?
10mm?
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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby ryanr » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:19 am

flitecontrol wrote:Oh, this is going to be a good one, I can tell! :)

How many turkey hunters flush them before shooting? :wink: How many deer/coyote/bobcat, etc., hunters will only shoot at a running target?

Rails are reluctant fliers and usually prefer to escape into heavy cover rather than fly when given the choice. When they do fly, they're pretty easy to hit providing they stay airborne long enough. Is it any more or less ethical to shoot a wild bird that is a poor flyer than it is to shoot pen reared birds that don't fly as well as their wild counterparts? Is it even ethical to shoot pen reared birds, especially if they don't fly well? I haven't hunted them, but understand that scaled quail, chukars, etc. often run to escape hunters rather than fly, or run and then fly. If a hunter has put in several hours (or days) hunting such problematic birds without success, and takes the opportunity to shoot them while running, are they unethical scumbags?

I sometimes stalk ducks in flooded timber. This usually takes 45-60 minutes or more to sneak within range. Often, the ducks see me before I'm in range, but when they don't, I'm able to make clean head shots on drakes. And yes, whenever possible, I'll wait until two or more drakes are in line before shooting. I use #7 steel shot through a tight choke when stalking. Some may find that objectionable, but to me, the challenge is in the stalk. Is it more ethical to cripple and lose a flying duck than to make a clean kill on the water? These are some of the reasons most states don't require that birds only be shot on the wing, and why it's such a thorny issue.

Now, in the interest of stirring the pot, let's address shooting birds with rifles, which is legal in many states. :twisted:


In many states turkeys are considered a big game species and not upland or small game. Myself, I don't shoot big game on the run (or in flight.)

Also, I don't believe making ground swatting or water swatting illegal is good idea however anyone that hunts behind my dogs is made well aware that no birds get shot on the ground. But I know plenty of people here in PA that hunt birds without a dog and I have no issue with them shooting a bird, SAFELY, on the ground. For me the most important thing is safety more than trying to define what is ethical or unethical for everyone.
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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby Willie T » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:42 am

This is an old and thought provoking discussion. In the name of conservation, there is such a thing as being too effective regarding the harvest of fragile populations of wild game birds. Legality aside where do you draw the line? Ground sluicing falls into that category in my opinion. Hopefully history has taught us that. There are those who will never grasp that concept. There are also those in various regions of the country who lament the fact they no longer have huntable populations of wild birds.
I suspect that back in the day, there was a smug faction of vocal passenger pigeon hunters who thought the naysayers were all wet, because they were still able to harvest their birds.
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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:26 am

So.....if we're hunting without a dog and cripple a pheasant, it should be illegal to shoot it as it runs away?

Same with a crippled duck or goose on the water; just let it die and rot?
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby Willie T » Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:50 am

Not what I'm referring to, or to my understanding, the topic of Rowdy's question. Pot shooting sitting healthy game birds off the land or water or out of a tree, rather than wing shooting, is the practice I was referring to.
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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby mastercaster » Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:57 am

Up here in BC the most desired habitat for grouse is thick, older growth forests or areas with heavy deciduous trees along skinny gravel roads. You can't really hunt the area very well with a dog because you'd lose sight of the dog once it got 15-20' away from you that's if you could follow the dog at all.

I bet 80% or more grouse are just shot off these skinny logging, many of them decommissioned roads when the birds come out to gravel up either with a .22, a .410, or a 20 ga. taking a head shot if possible. Quite a few are shot out of trees after being spooked up into them after a hot has been fired. You really don't need a dog at all up here when it comes to hunting grouse.

A couple of my friends call it grocery store hunting since they're isn't really any skill involved but it's legal and not considered unethical.
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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Mon Jul 08, 2019 12:14 pm

Willie T wrote:Not what I'm referring to, or to my understanding, the topic of Rowdy's question. Pot shooting sitting healthy game birds off the land or water or out of a tree, rather than wing shooting, is the practice I was referring to.
Willie


How would a CO enforce that? We have enough damned rules to follow now.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby AverageGuy » Mon Jul 08, 2019 12:33 pm

Neither Me, nor anyone I hunt with, is going to shoot an upland bird on the ground. Nor do we shoot cripples on the ground, instead we let our dogs do what they are bred and trained to do in recovering them. Waterfowl is not shot when they land in the decoys and are instead jumped up. The difference in that case is small in terms of sporting shooting, but the wear and tear on the decoys is far superior using that approach. Crippled waterfowl on the water are swatted in the head if within range to do so before the dog is sent, unless we are working on building drive for a young dog which benefits from chasing a cripple around in which case we send the dog and no shots are ever made while the dog is in the water.

I believe these approaches are essential to safe hunting with dogs.

I favor those approaches as a matter of ethics and common sense but do not wish to see them enacted as law as our Sport is already highly over regulated.
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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby flitecontrol » Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:16 pm

Willie T wrote:This is an old and thought provoking discussion. In the name of conservation, there is such a thing as being too effective regarding the harvest of fragile populations of wild game birds. Legality aside where do you draw the line? Ground sluicing falls into that category in my opinion. Hopefully history has taught us that. There are those who will never grasp that concept. There are also those in various regions of the country who lament the fact they no longer have huntable populations of wild birds.
I suspect that back in the day, there was a smug faction of vocal passenger pigeon hunters who thought the naysayers were all wet, because they were still able to harvest their birds.
Willie


Is it your position that the (legal) shooting of game birds by methods that are personally distasteful is currently threatening some game bird populations? If so, what species are you referring to?

The passenger pigeon's demise was brought about by unrestrained market hunting. The demand for squabs, which were considered a delicacy, was especially harmful. There used to be a large commercial market for game meat, but that has changed.

As far as where do you draw the line, I submit that today it is drawn by resource managers in response to how hunting impacts populations. The prohibition for using electronic callers to hunt waterfowl was in response to a specific situation. A commercial goose guide had a couple of borrow pits adjacent to Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge in Hyde county, North Carolina. The guide put up several telephone poles and placed speakers on them directed towards the refuge. Those present said that when the speakers were turned on, large flocks of Canada geese would fly from Lake Mattamuskeet to his ponds, where they were shot. He was so successful that he had things organized with an entrance and exit for the hunters. They would line up, pay the guide, fill the blinds, shoot the geese, leave via the designated exit, another group of hunters would be brought in, and the scenario was repeated, over and over again. With snow goose populations exceeding the carrying capacity of their habitat, electronic calling has been permitted in an effort to control those populations.

The three shell limit for taking migratory birds came about for similar reasons. While it's pretty much a lost art, sculling a low profile boat within range of a flock of waterfowl used to be fairly common. Once in range, the flock, usually diving ducks, would be hosed down with as many shots as could be fired before the survivors got away. Limiting the number of shells reduced how many birds could be taken at one time. We have come a long way in how game populations are managed versus the mis management of the past.
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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby Willie T » Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:21 pm

GONEHUNTIN' wrote:
Willie T wrote:Not what I'm referring to, or to my understanding, the topic of Rowdy's question. Pot shooting sitting healthy game birds off the land or water or out of a tree, rather than wing shooting, is the practice I was referring to.
Willie


How would a CO enforce that? We have enough damned rules to follow now.


Very little chance of effective enforcement ever happening. Peer pressure by law abiding citizens not wanting to be an accessory is often the biggest deterrent.

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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby RowdyGSP » Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:37 pm

jlw034 wrote:
RowdyGSP wrote:
I watched a guy I no longer hunt with ground swat a covey of chukars. He got 6 in one shot. 2 of them died immediately, as 4 of them fluttered downhill, very much alive. 3 dogs recovered 2 of those 4 birds and 2 were lost as crips. Please enlighten me how that is ethical.


Is that any less ethical than flock shooting the same birds, with the same result?


No it's not any less ethical... and I do not flock shoot birds.
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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby Willie T » Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:55 pm

Willie T wrote:
This is an old and thought provoking discussion. In the name of conservation, there is such a thing as being too effective regarding the harvest of fragile populations of wild game birds. Legality aside where do you draw the line? Ground sluicing falls into that category in my opinion. Hopefully history has taught us that. There are those who will never grasp that concept. There are also those in various regions of the country who lament the fact they no longer have huntable populations of wild birds.
I suspect that back in the day, there was a smug faction of vocal passenger pigeon hunters who thought the naysayers were all wet, because they were still able to harvest their birds.
Willie

Flitecontrol wrote:
Is it your position that the (legal) shooting of game birds by methods that are personally distasteful is currently threatening some game bird populations? If so, what species are you referring to?

The passenger pigeon's demise was brought about by unrestrained market hunting. The demand for squabs, which were considered a delicacy, was especially harmful. There used to be a large commercial market for game meat, but that has changed.

Right and wrong often have very little to do with the law. We do agree that over harvest wiped out the passenger pigeon.
When you witness some slack jawed redneck wipe out an entire covey of tightly bunched bobwhite or Hungarian partridge in one shot off the ground, and smugly state "its legal", my opinion is, it should not be. You are entitled to feel differently. That is what the law in Oklahoma, where I grew up bird hunting, is designed to curtail. So yes, in my opinion, the practices often employed by market hunters, such as sluicing sitting birds, were too effective for the well being of the population. I support that stance.
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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby Kyle » Mon Jul 08, 2019 4:58 pm

What causes hunters to think unproductive thoughts like that? Who cares how someone else shoots game? If we only hunt for sport there is no argument to defend the practice.
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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby flitecontrol » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:00 pm

Willie T, I'm just trying to fact check what you wrote about "fragile populations of game birds". To my knowledge, no species of game bird has ever become "fragile" due to legal sport hunting. Sage grouse populations are way down, but it's well documented that habitat changes are the cause, not hunting. Ditto for the bobwhite quail in many parts of the South. I really don't see the connection between market hunting that was done on the scale that doomed the passenger pigeon and " some slack jawed redneck wipe(ing) out an entire covey of tightly bunched bobwhite or Hungarian partridge". Neither Huns nor bobwhite populations are in trouble.

I'm going to avoid characterizing hunters that take ethical positions differing from my own as substandard human beings, because that wouldn't be fair or accurate. People, including hunters, can agree to disagree without being disagreeable. Referring to an earlier thread, I disagree, for purely ethical reasons, with how some coyote tournaments are conducted, but I'm not going to characterize participants as oblivious dolts.
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