Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby JONOV » Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:34 pm

booger wrote:

Define sportsmanship or sportsman.

And you do realize you just made skybusting out to be a sporting thing to do right?
[/quote]
Sure. The essence of Sportsmanship or Sportsman is "Sport," which is generally held to be a physical activity requiring skill or prowess. Sportsmanship is the aspiration that we undertake the activity for its own sake, and do so competitively and fairly.

Ethics and Sportsmanship certainly can and do intertwine, but aren't inherently linked and can even be at odds with each other if you step back and think about it. That assumes one defines "Ethics" in this case as doing everything one can to cleanly dispatch, recover and utilize the resource while demonstrating "good form" in its pursuit (ie, not baiting ducks.)

So, in the interest of fair chase, if the ducks land in my spread, or me and the dogs approach a bird on the ground within range, the "chase" part of the equation is complete, and no longer relevant, unless you argue the dog is so good or decoys so convincing its unfair ;) Is the "Sport" in luring or stalking game, or in shooting it, or both?

"Skybusting" is another example of where "Ethics" and "Sportsmanship" can go in different directions. There is nothing unsportsmanlike about it; the birds have a far more sporting chance at escaping unscathed. Ethically, it could be argued you risk crippling and not recovering a bird. The guys 500 yards down the marsh shore are going to call you a lot of names for it, but I don't get into those arguments because one man's pass shooting is another man's "Skybusters not doing it the right way and ruining my hunt on my leased field and $3100 worth of decoys and layours."
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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby Expert » Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:10 pm

I recommend only shooting game birds in the air. Tree ok, but firing birdshot at the ground makes it ricochet like a stone off water putting others down shot in danger. I know a hunter that lost an eye and another that was peppered with birdshot by nearby ground shooters. Safety first!
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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby jlw034 » Tue Jul 09, 2019 6:48 pm

AverageGuy wrote: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.


AG I always respect your opinion and think you are head and shoulders above me when it comes to hunting credibility.

One point of discussion: You conclude that you favor your approach as a matter of ethics, but in your reasoning you state you will let a dog chase a cripple (to build drive) instead of finishing the bird. I find it interesting that killing a bird on the ground is seen as more unethical than letting a wounded animal flounder.
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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby AverageGuy » Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:28 pm

jlw034 wrote:
AverageGuy wrote: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.


AG I always respect your opinion and think you are head and shoulders above me when it comes to hunting credibility.

One point of discussion: You conclude that you favor your approach as a matter of ethics, but in your reasoning you state you will let a dog chase a cripple (to build drive) instead of finishing the bird. I find it interesting that killing a bird on the ground is seen as more unethical than letting a wounded animal flounder.


Please reread my post you quoted. I said cripples on the water are head shot provided they are in range, before the dog is sent to retrieve. Then I added unless there is pup on the hunt which we want to build drive in and so will send a pup on a cripple. I would not do that if I thought the cripple might escape. Pups need to experience diving cripples and how to stick with them and recover them. My purpose in not shooting cripples on the ground is because I do not think it is safe when dogs are around. It could be but I don't want folks making that judgement call when my dog is on the ground hunting in a moment of excitement, so the best policy for safety is let the dog handle cripples on the ground.
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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby booger » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:18 am

JONOV wrote:Sure. The essence of Sportsmanship or Sportsman is "Sport," which is generally held to be a physical activity requiring skill or prowess. Sportsmanship is the aspiration that we undertake the activity for its own sake, and do so competitively and fairly.

Ethics and Sportsmanship certainly can and do intertwine, but aren't inherently linked and can even be at odds with each other if you step back and think about it. That assumes one defines "Ethics" in this case as doing everything one can to cleanly dispatch, recover and utilize the resource while demonstrating "good form" in its pursuit (ie, not baiting ducks.)

So, in the interest of fair chase, if the ducks land in my spread, or me and the dogs approach a bird on the ground within range, the "chase" part of the equation is complete, and no longer relevant, unless you argue the dog is so good or decoys so convincing its unfair ;) Is the "Sport" in luring or stalking game, or in shooting it, or both?

"Skybusting" is another example of where "Ethics" and "Sportsmanship" can go in different directions. There is nothing unsportsmanlike about it; the birds have a far more sporting chance at escaping unscathed. Ethically, it could be argued you risk crippling and not recovering a bird. The guys 500 yards down the marsh shore are going to call you a lot of names for it, but I don't get into those arguments because one man's pass shooting is another man's "Skybusters not doing it the right way and ruining my hunt on my leased field and $3100 worth of decoys and layours."


Sounds like you've never setup on the same lake as guys shooting at birds 100+ yards away that will now certainly avoid that lake.

Your definition of sportsman doesn't agree with mine. It doesn't agree with the internet either. You could say it takes skill to shoot birds on the water. If we're going to legislate on the amount of skill and have a test things will really get stupid.

btw the only way I've seen to hunt bears is by baiting.

This thread reminds me of the rifle vs bow argument for hunting deer. A rifle will most certainly dispatch an animal more quickly on average, but is significantly easier than bowhunting. But bow hunting is more "pure" and more fair chase. Does that mean the laws should change to fit my personal preferences - no.

I say do what you want and try to avoid attacking other hunters as much as you can (while respecting other hunters, skybusting is not respectful of other hunters). This is and should be a personal choice and not a law change.
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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby AverageGuy » Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:53 am

booger wrote:
JONOV wrote:Sure. The essence of Sportsmanship or Sportsman is "Sport," which is generally held to be a physical activity requiring skill or prowess. Sportsmanship is the aspiration that we undertake the activity for its own sake, and do so competitively and fairly.

Ethics and Sportsmanship certainly can and do intertwine, but aren't inherently linked and can even be at odds with each other if you step back and think about it. That assumes one defines "Ethics" in this case as doing everything one can to cleanly dispatch, recover and utilize the resource while demonstrating "good form" in its pursuit (ie, not baiting ducks.)

So, in the interest of fair chase, if the ducks land in my spread, or me and the dogs approach a bird on the ground within range, the "chase" part of the equation is complete, and no longer relevant, unless you argue the dog is so good or decoys so convincing its unfair ;) Is the "Sport" in luring or stalking game, or in shooting it, or both?

"Skybusting" is another example of where "Ethics" and "Sportsmanship" can go in different directions. There is nothing unsportsmanlike about it; the birds have a far more sporting chance at escaping unscathed. Ethically, it could be argued you risk crippling and not recovering a bird. The guys 500 yards down the marsh shore are going to call you a lot of names for it, but I don't get into those arguments because one man's pass shooting is another man's "Skybusters not doing it the right way and ruining my hunt on my leased field and $3100 worth of decoys and layours."


Sounds like you've never setup on the same lake as guys shooting at birds 100+ yards away that will now certainly avoid that lake.

Your definition of sportsman doesn't agree with mine. It doesn't agree with the internet either. You could say it takes skill to shoot birds on the water. If we're going to legislate on the amount of skill and have a test things will really get stupid.

btw the only way I've seen to hunt bears is by baiting.

This thread reminds me of the rifle vs bow argument for hunting deer. A rifle will most certainly dispatch an animal more quickly on average, but is significantly easier than bowhunting. But bow hunting is more "pure" and more fair chase. Does that mean the laws should change to fit my personal preferences - no.

I say do what you want and try to avoid attacking other hunters as much as you can (while respecting other hunters, skybusting is not respectful of other hunters). This is and should be a personal choice and not a law change.


Lots of folks hunt bear by spot n stalk, some more run em with hounds, and some with bait. All good with me.

An arrow through the lungs will bring down big game faster than a bullet through the lungs. I have done both many times each in arriving at that statement. If a guy wants to blow shattered bone all through the meat you can shoot a bullet in the shoulder and get similar swift results as an arrow through the lungs but I am not into that.

Skybusting is a problem.

Another problem is the new breed of waterfowlers who mistake legitimate pass shooting for skybusting. The art and practice of a observing waterfowl enough to place yourself where they will fly over in range was once a time honored skill. Outdoor writers wrote articles in Sports Afield, Outdoor Life, Fur, Fish & Game about the using 10 gauges and no 4 and no 1 buckshot to pass shoot canada geese. I did alot of it and still would/do in the right place. And I will sit a decoy spread in the right the place. Today's new breed of waterfowlers incorrectly label legitimate pass shooting for skybusting insisting that everyone do it their way. They have no idea what they don't know.
Tungsten BBB out of a patternmaster long range choke tube on the end of a 10 gauge is capable of spectacular pass shooting in the right hands. I love waterfowl decoying in my face when I can get it and having been blowing duck and goose calls for 50 years as part of that pursuit, but I also enjoy cleanly folding up a giant honker at long range.

I am not going to invest in 20K of trailer and decoys to hunt snow geese in the Spring Conservation season and instead sneak/jump shoot them and or pass shoot them for the most part. I had a well known celebrity TV hunter threaten to slash my tires in the parking lot of a public hunting area for using those legal methods at a public WMA. My Brother and I have hunted that WMA and surrounding private lands for decades before this celebrity hunter showed up and leased up all the surrounding private lands we used to have permission to hunt so that he could film his TV shows. All we have left to hunt is the public WMA and this clown is so selfish and self righteous arrogant he thinks he is right to dictate to us to not hunt it either so that his hunting on the now off limits leased private land will be better.

It has become common for some waterfowlers to declare hunting ducks or geese over water as unethical and only field hunting is proper ethics. The time honored sport of scouting and setting up a water spread for waterfowl is now declared "shooting the roost!".

I agree with tolerance for our fellow hunters and ethics through teaching vs laws.

But I see many safety issues with shooting upland birds on the ground given we here are all about using our dogs when we do, and shooting healthy ducks in the decoy spread is just dumb given the cost of decoys.
Last edited by AverageGuy on Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:00 am

When I was guiding, I had a guy that could not hit a flying bird. He'd have me land the birds in the decoys (water), shoot the ducks and at the end of the shoot, pay me for the decoys. Didn't phase him a bit and my decoys stayed new! He was a good client; kept two FT dogs with me at all times.
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 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:31 am

AverageGuy wrote:
jlw034 wrote:
AverageGuy wrote: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.


AG I always respect your opinion and think you are head and shoulders above me when it comes to hunting credibility.

One point of discussion: You conclude that you favor your approach as a matter of ethics, but in your reasoning you state you will let a dog chase a cripple (to build drive) instead of finishing the bird. I find it interesting that killing a bird on the ground is seen as more unethical than letting a wounded animal flounder.


Please reread my post you quoted. I said cripples on the water are head shot provided they are in range, before the dog is sent to retrieve. Then I added unless there is pup on the hunt which we want to build drive in and so will send a pup on a cripple. I would not do that if I thought the cripple might escape. Pups need to experience diving cripples and how to stick with them and recover them. My purpose in not shooting cripples on the ground is because I do not think it is safe when dogs are around. It could be but I don't want folks making that judgement call when my dog is on the ground hunting in a moment of excitement, so the best policy for safety is let the dog handle cripples on the ground.


Personal ethics are such an individual thing. I don't get many Cripples. When I do end up with one, I usually let the dog handle it. I never considered it an ethics question. Hell, most all of us train with live birds. My dogs have all loved the occasional crippled bird.
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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby JONOV » Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:06 am

booger wrote:Sounds like you've never setup on the same lake as guys shooting at birds 100+ yards away that will now certainly avoid that lake.

I hunt largely in the greater Raleigh Metro area. Not huge amounts of public land, lots and lots of pressure and Jr Commanders. I've seen a lot of skybusting. It must be nice to have enough public access nearby to avoid those lakes! I've also seen guys shoot at birds from across the lake and think, "No effin way" only to see a couple drop out of the sky. If I'm not next to you and/or there's no range finder, or it isn't super obvious, it's hard for me to make the call.
booger wrote:Your definition of sportsman doesn't agree with mine. It doesn't agree with the internet either.
So what do you disagree with? Do you disagree that we undertake the activity for its own sake (as opposed to hunting for subsistence, or other renumeration?) Do you disagree that sportsmanship requires a competitive yet fair mindset, and emphasis on "good form*?"

*Good Form is nebulous. I understand the difference between hunting bears with bait and hunting ducks over bait.
booger wrote:You could say it takes skill to shoot birds on the water.

No, not really. In fact I can't think of a way of killing a duck that requires less skill, unless it happens to be in a barnyard.
booger wrote:If we're going to legislate on the amount of skill and have a test things will really get stupid.
I agree, it will begin to look like Germany. We don't need more laws.

booger wrote:btw the only way I've seen to hunt bears is by baiting.
Who said anything about bears? I gave the example of baiting ducks since it's 100% illegal in the US, generally frowned upon. I have no problem baiting bears. I have no problem with baiting deer if the state allows it. My state does. Or hounds.

booger wrote:This thread reminds me of the rifle vs bow argument for hunting deer. A rifle will most certainly dispatch an animal more quickly on average, but is significantly easier than bowhunting. But bow hunting is more "pure" and more fair chase. Does that mean the laws should change to fit my personal preferences - no.

I say do what you want and try to avoid attacking other hunters as much as you can (while respecting other hunters, skybusting is not respectful of other hunters). This is and should be a personal choice and not a law change.
I agree that we don't need to legislate "sportsmanship" or "ethics," generally speaking. Let the laws concern themselves with conserving a resource and keeping people safe.

Serious question on respecting other hunters, because I always wonder about this. True Story: We were in college and scouted a field for geese. The season previous we did get permission to hunt there one morning. We talked to the farmer who had leased it to a guy aspiring to be the next Jeff Falls. We did have permission through my buddy's family member to hunt a narrow spit of grassland on the route the geese were using. Opening Morning comes and the gentleman with the lease (he may have been a guide, I'm not sure) is out there with the trailer full of Bigfoots, layouts, truck with Benelli stickers, etc...We're sitting on buckets in the weeds with fresh boxes of cheap Federal BBB's. Geese come in, we shoot. Wash, rinse, repeat. We shot four between three of us. We shot a lot of shells to get those four. They were tall. The guy was livid, drives up to us in his truck and has words with us, tries to lecture us on sportsmanship. I said, "We have our layouts and can join you in the field" but that went over like a lead balloon obviously.

Anyhow, later that afternoon I go on a local outdoor forum. Someone is complaining about skybusters ruining their hunt, and the younger generation not knowing the right way to do it, but that they scratched a few anyway, and share pictures. The watertower is in the background so I know it was the group next to us.

Were we wrong, or disrespectful? We got out there about the same time as they did. We scouted all the same as they did. That's why I somewhat roll my eyes at the term. To claim they ruined it for you assumes that the ducks were coming to you in the first place, and that you can certainly judge that the ducks were out of range. Both of which are easy proclomations from across the marsh, but harder to say definitively
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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby AverageGuy » Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:48 am

JONOV,

don't know if you read my post in this thread from earlier this morning but it hit on a highly similar theme/issue.

Shooting at geese which are within the effective range of the gun and load you are shooting is not skybusting and only the unskilled and uninformed label it as such. There are alot of those inexperienced, unskilled and uninformed Waterfowlers around these days.

I was dumb enough to respond to a FB Waterfowl Forum question as to what was everyone's favorite long range goose load and shotgun setup. I responded with Tungsten BBBs, a patternmaster LR extended choke tube through either my 3.5 inch 12 or my BPS 10 gauge. I relayed the load was very capable of cleanly folding up big honkers out to 70 yards when centered on the target. Turns out the OP was a young buck hotshot guide posting what he viewed as an obvious Troll question. I was attacked from all sides for my response which I deleted and have not returned to the Forum since.

The earth is getting smaller and Sportsman need to get along. If they choose to get in a beef with someone it is best to direct those negative energies towards a real enemy. Which is not a group of kids legally pass shooting geese who happen to be in the flight path of your setup.

I have folks who hunt the fence line of my farm for deer every season. They contribute nothing other than the cost of their tags towards the wildlife in the area. They shoot bucks I have passed many times early in the season while bow hunting. I leave those hunters be. Everyone has a fence and learning to deal with it is what mature people do.
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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby mtbirder » Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:55 am

Can't talk politics, even though we face political issues with downright goddamned serious consequences to our very existence as American sportsmen/women.
Yet a discussion of something as subjective as ethics can go on for over 60 posts - I looked at the General Discussion menu and 90% of the threads on the menu have fewer replies than this one.
Says something about the desire to and interest in discussing "heady" issues.
But, as I'm sitting here typing this, my older four legged wire faced girlfriend just looked up at me and farted.
Put's things in perspective...……………………………………………………
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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby booger » Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:24 am

JONOV wrote:
booger wrote:Sounds like you've never setup on the same lake as guys shooting at birds 100+ yards away that will now certainly avoid that lake.

I hunt largely in the greater Raleigh Metro area. Not huge amounts of public land, lots and lots of pressure and Jr Commanders. I've seen a lot of skybusting. It must be nice to have enough public access nearby to avoid those lakes! I've also seen guys shoot at birds from across the lake and think, "No effin way" only to see a couple drop out of the sky. If I'm not next to you and/or there's no range finder, or it isn't super obvious, it's hard for me to make the call.
booger wrote:Your definition of sportsman doesn't agree with mine. It doesn't agree with the internet either.
So what do you disagree with? Do you disagree that we undertake the activity for its own sake (as opposed to hunting for subsistence, or other renumeration?) Do you disagree that sportsmanship requires a competitive yet fair mindset, and emphasis on "good form*?"

*Good Form is nebulous. I understand the difference between hunting bears with bait and hunting ducks over bait.
booger wrote:You could say it takes skill to shoot birds on the water.

No, not really. In fact I can't think of a way of killing a duck that requires less skill, unless it happens to be in a barnyard.
booger wrote:If we're going to legislate on the amount of skill and have a test things will really get stupid.
I agree, it will begin to look like Germany. We don't need more laws.

booger wrote:btw the only way I've seen to hunt bears is by baiting.
Who said anything about bears? I gave the example of baiting ducks since it's 100% illegal in the US, generally frowned upon. I have no problem baiting bears. I have no problem with baiting deer if the state allows it. My state does. Or hounds.

booger wrote:This thread reminds me of the rifle vs bow argument for hunting deer. A rifle will most certainly dispatch an animal more quickly on average, but is significantly easier than bowhunting. But bow hunting is more "pure" and more fair chase. Does that mean the laws should change to fit my personal preferences - no.

I say do what you want and try to avoid attacking other hunters as much as you can (while respecting other hunters, skybusting is not respectful of other hunters). This is and should be a personal choice and not a law change.
I agree that we don't need to legislate "sportsmanship" or "ethics," generally speaking. Let the laws concern themselves with conserving a resource and keeping people safe.

Serious question on respecting other hunters, because I always wonder about this. True Story: We were in college and scouted a field for geese. The season previous we did get permission to hunt there one morning. We talked to the farmer who had leased it to a guy aspiring to be the next Jeff Falls. We did have permission through my buddy's family member to hunt a narrow spit of grassland on the route the geese were using. Opening Morning comes and the gentleman with the lease (he may have been a guide, I'm not sure) is out there with the trailer full of Bigfoots, layouts, truck with Benelli stickers, etc...We're sitting on buckets in the weeds with fresh boxes of cheap Federal BBB's. Geese come in, we shoot. Wash, rinse, repeat. We shot four between three of us. We shot a lot of shells to get those four. They were tall. The guy was livid, drives up to us in his truck and has words with us, tries to lecture us on sportsmanship. I said, "We have our layouts and can join you in the field" but that went over like a lead balloon obviously.

Anyhow, later that afternoon I go on a local outdoor forum. Someone is complaining about skybusters ruining their hunt, and the younger generation not knowing the right way to do it, but that they scratched a few anyway, and share pictures. The watertower is in the background so I know it was the group next to us.

Were we wrong, or disrespectful? We got out there about the same time as they did. We scouted all the same as they did. That's why I somewhat roll my eyes at the term. To claim they ruined it for you assumes that the ducks were coming to you in the first place, and that you can certainly judge that the ducks were out of range. Both of which are easy proclomations from across the marsh, but harder to say definitively


If you were dropping geese you likely weren't skybusting IMO. Geese are pretty hardy I've seen one shot at 35-40 yards fold and then shortly after keep flying. I actually had my bead on it and said, nope that one's done and moved on to another. But I can't say for sure because I wasn't there. Maybe you were on some but weren't on others? Again I wasn't there.

My definition of a sportsman is anyone that hunts, fishes or regularly enjoys the outdoors. There is no line drawn for ethics or competition to me. If you want to make a separate distinction of ethical or not, fine but it wouldn't change my definition of sportsman. If someone can regularly make difficult shots, they're a good shot. Again doesn't change the definition of sportsman to me. It's not a contest of who's the best sportsman where we rank our fellow hunters.

The reason bears and deer are important is because your definition should apply to all hunting, or do you only think sportsman are waterfowl and upland hunters? One could say that hunting a picked field with any corn left over (which is always) is baiting. Birds typically use fields with food, how's that not baiting? Luckily for me I have no problem with baiting and I wouldn't berate other hunters for using legal baiting or hunting a picked field.
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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby JONOV » Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:25 am

AverageGuy wrote:JONOV,

don't know if you read my post in this thread from earlier this morning but it hit on a highly similar theme/issue.

Shooting at geese which are within the effective range of the gun and load you are shooting is not skybusting and only the unskilled and uninformed label it as such. There are alot of those inexperienced, unskilled and uninformed Waterfowlers around these days.

I was dumb enough to respond to a FB Waterfowl Forum question as to what was everyone's favorite long range goose load and shotgun setup. I responded with Tungsten BBBs, a patternmaster LR extended choke tube through either my 3.5 inch 12 or my BPS 10 gauge. I relayed the load was very capable of cleanly folding up big honkers out to 70 yards when centered on the target. Turns out the OP was a young buck hotshot guide posting what he viewed as an obvious Troll question. I was attacked from all sides for my response which I deleted and have not returned to the Forum since.

The earth is getting smaller and Sportsman need to get along. If they choose to get in a beef with someone it is best to direct those negative energies towards a real enemy. Which is not a group of kids legally pass shooting geese who happen to be in the flight path of your setup.

I have folks who hunt the fence line of my farm for deer every season. They contribute nothing other than the cost of their tags towards the wildlife in the area. They shoot bucks I have passed many times early in the season while bow hunting. I leave those hunters be. Everyone has a fence and learning to deal with it is what mature people do.


I did see your post. And I appreciate your attitude towards it. The wannabe Lee & Tiffanies are the worst; Deer hunters name bucks on trail cameras, and have a hit list. They get bent out of shape about the neighbors shooting a young buck...Deer hunting I've almost completely removed myself from aside from my stands and my rifle. I really don't want to talk to anyone except my butcher. "Lee and Tiffany said you have to let them grow if you wanna shoot the big ones and the neighbor isn't letting them grow and why don't my neighbors care they're just rednecks!" But they miss that Lee and Tiffany have huge properties to not deal with neighbors as much.

There seems to be a pervasive attitude of "my values are superior to yours if your values affect my hunting." Duck hunters similarly feel the same about the appropriate distance and arbitrary rules about which ducks are ok to shoot which often has to do with whether or not they think THEY'LL have a shot at them.

I hunt on gamelands near the cities...and people complain about "Jr Commanders in flat brim hats." They are out there. They're also usually nice kids trying to figure out hunting. What I usually end up doing is inviting them to join me. "Think about it, how you gonna get your ducks? I have a dog. We'll double our spread size. We don't have to screw each other up." Sometimes it works.
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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby JONOV » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:25 pm

booger wrote:
JONOV wrote:
booger wrote:Sounds like you've never setup on the same lake as guys shooting at birds 100+ yards away that will now certainly avoid that lake.

I hunt largely in the greater Raleigh Metro area. Not huge amounts of public land, lots and lots of pressure and Jr Commanders. I've seen a lot of skybusting. It must be nice to have enough public access nearby to avoid those lakes! I've also seen guys shoot at birds from across the lake and think, "No effin way" only to see a couple drop out of the sky. If I'm not next to you and/or there's no range finder, or it isn't super obvious, it's hard for me to make the call.
booger wrote:Your definition of sportsman doesn't agree with mine. It doesn't agree with the internet either.
So what do you disagree with? Do you disagree that we undertake the activity for its own sake (as opposed to hunting for subsistence, or other renumeration?) Do you disagree that sportsmanship requires a competitive yet fair mindset, and emphasis on "good form*?"

*Good Form is nebulous. I understand the difference between hunting bears with bait and hunting ducks over bait.
booger wrote:You could say it takes skill to shoot birds on the water.

No, not really. In fact I can't think of a way of killing a duck that requires less skill, unless it happens to be in a barnyard.
booger wrote:If we're going to legislate on the amount of skill and have a test things will really get stupid.
I agree, it will begin to look like Germany. We don't need more laws.

booger wrote:btw the only way I've seen to hunt bears is by baiting.
Who said anything about bears? I gave the example of baiting ducks since it's 100% illegal in the US, generally frowned upon. I have no problem baiting bears. I have no problem with baiting deer if the state allows it. My state does. Or hounds.

booger wrote:This thread reminds me of the rifle vs bow argument for hunting deer. A rifle will most certainly dispatch an animal more quickly on average, but is significantly easier than bowhunting. But bow hunting is more "pure" and more fair chase. Does that mean the laws should change to fit my personal preferences - no.

I say do what you want and try to avoid attacking other hunters as much as you can (while respecting other hunters, skybusting is not respectful of other hunters). This is and should be a personal choice and not a law change.
I agree that we don't need to legislate "sportsmanship" or "ethics," generally speaking. Let the laws concern themselves with conserving a resource and keeping people safe.

Serious question on respecting other hunters, because I always wonder about this. True Story: We were in college and scouted a field for geese. The season previous we did get permission to hunt there one morning. We talked to the farmer who had leased it to a guy aspiring to be the next Jeff Falls. We did have permission through my buddy's family member to hunt a narrow spit of grassland on the route the geese were using. Opening Morning comes and the gentleman with the lease (he may have been a guide, I'm not sure) is out there with the trailer full of Bigfoots, layouts, truck with Benelli stickers, etc...We're sitting on buckets in the weeds with fresh boxes of cheap Federal BBB's. Geese come in, we shoot. Wash, rinse, repeat. We shot four between three of us. We shot a lot of shells to get those four. They were tall. The guy was livid, drives up to us in his truck and has words with us, tries to lecture us on sportsmanship. I said, "We have our layouts and can join you in the field" but that went over like a lead balloon obviously.

Anyhow, later that afternoon I go on a local outdoor forum. Someone is complaining about skybusters ruining their hunt, and the younger generation not knowing the right way to do it, but that they scratched a few anyway, and share pictures. The watertower is in the background so I know it was the group next to us.

Were we wrong, or disrespectful? We got out there about the same time as they did. We scouted all the same as they did. That's why I somewhat roll my eyes at the term. To claim they ruined it for you assumes that the ducks were coming to you in the first place, and that you can certainly judge that the ducks were out of range. Both of which are easy proclomations from across the marsh, but harder to say definitively


If you were dropping geese you likely weren't skybusting IMO. Geese are pretty hardy I've seen one shot at 35-40 yards fold and then shortly after keep flying. I actually had my bead on it and said, nope that one's done and moved on to another. But I can't say for sure because I wasn't there. Maybe you were on some but weren't on others? Again I wasn't there.

My definition of a sportsman is anyone that hunts, fishes or regularly enjoys the outdoors. There is no line drawn for ethics or competition to me. If you want to make a separate distinction of ethical or not, fine but it wouldn't change my definition of sportsman. If someone can regularly make difficult shots, they're a good shot. Again doesn't change the definition of sportsman to me. It's not a contest of who's the best sportsman where we rank our fellow hunters.

The reason bears and deer are important is because your definition should apply to all hunting, or do you only think sportsman are waterfowl and upland hunters? One could say that hunting a picked field with any corn left over (which is always) is baiting. Birds typically use fields with food, how's that not baiting? Luckily for me I have no problem with baiting and I wouldn't berate other hunters for using legal baiting or hunting a picked field.


I agree that it isn't a contest or about ranking, but can a sportsman can spotlight deer at night or shoot more than his tags allow?

The ethics or sportsmanship of baiting doesn't apply to all of hunting because not all animals behave the same way. Just like night hunting. No one thinks anything of hunting hogs or coyotes at night.

The laws on methods and limits are there to protect the resource, and sometimes safety. Once in awhile you run into laws that reflect public sentiment or public image, or to keep the common folk from bothering the landed gentry (think NC or VA waterfowl blind laws) but that's the exception rather than the rule most of the time.

In Illinois its illegal to bait deer. In North Carolina it isn't. You have two different ecosystems that and two different agencies that regulate deer hunting there. You can shoot six deer in NC, and use a rifle for almost three months. In Illinois you can't use a rifle at all and you can't shoot more than two in a year. It is unethical to bait deer in Illinois. The seasons and resource are such that doing so is an abuse of the resource. In this case violating the law is unethical and unsportsmanlike, because its an advantage that those that play by the rules don't have, and an unfair advantage over the deer. Not the single deer that you tag; but the deer herd.

It isn't unethical to bait deer in North Carolina. The seasons and resource are such that it will not damage the resource. It doesn't affect the health of the herd in such a way that its unsustainable.

Think of it this way; it isn't unethical or unsportsmanlike to to use an aluminum baseball bat in High School. It is in the Major Leagues, and (if you could conceal it) would be an unfair advantage over your opponents who are ostensibly playing by the rules using a wood bat.

A violation of the law isn't inherently unethical, it could simply be a jerk move, or even arbitrary. There's nothing unethical about shooting a pheasant with lead shot on a WPA where its prohibited, but it's against the rules for other reasons. It isn't unethical or unsportsmanlike to have a single lead trap load in the bottom of your hunting bag if you're duck hunting, but it is illegal.
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Re: Should ground/water swatting be illegal?

Postby flitecontrol » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:48 pm

JONOV wrote:There's nothing unethical about shooting a pheasant with lead shot on a WPA where its prohibited, but it's against the rules for other reasons. It isn't unethical or unsportsmanlike to have a single lead trap load in the bottom of your hunting bag if you're duck hunting, but it is illegal.


I am probably one of the few forum members who has seen the effects of lead poisoning on hundreds of ducks, geese, and swans. It's a terrible way to die, and IMO, using lead shot in waterfowl habitat is not only illegal, it's also unethical and immoral.
I've had several really good dogs, but none were perfect. Neither am I, so keep that in mind!
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