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Thread: Getting started with birds....

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Posts
    250

    Getting started with birds....

    My goal for the year is to get started in "bird hunting", currently open to both upland and water-fowling, so this is somewhat of a "crossover" post to the upland forum. Just trying to get some opinions around what's the best way to get started. Some of my thoughts and constraints:

    • I don't own a boat
    • Have been hiking around the dykes by Tsawassen Mills last fall and there was a lot(!) of blasting going on as well as lots of bird watchers and photographers. Looks like conflict waiting to happen?
    • Drove around some of the farmland around Tsawassen Mills and Surrey: Lot's of "no hunting" signs and hard to find the owners. Also, it appears that quite a bit(?) of form land is leased to hunting clubs (hearsay!)
    • Did I mention I don't own a boat?


    All of the above make upland bird hunting appealing. The thought of getting back at some of those grouse that regularly send me into cardiac arrest while sneaking through the forest for deer puts a smile on my face. But..... darn I see a TON of geese and ducks every day and it just seems like such a wasted opportunity....

    So it "looks" like the barrier to entry (literally) is quite higher for waterfowl, but the chance taking up significant freezer space is also significantly higher once a decent spot if found?

    Thoughts??? Advise???

    Much obliged!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Lower Mainland
    Posts
    140

    Re: Getting started with birds....

    As much as my fire burns strong for big game, its hard to beat the feeling of watching a dog hit full point and rooster blow out in front of you, "cawing" its way from you.

    Even harder to beat, climbing rugged hills and battling piles of cactus to watch a covy of those damn devil birds(chukkar) burst into the sky and out of sight almost as quick as they got up... shoot quick, and always lead, these guys fly fast.

    Reg 3 has some great chukkar spots, they tend to like the steep stuff, usually sit in the rolling holes with cliff and rock nearby to make a quick escape into.

    Reg 5 has some good pheasant spots, through the Okanagan valley.

    For the best upland hunting, you're going to want a good dog or it just wont be nearly as productive if at all.
    Last edited by porthunter; 03-24-2020 at 03:04 PM.
    I'll take a bottle of glacier water at 6,000' over a bottle of tequila in mexico any day

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  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Posts
    454

    Re: Getting started with birds....

    Have been hiking around the dykes by Tsawassen Mills last fall and there was a lot(!) of blasting going on as well as lots of bird watchers and photographers. Looks like conflict waiting to happen?
    Waterfowling is actually pretty accessible if you are in the Lower Mainland, even without boat or dog.

    There are three main public spots that are close by Tsawassen Mills: Boundary Bay and Brunswick Point and South Arm Marshes. I've hunted the first two for the past few years as a self-taught hunter with no boat and no dog. I would love to have either but for now still getting out there with wader and sled. I would direct new people to Boundary Bay for ease of access. After parking at 72nd or 64th Sts it is a short walk over the dyke and then ten or fifteen minutes of trudging to find a spot. The ground can actually be fairly dry and high in spots and the birds flying from the nearby ponds and golf courses will overfly. On weekends and opening days it can be busy but as the season goes on fewer and fewer go out and there have been times when I have been the only one out there. There are random Canadas there as well as ducks. You can get by there with high boots.

    My main haunt is Brunswick Pt on the other side of Ladner. Like Boundary Bay you need to access the land by dyke, however it can be easily a 1/2 hour hike to get to shootable land and depending on your route it can cross some hazardous swamp that can trip up or even sink the unwary. I would recommend going out with a partner to pull you out of holes and as you find deep water it is imperative you pay attention to tides and waders are pretty much a must or else you will not be in good shooting areas. Also be conservative in your shooting so that you can be sure downed quackers will fall in ground you can quickly get to. No dog, no boat people like me spend a lot of time looking in the weeds for downed ducks and unfortunately do lose them. Still, it can be quite rewarding in early season and decoying draws in the ducks. Also in fall at least snow geese will overfly and tease you and if you work on your high shots you can bring them down as well and there are plenty of ducks of all types. Again, weekends and opening days can be busy but this year because of unemployment I was able to go out whenever I could scrape up ammunition and very often I would be one of maybe two or three other hunters.

    South Arm Marshes I haven't been out on foot however I was able to tag along with buddy with a boat and my eyes were very open to how the opportunity is improved from the water side. We were out for geese but as we drove through the channels we scared up literally hundreds of ducks from all sides. I could imagine those with boats in that area would limit out in short order - whereas my most joyous days in Brunswick required sitting most of the day waist and sometimes chest deep in water. (And to be sure, many days being skunked with nothing but a nice day sitting in the reeds to speak of.) There are sections of South Arm which is walkable but I haven't tried these.

    With just some camo, your shotgun and shells and a bucket to sit on you can definitely give all these areas a try to get a taste of the experience. By the way nothing stops you from exploring in off season so that you can see the land for yourself and see the waterfowl.

    As for conflict, as I said, I've been hunting public land for the past few years, often only on weekends and having to march out on dykes sharing the path with families, people with dogs, retirees, and photographers and I've never had anyone do so much as wag their finger at me despite me obviously being a hunter and sometimes even walking back with birds hanging from my loops. There may have been some averted gazes or blank stares but I'm not asking anyone to LOVE what I do, only to tolerate it. On the contrary, I've had many good conversations with curious people who had no connection with hunting and I've done my bit to educate them and give a good impression of what we do.

    Yes there are plenty signs and rules. Unfortunately, there have been bad actors who have drawn outside the lines leading to complaints. So we have to be scrupulous about understanding the specific rules in these areas and erring on the side of being conservative and we have to clean up as much as possible.
    Last edited by silveragent; 03-25-2020 at 08:31 AM.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    542

    Re: Getting started with birds....

    Great Post!

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Maple Ridge, B.C. Canada
    Posts
    873

    Re: Getting started with birds....

    Shoot what you can retrieve, people are watching and unretrieved birds can be perceived as wasteful shooting by observers.
    These dykes are closed to shooting, I've found transporting my gun in a case makes people more comfortable as they approach and pass. It's also easier to carry your gun..... Most people I've met aren't confrontational. Those that talk ask about hunting and seem ok with it.
    Remember that you don't just represent yourself out there when you meet non-hunters. You represent all hunters in the area. Make a good impression.
    Maddy doing what she does best!

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