Hunters are permitted to hunt the river systems here in Missouri. However the rivers will be deep and cold during the winter months. Big chunks of ice will float down the rivers. So when we hunt the rivers, we never go out to hunt without having at least two boats. Then, if we have a problem with one boat, we have a second boat to help solve the problem. Remember, when we’re hunting in the mornings, we’re in that river at night. A lot of things can happen, and you can have problems you may not be able to solve if you only have one boat. Unlike in the spring and the summer when quite a few fishermen are on the river, during waterfowl season, we’ll rarely, if ever, see other watermen out on the river when we leave the boat ramp. Although we have boat blinds, when we hunt the river, we usually hunt out of layout blinds.
Editor’s Note: On river systems, being out on the water in the dark of night in extremely cold weather is a recipe for disaster, if you don’t take certain precautions, including:
- Expect to fall out of the boat, or step in a deep hole when you're either getting into or out of the boat. For this reason, always wear a life jacket.
- Carry extra dry clothes that you’ve packed tightly in a small waterproof bag.
- Remember, anything that is mechanical can and will sooner or later break down. Having a second boat not only allows you to carry more gear and more hunters, but it’s a really good safety precaution in both boats.
- Have a cell phone or some other form of emergency device to call for help. Few people plan to get into an emergency situation when they go hunting, but it can and does happen. So, the Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared,” is one of the best ways you can ensure a safe return home after a trip into the wintertime outdoors.
No one wants to have problems afield.