One of the best goose hunts we've ever had up here happened after we had put all our decoys out. I pulled the trailer that we carry our decoys in back to a spot where I could hide the truck and the decoy trailer. Before I could return to my blind, the other hunters all had filled their limits of geese. As I mentioned, the fellows I hunt with are pretty much all seasoned veterans. So for us, our children harvesting the birds if far more important than it is for us to harvest them. I started taking my son when he was about 5-6 years old. Many of our youngsters have been hunting so long that they’ll often finish-out their limits before the rest of us do.
Sadly, one of the trends that we’re seeing here in Missouri is that many of the farmers won’t allow waterfowlers to hunt their properties. Often, an out-of-state hunter will come up here to hunt some of this farm ground. He’ll pull his truck out into the farmer’s field and get his truck stuck. The farmers don’t enjoy watching hunters tear up their fields. This problem has necessitated the products Duck’n Krazy Outdoors manufactures now. Instead of pulling the truck out into the field, hunters can load all their decoys and blinds onto one of our decoy trailers and sleds and then use a 4-wheeler to pull all their equipment out into the field or go to the pond or the lake where they want to hunt. ATVs have much less impact on an agricultural field than a truck does. If you can pile all your equipment into a lightweight decoy trailer or sled, take it out into the field, set it up, and then pack it all up and bring it back to your ATV, you’ll have far less impact on that field than if you use your truck. By not causing the farmer a problem, you’re also more likely to be able to continue to hunt those fields than if you drive out into his field in your truck loaded down with gear, or if your truck gets stuck.
We started building decoy trailers and sleds, because we had 1,400 acres that we leased. We weren’t allowed to drive on that land with our trucks, which often meant long walks, carrying numbers of decoys and blinds out to where we wanted to hunt and then setting them up. After the hunt, we had to pack the decoys and blinds up and take them back to the truck. A friend of mine had built a decoy trailer that we started using. When I saw it was far more efficient than carrying a bag full of decoys on my back, and it decreased the amount of time needed to set up the decoys, take them down and get them back to the truck, I decided to buy the company from the man who owned it. Once we had the decoy trailer, we worked to design the sleds for the decoys. By using the 4-wheelers, the sleds and/or the decoy trailers, we could go anywhere we wanted to go, set up our decoys and not have a negative impact on the landowner’s agricultural fields.
Today we can carry about 10 dozen goose decoys in our large sleds and trailers. I have one friend who puts 110 Avian X snow geese decoys on his sled. And, farmers are more likely to give hunters permission to hunt their lands if they use decoy trailers, sleds and 4-wheelers rather than trucks. This is the secondary reason that we’re seeing the sleds and trailers used more often. The primary reason is that the sleds and trailers drastically reduce the amount of time required to get the decoys into and out of the places we want to hunt.
Tomorrow: Getting Private Lands to Waterfowl Hunt