My buddy to my right dodged as the gun barrel of the guy next to him swung through his zone of fire and pulled the trigger. The echo of the 3 and 1/2-inch magnum waterfowl load pained our ears.
"Hey!" cut the cool morning air like a sharp knife. "We talked about zones of fire before we ever got in this pit together, man. You just committed a very unsafe act and practically ruptured our ear drums. Don't ever do that again."
To say the least, the normal jolly chatter that takes place in a waterfowl blind became non existent that morning. Tempers flared, friendships were strained, and the hunt was ruined. It all happened because of one guy's bad manners and ignorance of common blind manners.
Bad manners in a waterfowl blind are inexcusable and intolerable. Besides being disgusting, bad manners are dangerous.
A few simple rules of courtesy insures a fun and safe hunt for everyone in the blind.
Make absolutely certain that everyone who is going to be hunting in a blind hears the rules every time they participate. The best time to go over the rules is right before everyone enters the blind. Make sure everyone stops what they are doing to listen to the short presentation. The most common excuse fro mistakes in the blind is, "Oh, I didn't know."
Allowing a different member of the group to share the rules of conduct before each hunt, gives every member a bit of ownership in the ideas of safety and courtesy. Few are the hunters today that will feel that "The Talk" is not necessary. Any individual who makes a joke about the rules should be chastised by the group immediately.
Safety is the epitome of courtesy. Everyone must adhere to common safety rules as well as those deemed necessary by members of the hunting party. Breaches of safety should be dealt with and corrected immediately.
A waterfowl blind is not the place for competition. Every party member must know their zone of fire and stay within its limits. Shooting too far out is another common malady among waterfowl hunting partners. The desire to out perform your buddies has to be set aside. Everyone should collaborate to determine what the maximum shooting distance should be for the day. Wind, weather, visibility and number of other factors come into play when determining proper shooting distances. Too, those factors may change daily.
Being a game hog is a fast way to dampened the spirits of a duck hunting party. Be responsible and claim only what you are certain you shot. I there are five hunters in a blind and five shots are fired and three ducks drop, it is unlikely that one guy killed them all. However, we all have seen the individual who claimed all of the ducks.
Choose your hunting partners carefully. Poor attitudes expressed in every day life are not apt to get better in a duck blind. Save yourself some heartache and avoid hunting with such individuals. Not only will you have a safer hunt, you will enjoy your time in the blind a great deal more. And that is what common courtesy in the blind is all about.