By Steve Hickoff
Don’t be that guy. Follow at least some of these accepted rules for waterfowl hunting out of a pit blind this coming season. Rule no. 1 should always apply.
Rule 1: Watch where your shotgun is pointed and that your safety is on. (Reload after shooting. You laugh! Ever hear that unmistakable click of a shotgun fired without a chambered shell?)
Rule 2: Do not watch the rest of your gang set the decoy spread. Help out. (Unless of course your skills at setting fakes suffers and by sitting you’re actually “helping” the cause.)
Rule 3: Watch and listen to the designated pit blind boss. They should call the shots for everyone. One hunter should say, “Take ‘em” (insert your own shout-out statement) to indicate it’s time to shoot and the birds are in range.
Rule 4: Yamaha ATVs or Side-by-Sides can carry waterfowl gear and hunters to your pit blind. Make sure gear is stored tightly; that everybody is wearing a helmet and safety apparel is being employed. Shotguns can be transported in a gun boot: http://bit.ly/N0rFgR
Rule 5: Do not overcall. Fill a tightly crowded pit blind with a bunch of call-happy waterfowlers and somebody is going to get annoyed. Think as a team: designate one (or several) hunters to handle calling duties, then switch off to keep everybody busy and in the game, including kids.
Rule 6: Got some snacks? Share ‘em.
Rule 7: A retriever handler and dog owner prefers to command their canine hunting buddy. The last thing they want is for you to do it too. Don’t. It confuses the dog and can irritate the guy who has worked hard to develop a relationship with his retriever. (Of course if you get asked to command the dog, um, do it.)
Rule 8: Maybe you’re a duck away from your limit, but the guy next to you has none. You know where I’m going with this . . . they get the next shot. Period.
Rule 9: If two guys shoot the same banded bird, you’ve got to have a system for settling the score beforehand. Coin flip? Rock/paper/scissors? Trivia pop quiz? You figure it out.
Rule 10: Leave the pit blind as clean as (or cleaner than) the way you found it. Do you chew? Find a spit cup and carry it out. Collect all spent shotgun hulls and other post-hunt debris.