I had been seeing a couple Osprey around, there was teal starting to migrate through, a few Eagles around and a few Mink I had been seeing earlier in the year. So I went out on my combo fishing and taking photos trip. I wasn’t catching many fish, but I could catch a few small Bass to keep me busy while I watched for birds. I put in at the pocket, would troll my way out and then run around to a few backwater areas.
As I was heading out I noticed large masses of weeds floating in the channel so I put the trolling motor in, grabbed my camera and figured I would troll my way out to the main river channel. There was duck hunters out, but they usually stay away from boat ramps and places where people take walks and people do fish in the area. I didn’t go far and heard a shot, a loud shot, like someone was shooting in my direction to let me know they were hunting in the area. I expected pellets to fall around me, but didn’t see any. My little dog was scared to death and hid in the corner and didn’t want to go fishing for a few days. I looked around and noticed guys standing in the weeds, hunting teal about 75 yards away.
I went ahead and trolled on out, but stuck around the area looking for the Osprey. I heard those guys do a lot of shooting. Ten shots at a time, then a little later ten more shots, then more and more and they were shooting all morning and into the afternoon. I have never heard so much shooting. No one else was doing much shooting and there was a lot of hunters out. I came back to the point area and was watching an osprey there. The hunters were packing it up. There was four of them. They didn’t have a dog. They had a boat but didn’t use it to hunt from. I wondered if they had been using lead shot, which is cheaper, to be shooting so much. Without a dog they couldn’t have been going after cripples, only the ones within walking distance in the 2′ of water, 12″ of mud and thick weeds.
I talked to someone at the ramp a couple days later and he said he called the game warden, who said they checked out ok. They claimed they got every duck they shot. I didn’t see them again.
Two weeks later I saw FWS come and pick an Eagle up within about 100 yards of that area. I called and asked about it. I see eagles get caught in the water and have to flap their way back to shore and wondered why they picked it up so quick. I found out it was very sick. It had lead poisoning. All it takes is one pellet and it can kill them. They eat a lot of ducks, the cripples that get away from hunters. The Eagle died soon after.
The reason the Teal were in that area was because there are a lot of people there and it was a safe zone. People walk, bike, drive through, take photos, fish and use the boat ramp. It was also out of the wind, so when they did shoot, it really sounded loud. I have seen people hunt right next to the walking path and where barges go through. There are so many hunters anymore, it’s hard to find places to fish without running into hunters.