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I haven't been duck hunting for last 20 years but this year my boys have really started to show some interest. We went out yesterday morning and there were definitely more people than I remember there being in the past.

We got to a spot in the dark and as the sun started to break I could see a few other guys set up nearby. There was 2 groups about 800 yards apart along the main channel. I didn't want to setup right on the channel figuring that if any ducks passed the first group and headed down the channel and we were between them they would flare off before they got to the second group. We set up between the two groups but about 200 yards back from the channel. We did get a little shooting throughout the morning but we watched a bunch of ducks travel up and down the channel.

So my question is, what would be the minimum distance you would set up from another group of hunters? I get its all public and I "can" set up where ever I want to but it wouldn't feel right screwing up someone else's hunt by cutting off the birds before they get to their spread.
 

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Obviously the further the better. So because of that, for me context comes in to play. The opener, all bets are off. But a weekday in November, I would expect to not have somebody within a few hundred yards of me usually. A Saturday I’m probably going to have some people closer.

With the scenario you described, if it was really 800 yards between the two groups, I think you would have been fine in between the groups.

For me, I don’t have a hard and fast rule about the distance because it just depends so much on the circumstances. Somebody within 150 yards of me on Turpin, ya, that’s kind of to be expected. Somebody 150 yards from me where I hiked in for an hour, that wouldn’t sit as well with me. I just tend to hope people are reasonable, and I try to have reasonable expectations, and with that frame of mind I don’t tend to run into problems in the marsh.
 

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Just find a spot you don’t have to deal
With that. The spot I hunt I never deal with crowding and I kill ducks every time I go out. I never limit out but that’s more on me than the area I hunt.
 

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While it is fun to hunt in your backyard it is also nice to have a pond all to yourself. I'll drive 100 miles just to have that. Many times when I get to where I want to hunt I am the only person there other than who I bring. And there are ducks and geese to be shot.

I gave up on combat hunting and fishing a very long time ago.
 

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I think a couple hundred yards is great; however, I have a couple caveats too. If I'm set up and someone comes in later and sets up where birds working my spread swing wide over their spread...and they shoot at them, that is frustrating. Even more frustrating is the guy that sets up at that distance, but then proceeds to sky bust everything within visual range not allowing anything to even remotely work.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have done unto you.
 

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If you hunt public land expect the unexpected. I had guys without decoys set up 50 yards away from my setup shooting at cupping birds....

That said your question was how far away you should set up, totally up to you! If you like hunting by yourself go out during the week and go in a couple miles. If you don’t mind others close by few hundred yards should be good. If you want to be labeled as an xxx sit right next to others lol.
 

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I'm going with 13 feet 6 5/8 inches.
 

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20 years ago or more i was one of the first to have life-size swan decoys. Before then we painted goose decoys or just used white garbage sacks (both work fine today).

I hunted the dikes. Man it was crowded. There was a carnival atmosphere on weekends...lawn chairs, wheelbarrows, alcohol, boom boxes....dike dancing...a BBQ grill once in awhile. Many would get really close to my decoy spread. Some would approach me and ask if they could join me, sit on my spread "over there". If they had a kid or an old fart with them I would let them join me. Some even come over to tell about all the swans that landed in my spread while I was napping in the warm sun on the dike.....:cool: Crazy stuff, but somehow I always shot a few birds.

I've been waterfowl hunting public waters, crowded water, for 60 years and this is what I've learned. Waterfowl hunters look for empty shell casings, trash, feathers, to set up. It's just human nature. Empty shells mean "da hunting is good here", trash means it's really good and feathers are like "RUkiddinme"?

So get out early, beat all them boat fellas...uh...4:15 am will work. Go to your favorite spot and put out your dekes, change all the batteries in yer Mojo thingies and check all your notifications on that cell phone. Then pick up all the trash within 100 yards of your spread....uh...maybe 4:30 am is a little late.....Anyway, divide the trash in half and make fake "hotspots", one on each side of you. The waterfowlers that come out will key on the trash, especially the feathers, and set up there, away from you.

I'm not making this up, I've been duck hunting for over 60 years.
 

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Goob, you just gave away the best kept secret for Public land hunting hotspots. I've tried to make the trash pile near the parking areas. That way I can bring it back in a sack and show off my "kill" for the day.


I remember the day when you were hard pressed to find Hulls in the field. Of course that was pre steel shot area. Cheaper to pick them up and reload than paying .2 cents for them at the sporting good store.
 

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Way too many slob hunters these days that don't pick up after themselves. I hunted a new spot last week and easily picked up over 2 boxes of hulls. And these were the easy ones scattered all over the dike. I can understand if you lose empties out in the marsh-proper, but just leaving stuff scattered across the dikes in plain view? That's just lazy and irresponsible.
 

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In popular areas with boats, I think 150-200 yards is reasonable. But if it’s just you and one other guy out on the whole thing and you set up within 200 yards of each other when there’s miles and miles of reed line to set up on either side of the other group, you’re way too close
 

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This is my first season waterfowl hunting I am have had similar questions as to marsh etiquette. Luckily I have had some friends take me under their wing and show me around.

Last Friday I wanted to try out a new spot. I got out to the location I wanted to enter the pond, noticed a group with a dozen or so decoys set up a couple of hundred yards away right off the main dike. Ended up walking out in the pond as far as I could till the muck wore me out - about 300-325 yards away from the other group. About 10 minutes after I set up the first birds came in across the middle of the pond, saw my spread turned towards me and started to come in. Before I could shoot they guys 300 yards away started shooting at the birds decoying into my spread. This proceeded to happen a minimum of 3-4 times.

Was I in the wrong? Is this typical FB antics when you're only a mile from parking lot?
 

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This is my first season waterfowl hunting I am have had similar questions as to marsh etiquette. Luckily I have had some friends take me under their wing and show me around.

Last Friday I wanted to try out a new spot. I got out to the location I wanted to enter the pond, noticed a group with a dozen or so decoys set up a couple of hundred yards away right off the main dike. Ended up walking out in the pond as far as I could till the muck wore me out - about 300-325 yards away from the other group. About 10 minutes after I set up the first birds came in across the middle of the pond, saw my spread turned towards me and started to come in. Before I could shoot they guys 300 yards away started shooting at the birds decoying into my spread. This proceeded to happen a minimum of 3-4 times.

Was I in the wrong? Is this typical FB antics when you're only a mile from parking lot?
You sure they were shooting at the birds working your spread? I have birds working mine that get blown out by other hunters shooting at birds in front of them at the same time I was about to shoot. Happens multiple times a day when I'm hunting. I've never had anyone that I noticed purposely scaring birds off that were working me, just cuz they were pissed. Even at FB. I bet they were shooting at different birds, just coincidence that you had birds working you at the same time
 

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It's getting crowded now days, not only ground pounders but boats as well. When I had a great boat, I ran out to my honey hole and there were three boats set up. I motored around looking for other spots to set up and gave up after a 30 minute boat ride. Weekend hunt though..... Turned me into a week day hunter fast.
 

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You sure they were shooting at the birds working your spread? I have birds working mine that get blown out by other hunters shooting at birds in front of them at the same time I was about to shoot. Happens multiple times a day when I'm hunting. I've never had anyone that I noticed purposely scaring birds off that were working me, just cuz they were pissed. Even at FB. I bet they were shooting at different birds, just a coincidence that you had birds working you at the same time
It is entirely possible they were shooting at something back their way or higher up I did not notice. I honestly hope/wish this was the case. Maybe I am not used to how busy it gets out there - I 100% could see wary birds just buzzing through and not completely committing due to all the shooting.
 

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Weekends are kinda crazy these days. Not much decoying going on because, as you rightly deduced, the shooting keeps the birds on edge. If you want a shot at actually decoying more birds, weekdays are definitely much less crowded.

Hopefully, those guys you mention were probably shooting at different birds...and hopefully they were in range and not sky busting the hell out of them...
 

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If you hunt public land expect the unexpected. I had guys without decoys set up 50 yards away from my setup shooting at cupping birds....

That said your question was how far away you should set up, totally up to you! If you like hunting by yourself go out during the week and go in a couple miles. If you don't mind others close by few hundred yards should be good. If you want to be labeled as an xxx sit right next to others lol.
That's when you yell over at that guy and say hey why don't you come on over here so we both can shoot some ducks. Then teach him what proper distance is to kill a duck. If more of this was done then more folks would shoot ethical shots. Jus an idea if it happens again.
 

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The distance I use is: if I were to shoot my shotgun directly at another group and the pellets would rain down on them or strike them, then you are too **** close! However, common sense would tell me to get as far away from the other groups as possible so you can keep the birds moving. If you're all set up in one corner of the marsh the ducks will avoid you and land out on the areas not being hunted. Setting up between two groups that 800 yards apart is really pushing it on the closeness. Plus, if you're working some birds and they fly over the other group, chances are they will shoot at them and push them out. 800 yards is a 1/2 mile (approximately)_and setting up between them puts you less than a 1/4 mile away from another group. Move on to another location that is further awa
 
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