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waxworm

Shooting Hens

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waxworm

I figured I'd start a new thread about this rather than get the Jeff Foiles post all goofed up, but if it's legal to shoot hens, what's the problem with shooting them? I figure whoever makes the regulations knows more about the duck population that I do, and if they let me shoot 1 or 2 hens in a limit, I will. (mostly because I don't get the opportunity much to shoot all drakes, I suppose)

This is an honest question, is it really so bad to take a couple hens in your limit? Just wondering why you guys feel it is neccessary to go drakes-only when we go hunting.

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giwoyna5

Personally I just go for the green. Occasionaly I'll mix in a hen or let my boy shoot at them on a slow day, but I've shot enough ducks in my day that I would rather see a hen fly by than a hen in the pot. I figure it may result in a few more ducks in the future. I think it's really a matter of opinion and/or oportunity. Some might look at it as trophy hunting so to speak. Like only shooting a 8 point or bigger when deer hunting. I just like a lot of color in my pictures. Whatever the case may be as long as your legal who cares...except its good humor in the blind ragging on the uter shooters

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Eric Wettschreck

I try to shoot the drakes. I have no problem being honest and saying I shoot hens also.

Show me the dude with the eagle eye that can tell a hen from a drake green wing teal as it's flying mach 17.

A lot of waterfowlers, myself included, really do make the attempt to shoot drakes only and try to let the hens live to make babies. However, there is nothing bad about shooting a hen or 2. If the limit says 2 hens then you can shoot 2 hens.

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1runhotshot

I guessing the chances of a hen that comes buy the decoys come October actually having a successful hatch is pretty small (someone knows that %). Here's what I do know, if you shoot and kill that hen I've gotta believe the chances of that hen producing a brood next year are probably about 0%.(Hope the sarcasm came through there) For me it is simply an issue of wanting to improve the population for the next year.

Lets say over the last 10 years a hunter has taken 100 hens. How many are not alive today because of those 100 hens? If 10 of those had a brood of 5-10 each and so on.

Once again I admit it is a small percentage that will have a brood next year but it is not the chance that I chose to take.

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Abrams

What's legal and what's ethical are two seperate issues, IMO. Is it legal to kill hens, yes . . . is it ethical no, not really.

Dead hens don't lay eggs. If the most repected waterfowl research organization (Delta Waterfowl) has a campain to pass on hens should that point towards some biological reason to pass on hens. Two days ago I saw a flock of drakes chasing around a hen, I think the corting process from ducks starts much earlier than folks think.

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surewood

I also try to pass on hens, but I don't judge people who don't. The duck population depends more on habitat and water conditions from natural precip. Like Deer there is a carrying capacity for ducks also. If the habitat is poor it does'nt matter how many hens there are. In poor conditions hens will lay small broods and the broods will have a low survival rate or maybe a total loss. Lets keep our fingers crossed, hope for good conservation and mother nature to do her job.

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B420

If I am in MN and a hen comes by she is going to get shot and retrieved as long it's a legal bird. As a Mn res. who gets out waterfowling in our state a couple times a year I shoot whatever birds I legally can to work my dogs, improve my shot, and eat. I also hunt ND and SD, and WILL NOT shoot hens out there because I know that I am going to see a ton of birds and I can be choosy. The areas I hunt in MN are so poor for bird #'s that if it comes by in range it's getting pounded whether it's a hen or drake. I didn't get up a 4am to set a bunch decoys, bust my backside and sit there and not shoot. Not ethical, please. I suppose some have the ability to pick out drake honkers too?

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Gator Slayer

"The areas I hunt in MN are so poor for bird #'s "

Did Ya ever stop to think that might be because all the "hunters" in the area are shooting the brood stock. DUH DUH DUH.

Nearly everyone has shot a hen, myself included, by "accident" or misidentification. That will happen, but to intentionally take a hen just 'cuz you've "earned it" is sad. Sounds to me like your measuring your "johnson" by the number of birds you shoot..... If getting up at 4am is such a burden, hunt "chickens" you won't have to get up 'til a quarter to 9.....but here again you gotta shoot only "roosters".

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1runhotshot

WOW, Now I'm the bone head here but if there is very little duck action around you then why are we shooting hens? With that logic we are in major trouble! Wait, maybe I should read that again, I must have missed something. Nope, I read it right the first time. BIG SIGH..

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B420

Slayer,

Hate to burst your bubble man but the 1-2 hens I take per year has no impact at all on the bird #'s my area. We are just not in a ducky area of the state period. Heck we used to be a diver duck mecca and they are GONE. On a private piece we hunt we hang wood duck boxes, mallard platforms etc., one guy from the group even buys ducks to release on his ponds! I suppose the reason they are gone is because the old timers shot all the hens? Proabably doesn't haven't anything to due with lack of suitable habitat, food, and the western shift of flyway. I suppose the reason for all the bird #'s in the Dakota's is directly related to not shooting hens. Right. Not in a johnson contest, just like to work dogs, enjoy the morning, and eat fresh bacon wrapped ducks for dinner. I do hunt chickens when I have the time, but being 2 hours away from any area with birds makes that tough. By the way slayer where in the regs did it say I only can shoot drake ducks? I must have missed that page all these years?

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Sartell Angler

[Note from admin: Please read forum policy before posting again. Thank you.]

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smg04

i try to avoid hens for the most part. . . BUT if its getting late in the day and its been slow i'll pop a hen if she comes close, i like to eat duck and hens taste just as good as drakes, but if im see'n alot of ducks in the air ill try to hold out

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bucknduck

This post is a great example of the lack of knowledge that hunters have with the game they are after!! Not to pick fun at you B420 but since when did male geese start getting called drakes?? And for your information you can not tell the difference between male and female goose unless you flip them over and invert their cloaca.

Also, though not shooting hens has an impact on bird numbers "small impact", the best thing that can be done is to create habitat. From resting, nesting to feeding habitat there is no other factor that makes a greater difference in waterfowl survival.

As a waterfowl researcher myself, I know just how much work is put into decided what hunters will be able to shoot each year and yes I admit that there are some improvements needed but to say that a person is not a real hunter if they shoot a hen??? That seems kinda harsh and also something that you heard while watching one of Foiles movies…not everyone is into shooting limits everyweekend.

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Dean Schellinger

[Note from admin: Please read forum policy before posting again. Thank you.]

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ironman

Oh I love this site. It's like a refuge for for the most just and rightous people. I expect this kind of finger pointing and self back patting to be done by prius drivers and ganoala eaters. Shooting a hen doesn't make you a real duck hunter. wow, what a overly egotistical outlook. I dont care what your reason for shooting a hen, accident..or a slow day as long as your not over the limit..so be it. Are you telling me that you only shoot hen Gadwalls, blackducks or teal?! Escpecially early in the season. If those of you who are so opposed to the shooting of hens then ought to A: let the ducks land before harvesting to 100% be sure they are all drakes or B: dont hunt the first half of the season. I do try to shoot only drakes because yes it does make sense and with mallards...you can only shoot one hen...so I'd rather not take the chance at an accidental breach of law. BUt it would be nice if people would get off of their high horse and let others enjoy the hunt.

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hanson

Been reading this long enough so here it goes...

Shooting Hens??

Those of us who have been waterfowling long enough understand the value to passing on hens. Whether it was taught to you by your father, grandfather, brother, or good friend.

Fundamentally, hens are the future of the duck population. They lay eggs... duh. Hens also incubate these eggs on their nests where they become prime targets to predators. Lets face it... hens have a rough life.

In the world of waterfowl conservation, passing on hens plays a role but it is just one small piece of the big picture.

While I choose to pass on hens whenever possible, I also understand that not every other hunter in the marsh is going to do that. That is fine with me. I don't look down upon them. I don't talk down to them. And it is within their legal right to shoot what the law allows. A guy has to respect that fact. That it isn't ILLEGAL to shoot a hen.

It also becomes clearly apparent in the marsh that it is darn near impossible at time to distinguish drakes from hens. Whether its the timing of the season (eclipse drake mallards), species of waterfowl (Blackducks, Teal, Widgeon, Gadwalls, and a majority of the divers), bad light levels, sun in your eyes, or whatever. Sometimes its hard enough determining the species of the pair of ducks about to set into your decoys let alone determining sex at the same time.

For me... shooting hens is a personal choice. Educating other hunters about the biological benefits is worthwhile as well. One needs to be careful with how they voice their opinion however.

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