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Hunting with Kids. Which boat to buy ?


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I want to start taking out my 2 young boys so they can experience real duck hunting. I've always had the little 12 footer piled 5 feet high with gear, rowed out to my spot with the dog and I after pulling it out of the back of the truck. TOO MUCH WORK AND NOT SAFE. Those days are over. I'm looking to buy a boat and trailer maybe a motor. My main goal is to get something that is stable and not as dangerous. My guess is that 12' is to small. Your thoughts please. 1 dad, 2 boys, 1 dog, gear, etc....

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I have a 17Ft Jon boat that used to do that work for me. Me, dad, son, dog. Dad and dog are gone now and son has moved away so I have a Stealth 2000 for those days when I go it alone. Bad part about a 17Ft boat is you have to have a pretty good sized body of water to hunt! However we could all three stand up and shoot while the dog was going bezerk and no one ever fell out! Good stable shooting platform! Good luck with whatever you decide on. Take care and N Joy the Hunt././Jimbo

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It really needs to be tailored to your style of hunting,

What do you predominately hunt, puddlers or divers?

Where rivers, sloughs, size of lakes, is this a two season rig (fishing)?

What do you want it to do, safety sure but how many decoys do you want to use, is this going to be used to retrieve out of the weeds or a dog platform?

Etc. etc. ya know how it goes, for big water I recommend going as big as you can even up to 20', the Lund Alaskan is a great big water boat, but for smaller waters downsize to like a 16' at the most but with a v hull to help get you into the cover. Flat bottoms are great but not real stable in the wid and have low sides great for flowages or sloughs, and before I get jumped yes some of the newer rigs are bigger sides but not on Leech Lake, Mille Lacs, Winni, LOW or Red Lake when the winds get to blowing.If you do go with a flat botton get the semi V not the flat front for the reason above ease of sliding into the cover.

I have hunted many years out of my 14' Smokercraft deep wall. And with one kid and the decoys it gets tight. I will be looking for a bigger boat for later on also.

Shop around and look at the hunting ya want to do and expect to be able to. Then decide. Ask to come over and look at some of the guys rigs if you want it'll give ya a better perspective of room, clearance, and weight.

bd

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Good Points. I'm looking at hunting area lakes. Nothing I'd consider "big water". It would be nice if I could use it in sloughs but would sacrifice that option for additional safety and comfort. Questions:

1. Are flat bottom boats tippy?

2. Would a 14' boat be big enough (sounds like not)?

3. What is the real difference between a jon boat vs. a V hull?

Thanks.

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WOW! I just looked at the Alumacraft Waterfowler. That is a sweet boat. What's it going to cost me?

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Quote:

Good Points. I'm looking at hunting area lakes. Nothing I'd consider "big water". It would be nice if I could use it in sloughs but would sacrifice that option for additional safety and comfort. Questions:

1. Are flat bottom boats tippy?

Kind of depends on how wide it is. Mine is over 5ft wide on the bottom. When it is time to get rid of some coffee I can stand right on the edge and never worry.

2. Would a 14' boat be big enough (sounds like not)?

Not in my opinion for three people, dog and gear

3. What is the real difference between a jon boat vs. a V hull?

A big Jon boat is a lot more stable than a "V" bottom boat. When you stand to shoot the boat will rock a lot less.

Thanks.


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I know the boat will set you back a few grand brand new... but if you look around, you will find used ones quite often. Tey can typically be had for around half of new when used. I have one and I can handle fairly big water with it. Been in 2-3' waves with 2 guys and gear and did fine... Took it easy driving and the bilge kicked on once in a while when we took a wave over the side, but it is really a decent boat that can handle moderately rough water. It is more than adequate for a guy and his kids and gear. Plus it's all welded, so no rivots to loosen up!

Good Luck!

Ken

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I was a Crestliner dealer and when they brought in the jon line, I took in an 18' center console and put a 50 Merc 4 stroke on it. We have been using it ever since. We sometimes have 4 -5 people and 2-3 dogs and 80 plus decoys. We hunt mainly Vermilion but also get up to Lake of the Woods a time or 2. This boat is super stable and really handles the rough water nicely. Nice low sides for decoy picking but high enough to keep the big waves out of where you don't want them. Don't fall for the "jon boats are bad" idea. They have their place just like deep vee's also do.

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And just to clarify...there are really three different hull types. The first one being the standard Jon boat hull(flat across the bottom) The second type that has really taken hold is the modified-V bottom duck boats. I will take our 18' Crestliner modified-V out on any day and any wind. That boat is super stable and you can put 4 people on one side reaching for decoys and it doesn't hardly move in the water. The third type is the V or Deep-V bottom boat. The Crestliner sportsman and canadians fall into this category. Each of these types of boats have their places. The flat bottom jon works great for the pond on the back 40 or any other smaller lakes that have limited access. The modified-V jons are great duck hunting boats. However, if you are looking for a multi-use boat (hunting and fishing) take a look at a V or Deep-V hull. Hope my two cents helps.

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I would suggest you also try to get out and hunt a time or two in the different boats if you have friends (or someone here) that would take you. That will help you determine what you like and don't like. It will also help you determine what is easiest to use. If you are taking two young boys a lot then you will most likely be launching and landing the boat yourself as well as putting out and pickng up the decoys. We currently use a couple kayak style puddlers, as well as a 12 foot row boat, and also spend a fair amount of time in a 16 foot semi-V. They all have spots where they excell and they all have limitations. A very good place to look for boats is driving around lakes this time of the year. Many people pull their boats out knowing they are getting a new boat next year and they'd rather not store them so they will give you a good deal. We got our 1982 Alumacraft Classic 16 with a 50HP classic Merc for $2K because the guy didn't want to store it. This was almost 10 years ago but its still the best investment my brother an I have ever made. Unless money isn't an issue you don't have to look for a "duck boat". Tts amazing how a half gallon of marsh colored paint and a decent blind can turn anything into a "duck boat."

Good luck.

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