Sitting in my tree stand along the Bitterroot River in western Montana on most November mornings is filled with expectation. White tailed bucks chase does around like high school boys follow girls around; tongue hanging out and hyper focused on one thing. Which is good for me until the duck hunters walk through and across, over and around my tree stand clueless about my presence.
For the most part waterfowl hunters are respectful of the private land I worked hard to get permission on and they usually abide by Montana’s stream access laws staying below the high water mark. But occasionally ashotgun carrying hunter walks under my stand, crossing from the main river to a slough that serves as a pinch point for white tails and the reason I chose to place a stand here.
Last year I killed two 4×4 white tailed bucks here. A special river-bottom tag and a lot of hours sitting in this tree made that possible. So far this year I’ve officially had more duck hunters within bow range than deer but I haven’t said a word.
I’ve thought about saying something like “Hey, can you keep your route below the high water mark?” Or I could be more harsh with words like “Do you have permission to be here?”
And I’ll admit many other words have crossed my mind while sitting here but this is a family show…
I don’t ever say anything. Instead I choose to keep my precious little strip of river bottom quiet and I would rather not ruin a perfectly good morning with angry words. Besides, I’m here to enjoy the outdoors and, I suppose, so are the duck hunters – even the ones that trespass on this 100 yard wide strip of otherwise prime white tail habitat.
If you’re a duck hunter please remember the hunters who hang out in trees and to be fair, if you’re a deer hunter don’t let the other outdoor users ruin your day, is it November after all and as soon as those duck hunters move through there’s a good chance the buck you’ve been waiting for will walk by with his attention on one of two distractions; does or duck hunters.
When that happens, take advantage of the distraction and send an arrow his way.