By Steve Hickoff
As regular waterfowl seasons wind down around the country, a refresher course in duck blind etiquette might be in order.
TAKE TURNS: You’ve killed the first duck of the morning, but your blind buddies have yet to drop one. Let them take the next shot at cupped and committed birds.
DON’T BE GREEDY: You’ve dropped a good number of birds, but short of the day’s limit. Unload your shotgun. Sit back. Enjoy the gravy time as your buds hunt.
IT’S ALL GOOD: It’s closing time. A sunrise full of ducks and geese moving from roost sites to feeding locations is something to behold. Enjoy it.
KEEP QUIET: Whatever you do, don’t offer a command to a gun dog owned and handled by another guy in the blind. If he asks you to, well that’s different. It’s just bad form to give another waterfowler’s canine orders.
HEAP PRAISE: If your bud makes a great shot on a tough bird, tell him. We’re never too old to hear praise about our sometimes shaky shooting skills.
SHOOT SAFELY: Whatever you do, safety now is as important as when you started the season. Never swing a shotgun’s muzzle past a blind bud, even if it’s unloaded. Double-check your firearm’s safety on a regular basis.
DOGS TOO: Watch that canine and his direction when gunning near a dog making a retrieve on a downed duck or goose — especially as other birds are working into the spread post-shot. Shoot safely.
HELP OUT: Do your share: stake fakes and later collect decoys. Haul gear for everyone. This is teamwork, man. Help load the trailer pulled by your Yamaha ATV or Side-by-Side.