The morning of your hunt, you will be greeted by your guide at 5 a.m. at the Comfort Suites (breakfast available for those staying at the Comfort Suites only). At this time we finalize the plans for your hunt. We will discuss how the weather, tides and availability of birds relate to the requests you made on your questionnaire.
For the hunt you will need insulated waders or hip boots, waterproof camo clothing, camo hat, face camo (either mask or cream), gloves, shotgun (preferably at least 3"), non-toxic shotgun shells , Virginia Hunting license, a Virginia Conservation stamp, a federal duck stamp, a Virginia H.I.P. number. We recommend modified or improved cylinder chokes.
You will follow your guide to his boat, typically a 24 foot Carolina skiff. At this time your guide will go over basic safety procedures, provide your group with a hand-held V.H.F. radio and discuss waterfowl identification and bag limits. All guides are licensed coastgaurd captains and all boats have been inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard to meet or exceed all safety requirements. We have approximately 100 blinds which include stepping from the boat to the blind, or we can wear out the hard-cores with long walks through the marsh and hunting from the reeds or saltwater bushes. In most cases your guide will have you set up in your blind, with decoys out, thirty minutes before sunrise. Tide, weather and other factors that effect navigation may cause this to be impractical, in which case your guide will have you set up as soon as possible. Your guide will remain near by throughout the day to recover your birds and relocate you as required. Depending on the types of birds you are hunting, it is not uncommon to move three times a day.
It is possible to hunt Puddleducks, Divers, Brant, Seaducks, and Geese all in the same day. The combined limit on all these types of waterfowl total well in excess of 30 birds per hunter. At times your guide may be away from you to set up a new blind, scout new areas or chase cripples. During these periods you will be able to contact him by radio. Your guide does not shoot, nor are you allowed to shoot his limit.
The days hunt concludes at 2 p.m. We have bird cleaning and taxidermy services available upon request. We have refrigerator and freezer space available at no charge.
We will be adding layout boats to our hunt this year, on a limited basis. For those that have hunted with us before, you are familiar with our pole blinds for open water hunting. The idea for the pole blind is, if they are there long enough and not over hunted the birds will get use to them. We have had a great deal of success with this method. With about 100 blinds we have covered a lot of area, but some of birds get confused and go to the wrong place.
With the layout boats we are trying to conceal the hunter in the open water wherever the birds are. The first hunter that we put in a layout boat said they were landing at his feet. They can also inspire the birds to go where they were supposed to be in the first place.
They do have some disadvantages. Layout boats are more weather-sensitive than pole or bank blinds and they are not the most comfortable thing to hunt from.
Most of the hunters using layout boats in other areas are dealing with a 5 to 6 bird limit, we will be dealing with a 18 bird limit. I don't think many hunters could stay in that position from 1/2 hour before sunrise until 2pm trying to get their 18 bird limit without getting cramps.
So, we plan on rotating those that want to try it between conventional blinds and the layout boats, with about a 1/2 hour stay in the layout boat. The exception would be when we are just sea duck hunting during the December closure of the regular season.
We will be hunting sea ducks only with a 5 bird limit. During the sea duck only season we will be rotating between the tender boat and the layout boat. Those in the tender boat can try their luck catching a Rockfish.
If you are interested in trying a layout hunt let Jan know when you book your hunt and we will try to get you into one.