Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Raleigh Riff-Raff

For us duck hunters on the coast, hunting season is a great time to see the people west of I-95. Throughout the year, most residents of the piedmont wish and believe that Eastern North Carolina is a waste of time and money. But, when it comes to duck hunting, these people will stop at nothing to spend the appropriate dollars to shoot some of "our" ducks. what is most interesting is that many areas, especially in and around Wake County have ducks, and good concentrations of them. The triangle probably hosts more mallards than any county in the east. And that's what everyone wants to kill, right? Mallards, migratory ones that is, are some of the easiest birds to find and hunt. Still, with dreams of blackened skies, hunters journey east to the Promised Land.

How would one spot a Triangle-area duck hunter? You might want to start with the vehicle they're driving. Normally, they'd parade our backroads in a Prius or Miata, with their noses aimed at the sky. Oh, but no sir, here, it's all about the Tahoe. The Tahoe is preferred by mid-staters for it's ability to comfortably sleep 3 men and 3 labs at a remote boat ramp. Despite the rumors that they have heard, the boat ramps do not fill up by 2:00 am. And if it does, it's by Triangle residents. Hey's not Jordan Lake down here...

Raleigh hunters can also be typified by their hunting clothing. No item is without the latest and greatest camouflage. And stamped to that camouflage one will find the insignia of some of America's greatest waterfowl product companies.  It only makes sense, though. If the Duck Commander shot a 10 man limit over his intensively managed rice farm while wearing a prom dress, rest assured that the Raleigh Riff-Raff would also don the same garb. Still, some get it right. On the coast, the wet and cold wind chills hunters to the bone. Few eastern hunters head out doors without wearing wool in the drabbest of browns and greens. Wool retains warmth even when wet...

Another great way to identify the hunter across the bay as an out-of-towner is to listen to his mating call. Rarely do eastern hunters blow mallard calls. But if they do, it's low and slow. Visitors are quick to belt out their best rendition of a screaming mallard as soon as the first bufflehead strafes the decoys. All eastern people know that buffleheads are best decoyed when the hunting party is all concurrently urinating with backs turned away from the spread. We take things easy out here...

Boats are another good marker...that ski boat that Daddy bought for the lake can double as a duck boat. When Ski Nautiques outnumber Privateers at the boat ramp, we're all in trouble. Eastern hunters are masters at hiding their boats either under camo or away from the hunting site. Triangle hunters hunt from the boat, despite the aluminum ski tower. They just do.

Decoy spreads are another difference-teller. Mallards, mojos, and goose decoys are absent in all eastern hunter decoy stands. However, on the easterly hunter migration, the mallards and geese fakes come with them. Hey folks...we don't have geese. We just don't. And if we do, we can only kill one in the last week of the season, if we get a permit. Still, there's nothing like watching a raft of 30 plastic geese and mallards drift away with the tide. The tide is serious business folks...

Nevertheless, we do enjoy seeing our western companions. they bring an influx of tourism dollars - well, those who don't sleep at the boat ramp, anyway - as well as financial support for conservation organizations. All hunters from the west appear to be ardent supporters of Ducks Unlimited. Hopefully, they also buy federal waterfowl stamps.

For those from Raleigh reading this article, here's what I hope you take away from it...

Vehicle: Leave the luxury road yacht at the beater.
Clothing: No camouflage matches the coastal spartina grasses. Just wear light brown and let the shadows do the work.
Duck calls: Leave the single read at home and buy yourself a sports whistle. It calls in everything when you chirp in it!
Boats: If you're gonna bring a white boat, don't set-up with the sun in your face. Hide that thing 100 or more yards away, too.
If you want to bring the appropriate decoys, bring 3 dozen bluebills and redheads, a dozen wigeons, and 3 dozen pintails. You can hunt any open water with that stand. Leave the mojo at home.
Bring lots of money and stay in local hotels. Also, hire a guide. They know where the ducks are - much better than us freelancers do. And you can sleep until 5:00 am with most guide services. Also, please bring a map and learn how to pronounce city and county names...


  1. I also drive a Yukon because it's a highly functional car. I used to own a Sierra but I am glad a made the switch.

    I don't sleep in my car. I either get up early and drive down or occasionally get a hotel.

    This is typical eastern NC animosity that’s unoriginal and tired . You don't want us down there but you want our money. The way I see it is that we(people from Raleigh) support your entire economy and well-being. The real problem with duck hunting, fishing or traveling east of 95 is people with your mentality.

    Thinks for the tips on the decoys. I'll use that next time I am hunting your water.

    1. Sorry was satire. But the coast is one of the most lucrative commercial fishing areas on the planet and if you visited in the planting and growing season you might think you were in Iowa. Thanks for reading, though!

    2. To be such a sophisticated resident west of 95 you should proof read/spell check before you click on publish

  2. I got a laugh out of it! Do't get all pissy he ment no harm its just for fun and laughs!

  3. Very funny. I hope you're equally amused when you're up here in Raleigh - our home turf - getting a dose of us city slickers.

  4. I am from Raleigh and I agree with the Coastal guys. They are a great group of people and people from Raleigh can learn a thing or two from them. If you want to talk trash about having people on "our turf" make sure you know that the boys from the east grew up fishing and living off the land. They were not pampered like most of the Raleigh kids (Like you sound to be). I enjoy my time with the coastal guys and have a lot of respect for them. They are more then welcome around my area anytime. Before I forget I am sure that you are not born and raised in Raleigh(another transplant). Go back from where you are from and leave the coastal boys alone before they teach you to much for your own good.

  5. haha, duck hunters arguing like women... the US has gone to shit. I hunt in Raleigh very successfully. you guys should talk to your boyfriends about this.

  6. As a guy from Raleigh who is just now starting to Duck hunt, this is great! thanks for the heads up on etiquette! Also to other guys here in the area, wheres a good practical place to get my feet wet? (quite literally)