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Posts Tagged ‘hunting’

My wildlife experience at this time of the year is periodically punctuated by the sound of shotgun blasts, sometimes coming from only a short distance away—it is duck hunting season. There are a number of duck blinds in the waters off of Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge that are occasionally used for hunting. Even if I don’t hear gunfire, I can often tell that a blind is occupied, because the hunter often put out a whole lot of decoys in the water that have fooled me a couple of times.

The first photo shows the duck blind that was in use on Monday. If you click on the image, you can get a better look at some of the details, including one of the hunters, a dog in a life jacket, and part of the string of decoys. The second image shows the dog swimming back past the decoys with a freshly shot duck in its mouth—it was pretty amazing to see the dog leap into the water and swim out to retrieve the duck. The final shot shows the hunter showing off the duck, which I think is a scaup, to his hunting buddy, while the dog continue to shake off the water.

I personally am not a hunter—I prefer to shoot wildlife with a camera and not with a gun. However, I do not vilify those who choose to hunt, particularly when the hunting is managed and regulated. I am also aware that fees for duck stamps and hunting licenses often are used for wildlife conservation efforts that benefit us all.

duck hunting

duck hunting

duck hunting

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I think that duck hunting season is finally over at Occoquan Bay. It has been somewhat jarring in recent weeks to have my photography expeditions to the wildlife refuge interrupted by volleys of shotgun fire, sometimes at rather close range. In addition to some fixed blinds in the water that look like tiny cabins on stilts, hunters also use small boats like the one featured in these two images. The two hunters in this boat were so close to the shore that I had to zoom out to about 250mm on my 150-600mm telephoto lens to be able to fit them into the frame.

duck hunting

duck hunting

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As I was wandering through remote areas of my local marshland park earlier this week searching for dragonflies, I was reminded of the need to be cautious when I came upon this hunter’s tree stand. At various times there is controlled archery hunting of deer at the park. I have not yet seen anyone with a bow, but this is the third location at which I encountered a tree stand. I was tempted to climb up into the stand and check out the view, but decided it was a bit too much trouble.

I have a bright orange stocking hat that I wear sometimes in the winter—it may not be a bad idea to get an orange baseball cap too.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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