Group hunting etiquette? Unwritten rules?

jonnyB

New member
This subject will undoubtedly produce lots of differing views - that's OK...

Situation:

Three hunters walking a grass and weed swale about 60 yards wide. One hunter in the middle and the other two a reasonable distance apart.

Bird gets up in front of the middle hunter, a ways out. Middle hunter is rather slow in mounting the gun and hunter on the right takes the shot. Not his bird? Or is it OK?

Fair?

What if the middle hunter shots and misses - is the bird fair game for all?

When do we "back-up" another hunter? Always? Sometimes?

Please weigh in...maybe there's some gray areas to every situation.
 

jackrabbit

New member
Bird gets up, you have a safe shot, shoot it. When hunting in a group I think of it as a team and if you got a shot you better take it, even if it means 2+ more people shooting at it at the same time. More than likely somebody is going to miss. If it were clearly "my shot" I hope somebody else that has a reasonable shot also takes it, just in case I miss. I hate feeling bad about letting one get away for our group, which then leads to some lowered shooting confidence for me that day...
 

jonnyB

New member
What if one hunter is faster on the draw/mount, and subsequently is shooting before others can get a shot off? Still a party shoot? Still fair?
 

reddog

New member
If the bird is clearly one persons bird initially, I will let them have first shot.. after that, its anybodies shot if clear. If said person is slow to the draw, Ill let it go, as Im usually shooting a smaller guage and open chokes, and I typically take shots that Im comfortable that Ill get good knock down power. Or, throw some lead at a crippled bird to try to help. Im alright with someone being faster to the draw than me, but it shouldnt happen every time. Im typically pretty quick to the draw, with a 20 guage shooting skeet/IC, as I have to be. Some folks need a little range for their full choke guns to develop their pattern. Weve all seen a quick draw full choke and the resulting worthless bird..
 

jackrabbit

New member
What if one hunter is faster on the draw/mount, and subsequently is shooting before others can get a shot off? Still a party shoot? Still fair?
If one of them is that quick, then they are also probably accurate enough that they have the ability to wait a fraction of a second and let another maybe get a shot. But yes, it is probably still fair to take the shot. If you got a shot, take it. The hunting scenario plays a big difference too. Are you on public land or somewhere where getting even half of your groups limit in a full day will require near perfect shooting? Then take every shot. Are you on private that's loaded with birds or a game farm? Then maybe slow down and let some others have a shot every now and then.
 

jonnyB

New member
What if one person in the group shoots the limit (3) does that person continue to shooting? Or does he/she help others...guide?
 

A5 Sweet 16

Member
Right, there are going to be varying thoughts on this. But by the way the question was asked, we're talking purely about positioning here - no other factors weighing into the decision. When you say, "Bird gets up in front of the middle hunter, a ways out," let's assume it to have flushed at about 25-30 yds & flying straight away or quartering away to some degree. It's fair game, especially if the middle guy is slow on the draw, because time is somewhat of the essence here. Now, it's very possible that if the bird is favoring one side, that the opposite guy could have a pretty long shot & might consider not taking it because a) it's too long, & b) it's not really his shot. But....w/ 3 guys & a bird in range (even long range), it's reasonable to assume the bird is going to get hit to some extent. Depending on cover & dog abilities, the more bb's the better. A recovered bird is better than a lost cripple, regardless of "whose shot it was". (remember my old "Deader is better" signature??) If a bird gets up closer & offers 1 guy a clearly better shot, most guys would let him have 1st crack at it. Safety first in all cases (duh).
 

jackrabbit

New member
What if one person in the group shoots the limit (3) does that person continue to shooting? Or does he/she help others...guide?
I think it depends on your relationship and friendship level with your group and if you are "solo hunting as a group" or "party hunting". I run into this quite often because lots of times I am the only person in our group with a dog, the dog quarters closer to me than others, in turn I get more birds up in front of me. I guess in this situation for me it's always been party hunting and I have not stopped. Unfair advantage for me having the dog? Maybe, or maybe it could become an incentive for others to get dogs...
 

jonnyB

New member
I agree with you, Brent, middle guy has first crack at the bird and maybe subsequent shots if missed by the middle hunter.

And if the bird is totally missed by all that shoot...so what?
 

A5 Sweet 16

Member
And if the bird is totally missed by all that shoot...so what?
What do you mean, "So what?????" Those 3 guys should be dejected, angry at themselves & at each other, & angry at the bird for existing in the first place. They should each make up the best excuse possible & give the other 2 all sorts of heck for their poor performance. And the dogs should go back to the truck & refuse to hunt until they've received ample snacks to try to make up for it & their people vow to shoot better.
 

BritChaser

New member
In group hunting the first shot should go to the gun whose lane the bird flushed from. If he's slow, them's the breaks. Otherwise, the slowest shooter never gets a first shot. Birds escaping is of no consequence IMHO.
 
Last edited:

McFarmer

Member
Party hunting is not allowed in Iowa if I remember correctly.

I always quit if I have my three, just do the driving or whatever.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Member
What if one person in the group shoots the limit (3) does that person continue to shooting? Or does he/she help others...guide?
Can go either way. LOTS of variables here. There have been times when I have the only dog & I've told the person/people I'm with that they better stay pretty close to me & the shooting's all up to them. I've shot enough birds in my life that, while I love shooting them, what I REALLY want is for my dog to get the action. And....there have been times when they make it clear they don't want to hunt close enough to me & they don't care who shoots the birds....and I've shot my limit & theirs. And everyone's fine with it. In those situations I figure if these guys want to hunt, & they seriously don't want to do what it takes to shoot the birds themselves (so don't CARE who shoots them), & my dog has to work hard enough to produce that many birds....then he's going to get those birds. And if it means me shooting them for him, then so be it. (Qualifier: This is awfully rare. 90% of my hunting is alone w/ my dog.)
 
Last edited:

Goosemaster

New member
Can go either way. LOTS of variables here. There have been times when I have the only dog & I've told the person/people I'm with that they better stay pretty close to me & the shooting's all up to them. I've shot enough birds in my life that, while I love shooting them, what I REALLY want is for my dog to get the action. And....there have been times when they make it clear they don't want to hunt close enough to me & they don't care who shoots the birds....and I've shot my limit & theirs. And everyone's fine with it. In those situations I figure if these guys want to hunt, & they seriously don't want to do what it takes to shoot the birds themselves (so don't CARE who shoots them), & my dog has to work hard enough to produce that many birds....then he's going to get those birds. And if means me shooting them for him, then so be it. (Qualifier: This is awfully rare. 90% of my hunting is alone w/ my dog.)
Yeah, I totally agree with that.I usually hunt alone, and I try to shoot my 3, unless I blow one up. I used to hunt with a guy who could not hit anything, he was from New Jersey. I shot some birds for him, he was a good cook, not a good hunter, but a great dude!!
 

McFarmer

Member
Yeah, I totally agree with that.I usually hunt alone, and I try to shoot my 3, unless I blow one up. I used to hunt with a guy who could not hit anything, he was from New Jersey. I shot some birds for him, he was a good cook, not a good hunter, but a great dude!!
So do I understand if you “blow one up” you leave it lay and continue on ?

I count an obviously wounded or a lost bird as one of my three.
 

Goosemaster

New member
So do I understand if you “blow one up” you leave it lay and continue on ?

I count an obviously wounded or a lost bird as one of my three.
I don't, and I never leave anything in the field Blowing one up means you pattern one with big shit, from close range.No edible meat.
 
Top