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John's Journal... Entry 77, Day 1

Duck Hunting on Idaho's Snake River

click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Outdoorsman Thayne Barrie of Boise, Idaho, loves to hunt ducks on the Snake River near Grand View, Idaho. He and the employees who work at his store in Boise, Sunset Sports Centers, can help hunters obtain information on Idaho duck hunting. Recently I went on one of the best duck hunts with Barrie.

QUESTION: Where are we hunting today, Thayne?
ANSWER: We're hunting down on the Snake River below Grand View, Idaho.

QUESTION: What's important about the Snake River?
ANSWER: The Snake River holds a lot of birds throughout the winter because there's a milder climate in the canyon than on the mountains on either side. Because of all the agriculture along the Snake River basin, there's also plenty of feed: a little bit of corn, a lot of alfalfa, a lot of green, etc.

click to enlargeQUESTION: Is the Snake River the one Lewis and Clark went down?
ANSWER: They traveled down a portion of the Snake River, but they mostly traveled the Salmon River.

QUESTION: What kinds of ducks come to the Snake River?
ANSWER: Mostly mallards, but you will see widgeons, lots of golden eyes, a few diving ducks, an occasional wood duck and pintails.

QUESTION: You've got a lot of Canada geese here?
ANSWER: A lot of geese, mostly Greater Canada.

QUESTION: Tell me about where we were hunting today.
ANSWER: We were hunting about 18 miles down from Grand View in the Snake River canyon in a stretch that comes just in to farmland on both sides of the river and has corn primarily with a little piece of alfalfa.

click to enlargeQUESTION: You can hunt all the way down the river, can't you?
ANSWER: Sure. The river to the mean high-water mark is all public property here in Idaho. As long as you don't go above the high-water mark under the private property, you can hunt anywhere you want on that river.

QUESTION: You got permission for us to park at a farmer's place and go down on the river, right?
ANSWER: Yes, it's a little piece of property called Big Foot Ranches. They're real nice people. If people don't want you someplace, you need to respect that. But most of the time, if you'll ask a landowner, he'll give you permission to cross his land to get to the river and hunt.

QUESTION: You can ride up and down the Snake River where the road is and see where the ducks are, can't you?
ANSWER: Sure, and when the road comes to private ground, it'll be fairly well-posted, and then you just need to respect that.

QUESTION: I noticed they've got signs that say "Sportsman's Access." They encourage duck hunters, don't they?
ANSWER: You bet.

click to enlargeQUESTION: Tell me about how we were set up this morning.
ANSWER: We put both duck and goose decoys out, trying to create two open patches for birds to come in to. Since the water level has caused us problems on the backside landing area, we put goose decoys out front and up on the point of the island to draw as much attention to them as we could.

QUESTION: In this spot where we were hunting in the river, you can get both geese and ducks, can't you?

QUESTION: Unlike most places, your duck hunting doesn't get good until about 9:00 a.m., right?
ANSWER: No. The ducks will feed in the grain fields at night and fly back to the river in the morning. The geese will roost on the water and then fly to the grain fields in the morning. This area has some kind of waterfowl traffic up and down the river all day. Our best shooting usually occurs between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

To obtain maps of the Snake River with the best duck-hunting spots marked and to get information on how, where and when to rent boats, contact Thayne Barrie at Sunset Sports, (208) 376-1100, 5804 Fairview Avenue, Boise, ID 83704.

TOMORROW: Setting Up for a Duck Hunt on the Snake River




Check back each day this week for more about Thayne Barrie On Ducks ...

Day 1 -Duck Hunting on Idaho's Snake River
Day 2 -Setting Up for a Duck Hunt on the Snake River
Day 3 -What Kind of Ducks Winter on the Snake River
Day 4 -What You Need to Know to Hunt Ducks in Idaho
Day 5 -Information on Duck Hunting on the Snake River

John's Journal