Hook and Bobber Hunting

March 24, 2009 by  

By Doug Leier

Hard to believe that laying in whites over a hundred shell decoys is considered old school. Times they are a changing.

Hard to believe that laying in whites over a hundred shell decoys is considered "old school". Times they are a changing.

I’ve come up with a new phrase describing how I hunt. Maybe it’s not mine originally, but it effectively describes what I’ve been doing for most of my life. Itxs called hook-and-bobber hunting.

My intent is not to degrade how I hunt, or offend anglers who have no desire to use the latest fishing technology. It just illustrates that I prefer low impact hunting and fishing excursions.

Where did it start? Truthfully, I’d bet few people consciously decide that hook-and-bobber hunting is for them. I’d venture that it’s ingrained from a young age, and I’ve now come to peace with this method of hunting that suits me.

In fact, that’s what makes hunting unique and special – when you reach the point of doing it for your own enjoyment, not roughing it because that’s what you think you’re supposed to do. If camping under the stars and waking up to a soaking rain would ruin your trip, save up and rent a motel room. In the end you’ll find more satisfaction.

Back to hook-and-bobber hunting. My first recollection of how this might have started was an arsenal of homemade snow goose decoys.

I don’t recall the exact year, but it was in the early 1980s. My uncle is in the newspaper business and my dad, who I politely refer to as “resourceful,” devised a plan to take old printing plates and create goose decoys.

The die was cast and we set out using tin snips to cut the pattern and a staple gun to create the body. A piece of wood lath was the neck, and it took one other precise cut and a few more staples and the head was finished.

A quick coat of white spray paint, and a haphazard splash of black tail feathers, and the decoys were complete.

Were we the envy of all our neighbors? I doubt it. I’m pretty sure we were safe not going through the patent process. We saved a lot of money by not having to buy new decoys, but more important is the memory of putting those decoys together.

More and more hunters are using the latest tools available

More and more hunters are using the latest tools available

They worked, too. I’m not sure how many geese we bagged using those dekes, but I doubt if we’d have shot many more using brand new plastic jobs.

Now, I’ll admit that over the years I’ve bought a few dozen new decoys and other assorted gadgetry. But I can tell you there’s a higher sense of inner satisfaction in bagging geese over homemade decoys.

Which brings me back to hook-and-bobber hunting? While I’m always intrigued by the latest outdoors innovations, in the back of my mind I know that for me the price of the toy seldom parallels the amount of enjoyment.

Yes, spinning-wing decoys are all the rage, and GPS units can map out the precise location and set for the most attractive decoy spread, but who’s to say you can’t enjoy a fun and successful hunt without the bells and whistles? I do.

I’ve heard many hunters rue the day when nothing goes as planned. The batteries die on the GPS and their new thousand dollar gun won’t eject spent shells. Indeed, without all the hassle, maybe they would’ve enjoyed spending the morning watching the sun bouncing off the dew-soaked corn stalks putting a diamond on every leaf, rather than rehearsing how they would berate the salesman who sold the faulty gun.

As you gather at gas stations and coffee shops, swapping stories of the latest frustrations from the field, take a second look at the guy with the biggest smile on his face. Maybe he’s a hook-and-bobber hunter.


Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.