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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The duck hunting dollar signs here in California rice country have brought out quite a few unsavory "entrepreneurs." Not sure if it is the same in your hunting area. Hope not.

Most of the leases I have seen on Craigslist are, in my opinion, junk. It is not easy to find a good club-takes work, time and knowledge. Placing three, or more, four man blinds on 150 acres is not uncommon. Blinds in areas that suck is not uncommon. Easy sell--can always blame weather, lack of ability to call etc... at the end of the season.

All of us want a nice little hole to call our own. But, there are several red flags to consider before you hand over the cash. I posted these red flags a few years back (advice) on Craigslist, titled it Duck Club 101 and got some pretty strong hate mail--one threatening. I also got dozens of thank you's. One of my favorite "red flags" was asking If I could contact the previous shooter from last season. I was told he had died. So, I asked how about the blind partners? He said they had moved and did not have their numbers. Hum...

If you live in California, do your homework.

If you are thinking about a rice club, and would like a copy of duck club 101 send a pm.

I have also seen some legitimate good stuff on Craigslist, but it is rare.

This post caught my eye today and prompted my thread
http://sacramento.craigslist.org/spo/2953485247.html
 

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You should use caution in any state before you reach a lease agreement. People get burned all over the country every year...not just in Cali.
 

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Any place not willing to provide references is not worth leasing... This is definitely something you need to spend time researching before making a commitment!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Any place not willing to provide references is not worth leasing... This is definitely something you need to spend time researching before making a commitment!
Are you giving me advice? If so, re-read. I think the "you" was meant as plural.;-)
 

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7 pintail,

Its funny you posted this, because I know a lot of hunters who got taken by that same add on craigslist. I have went and checked out a few of the places but they really don't look that great. One of my CWA committee members got taken by one of the blinds off Subuco Rd. Half of there entire spread was stolen.
 

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Are you giving me advice? If so, re-read. I think the "you" was meant as plural.;-)
I was supporting your post and speaking in general, by no means was my post directed at any one person... I know what people spend on leases and would hate to see someone get suckered into a place that doesn't produce numbers. It was more so a word to the wise if anyone on here is reading this thread and thinking about getting a lease. Sorry for the confusion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
7 pintail,

Its funny you posted this, because I know a lot of hunters who got taken by that same add on craigslist. I have went and checked out a few of the places but they really don't look that great. One of my CWA committee members got taken by one of the blinds off Subuco Rd. Half of there entire spread was stolen.

There are many adds. I know the valley pretty well. Most are not a good choice. And, some lawsuits are pending on some that were misrepresented, or worse, money was taken and the hunter was left blind-less. One name comes up quite frequently.

But, I will admit one man's junk can be another mans treasure. Gave up a blind about ten years ago in the Butte sink, and an elderly friend begged me to lease it. I did everything in my power to dissuade him. I had better options for him. From his standpoint it was convenient- 7 miles from duck/trailer camp, and that was his first priority. He loves it ---shoots a few birds and enjoys the outing. So, there you go! What do i know?


Subaco is garbage IMHO, But who knows what people want? That is why homework is important.


But, talk about a red flag---same people, same blinds available year after year---Huge turnover---

Ps---if you have a good lease, keep it quiet and don't give it up unless it's to me:)
 

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Nowhere as bad as in CA, but you see it here too. Now its leased ground for Turkeys........ I cant imagine spending hundreds of dollars or more to shoot ONE bird......At least not a turkey;-).
 

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The lease we are in now has done really well for our group. We have been there about 7 years now and its been great. I do have another blind in the Sankey Rd. area since its less than 10 mins from my house and even that blind took me a while to get in that blind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
several pms---so I posted duck club 101



Duck Club Essential Questions:

Here is a list of questions to ask if you are planning to join a duck hunting club.

*Can I get two phone numbers of members who shot in the club last year? (this is a huge red flag if they wont give you a reference) I had one club manager tell me the guys in the blind moved out of state, and once, I was told that the "guy" had even died!

*Location, Location, Location!! Need I say more? There is a ton of junk out there and all rice is not created equal. You will notice the same advertisements on Craigslist year after year. Why? Obviously they have a tremendous amount of turnover. Yes, usually hunters in excellent locations don't give up their blinds. How do you know its a good location? Google earth is a good starting point.

*Is there a safe haven or a refuge near by? Most good clubs have built in loafing areas in CLOSE proximity to the shooting areas.

*How did the blind shoot last year? I have heard lots of inflated numbers-- and, of course, this depends on how often it was hunted and the honesty of the club organizer and the skill of the hunters. Again. Its nice to talk to the previous blind partners. I had one guy tell me the blind had shot over 700 birds the previous year. It kind of makes you wonder why someone would give up.

*How far apart are the blinds? The bigger the number the better. I personally would not take a blind with less 80 acres between blinds.

*What are the rules and expectations? Most rice clubs shoot everyday, while natural habitat blinds typically shoot on traditional hunting days. Many of the better clubs use a blind rotation system. You may or may not like that.

*What is the guest policy and do you allow a sublet? There are a variety of rules, but bottom line; they should be simple, reasonable, and clearly stated in advance.

*When will the club get water? This usually depends on the rice harvest and/ or the water districts allotment. Also, is there a charge for additional water if it is needed? There is nothing more irritating then your club having low water. Many managers will hold out and wait for rain while you are stuck in a dry field. The price of extra water should be discussed ahead of time.

*What is the price? I have seen it all. I currently know some folks paying 6,000 for a 4-man blind in a very marginal area. It is convenient, but it is not "ducky". I also know some people who have been in the same blind for over 15 years. They pay the same amount for an excellent area. You will have to pay your dues here. But, STAY away from blinds that are advertised year after year. I would prefer to pay more for the best possible location.

*When does the blind shoot the best? Most rice blinds need weather to shoot well. South wind? North wind? High fog? Also, is the blind outside the special closure for specks? With four possible whitefronts in the bag, I would rather be in an area that doesn't close in December!

This is the basic list of questions to ask to make sure there are no misconceptions and to ensure you have done your homework. You may have other questions as well. Be clear and ask ahead of time. The agreement should be writing. A lot of people have been seeing "dollar signs" in recent years and it seems that everyone is a duck club manager. Blinds have been placed in poor areas. In general, you get what you pay for. Duck hunting is water and weather dependent.

This compilation comes with 26 years of experience hunting both rice ground and natural areas. I have been in several clubs; some good, some poor and have made some of the same common mistakes of "Duck Club 101" I am not affiliated with any particular club, and High School teaching is my profession. I have no money interest here, so I can be objective. I love talking dogs, ducks, and salmon with like-minded, ethical sportsman.

Email me if you have some input
Take care,
-John Stroh
 
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