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What exactly can you do with a floating blind, my understanding of the laws concerning floating blind is that you can basically go anywhere as long as you are not closer than 500yds of another blind. IS THIS TRUE????? I hunt mostly on the chickahominy river and its feeding rivers. PLEASE HELP WITH ANY INFO
 

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There is no where on the chick from morris creek up river that you can leagaly(sp) float. but yes that is the law
 

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different areas have different rules. Back bay has designated areas that are given out to hunt on a lottery. Check your local area. The Game and inland Fisheries web site might be able to help. Good Luck
 

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It is my understanding that this interprtation of the law is true. I am not sure of the county regulations for specified rules i.e Va Beach, Back Bay, etc. if anyone tells you different they are full of [email protected] The law is specific and deliberate. "Floating Blind" means a floating device, whether in motion or anchored, that can be occupied by and conceal one or more hunters, uses a means of concealment other than the device's paint or coloration, and is used in the public waters for the purpose of hunting and shooting waterfowl.

The definition of public waters is water that flows from more than one property or from public lands or rights-of-way.

This means that any tidal water is public water.

The only floating blind exceptions are for specific counties or waterways as mention in the regs if it does not mention it is legal.

If you have any problems call the game warden before you hunt and tell them where you are going and ask them if its ok.

I had an instance where someone told me that I could not hunt an area because the marsh was owned by a retired judge and that he also owned the water and all access to that marsh. The only way in VA that you can own the water is if you own the land around it like a pond or the water is not tidal. So I called them and told them they were full of [email protected] and to bring the judge down so we could dicuss this with the game warden. Needless to say the judge never showed up.

I do try to be very respectful of peoples property and rights on my own level. Which means a 500 yrd distance from any house or dock. If I see porch lights I am too close. Sometimes I will ask the nearest property owner if it OK and explain where and when I will be hunting. and stay at least 700 yrds from any blind. Blind take a long time to build so don't be a jerk and respect them. Go and hunt there for an afternoon so you get a good layout of the land and your sure your not near any blinds.

If you have any question call the game warden and talk to the higest rank person you can talk too and get there name.

Eastduck
 

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Just fyi, there is a situation regarding property rights that can enable the landowner to own all the land under the water thus controlling the water. So Eastduck is not exactly correct in that anyone claiming same is full of it.

If the property happens to have been an original land grant from the king of England (a lot of Virginia's large plantations/farms with accompanying marshland was) the landowner (even if it has changed ownership as the original rights transfer) owns all the land including the land under the body of water, in this case usually tidal creeks. So if they own the marsh, they own all the land under those tidal creeks. Of course no one can own the water but they can control the marsh meaning you can't enter it.

I've confirmed that very issue with the Virginia Federal Magistrate that decided these cases for years. Of course all of this is mute if they have blinds scattered throughout their marsh as they would still make any hunting in same unlawful due to the 500 yard rule and that applies whether you know the blinds are there or not.

Good luck finding any privately owned marsh in Virginia that is not controlled by properly placed blinds. You have an obligation prior to hunting a body of water to make sure you are not infringing on someone elses blind(s) and ignorance of same is no excuse, you can and usually will still be prosecuted if the landowner chooses to do so.

This is why it is nearly impossible to find legal water to hunt in Virginia if you plan on using a floating blind. The best way to beat this is to hunt west of Richmond where there are no blind laws and you can hunt on the major rivers wherever you want. Just don't step out on someone's property if you drop a duck on same. There is often great hunting west of the tidal sections and it is rarely hunted.
 

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[Q]dux originally wrote:
There is no where on the chick from morris creek up river that you can leagaly(sp) float. but yes that is the law

[/Q]

Not true . I hunt the Chick from RT 5 all the way to the Dam in a floating blind. As long as you are not 500 yards from another blind you are legal. Now I have pissed off some high dollar home owners shooting at 6:30 behind their house but as they found when they called the law it was legal. When I talked to the warden that checked me Sat he said the only restriction was no permanent blinds in the waters off the chickahominy managment area but you could park your floating blind there all you wanted.
 

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Tailwalker,
Would it be possible to provide the VA`State code which explains this "kings grant rule" in detail. I am interested in reading it.

The reason I ask is that our familiy has a 300000 acre plot of land near Richmond. I have the land grant signed by George the 3rd to prove it.
Thanks
 

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I know there is some restirctions with floating blinds on the Rappahannock also. I was hunting on a marsh up on the Wilcomico a few years ago. It was a great place. We killed a bunch of ducks for two years. There were a few blinds in the marsh but we were never less than 500 yards from them and there were no signs stating that no hunting was allowed. One day this guys comes walking across the marsh to us and kicked us out. He said he had owned the property and that it was donated to some nature conservancy and only he was allowed to hunt it. We were nice and moved off shore 500 yds and continued hunting. I am sure that pi**ed him off. On the way back to the ramp I said something to my hunting partner about the guy calling the game warden. I'll be damned when we got to the ramp the game warden was sitting there waiting for us. We ended up getting a ticket for not having a throwable device. The game warden basically told us that we had to stay 500 yds off of the marsh if we wanted to hunt there.
 

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That's not what the law says and if you were breaking the law then the game warden would have given you a ticket for it if he was picky enough to give a ticket for a throw able device, right? You were not breaking the law and you were legally hunting but the land owner wanted you away from his land. The mean low water line is the only restriction for floating blinds in the state of VA except for what is specified in the regulations as it pertains to specific counties or waters. We as duck hunters and fisherman must stand up to these guys or our hunting or fishing will only be for the rich.

I am a law abiding citizen and these types of stories burn me up.

For instance I was traveling in my boat with fishing poles in my boat on the eastern shore and came into Oyster to meet a friend for lunch. There was the game warden sitting in his car checking everyone. It was early in the year and I had not bought my boat license yet and we were just cruising around. He still wrote us for fishing without a license. Even though I was not fishing but had the ability to. Well luckily my friend is much smarter than me and decided to check the VA state code. Sure enough the warden could not give us a ticket without physically seeing us fish which he could not have done because he had no boat with him. The tickets were dismissed by the wardens boss.

It goes to show know the law and stand up for what it says. And let's stop letting others decide what we can and cannot do. The inches we give in our rights the miles we loose to the detriment of everyone.

Eastduck
 

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Gentlemen,
Tailwalker is correct in 1995 the Kings Grant Common law was upheld by 4-3 decision by the VA Supreme Court. Its known as the Jackson River Case. It effectively shuts down thousands of miles of waterways in VA.

See http://www.surveyhistory.org/virginia_fishing_feud1.htm

However, there is catch. In order for this to be used as legal standing you must have proof of the deed, last issues by King George the 3rd before he lost the colonies?
Because the deeds were hand written they are hard to come buy if they do not exist then the archaic law will not even wipe up the spilled coffee ooff the lawyers desk.

This is another way for rich land owners to restrict access to lands which should be available to all persons. Again the little guy is the one which is hurt. We had all better stand up for our rights.

Eastduck
It a new one to me....
 

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Eastduck,

I see you found it before I could respond. You are exactly right.

The other thing for everyone to remember is that the 500 yard rule is not a criminal offense, it is a civil offense. Meaning that if you are infringing on someone's lawfully licensed blind that the blind owner or landowner must sue you in civil court, not criminal court. That is why the warden can't charge you with same but if he can find something else to charge you for he will. like the other response here where the hunter was given a ticket for a throwable device offense. That's the best the warden could do since he could not charge them criminally for the 500 yard law. Check your migratory game laws and you will see what I am talking about.

So basically if you are going to be hunting an area find out who the licensed blind holder is and maybe you can work out something with them to hunt near the blind in a floating blind. Many licensed blinds are never hunted but the landowners put them up just to keep people from hunting their marsh, etc but don't have problems with floating blind hunters out in the rivers adjacent to their marsh, you just need to check first.

The only other advice I can give is to take a laser rangefinder with you so you know how far you are from a given blind, just make sure you know where all of them are.
 

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I got a question for you. I was talking to a guy this morning at the gas station before heading out and he was telling me about a hunting on Saturday and having a lady yell at him from shore saying that he was too close to her house. Can anyone tell me what the regulations say about distance from a house. I don't have the regs with me.

On a separate note has anyone been doing any good in Va with the ducks. We have killed a few but it basically stinks.

Thanks,
Ed
 

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This really depends on where you are hunting but it looks like VA Beach is 150 yrds and most others are 100 yrds from any dwelling.

Rule 56. No discharge of firearms across or within 150 yards of any building, dwelling, street, sidewalk, alley, roadway, public land, or public place.
 

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Ed,

The distance you can discharge a firearm from a house differs county to county. The best thing you can do is call the sheriff's department for the county you are hunting to find that out. Then you need to ask if it differs from the state law on same and confirm what that is as well. I think (but am not certain) that the state law says 100 yards. However, some counties only require you to be 100 feet from a house to be able to shoot. Best to check it out first.

On the amount of ducks around I hunt on the Pamunky and there are spots that are full of ducks and others that are not. As we all know it usually boils down to who is baiting their marsh and who is not. We certainly don't so we don't have many ducks but upriver they clearly are baiting and there are thousands upon thousands of ducks in there. It's getting hunted too. Talk about brave.

Obviously someone floating by the marsh in a floating blind would be breaking the law if they shot at ducks coming to or leaving that marsh as they would be hunting in the "zone of influence".

Just another reason to be really careful when hunting from a floating blind because you never know what folks in the area are really doing.
 

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Actuly I was charged in James city county for shotting to close to a house. It was thrown out because I was outside the mean low watermark. The state code says " No city, county, or locality shall rule or regulate the hunting of the public waterways" Meaning as long as you are outside the mean low watermark the county ordinace is superceeded by state law. Ie you are 50 yards from a house but the county law says 100 yards min but.......you are outside the mean low watermark. County or city law does not efford for this in their code and would effectively close that 50 yards of water to hunting because of the 100 yard ordinace. That is why the state added that little phrase. It pissed of the high dollar land owner that I could pull up behind his house and shoot. This why there are alot of blinds on the James and Chick that are right behind high money houses that never get used. They were put there by the landowner as a way to currcumvent the law by now creating a 500 yard no hunting zone around his blind. But as long as your feet are wet and hunting the public waters you are legal. Just don't shot at his house. And keep 500 yards from any licenced blinds he may have there.
 

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Yes, I've heard of the King's Grant and it does exist. However, there are no valid King's Grants on the tidal chickahominy. I've researched this because I was chased out of a marsh by a disingenuous Game Warden who told me I was trespassing. I was curious because the more questions I asked the more elusive his answers became. We researched this in the JCC and Williams burg courts and found 2 valid 'Kings Grants'. They werent anywhere near the tidal chickahominy. I hunted the same property and was accosted by the same game warden. When we pointed out that we were floating and the blinds in that particular marsh weren't licensed he left us alone for the rest of the season. I don't hunt that area anymore because it's too far. But there are still a few spots you can hunt in there. Be careful and don't post where they are when you find them. The blind hunters will bait your spot in a minute if they find you out. If you want to hunt the chick, scout it out on a sunday during the day with a GPS. DUX is just trying to scare you out of hunting the chick. Float on brother! Dave
 
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