Hunters looking to bag some ducks may be breaking state law by having people drive boats at the large number of ducks congregating in Boston Harbor, making them fly away in a panic - and become easier targets.
On a mailing list for local bird enthusiasts, a birder at Deer Island enjoying the large numbers of seabirds just offshore reported two boats heading towards ducks, causing them to take off:
The people on board were clearly hunters, dressed in camouflage, but were just zipping around flushing ducks, which seemed odd. Until we saw the larger group of hunters on the rocks at the tip of Deer Island, shotguns at the ready. I have heard from other local birders that similar things have been occurring along Revere Beach and Winthrop in recent weeks.
This seemed like the equivalent of cheating and it turns out this type of corralling and harassment of waterfowl for hunting purposes is illegal under Migratory Game Bird Hunting Regulations. Apparently police removed a group of hunters from the rocks this morning
A spokesperson for state Environmental Police confirms getting "a number of complaints recently regarding duck hunting near the Boston area," but said that while officers went out, their investigation "did not result in any citations."
State hunting regulations bar the practice:
A person shall not hunt migratory game birds by means or aid of any motor-driven land, water or air conveyance or any sailboat used for the purpose of or resulting in the concentrating, driving, rallying or stirring up of such birds either for himself or for others.
Hunters can shoot ducks from boats, but only if they're docked, beached or anchored.
Anybody who sees people in boats aiming at ducks to get them in the air to be shot down can contact Environmental Police at 800-632-8075.