Scull Boats: Joining the Secret Club

If you read the previous article about scull boat hunting, “Scull Boats: Waterfowl Stealth Hunting,” you were introduced to the little-known world of waterfowl hunting with a scull boat.

The boats are as unique as the hunters who use them, and it takes a hearty individual to master the use of the scull boat.  If you are interested in possibly joining the elite club of ‘scullers,’ you will need to know some hard facts. And if you need a few reasons to help you decide, I will tell you about some of the unbelievable accomplishments that can be had with a scull boat.

The very first ingredient of a successful sculler is to be a waterfowl addict. You have to almost obsess about waterfowl if you want to have the drive it takes to master sculling. In simple terms, it is hard work.  One of the most serious scullers that I know claims that he never worries about having possible competition at his favorite sculling honey holes. ‘David X’ claims that not only is sculling too hard for the average guy, but the rough salt water that David X sculls is just plain dangerous. “Sculling chop is what I have to do to collect some my favorite sea ducks, so I don’t hesitate,” says David X.  I have known X for years and I believe him to be the best bird hunter that anyone has never heard of.  

Steve Parsons, one of the few people who guide hunters (part time) on scull boat hunts in the state of Alabama, sums it up best. “Over the years I have noticed that if 100 people show interest in this sport (sculling), only 10 actually try it. Of this 10, only one or two stick with it long enough to become accomplished scull hunters.” If you are wondering what he means by “accomplished,” I will fill you in.

A good sculler can kill any specific and individual bird that he seeks.  David X uses a spotting scope and large 20×80 binoculars to find a target. Most of his hunting is done near tide water, which has a continuous supply of mud flats. Like a big game hunter, he scans flocks of birds looking for leg bands. Everyone who hunts knows how treasured leg bands are to waterfowl hunters, but most hunters never kill a bird with a band during a lifetime of hunting. David X collects a band almost every trip afield, and that is not an exaggeration.  If you are impressed seeing professional waterfowl guides wearing lanyards full of aluminum bird bands, then you would truly be impressed with David X’s collection of bands. The last time I got to admire his trophy band collection, he had enough metal bands to easily fill half of a five gallon bucket. If you added all his plastic leg and neck bands from geese, the bucket would be full.

If you are a waterfowl nut, then possessing a bucket of bands should make you very excited. The bands aren’t his real treasures though. David X has a collection of hybrid ducks and geese that any museum would envy. He literally has hundreds of hybrid waterfowl specimens mounted in his trophy room. He has killed ducks and geese that are not even supposed to be in his flyway. That is the advantage of scull hunting. You can pick out a specific trophy and harvest it.     

Sculling is a deadly tactic. If you want to become an “accomplished” waterfowler, and you think you have the physical and mental capacity to become a scull boat hunter, than you owe it to yourself to give it a try.