Public Bags a Duck Blind

    As ducks begin to fly south from their northern summertime habitats, the East Hampton Town Trustees are planning to set aside at least one and perhaps two blinds for hunters from the general public to shoot from. 
    Trustees in both Southampton and East Hampton have for decades leased shoreline and bottomland to duck hunters to place their blinds. Many of the locations have been secured by the same individuals or the same families for years. This will be the first time in either town that members of the public, with hunting licenses, will be able to reserve a town-owned blind for one or two days, or more, depending on availability.
    Last year, the East Hampton trustees leased locations for 66 duck blinds, 15 in Three Mile Harbor, 11 in Accabonac Harbor, 25 in Georgica Pond, five in Napeague Harbor, four in Fresh Pond, and one in Wainscott Pond. Not all the applications are in yet for this year’s hunt.
    Southampton, with 26,000 acres of bays and ponds and 800 acres of shoreline, leases locations for about 300 duck blinds each year.
    During the trustees’ monthly meeting on Tuesday night, Joe Bloecker outlined his public blind concept to the board.
    He said that he and Billy Vorpahl searched trustee-owned water bodies for likely locations and settled on Fresh Pond in Amagansett and Scoy Pond in Northwest as the most likely. Trustees have never leased a spot in the latter location. Georgica Pond was decided against because of its single access point via the Beach Lane road end, and because of the number of private homes on its banks.
    Mr. Bloecker said one of four blinds in Fresh Pond had not been used in recent years. “There’s parking, and room for three hunters.” Getting to the proposed Scoy Pond blind would require permission to access a gate in the Grace Estate. Mr. Bloecker said he would reach out to caretakers to see if an accommodation was possible.     
    Mr. Bloecker proposed a fee of $25 per day be charged to cover the cost of installing, maintaining, and removing the blind at the end of the hunting season. “I don’t think it should be more,” he said, noting that the seasonal lease rate for individual hunters was only $20.
    The hunting season for sea ducks opens on Saturday, while the season for the puddle ducks that are beginning to fly into local freshwater bodies runs from Nov. 24 through Nov. 27, and from Dec. 5 through Jan. 29.
    In other trustee news, it was decided on Tuesday that the annual scallop season in trustee waters will start on Nov. 21, two weeks after the Nov. 7 opening in state waters, including Northwest Harbor.