Going duck hunting? Wear a PFD.

-- Last Updated: Dec-30-15 11:40 AM EST --


Somewhat related to the 'scare the crap out of beginners' post...This is what happens when you're nonchalant about the dangers of cold water and why the board advice is connonly 'on the safe side'. Not everyone needs a drysuit, but a solid backup plan is a must. A PFD, dry clothes, a bivy bag, and a phone/spot would have probably changed this outcome.

Just another reminder to have appropriate dry gear and a backup plan. 1 found dead, 1 missing, found their boat and dog. I wouldn't gamble on finding the singer alive after a capsize in a winter storm. Bummer. Its generally a bad idea to paddle into a winter storm though...

Crappy article gives no clue
You must have read somewhere else that they found the boat and dog. Only within one of the quoted tweets is there any indication that they actually made it to their hunting spot, and didn’t just roll their truck into a ditch on the way there.

As far as “paddling into a winter storm”, serious duck hunters that use anything less than a 16- or 18-foot boat that’s six or seven feet wide with about a 50-horse motor on the back are are nearly non-existent these days. I bet that would be doubly likely for these guys, and I’ll be very surprised if this involves a capsize or anything similar to a paddling accident. And of course that may be even more of an example of why everyone should be prepared for ending up in the water.

mcimes is correct
I saw a followup article this morning, before I knew that this had shown up on the board. If you check the weather report for that area the tweet was correct, their Go decision was not great.

Link and clip below -



“State troopers found Morland’s body at the lake Monday morning, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said. Their boat also was found; a search for Strickland paused Monday night because of darkness and weather but resumed Tuesday morning.

Police said nothing about a cause of death. They added that there were “no personal flotation devices in use.”

Strickland’s wife asked for prayers.

“Craig’s dog Sam has been found. His boat has been confirmed as being capsized,” Helen Strickland, a former Miss Arkansas USA, said Monday on Twitter. “They are still searching for Craig. Please keep praying.””


– Last Updated: Dec-29-15 1:17 PM EST –

I don't think anyone suggested in that post that anyone should be nonchalant about dangers. But I understand that it's a fun thread to pull on.

To be serious, a backup plan wasn't the problem here, decision-making was. Ignoring a winter storm to go duck hunting was poor judgement.

Ya, I wasnt ripping the thread, its just a funny read and relevant at the moment.

and you’re likely right about preparedness not mattering. Storm + paddling do not go great together, even in warm weather. Why the hell would you go out knowing it was coming? x2 on poor judgement.

it looks like a lack of respect for cold water. Im sure they thought it would be cool to go hunting and no big deal.

it makes me scratch my head
It’s tragic. No doubt. But it makes me wonder what they were thinking.

Storm + duck hunting
Don’t know about Oklahoma, but around here, some of the best duck hunting usually accompanies stormy weather. It’s not at all unusual for hardcore duck hunters to hunt the storm - assuming we’re not talking about gale force winds. Doing so safely from a boat requires a lot more preparation, of course - but it’s just as easy to get into trouble in such weather on foot.

Didn’t see where the article stated what kind of boat, but I think it’s safe to assume that the craft or it’s operators weren’t up to the task.

if they weren’t up to the task
it was still bad judgement.

Steve, that’s my point exactly

– Last Updated: Dec-29-15 6:02 PM EST –

I agree about good duck hunting happening during storms. But before people go spouting off about how dumb it would be to go out in a storm like that, remember we do NOT know what kind of boat was used, nor do we know in what kind of water (or at least we didn't when the first posts appeared saying no one should go out when the forecast calls for such weather). All we have at this point (I haven't read any updates) is the fact that something went wrong. While in this case that's probably a good indication that these two guys couldn't handle the conditions and shouldn't have gone out, it's not a certainty, and more so, it's not a reason to categorically state that no person anywhere should go out in such weather.

As an example to illustrate, several years ago my dad went out duck hunting on the backwaters of the Mississippi when winds were blowing at almost 50 mph all day long. It was an amazing windstorm, but in his case it was not a dumb decision to go out, and I even wished I could have gone with him. He had a little 10-foot boat with a 1-HP motor, and at no time did he have even the slightest difficulty or experience the slightest danger while poking around on the tiny, winding channels. The people here who predictably insist that boating in such weather is always a big risk are simply showing their lack of direct experience regarding cases where they'd be wrong. That's why my first post brought up the question of how big a boat they had. You can practically hold a barn dance inside the average duck hunter's boat, which was why I questioned the idea of a capsize when the cited article said no such thing (I was waiting for facts rather than jumping to conclusions).

Duck hunting accidents are common
around here. Last year was a good year (no fatailities that I remember), but in the winter of 2013-14 there were 3 fatalities in 2 different accidents. I see lots of duck hunters, but rarely do I see them wearing PFD’s.

Weather that day

– Last Updated: Dec-30-15 9:58 AM EST –

Saturday from what I can tell, apparently storm Goliath from the tweet and here is the link per weather underground to that Saturday's weather. I will buy that good duck hunting is to be found in challenging weather, I am not a duck hunter.

I couldn't get closer than Ponco City going historical via weather underground, west of Kaw Lake and it is a long one, but the air temps and conditions were unlikely to be a whole lot more benign on the lake. Good duck weather or not these are conditions that would take some preparation.


I also looked at a map showing Kaw Lake. Two arms, each with huge fetch if the wind was coming from the right direction. With the winds that day, it really would have mattered whether they tried to cross the middle or stayed near shore.

lucky vs. smart
Just because someone went out in a 50 mph wind in a 10 ft. boat with a 1 hp motor on it and got lucky doesn’t make it smart. Not a good way to prove a point on a public forum.

Bill H.

Jumping in…
I recently jumped before having full information, and it was a mistake. But just as a comment, that works both ways.

By the time mcimes posted this article, I had already seen that what he said was correct in articles that morning. Without even knowing at the time it had shown up on pnet. So yes, the article he cited was lean. But there was plenty more out there by then in a one step Google search.

Later I went to a map of Kaw Lake and got historical weather for Saturday. What came up was a two-armed lake with a huge potential fetch if the wind was blowing right and 45 mph winds that day, and darned cold with the wind chill.

The combination of the lake size and the weather conditions indicate a lake where it really matters exactly where they went - did they try to cross the lake or stay along shore for example. We don’t know that answer. Or the size of the boat.

Regardless, there is real potential for risk in this particular set of circumstances. Unfortunately these guys found it.


– Last Updated: Dec-30-15 11:11 AM EST –

There are actually others in the forum with some knowledge of duck hunting, perhaps even beyond anecdotes, and that knowledge lends them to believe that the season will present plenty of opportunities when winter storm conditions are not present. THAT's just the thing: I can say that with confidence.

Bad weather is almost a requirement
Duck Hunting is really better in bad rainy overcast weather. On blue sky days the ducks never seem to come in close enough.

Given that and the fact that you are really likely to capsize the boat while duck hunting, I hope this story gets out so that all Duck hunters will have PFD’s over there nice gortex waders and a way to cal for help as well as that dry bag full of spare clothes for everyone and fire starting kit for after they make the short swim to shore.

Same deal hunting on the water as any other sport on the water, dress for the water temperature, the air temperature means little.

We get enough bad press about people getting hurt or worse paddling in the winter. If you don’t care about your own life, do it for the rest of us.

Bill H.

Did you find where they capsized?

– Last Updated: Dec-31-15 2:34 AM EST –

I haven't seen it anywhere. This is a good sized lake, no guarantee that they weren't trying to get to a good duck hunting spot across the lake from the launch point. And the capsize was not close to shore.

Unless you actually found that info rather than decided to spout off.


Link to a more useful article

– Last Updated: Dec-31-15 5:54 PM EST –

Talks about the lake. And apparently the region was flooding as well. That from a different article, I truly did not expect it to be close enough for this event to even be mentioned.


the singer was located
it appears their boat overturned and he died of exposure. They had actually sent a tweet prior to departure that forecast their own tragedy. If that doesn’t tell you the conditions were exceptional, nothing else will.