Open water gunning on Lake Ontario provides world class hunting for a variety of duck species. From the back bays and marshes, to the open water float hunts, Lake Ontario is one of the largest natural staging areas for migrating ducks and geese in Atlantic Flyway. During peak migration times, flocks of divers and sea ducks numbering in the hundreds and even thousands can be seen skirting the shoreline and flying across the open water. This creates the perfect setting for our November and December hunters who are looking to excercise their trigger fingers!
Our lake Ontario float hunts and shoreline hunts are conducted from a fleet of three customized ducks boats. The fleet consists of a 19' Duckwater, 16' Sylvan, and a 17' Phowler, all built, modified, and customized for comfortable and SAFE gunning from the shoreline and open waters of the Lake. The Duckwater and Sylvan give us the ability to hunt the open water safely and comfortably, while the Phowler with its Copperhead surface drive allows us to gun from the shallower back bays, shoals, and sandbars without risking damage to boat or motor. This versatility gives us more options on any given hunt. Having one single boat would create limitations, which would be the difference between "duck hunting" and "bird watching".
Not only do our weather patterns effect the bird movements, they also effect the water conditions in which we hunt. Therefore, it is our duty to be experienced, and fluent with our boats and equipment in these hunt settings. Safety is our number one concern. The BRVO captains not only have years of experience gunning these waters, but maneuvering and handling boats in these conditions. The ability to properly maneuver, anchor, and successfully gun from the boat in these condition is not something that is learned overnight, or even in one or two season of hunting. The proper and SAFE handling of these boats is second nature to our captains who have spent years on these waters. We spare no expense when it comes to the safety of our hunters.
Depending on weather conditions, the boat ride could be several miles from the launch before arriving at the hunting location. Species targeted on these hunts will usually depend on the hunt setting, which is at times dictated by the weather. Sea ducks such as Longtails and Scoters are typically conducted over open water, anchored offshore. Diving duck species such as whistlers (Goldeneye), broadbills, ringnecks and bufflehead are usually taken either from shoreline or anchored within wading distance from shore. At times we will occasionally take diving ducks during an offshore float hunt, and in certain situations sea ducks can present an opportunity during hunts that are conducted closer to shore. Mixed bags of both diver and puddle duck species are a common occurrance! Mallards, Blacks, Gadwal, and even Canada Geese can be taken while gunning from or close to shore.
- Capt. Ben Roggie