Duck hunters navigate rough waters

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Two duck hunters who ventured out on the Niagara River in a small boat Thursday morning attracted a lot of attention.

A Gale Watch had been issued on Tuesday, warning boaters that waves on Lake Erie could be as high as eleven to fifteen feet toward the end of the week. The Watch turned into a Warning just as the two hunters set-out on a choppy river.

A spectator who has fished on the river happened to be at the Erie Basin Marina in Buffalo as the wind began kicking-up. “The winds just kept getting worse and worse. The waves were getting bigger and bigger,” he said. He then called 9-1-1 and was put in touch with the Coast Guard.

“It looked like they were trying to get back up the river and they ended up beaching themselves…” he said.

Another spectator took pictures as the men appeared to begin hunting for ducks. The waterfowl season is open and duck hunting is permitted along the Niagara River, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Coast Guard Public Affairs Officer Ensign Katelyn Waddle said “They were sitting on the break wall hunting. Their boat started to drift away, but it didn’t get very far. So they were able to just kind of step into the water, grab the boat and bring it back.”

The Coast Guard, along with Buffalo Police and Fire Departments were contacted. A Coast Guard response vessel caught up with hunters in their small boat and towed them close to shore after their odyssey. The men said they were never in distress.

However, they were not in a talking mood when approached for a comment or two. They quickly hitched up their boat to a truck and sped away.

Ensign Waddle said “we’re just glad that everybody is safe and sound.”




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