White Oak Mountain Ranger:
Sad to say, given the current times, our general lack of civility, can’t say I was surprised to hear this story.
Your story struck a chord with me as a fellow duck hunter who in my 7th decade has seen my best days afield or for that matter in a duck blind.
I could tell you some stories, but your narrative is spot on with my observations of 60+ years of upland game or waterfowl hunting.
One of my dearest old friends and hunting buds of 40+ years called my attention to the Reelfoot Lake story. He grew up in Northwest Tennessee, knows the area well and we have hunted Reelfoot many times over the past 30 years as well as parts of Arkansas, North Mississippi and the mid west.
We have had the good fortune to have developed good relationships with various guides that were from 2nd or 3rd generation “Lake families. “
And yes, we learned early on about duck blind “etiquette “ and Reelfoot hunting in general. “Freelancing” can be a dicey issue in that area. You best know somebody.
I pulled a boat up and down the road from North Hiwassee to North Alabama for the better part of 35 years and have experienced the fun and frivolity of competing for public hunting spots. In fact, as a means of working around some of the issues you so aptly describe, began hunting mid week whenever possible therefore avoiding weekends (and more people). Just me and my trusty Labrador.
At some point, the small handful of us that often hunted together just decided to focus more on guided hunts in various areas of the country. Through work and family contacts we had the good fortune of developing good hunting experiences on both private and public lands in Kansas and the Dakotas.
As to your last question: I think you may have answered it in your final paragraph.
Too many hunters with unrealistic expectations cramming into too small an area and often feeling quite entitled (a little like Neyland Stadium over the past decade).
Perhaps a microcosm of today’s very divided and often uncivil society, throw in lack of patience and perspective?
And as Jeff Foxworthy used to say: “There’s your sign.”
Best of luck to you in your adventures. Stay safe.