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LandDr

Don't complain about ducks...

57 posts in this topic

If you don't do something to help the ducks out...then I don't want to hear about any complaining next fall about "where are the ducks at?"

Out of all the people and groups that I work with...duck hunters are the worst for doing anything for the critter they hunt. I don't understand that as duck hunters are also some of the most passionate hunters there are.

Pheasant hunters probably do more for pheasants than any other group does for their favorite hunting species...large projects with grasslands, woody cover, food plots and feeders. Deer hunters are probably the hardest working and most dedicated since they often have the worst conditions for putting in food plots and probably work the hardest at it. Duck hunters...you don't have to chop any trees down, till the ground or spray anything or plant mass expanses of grassland and trees.

So what is the hold up in helping the ducks?

Got ya feeling bad now...well you should...but here are some ideas for your salvation...

1. There are several programs available to pay for wetland restoration work. USFW has a Partners For Wildlife Program that will actually do all of the work for FREE. I would recommend this program on "non-crop" land. If it is crop land that you are working with, then there are a host of programs that will actually create an annual income (often more than what you are getting now) and even bonus payments...and the cost share for doing the work is usually up to 90%...ALMOST FREE. It is FREE when you consider the additional annual income and bonus payments as those payments will cover your remaining 10%. Let me know if you need help figuring out what program to use on your property.

2. Fatheads a problem on your pond...eating up all the good invertebrates that your ducks eat? I have done this several times with great success...contact a local bait dealer/fish farmer and talk to them about putting walleye fingers in your pond. Those hungry little walleyes will rapidly consume the fatheads and often results in an invertebrate explosion! You can lease the pond to the fish guy or maybe you are happy to let him use it in trade for some better duck hunting. Those walleyes will also eat up bullheads! Also...make sure to get out on your pond during the winter for some possible walleye fishing BEFORE it winter kills. I have caught many 10 to 12 inch walleyes on some of my ponds after a summer stalking...not big walleyes but if they are going to die anyway, might as well eat em up!

3. Freshwater Shrimp...once your fatheads are gone or reduces or maybe you don't have any to start with...freshwater shrimp are an excellent option for your pond. Ducks LOVE shrimp! Ask any old timer. We are harvesting shrimp during the month of February and will continue until the ice gets bad or we feel we need to stop harvesting from our ponds.

4. Sago and Celery...another great waterfowl food source. I have a 10 ac. Sago pond with shrimp that is fantastic for ducks!

5. Wild rice...we all know ducks love wild rice. We have been pretty successful at getting rice started in plain old ponds...no moving water or anyting...just a plain old pond. Usually harvested in the fall but sometimes there is some left over for spring. Easy to take with you out to your duck pond...hunt ducks in the morning and throw rice out in the afternoon.

6. Flooded Fields...this is probably the most underused option in the midwest. Flooding a crop field in the fall will definately draw the ducks in! Just don't knock down, cut or shatter the crop so you are not baiting. Directly from the USFW headquarters in Virginia that flooding crops IS NOT baiting.

Post some questions if you have them...happy to help you with some ideas or options to consider for helping the ducks in MN and elsewhere.

No complaining about the ducks

LandDr

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well thats a great post for people that have land but no where in it did you tell all the non-land owners how they could help out i know there are many programs that we can take part in to help

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cant say i didnt try and make it better! i made over 50 nesting baskets this past winter and were putting them up in the spring!!...also many people dont have a big pond or something or the money to flood a feild. its alot easier for a deer hunter or pheasent hunter because u can pretty much plant something and they will come atleast around here. as for ducks you need a low spot or something that u can flood which is hard to come by around my home town. i try to do my part in helping the duck populations but not everyone has the money so you cant say duck hunters constently complain about duck populations and dont do anything about because 99% of us really can't.

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one thing any duck hunter can do is make your voice heard on conservation issues at local, state, and federal levels of government. you dont need to one 1 acre of land to pick up the phone and call a senate or congressional office and voice your opinion on certain legislation such as the farm bill, clean water act, sodbuster, etc.

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one thing any duck hunter can do is make your voice heard on conservation issues at local, state, and federal levels of government. you dont need to one 1 acre of land to pick up the phone and call a senate or congressional office and voice your opinion on certain legislation such as the farm bill, clean water act, sodbuster, etc.

yea pretty sure even if you voice your word at any of these deals with the gov't they dont do anything. those people that sun that stuff do whatever they want to do it. your word hardly makes a difference with those kind of people.

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so when a gun control bill comes up i shouldnt call my congressman then? since my opinion doesnt count? if you dont voice your opinion, whats the point in voting? whats the point in a democracy?

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go right ahead if it makes you feel better. but personally i dont think my word does anything to make a difference. ive knowen so many people the went up and fought for the clean water act and they even said what they said hardly did anything. if you want to voice your opinion good right ahead thats just my opinion about pollitcs

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Duck hunters are the worst..... how about them rabbit hunters wow they do nothing...

nice rant - not needed

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The great thing is 90% of people don't bother to speak up, figure it doesn't matter. So when others do, as I do, they figure you represent 10-100 voices.

And it does matter, ever heard of the Back Forty Pheasant CRP practice that was proposed by Pheasants Forever (mainly) and adopted by USDA 23,000 new CRP acres for MN? How about the Duck Nesting Habitat CP-37 from DU and others also adopted by USDA? The extension of $100 per acre signing bonuses to wetland CRP contracts?

When you realize how FEW people actually even attempt to influence a legislator it's scary, one person can really change things, that's why they pay lobbyists millions.

My 2 Cents.

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Hmmmm...interesting. Naive...but, interesting. First,,,generalizations like this are always dangerous.

Maybe you have heard of these organizations, DU, Delta, MWA??? While probably not as effective as PF locally....they are notable and quality organizations.

Also...habitat restoration that attracts and sustains pheasants also benefits ducks...as well as numerous other species. I think your views are narrow and short sighted. Lets not forget that waterfowl are migratory birds....unlike pheasants and deer..we can't sustain a poplulation of ducks on a given property.

But the real bottom line is that most Minnesota residents don't have access to enough acreage to do the things you are talking about...and to say that duck hunters do nothing to enhance their hunting is just plain wrong. This is a poor sales tactic.

yeti

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Duck hunters are the worst..... how about them rabbit hunters wow they do nothing...

nice rant - not needed

if your so upset with duck hunters not doing anything to improve their habitat then why dont you fork over some cash, if u give me the money i will do everything i can do to help. very few people have that much money to flood feilds and what not.

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Quote:
very few people have that much money to flood feilds and what not

I have never heard anything about creating duck habitat as of flooding fields? Makes good hunting for sure... like rice patties where I do some hunting.

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I have never heard anything about creating duck habitat as of flooding fields? Makes good hunting for sure... like rice patties where I do some hunting.

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Landdr,

How much land do you own?

Are you a farmer or from a family with relatives who farm?

I understand your sentiment but I think it's a bit off base and more out of frustration. Being an avid waterfowl hunter myself I see the same frustration. Migratory waterfowl and it's habitat is far more intricate than that for pheasants or whitetail deer. It is much harder to get a land owner to put in even a small pond on property where they've invested tons of money and miles of tile to eradicate waterfowl spring habitat as well as permanent wetlands than it is to pay them for a 10 year CRP contract that involves little change to the actually soil bed. To put in a pond or wetland system they are not keeping their land portfolio diversified. If crop prices make it a no brainier to start crop rotation again they and who can blame them want to be able to take advantage of that. Plus most waterfowl habitat improvement projects involve signing long term contracts that bind a land owners hands and also affect land values for 30 years.

As far as doing something for waterfowl habitat that involves creating a pond in a non priority waterfowl area the red tape and hoops you have to jump through make even the DNR land managers cringe. You have to deal with multiple federal, state and county agency that bury you in paper work. We have 14 acres in a whip program on our 40 and the paper work for that is hysterical.

There are 2 low spots that on wet year hold water on our land. I want to on a dry year dig them a foot deeper and make 2 very small ponds. From what I understand if it's under such and such size I should do it under the radar. We do not have a lot of lakes or ponds in our area but lots of rivers, ditches and small beaver ponds. Not what they call good enough habitat to warrant Federal or State money or aid to help build a pond. We still see enough ducks in the spring and fall that I think it could at least help.

Waterfowl hunter numbers are IMO falling faster than any other sport. The migrating aspect makes in more difficult to hunt them for today's average hunter. In the past hunters could get some good shooting early. Then get a good flight of birds later. And they could do it not far from home with little invested in vacation time and gear with less frustrated competition. Times have changed with habitat conditions. Birds stay in the Canadian breeding grounds later and later. Good set ups to hunt birds have shrunk with farming and development leading to greater and more aggressive competition for the spots that are left. Warmer winters have caused birds to short stop once southern hot beds and created new ones in other areas.

The idea of flooding fields is something I do believe we as a state should at least explore and look into the how's, where's and why's the southern states do it. I never here anything about it from any of our waterfowl managers. I'm guessing there is a cost factor involved and the lack of any evidence it could work here but I'm guessing it would. Our farmer here are a bit different and more anal than most southern farmers. Doubt the idea would catch on on a grand scale here because farmers are very rut orientated.

The time and money involved in chasing waterfowl and being able to move to find the birds has left many out of the game. Many old schoolers have given it up because the birds just don't use uncle Leroy's farm ponds or fields any more because they are either drained and gone or the birds have found better habitat conditions some where else. So instead of moving to find the birds it just got easier to go hunt pheasants or deer because they are more of them. Plus they don't have top wait for something that may never show up or that leaves early and migrates south.

The cost of staying competitive with gear and equipment is mind blowing if you want to be a hunter who can hunt varying conditions. You have big deep water, big shallow water, ponds and field hunting. Trucks, trailers, four wheelers, field decoys, lay out blinds, floating decoys, canoes, small boats, big v hull boats for big water, big flat bottom boats with mud motors for shallow water. Not to mention waterproof warm clothing and waders that are getting more and more expensive that last at best 3-4 years before you begin trying to plug the ever growing numbers of holes in the crumbling leaky dam. Put the cost of vets bills and dog food in there and the average duck hunter spends enough on equipment that it gets a bit out of reach for the average every day guy or gal unless you're truly mental like most modern day waterfowl hunters myself included.

Duck hunters do a lot through federal and state duck stamps to purchase WPA's and WMA's. Nationally and local chapters of Ducks unlimited, the Minnesota Waterfowl Association, Delta Waterfowl Association, Pheasants Forever and the DNR help habitat. They might not live up to our wants or expectations but at least we have them. Imagine if we didn't.

Duck hunter numbers are below 100,000 in Minnesota. Not a lot of people to do all the work that needs to be done to improve habitat conditions in just Minnesota when waterfowl habitat is under siege from every angle today in Canada and the US. In that 100,000 I would bet there are less than 5% that own land that has even a little good waterfowl habitat or possible habitat on it to even make a rain drop bit of difference in overall habitat lose.

The biggest differences we can make involves keeping our hat in the ring. Keep our wheels squeaking and our voices heard. If we can't buy a good chunk of land and make it into a piece of waterfowl habitat heaven join as many duck COOP's as we can like DU, Delta, MWA and Pheasants Forever and buy extra duck stamps when we can.

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I have never heard anything about creating duck habitat as of flooding fields? Makes good hunting for sure... like rice patties where I do some hunting.

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I flooded most of my fields with a little help from the good Lord this fall. Definitely not a practice I plan on continuing though. The geese sure did enjoy it though.

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Basseyes,

Everything you wrote is right on the money. Its easy to invest in pheasants and ducks and see dividends directly and early on. Cripes, the more houses that go up the more deer there seems to be. With so much duck habitat being degraded for farming and housing its harder to expect duck numbers to stay at present rates. As numbers fall... hunter numbers fall... and so does dollars to save the ducks. With farmers finally getting paid for their corn (ethanol) we can only expect to find fewer and fewer farmers to offer lands up for the ducks.

Im a public land hunter so I can't make a f'ing sweet duck pond cause its not in the cards for me. I do give to Ducks Unlimited and promote the shoot drakes only philosophy. More needs to be done by all outdoor recreation fans especially gun owners in the future so we can enjoy our sports for years to come. I don't have the answers. Thats why I vote for people that might. Can I do more??? YES. If im like anyone else; where do I start? We all should ask ourselves that same question.

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In my area, I haven't shot a duck in a decade because they are so few. I've tried planting wildrice from that company in I think Wausau Wisc. I have tons of wood duck houses up. All the farms I have a say in have the same wetlands that I hunted as a kid. But, there are very few birds at any time of the season. I was lucky enough in the mid 80's to experience mass numbers of wood ducks and mallards. Same areas now hold few if any. The 2 big things I've noticed is every doggone lake now has a cabin or cabins all the way around it. The other factor is the beaver has been nearly eliminated in the 2 counties I used to hunt. Now, like many others I just hunt geese. And it seems as our resident Canada goose took hold MN duck numbers went south. I lived in the Morris area for 2 years a couple of years ago, I thought great good duck hunting, I didn't see much for ducks around there either. So all this money we have donated or license sales or lottery or whatever, seems like it is just used to buy more WPA. I have never seen a dollar go at any of my farming uncles and grandfathers, there ponds once littered with birds now have few if any. I have no answers to bringing them back.

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Our habitat looks aged and when the beaver left it took the ducks right with him. Lots of lakes that were once hunting lakes aren't anymore. I even own land that as a kid early 80's I would fire a single 20 gauge round toward them and flush litterly hundreds of mallards and woodies because it is impossible to get to them. Then I'd hide and get a few that were disorientated to where the shot came from and they'd fly by. Today, I haven't seen a duck land in there in over 10 years and no one has ever hunted or can hunt this swamp water. So in there the water quality must be zero for ducks. So the big ? is what could I do to get the birds back in there again? That is where I tried the wild rice, in the spring/early summer you can get a narrow boat in there, by fall the water is so low you can't. It's hard to tell my nephews about the ducks because they don't understand why they are not around anymore. This sure made me reminisce about the goold old days of drilling green heads that once flew in flocks by the hundreds. Sure miss it, can you imagine if the geese didn't take hold ? How do we revitalize the water we already have ?

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For all those interetsed, landdr owns a business in west central mn and he is just trying to drum up sales without mentioning his company name on here. You sure have been quiet since you posted this KT.

I think the biggest difference in the phesant/duck habitat issue is people are more willing to invest in their property for phesants because these birds do not migrate so what you raise on your land, there is a good chance you will get to harvest it off your land.

Duck habitat projects are more wide scope then just planting the back 40 to grass and dumping a few gallons of shrimp in your pond. A lot of the money invested in DU/Delta etc isn't going to show up in your backyard. I hope that it will be put to use to save or restore an area that will produce large numbers of ducks. Ducks need large areas of grass with multiple ponds to produce large numbers of successful broods.

Sorry about the rant, just tired of the sales pitch. Any money donated to help habitat is money well spent.

Dan

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Your voice will be heard when contacting politicians....after the DNR banquet fiasco became public, I emailed Pawlenty with my disgust. The next day I got a call from his office. The simple truth is, politicians aren't contacted often, and when they are, they are very interested in what their constituients (sp?) think. Give it a try.

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And it sounds like lost money to the farmers. Do you have any idea how much a bushel of corn is worth? Problem is, we had the habitat and drained it to farm. Farming makes money and feeds the nation. Duck hunting, while a great pastime and something many of us love to do, doesn't have any green attached to it.

Nice idea, but alot of the stuff proposed is not realistic to actually have happen without lots of dough to support it.

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i work for a farmer so yes i get that corn is high but idk where you r from but around here some of the farmers are the most gredy people you will ever meet. they couldnt care less about duck habitat if they can make a couple extra bucks. example- there was a marsh of about 5,000 acres near my house that had a dam to keep water in it. but sure enough some farmer i wont say his name thought he desirved some more money and cut the dam out and drained almost all of it. theres millions of acres of prime farm land all over around here and he still did that. i dont care what anyone said thats wrong and now the conservation club has to go to court with the farmers to get this [PoorWordUsage] back in place. if it was the [PoorWordUsage] would go in much higher and take some of his land that the state owns that HE tiled up for free. flood his entire feild thats what that guy desirves. now everyone wonders why theres half as many ducks around here??? hello people get a clue

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