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#1186194 - 01/20/10 04:23 PM How to create the perfect waterfowl habitat.
DUAggie Offline
Tracker

Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 646
Loc: Houston
There have been many questions on here about creating waterfowl habitat. I think this would be a great thread for everyone to kind of chime in on their thoughts using a map from my actual hunting property. Hopefully this can answer a lot of questions and help all of us to become better hunters!

OK, here are some details.

1.) the property is 277 acres total
2.) it is bordered on the north and south by rice
3.) there are 3 established ponds marked on the map,and 2 "could-be" ponds.
4.) I have the ability through a system of levies to drain/fill all ponds on map to depth of 1.5 - 2 ft. And flood other areas to depth of 6 - 12 inches.
5.) I marked out the coordinates, so don't even think about it wink

My goals:

1.) Create a bad arse waterfowl habitat for next season through planting crops and establishing water.

My questions: Feel free to chime in on ANYTHING

1.) How many ponds would you place on the property? Size?
2.) Where would you plant crops on the property? How many acres?
3.) Would you establish a roost pond?
4.) If this was YOUR property how would you do it??




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#1186217 - 01/20/10 04:33 PM Re: How to create the perfect waterfowl habitat. [Re: DUAggie]
TX Marsh Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 12/30/09
Posts: 43
Plant rye grass or winter wheat or rice for geese an crane. Another rice field and flood it for ducks. Have one pond you dont hunt that has levies and little sandbars or islands in the middle for ducks geese and cranes to roost on

_________________________
Snow geese are just white feral hogs with wings

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#1186235 - 01/20/10 04:41 PM Re: How to create the perfect waterfowl habitat. [Re: TX Marsh]
DUAggie Offline
Tracker

Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 646
Loc: Houston
How many acres would you plant in crops and on which part of the property? Do you flood winter wheat or rye grass. The properties to the north and south already are in rice production and usually hold a lot of geese. I would like to attract more ducks. Thanks for the input.


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#1186245 - 01/20/10 04:45 PM Re: How to create the perfect waterfowl habitat. [Re: DUAggie]
DUAggie Offline
Tracker

Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 646
Loc: Houston
Also, i know that cappy only has 11 acres and seemd to do just fine. would you dedicate the entire 277 acres to habitat or just a portion of it. This is abviously going to be a big project for me and it starts Monday after this season.


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#1186267 - 01/20/10 04:53 PM Re: How to create the perfect waterfowl habitat. [Re: DUAggie]
No-Tox Offline
Tracker

Registered: 01/03/05
Posts: 513
Loc: Rockwall, TX
Dedicate as much land as you can afford to do. Plant pure rice or a good duck seed mix. If you can control your water and plant at the right time, you are halfway there. The other half is the ducks and weather.
Also, I wouldn't mess with a roost pond as you don't know if the ducks will actually use it to roost.


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#1186383 - 01/20/10 05:44 PM Re: How to create the perfect waterfowl habitat. [Re: No-Tox]
Cappy_TX Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 06/09/05
Posts: 2391
Loc: Ivanhoe, TX
DU ...

Lots of questions first including:

Do you intend to undertake all of the expense of the project entirely on your own or do you want to try to get DU, the State, Feds or others to help underwrite part of the costs?

How many of the total acres can you dedicate to 100% waterfowl habitat verses agriculture?

Do you have the tractors and other implements needed for creating and maintaining ponds, wetlands, berms and the areas you'll be planting? Do you have labor assistance available to you?

What is your water source during drought years and where do you intend to discharge excess to when you have too much rain? How about draw down periods, where do you discharge to?

How far are the closest refuges and major roost areas? Do they roost, feed or rest there?

What are the most prevalent species of waterfowl in the immediate area now?

Are the adjacent land areas hunted? If so, how much pressure are they receiving?

If you'd prefer not to post all of that info publically, e-mail it to me at swfsinc@aol.com and I'll offer my $.02 in return.

_________________________
Cappy ... At my side for thirteen years, in my heart forever.

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#1186399 - 01/20/10 05:51 PM Re: How to create the perfect waterfowl habitat. [Re: Cappy_TX]
duckboy007 Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 11/17/09
Posts: 2307
Loc: dfw, TEXAS
Originally Posted By: Cappy_TX
DU ...

Lots of questions first including:

Do you intend to undertake all of the expense of the project entirely on your own or do you want to try to get DU, the State, Feds or others to help underwrite part of the costs?

How many of the total acres can you dedicate to 100% waterfowl habitat verses agriculture?

Do you have the tractors and other implements needed for creating and maintaining ponds, wetlands, berms and the areas you'll be planting? Do you have labor assistance available to you?

What is your water source during drought years and where do you intend to discharge excess to when you have too much rain? How about draw down periods, where do you discharge to?

How far are the closest refuges and major roost areas? Do they roost, feed or rest there?

What are the most prevalent species of waterfowl in the immediate area now?

Are the adjacent land areas hunted? If so, how much pressure are they receiving?

If you'd prefer not to post all of that info publically, e-mail it to me at swfsinc@aol.com and I'll offer my $.02 in return.


That's a man who knows what's going on! These are all excellent questions.

_________________________
My dog snores.
Secret Agent Custom Calls

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#1186464 - 01/20/10 06:13 PM Re: How to create the perfect waterfowl habitat. [Re: duckboy007]
Ridn9high Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 01/13/07
Posts: 1402
Loc: Where the ducks are
Do they burn the rice fields around you after the harvest or flood them. My family has 4,ooo acres in the Sacramento valley and a lot of it is rice, corn and tomato's. Rice takes a lot of water to grow, irriagation and controled water level is the best way.

If you can lease some of your property to a farmer and let them plant the rice, you will be set. They will take care of the soil, plant and harvest. If you could have a way to flood it a few weeks into the season, you will be loaded up with birds.


If you are wanting year round habitat for watefowl, there are many organizations out there that will help out with expenses. Duck like marsh. Build big shallow ponds/marsh with feed, cover and little islands in middle. The islands keep the birds away from predator. If some decide to nest on your proprty, the islands will help the yound survive.

I would give DU a call and show them the layout of your property and tell them where you are located. They will let you know the best seeds to plant for your area and how to set the whole place up.

Good luck


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#1186498 - 01/20/10 06:29 PM Re: How to create the perfect waterfowl habitat. [Re: Cappy_TX]
DUAggie Offline
Tracker

Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 646
Loc: Houston
Originally Posted By: Cappy_TX
DU ...

Lots of questions first including:

Do you intend to undertake all of the expense of the project entirely on your own or do you want to try to get DU, the State, Feds or others to help underwrite part of the costs?
I take on the majority of the costs. DU would want a 10 year conservation easement which is not possible for me
How many of the total acres can you dedicate to 100% waterfowl habitat verses agriculture?
the entire property is a section (640 acres) there is only a grazing lease in place and NO agricultural crop production. I would like 277 acres for waterfowl and 363 acres for the cattle
Do you have the tractors and other implements needed for creating and maintaining ponds, wetlands, berms and the areas you'll be planting? Do you have labor assistance available to you?
yes
What is your water source during drought years and where do you intend to discharge excess to when you have too much rain? How about draw down periods, where do you discharge to?
irrigation well (if needed) 10 foot canals run on the north and west side of the property which drain into city drainage
How far are the closest refuges and major roost areas? Do they roost, feed or rest there?
geese/ducks were holding all year in the rice field to the north. there is also a 10,000 acre refuge in the immediate area
What are the most prevalent species of waterfowl in the immediate area now?
in order of population numbers: geese, pintail, teal, shovelers, gadwall, widgeon, mallard (very few in late season)
Are the adjacent land areas hunted? If so, how much pressure are they receiving?
yes. fair amount of pressure
If you'd prefer not to post all of that info publically, e-mail it to me at swfsinc@aol.com and I'll offer my $.02 in return.


Thanks Cappy. I was being vague with my answers. If need be to go into more detail I can email you, but for the sake of keeping this thread going for others to learn and participate i answered them.


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#1186513 - 01/20/10 06:35 PM Re: How to create the perfect waterfowl habitat. [Re: Ridn9high]
DUAggie Offline
Tracker

Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 646
Loc: Houston
Originally Posted By: Ridn9high
Do they burn the rice fields around you after the harvest or flood them. My family has 4,ooo acres in the Sacramento valley and a lot of it is rice, corn and tomato's. Rice takes a lot of water to grow, irriagation and controled water level is the best way.

If you can lease some of your property to a farmer and let them plant the rice, you will be set. They will take care of the soil, plant and harvest. If you could have a way to flood it a few weeks into the season, you will be loaded up with birds.


If you are wanting year round habitat for watefowl, there are many organizations out there that will help out with expenses. Duck like marsh. Build big shallow ponds/marsh with feed, cover and little islands in middle. The islands keep the birds away from predator. If some decide to nest on your proprty, the islands will help the yound survive.

I would give DU a call and show them the layout of your property and tell them where you are located. They will let you know the best seeds to plant for your area and how to set the whole place up.

Good luck


TO my knowledge they DO NOT burn rice fields. This property was once a rice farm but has not been in years. Government controls the rice production, it is out of my control. My thinking is to plant various 5 acre crops of millet, rye grass...etc and keep them under 6 -12 inches of water and then hunt my deeper ponds. The properties to the north and south are currently in active rice production and do hold waterfowl, but they are hunted.


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#1186745 - 01/20/10 08:12 PM Re: How to create the perfect waterfowl habitat. [Re: DUAggie]
TBK Offline
Tracker

Registered: 09/06/05
Posts: 692
Loc: Porter, TX
DU- Sweet set up you got going. I'm envious. I hope all goes well and you create duck heaven.


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#1186771 - 01/20/10 08:22 PM Re: How to create the perfect waterfowl habitat. [Re: TBK]
junfan68 Offline
Tracker

Registered: 05/15/08
Posts: 652
Loc: Dallas
I would consider planting some corn and milo in the non-wet areas.. Would be cool to have some S-type rows that alternate between corn and milo. Have someone come in and harvest it, but leave some standing. I would drain the lakes the best you could, then disc as much of it as you can, then plant japanese millet in those areas.


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#1187489 - 01/21/10 07:10 AM Re: How to create the perfect waterfowl habitat. [Re: junfan68]
bpitcher Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 11/17/09
Posts: 244
Loc: Bay City, TX
Just remember that millet cannot be hunted the first year it is planted:

"Natural vegetation does not include planted millet. However, planted millet that grows on its own in subsequent years after the planting is considered natural vegetation..."

Controlling your water level pre-season should give you a good smartweed crop.

Those properties to the north, east, and south of you are all excelent duck producers.

_________________________
Brad Pitcher
(979)318-2593

GOT GEESE?
Third Coast Outfitters
http://www.thirdcoastoutfitters.com/

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#1187518 - 01/21/10 07:41 AM Re: How to create the perfect waterfowl habitat. [Re: bpitcher]
junfan68 Offline
Tracker

Registered: 05/15/08
Posts: 652
Loc: Dallas
Quote:
Just remember that millet cannot be hunted the first year it is planted:


That is flat out not true. It has been talked about ad naseum on this forum over and over.


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#1187530 - 01/21/10 07:47 AM Re: How to create the perfect waterfowl habitat. [Re: junfan68]
junfan68 Offline
Tracker

Registered: 05/15/08
Posts: 652
Loc: Dallas
General Rules
NOTE: Hunters are responsible for knowing whether an area is baited or not.

Baiting (the following baiting rules have been established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service):

A hunter MAY hunt any migratory game bird:

over standing crops, standing flooded crops, and flooded harvested crops

at any time over natural vegetation that has been manipulated
where seeds or grains have been scattered as a result of normal agricultural planting, harvesting, or post-harvest manipulation

over crops or natural vegetation where grain has been inadvertently scattered as a result of entering or leaving the field, placing decoys, or retrieving downed birds
using natural vegetation or crops to conceal a blind, provided that if crops are used, no grain or other feed is exposed, deposited, distributed, or scattered in the process
except water fowl and cranes where grain or other feed has been distributed or scattered as the result of the manipulation of a crop or livestock feeding


A hunter MAY NOT:

hunt migratory birds with the aid of bait, or on or over any baited area

hunt over any baited area until 10 days after all baiting materials have been removed

hunt waterfowl or cranes over manipulated planted millet, unless the millet was planted more than one year prior to hunting

hunt waterfowl or cranes over crops that have been manipulated, unless the manipulation is a normal agricultural planting, harvesting, or post-harvest manipulation



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