2011 Wrap-up and Units A and B Update

As waterfowl season comes to a close I hope you were able to make some pleasurable memories at Duck Creek this fall. The wood ducks did us a favor this year and helped sustain the harvest for the first part of the season. As the mallards started trickling in Old Man Winter threatened to lock things up with ice, but then backed off until the last two days. Overall, I wouldn’t say this was a record breaking year for Duck Creek, but considering Unit A and B were closed, it wasn’t too bad either. I know I had a couple good days in the field and I hope you were able to as well.

Wet weather

During this fall I’ve focused my blog posts on the bottomland timber, partner activities, and an analogy of how the various parts of the renovation remind me of refurbishing a house. As with most of my home improvement projects, they don’t always go as planned. Something always comes up, that I didn’t quite expect. Likewise, the construction in Unit A and B this fall has thrown us a few curveballs. We were really hoping to be done before it got too wet. In September and October the contractors were really moving, but when the November rains set in, they had no choice but to stop. Over the next two months there was not a single week that was totally dry (Figure 1). Duck Creek received over 15 inches, most of which fell in November. During this time of year with the cool temperatures and lack of plant growth drying out is a slow process.

Prior accomplishments in Units A and B

What had been accomplished prior to the rain in Unit A and the northern part of Unit B was the bulk of the dirt work, along with the installation of most of the water control structures (Figures 2 and 3). There still are a few spots that still need to be finished up in the north section and a little more progress needs to be made on the south side of McGee Creek before the finishing work commences. Despite not being mulched or seeded prior to the wet weather, the work site hasn’t suffered too much erosional damage. The levees have held and the scours are draining. The contractors will move back in once the working conditions improve and keep chipping away at their punch list.

What to expect in 2012

I’ll admit that am a little disappointed that the work wasn’t completed before the fall rains hit, but that is literally water under the bridge. In the coming year, we will finish up the work in Unit A and B and hopefully start on the next stage of the renovation. This spring we should have plenty of water in Pool 1 and will try to knock back the lotus in the summer. Next fall we should be able to hunt in Units A and B, along with Pools 2, 3, and 8. Any new construction work will primarily focus on the edges of the area like Field 1 and the fish ponds tract. I can’t say whether or not these new project areas will be complete by waterfowl season, but I’m definitely going to push for it. Thank you for your patience in 2011, I think we’ve really begun to turn the corner with our renovation work at Duck Creek. I think 2012 holds a lot of promise. Thank you again for your interest and support.

Comments

Duck Creek and Mingo areas

Duck Creek and Mingo areas are idea locations to help maintain a healthy Feral hog population. Some people like to sling insults when they disagree on any subject but I am a big man and and can take it. I enjoy hog hunting and do not see why I and others like me should have to drive to another state to hunt. The sale of a hog hunting license would generate as much money as the sale of Deer hunting permits if we stop waisting money trying to kill all the hogs and start using them to our benifit. Texas, Arkansas and other hog hunting states have not ground to a hault due to there hog population. And farmers have always blamed wildlife weather and every other thing they can think of when a crop fails, or stock dies. As you are aware you had to have the Elk checked seven ways come sunday before they could be brought into Missouri, and then there is still several people who want all the Elk killed or removed from our state for all the same reasons stated about wild hogs. Perhaps some day you managers will come to reason.

I believe u guys have a good

I believe u guys have a good plan!!! Keep up the good work and don't forget to let those willow trees grow across the habitat to at least provide some cover vs to being an all open area to try and hunt. I hunt in willow sloughs to the south and they seem to attract birds that are looking for cover out of the elements.

Darin - Unit A and B will

Darin - Unit A and B will managed primarily for desireable species of native moist soil vegetation consisting of millets and other grasses, smartweeds, bidens, etc.  Food plots will be utilized to achieve some of this management objective, not so much for a source of food, but for the rotational areas they provide for soil disturbance which is necessary to provide the robust response of annual vegetation the following year.  Cockleburs, unfortunately, are and ever will be established in these wetland pools.  They will respond to moisture conditions in the soil and the amount of other established vegetation more than anything else.  We can mostly eliminate the growth of cockleburs by properly drawing the water from these pools and promoting the desireable plants but there are always problem areas which require additional treatment, either with herbicide, water, or fall discing.  Typically we will plant 15% to 25% of the area in food plots, fall disc 25% to 50%, and leave 35% to 50%  standing moist soil.  It doesn't always work out this neatly and it is going to take a few years to figure out the individual characteristics of each of these new areas as well as establish areas where we want trees to grow vs. areas we want to remain free from trees.  Unit A and B will be managed similarly in the future to how we have managed Unit A the past 5 years.

Darin please understand that

Darin please understand that cockleburs are very difficult (and expensive) to control. They would never be purposely planted. They easily could show up with high water.

What kind of crops will be

What kind of crops will be planted for the waterfowl next year in Unit A and B?
Millet, Corn, Milo, Winter Wheat, etc.?? Just don't want to see those cucoburs establish themselves again. Thanks!!!

In regards to Mingo, the fact

In regards to Mingo, the fact that they are reviewing their hunt program and are taking public comments certainly lends itself to some potential changes.

We’ll have to see how the new

We’ll have to see how the new design works out, but there should be a couple additional spots. Also, as I’ve mentioned before, prior to this renovation work many of the goose blind pits in Unit B didn’t have the means to be flooded regularly other than by heavy rainfall.  We will now be able to flood these areas with the help of 2 wells, our contour levees, and distribution channels.  This will enhance the waterfowl hunting potential of these old positions that typically didn’t get much action.

I know this is still about a

I know this is still about a year away, but can you tell how many spots are going to be in unit a and b? More or less than before?

With the change in management

With the change in management at Mingo, can we expect a shift towards a more hunter friendly management plan in adjacent NWR areas to Duck Creek?