Antidote for Cabin Fever

Tromp in the Timber

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Bouncing Beagle

2 of 3

Successful Swamp Rabbit Hunt

3 of 3

Published on: Feb. 6, 2014

This winter has been something else. The blasts of arctic air combined with every kind of wintery precipitation have cancelled schools, depleted road salt supplies, and ushered many folks indoors. I admit that I have curtailed some of my outdoor activities this winter and have instead chosen the sheltered warmth of the house. However, there is a point when cabin fever sets and I get the itch. It doesn’t matter how cold it is, I’ve got to get outside and am looking for a good excuse.

Rabbit Season

Last weekend with the close of goose season, Duck Creek was open to another hunting opportunity. While rabbit season has been open elsewhere since October 1st, it opened up on Duck Creek last Saturday, February 1st, and will continue till next Saturday, February 15th. This juggling act of seasons is necessary to prevent conflict among users and provide refuge for the range of fish and wildlife swimming, flying, hopping, and running around the open marsh and bottomland forests.

Taking a long walk in the woods is a great activity for both the young and old and everyone in between. It is an opportunity to explore other corners of the area and a chance to hear the bay of beagles hot on the trail. Whether you go alone or with family and friends, it is better than being cooped up for another day and going stir crazy.

Where can we hunt?

On Duck Creek, the whole area is open. Pool 1 is open and no longer set aside for waterfowl refuge. Pool 2 and 3 still have water in them, but have higher elevations that are never flooded. Thompson Ridge, the Pine Plantation, and Grim Tract are timbered areas that we don’t have flood control

How many rabbits?

The daily bag limit of rabbits is 6, with only 2 of them being swamp rabbits. The possession limit is 12 rabbits, with a cap on 4 swamp rabbits.

What is the difference between the two species?

Swamp rabbits are larger than the Eastern cottontail and can weigh up to 6lbs, which is 2 lbs more than the smaller species of bunny. Despite the size difference, swampers typically have shorter and rounder ears and don’t have the distinct rusty neck patch that the smaller cottontails. The fur of a swamp rabbit typically has a yellowish cast and has more black mottling. Additionally, the tops of the hind legs are rusty in color.

Do we need to check in?

In front of the office is a bulletin board with a sign in sheet. Please sign in at the beginning of the day and sign out when you are done with a tally of your success.

There is not much to it. If you’ve got the itch and were just looking for an excuse to get outside, please take this as an invite to tromp through the timber. Hopefully, you’ll be able to stumble upon some rabbits and have an exciting hunt. Good luck, be safe, and have fun.

Key Messages: 

Conservation makes Missouri a great place to hunt and fish.


On February 28th, 2014 at 12:26pm Keith said:

We have not taken any aerial photos yet this year. We will hopefully be able to do so early this summer or at least in October, prior to the the waterfowl season.

On February 27th, 2014 at 1:49pm Darin said:

Was wanting to ask if you guys have taken any aerial photos of the wetlands in A and B unit yet this year? Thanks!!

On February 24th, 2014 at 8:43am Keith said:

There were many snow geese moving through the area this past weekend and about 15,000 rested on Pool 1. Hunting snow geese is not permitted on Pool 1. Hunting is permitted on the rest of the area by self check-in procedures at the HQ area. Statewide Conservation Order for Light Geese rules apply.

On February 24th, 2014 at 8:39am Keith said:

There are many muskrats on the area and they do like to dig burrows into the edges of the roads. We allow trapping by special use permit and there are trappers currently on the area. Muskrat trapping season ended on Feb 20th.

On February 22nd, 2014 at 8:39pm Anonymous said:

Any snow geese using the area? Can we hunt the main lake for snow geese???

On February 19th, 2014 at 7:50pm Anonymous said:

Saw a muskrat swimming under the ice near 11's boat lane. Looks like his hole went into the road. Is there any muskrat trapping going on at duck creek?

On February 19th, 2014 at 4:10pm frank said:

You are correct, the conservation order permit can be purchased online.  A couple of other locations off the top of my head would be at the Arab gas station, Walmart, or the SE Regional Office.

On February 19th, 2014 at 4:10pm frank said:

You are correct, the conservation order permit can be purchased online.  A couple of other locations off the top of my head would be at the Arab gas station, Walmart, or the SE Regional Office.

On February 19th, 2014 at 3:05pm Anonymous said:

Besides online do you know where the snow goose hunting permit is being sold? anywhere in your area at duck creek?

On February 19th, 2014 at 10:29am Keith said:

Pool 1 is about 60% open, mainly on the north and east sides. The south end is still fairly frozen and the boat dock area is completely ice covered from the bank north to the trees. The two west boat ramps are not yet accessible, but the two east ramps are open enough to launch a boat. The east bank is mostly open water from the ramps north to the NE corner. The remaining ice is opening up fast and if we get a substantial rain tomorrow it should melt most remaining ice.

On February 19th, 2014 at 6:55am Anonymous said:

Is the main lake still froze over?

On February 14th, 2014 at 9:40am frank said:

The next construction project will be putting in 2 fishing docks on Pool 1 to enhance public fishing opportunity.  This project has been approved and bidded out.  At this time we don't have start date, but that should start to firm up soon.  Later this summer the work will begin out at the Greenbrier Unit.  This work will focus on enhancing wetland features to capture water out of the hills or retain some flooded habitat after the Castor River crests.

On February 14th, 2014 at 9:34am frank said:

The HQ building contract isn't complete. A walk-through was done earlier in the week to identify stuff that needs to be wrapped up.  This should be complete in the next month and a half or so.  Hopefully, it will be done sooner.

On February 13th, 2014 at 10:41pm Anonymous said:

Noticed there were still 5 swans using the lake today. More pintails shovelers gadwall geese than during the regular season. Can you tell us the next (first) construction project for 2014 at duck creek?

On February 12th, 2014 at 5:36pm Anonymous said:

How about an update on the progress at the headquarters building for the last 30 days!!!

On February 12th, 2014 at 1:17pm Darin said:

Guys, Wasn't trying to be a I didn't know if you had a specific target date to do the draw downs in the spring to allow time to put corn in the ground. (Weather permitting as always). Thanks for the response.....

On February 11th, 2014 at 5:53pm frank said:

Sorry Darin, we don't have a hard and fast date. 

On February 11th, 2014 at 5:50pm frank said:

Squirrel season is open and ends the same as rabbit season.  Sorry, I thought I had posted this answer earlier.

On February 11th, 2014 at 5:49pm frank said:

Yes, the road aroud the north end of Pool 1 is open.

On February 11th, 2014 at 4:20pm Anonymous said:

Is the road around the north end of the lake now open to tourists?

On February 11th, 2014 at 1:53pm Anonymous said:

Frank, can you tell me if it will rain June 13? Come on Darin, give the guys a break.

On February 11th, 2014 at 1:18pm Darin said:

Frank, "Corn will be planted when and where possible after draw downs". Not really sure if you answered my question?? I was looking for a target date minus the weather. Thanks for your response!!

On February 10th, 2014 at 1:33pm frank said:

Corn will be planted when and where possible after draw downs.  Draw downs will be conducted to optimize spring migratory bird habitat as well as to provide optimal moist soil vegetation response.  A few pools will be drawn down earlier than others where we need to get them dried enough to fix dirt problems. The draw down dates will also vary with current and future weather conditions.

On February 10th, 2014 at 8:02am Darin said:

When do you plan pull the water out of the A and B unit to prepare the soil for corn planting. I have read that no-till practices are good for wet soils if we have another wet spring. Thanks for your response!!

On February 6th, 2014 at 8:04pm Anonymous said:

Are squirrels still in season at duck creek? Is the north half of the lake open to traffic now?
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