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If you are a serious waterfowler...

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If you are a serious waterfowler...
you will enjoy and learn from the "XO: State of Waterfowl" series on Xpress Boats youtube channel. This is a round table discussion of waterfowl management from both waterfowl biologists and people who make their livelihood from the duck hunting industry. The series is broken into about 15 videos and covers a lot of current issues for today's hunters and the people who develop policy and regulations and study waterfowl. The discussions are quite interesting and put forth a ton of information that isn't usually present when discussions are had amongst average hunters. I think you'd be well served to take the time and listen to each video. Some of the best info I've ever found online related to duck hunting and the rules and science that governs us in our pursuit.

Take a look.

https://www.youtube.com/...ylEE7rqAa5MfRUsboYig

Eric
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Re: If you are a serious waterfowler... In reply to
The State of Waterfowl series is very informative! One of the panel members, Larry Reynolds, is an incredible resource in the State of Louisiana and the world of waterfowl. I have reached out to him on many occasions regarding habitat in S Louisiana, wood duck box questions, aerial surveys, etc. He is a wealth of knowledge and a huge asset for waterfowl. Another panel member, Paul Link, has personally banded 1000's and 1000's of ducks and geese. The data he's collected is so cool and informative!

I grew up hunting in MI as a kid in the late 70's, relocated to SC in the 80's for college to witness the decline of waterfowl migration to SC as habitat was lost due to development and eradication of 1000's of acres of both invasive and native submerged vegetation here in SC. I've hunted SE Louisiana for the last 20 years and personally seen 100's of acres disappear into the Gulf of Mexico due to hurricanes, lack of sediment deposit from the MS river, erosion, saltwater intrusion, etc. .We have an insect that is attacking our roseau cane which is the last remaining fiber holding sediment in our marsh....too much has changed too fast and our marsh is disappearing. Most folks don't realize the impact all of these changes have on the health of our migratory waterfowl who winter in the bottom of the MS flyway.
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Re: If you are a serious waterfowler... In reply to
Thanks for the tip. I watched many of those video presentations and would encourage DHBP guys to give it a look. The biologists are rock stars in the duck world. Many of the bullet points turned out to be the same comments we were having to each other all last season .
Sometimes science talk and regular guy talk does not blend well ,but in this conversation ,it works.
DHBP Member since May 1999
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Re: If you are a serious waterfowler... In reply to
P Taylor

After I saw the videos I contacted Larry. Starting back in 95 we communicated online and via email but hadn't done so in many years. He used to participate some here at duckboats.net and I encouraged him to rejoin.

Did you see the critical posts and link to the Flyway Federation videos on how Louisiana has lost its wintering mallards to flooded unharvested corn fields in Missouri? I'm not ready to buy into that theory.

Eric
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Re: If you are a serious waterfowler... In reply to
Larry is such an incredible resource. Folks is S Louisiana don't fully understand the impact that the loss of tens of 1000's of acres of rice production being converted to sugar cane and the countries demand for crawfish has on waterfowl. Last seasons warm Winter and flood waters stalled the migration up North and I fear we are off to another warm, wet Fall / Winter that will leave us at the bottom of the flyway asking: "where are the ducks?" again this season.

Open water and food is all a duck needs, they will adapt and feed at night to avoid hunting pressure too. Most Southern folks have never seen ducks stand on river flow ice on the Detroit river in January when temperatures are in the teens. Heck, I don't think the lower Great Lakes froze hard enough to even ice fish last Winter.

I have followed the "Flyway Federation" and their rhetoric since they began. In my opinion, flooded corn is a finite resource to migratory waterfowl.....when the food is gone they must move on and 1000's of ducks can decimate a flooded corn pond in short order. After the tragic Horizon BP oil spill of 2010 the Federal government paid millions to farmers to flood their fields in an attempt to halt ducks from using the contaminated Gulf marsh........it did not work, we had one of the best duck seasons in the marsh that Winter.
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Re: If you are a serious waterfowler... In reply to
Well they just dropped another video in the series.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGXUD9ezung
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Re: If you are a serious waterfowler... In reply to
Having worked closely with members of the LA Coastal Program and LACRPA for over 20 years, I have heard about and seen the results of our "engineering" of the lower MS River, oil & gas exploration and sea level rise on the Louisiana coast. Its a frighteningly huge problem and most of America is not even aware of how it will impact them directly if we lose all those wetlands.
The silver lining to the BP/DWH oil spill is that there are now billions of dollars pouring into the LA Delta to restore some areas.
But until we start putting significant amounts of freshwater and sediment back into the system by "un-engineering" the river, these are just stop-gap measures.


Carl
Mobile, AL
DHBP Member since 1998

"Life is too short to drink bad beer."
Disclaimer: This post and/or report is not a substantiation of or reflection on the true accuracy of the present surveying methods. It is only a report on or comment concerning local observation and/or results. Your results and observation may vary based on your location, local water conditions, food supply, weather conditions and migratory patterns "
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Re: If you are a serious waterfowler... In reply to
Eric,
Thanks for sharing. What an informative series! Even though it doesn't have anything to do with the Atlantic flyway much of the information is still relevant. With the decline of the Eastern mallard population I can't help but think that the causes are cumulative. Too much development, loss of wetlands, poor nutrition in the wetlands that are available, predators (no one traps anymore). I think even mechanical devices like the spinning wings decoys take their toll on young ducks. Especially at the local levels, shooting large amounts of young ducks year after year will eventually have a negative effect. It is great to see a forum of experts share their philosophy about the woes of the waterfowl world. I wish such an event would take place on the East coast.
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Re: If you are a serious waterfowler... In reply to
They just dropped another video in the series.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7EDeOo2D_Y
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Re: If you are a serious waterfowler... In reply to
I am on Larry Reynolds email list and received the Coastal Aerial Survey report This weeks aerial survey of 1.04 million birds was the 3 rd lowest waterfowl count on record since surveys began in 1969. Opening day is this Saturday in the Coastal Zone in Louisiana....it's going to be an interesting duck season.
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Re: If you are a serious waterfowler... In reply to
P Taylor wrote:
I am on Larry Reynolds email list and received the Coastal Aerial Survey report This weeks aerial survey of 1.04 million birds was the 3 rd lowest waterfowl count on record since surveys began in 1969. Opening day is this Saturday in the Coastal Zone in Louisiana....it's going to be an interesting duck season.


Poor Missouri. They're going to catch even more Cajun heat if they don't get their ducks...

Do you know if the numbers are low across the board or is it just a few species that are way down?
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Re: If you are a serious waterfowler... In reply to
We are starting with ice this weekend and next week to be colder than normal, so maybe you southern boys will get your birds?
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Re: If you are a serious waterfowler... In reply to
It's a very interesting series to watch, especially as an Atlantic Flyway resident. Everything has been a little behind this season so far in regards to migration, but the weather the next few days could change that up a bit.
________
Coastal NJ
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Re: If you are a serious waterfowler... In reply to
Our North Ala birds are just starting to show up. Seems like we get a couple or three pushes a year and then rely on weather to move them around the river and off the refuges. There is a study underway using transmitters to track gadwall captured around here and see just how they move around. I think unlike a lot of places we don't see new birds with every weather event. Best estimate is we have the same birds most of the season.
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Re: If you are a serious waterfowler... In reply to
 
38.90 million breeding duck population - 6% decline from 2018, still 10% above long term. First time numbers have fallen below 40 million since 2008.

9.42 million Mallards 2% increase from 2018. 2% decrease in the Eastern Area.

North East population of Mallards down 36% since 1998. The reason for the 2 bird limit.

13% increase from 2018 in Gadwall, 61% above the long term average.

27% DECREASE from 2018 in Redhead population, right at long term. The largest decrease of any species in the recent survey.

Mallard, Gadwall, and GW Teal numbers up. BWT, Pintails, Shovelers and all diving ducks, a decline.




First day of the season here impressive with Wigeon, Gadwall, Wood Ducks, Mallards, and some teal. Lots of Canada geese but season was out.

If these are the lean times it looked much better than what seen years ago, when the bag limit was 3 birds in the Atlantic Flyway.

Serious waterfowlers step up now, as this is when we are needed the most.

Fat times do not last forever. We have had a very long streak going since 1995.

Many of today's waterfowlers have not seen lean times, and do not have a clue.

Study the history of our lifestyle. The answers to your questions are there.











"Art does not reproduce what is visible - but makes things visible." ~ Paul Klee, artist, 1920
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Re: If you are a serious waterfowler... In reply to
Eric, that was my view of things in Mobile since 2003/04 season: no new birds after about mid season.
But that was not my experience between 1997-2003: during that span (-and before from what long time local experienced) we got new birds on every front.
But then something changed after a couple of warm winters and the 2006-08 drought that killed back our grassbedd. Even since the grassbeds came back, we still didn?t seem to get new birds after cold front pushed through.


Carl
Mobile, AL
DHBP Member since 1998

"Life is too short to drink bad beer."
Disclaimer: This post and/or report is not a substantiation of or reflection on the true accuracy of the present surveying methods. It is only a report on or comment concerning local observation and/or results. Your results and observation may vary based on your location, local water conditions, food supply, weather conditions and migratory patterns "
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Re: If you are a serious waterfowler... In reply to
I do a lot of migration judging by the snow geese and swan since they are in the fields where they can be seen. I have noticed a decline in those birds wintering here despite their rising population. 10 years ago we would have over 15,000 birds where as the past 5-6 years there is less than 8,000 and a couple years I never even saw them in my area.

As far as this year the swanhave been flying over and ive seen a few ducks. Seems a touch earlier than last year but like others said we normally don't get new birds till the weather gets cold then it's the same birds until late January and into February. The last 2 weeks of the season are normally when you can actually hunt and have birds come to you.




Benjamin Pendleton
Northeast N.C.
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Re: If you are a serious waterfowler... In reply to
Thanks for the link Eric. Some great discussion and thoughtful insights in the installments I've watched so far.


MLBob

"Art is like an ill-trained Labrador retriever that drags you out into traffic." (Annie Dillard)

....Here's to Joe Wooster, who made me realize that the useful could and should be beautiful; and who firmly believed that decoy carvers were the last free men in America.

https://www.facebook.com/KOOIdecoy?ref=hl

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Re: If you are a serious waterfowler... In reply to
Carl

We both know that the duck hunting at both ends of the state are vastly different in terms of wetland type but it seems like the behavior is similar and I'd hazard to guess not many birds here end up there.

Eric
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Re: If you are a serious waterfowler... In reply to
Good morning, Eric~


I've been delinquent is telling you how much I am enjoying this series. Lots of great information and perspectives.


All the best,


SJS

Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: If you are a serious waterfowler... In reply to
I am seeing reports of limits of BWT from yesterday's Louisiana Coastal Opener. Bluewings "should" have come down in September. Everyone says it has been "too warm"......most folks don't know that we used to shoot limits of big ducks in light long sleeve and short sleeve tee shirts in Nov / Dec. (That's what I love about hunting in S. La., I don't have to freeze to death to duck hunt.)

So many factors are involved with waterfowl migration......there is no doubt that man will never completely figure it out, and I hope we never do.
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Re: If you are a serious waterfowler... In reply to
  

So many factors are involved with waterfowl migration......there is no doubt that man will never completely figure it out, and I hope we never do.[/quote]

AMEN to that.











"Art does not reproduce what is visible - but makes things visible." ~ Paul Klee, artist, 1920
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Re: If you are a serious waterfowler... In reply to
The next video just dropped. It is loaded with info about aerial surveys and statistical sampling methodologies. Great stuff.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAiqlEtK6m4