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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Pretty impressive forethought by Nebraska's Game and Parks manager.

I encourage you guys to read the article and really think about it. I hope (but doubt) Zenner is, at the very least, weighing the benefits of the same type of thing.

Jeremy, when do we take a look at our zones and season structure again?

Nebraska Season Options

With the landscape changes to the north of us, we're going to see a moderate or restrictive season sooner than later.
 

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I have said for the past couple years that our zones are very simple and not really effective for migration changes and patterns that have changed due to large reservoirs to the north of us that stay ice free much longer and have more ice free area's much later in the season....i know at a conference in Des Moines in early December for state departments, amny of the other state biologists are noting that many of the duck breeds are showing up close to 2 weeks later than the long term trends have shown. It doesn't look to bad when Zenner lumps it into decades and the refuge counts appear to be pretty similar, but when you look at it in just a few year span, they are coming later.

If you take 2 weeks worth of hunting when there are no new ducks that is 14 days of wasted days when ducks aren't here. from what I can tell the other biologists have got a better handle on when ducks actually show up and not when they are supposed to show up by skewed numbers. Kansas and Nebraska have a much different zone structure where they set the differnt zones to when the ducks are there and how long they are there. Much better than a simple plan of a major interstate or state hiway or something like it...hmmm???

Is the MO Flyway that much different from the Mississippi???? Or the ducks differnt??? Over 90% of band recoveries in Iowa are from the PPR which is in the MO Flyway which has a completely different season structure than ours, so where is the logic?

If the DNR wants to know why we are losing hunter numbers it is due to poor hunting habitat, 1970's migration data, and fear of change or just inability to manage or set the seasons to keep hunters coming back for more every year. If you close the season before the ducks show up or have it open where they aren't here, wasting days afield looking at pelicans, cormorants, adn swatting bugs....you will lose hunter participation.

Straight up, guys are going out of state to kill ducks. A state right next to us on the same latitude has a season that runs nearly a month later. Yes different flyway, but still coming from the same area that we get ducks from. How are they doing it? Splits in the season that make sense. Plan on a lull in migration and close the season to maximize oportunity.

Thanks Gudey, good read, nothin I didn't know, hunting both of the afore mentioned states this year and most, and will most likely head back to Kansas on last time for greentops in mid-january.

rant over-carry on
 
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i feel like this is definitely something worth thinking about...there are a lot of guys that like to think about whats good for them right now and not whats good down the road. i just really fear having all seasons that would be closed up before thanksgiving in a scenario like this....

i also assume a shorter season in the future would mean smaller limits as well...personally i would rather see small limits and more days than liberal limits and fewer days, but i know with shorter seasons also comes more restriction. either way, if the feds dropped a 39 day season on us right now...we would have no intelligent way of dealing with it
 

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If nebraska is to close before Christmas in zones we will definitely close earlier than that with Zenner's stats. at some point we will hit a drought or have bad habitat in the ppr and it will be interesting to see how the flyway councils will adjust to the change in migration patterns from the 90's when we had that type of structure. you cna bet your bottom dollar he will shoot for an early close rather than later...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
IMO this is much bigger than just being about later zones.

When we come to a point of needing a restrictive season, we will be given 30 days, not 39 as they would receive in the central zone. so, with out states season structure, we might get a total of 40 duck days in the state. If we were to implement something as outlined in the article, we could extend that to possibly 58 duck days in the state for someone willing to travel a bit.


I hope JR gets on to give some factual input about some of our options as I havent kept up on structure options.
 

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IMO this is much bigger than just being about later zones.

When we come to a point of needing a restrictive season, we will be given 30 days, not 39 as they would receive in the central zone. so, with out states season structure, we might get a total of 40 duck days in the state. If we were to implement something as outlined in the article, we could extend that to possibly 58 duck days in the state for someone willing to travel a bit.

I hope JR gets on to give some factual input about some of our options as I havent kept up on structure options.
i agree...and i'm certainly willing to put on some miles. i see guy trying to railroad the state into 1 split statewide with something like this though. personally, i'll hunt when i can...but i would much rather see a scenario like you are talking about where the stat could be 3 zones with no splits and where whatever days we are given are used in the best way possible
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This is a rough idea of what I THINK we could/should consider as a state. It sure isn't going to please everyone and this was the first I'd thought about it, but it provides 4 zones in the state, so I believe we would lose the ability for any sort of a split (but I may be wrong?)



With a liberal, 60 day season, it could look like this (5 day early season still stand): Duck Season

North Zone Early: October 15 - December 8 (55 days)
North Zone Late: October 22 - December 15 (55 days)

South Zone Early: October 22 - December 15 (55 days)
South Zone Late: October 29 - December 22 (55 days)

But where this really comes into play is if they move to a restrictive season - which, with the rate of CRP loss, coupled with the fact that we're due for a drought period, is bound to happen in the not to distant future.

The current Iowa structure would be almost guaranteed to look something like this, give a week or two:

N Zone: October 15 - November 15
S Zone: October 22 - November 22

With the zone structure I showed, it could look like this:

N Early Zone: October 15 - November 15
N Late Zone: October 29 - November 29
S Early Zone: October 22 - November 22
S Late Zone: November 7 - December 7

That would give us nearly 55 days worth of hunting throughout the state vs. 37ish with the current structure, not to mention a much better chance of hitting peak migration numbers in different parts of the state.

The river corridors historically hold greater numbers of birds later into the season, which 1) are difficult to count and 2) at this time aren't counted at all. The hunters that actually hunt these areas know this - the DNR wishes to ignore it. So why not put a 10-15 mile corridor on either side of the river for the bottom 2/3 of the state to accomodate those hunters that frequent those areas. To my knowledge, there are few marshes within most of those corridors that would freeze early. There certainly are a few - but not like the remainder in the state.

Like I said - this isn't perfect, but it's based off the Nebraska idea and give us something to at least discuss positives and negatives.
 

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hmm...it is definitely food for thought. i actually really think this worth some research. not only could it provide immediate opportunity for early and late hunting. it would help if we went to a short season structure again....


aaaaand....it would also give the mo river loudmouths what they want (nothing but love for you guys) ;)
 

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that also puts all the major resivoirs in the later zones...which is where a lot of ducks also congregate later in the season. saylorville, red rock, coralville and rathbun would all be in the "late" portions according to your map
 

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This is a rough idea of what I THINK we could/should consider as a state. It sure isn't going to please everyone and this was the first I'd thought about it, but it provides 4 zones in the state, so I believe we would lose the ability for any sort of a split (but I may be wrong?)



With a liberal, 60 day season, it could look like this (5 day early season still stand): Duck Season

North Zone Early: October 15 - December 8 (55 days)
North Zone Late: October 22 - December 15 (55 days)

South Zone Early: October 22 - December 15 (55 days)
South Zone Late: October 29 - December 22 (55 days)

But where this really comes into play is if they move to a restrictive season - which, with the rate of CRP loss, coupled with the fact that we're due for a drought period, is bound to happen in the not to distant future.

The current Iowa structure would be almost guaranteed to look something like this, give a week or two:

N Zone: October 15 - November 15
S Zone: October 22 - November 22

With the zone structure I showed, it could look like this:

N Early Zone: October 15 - November 15
N Late Zone: October 29 - November 29
S Early Zone: October 22 - November 22
S Late Zone: November 7 - December 7

That would give us nearly 55 days worth of hunting throughout the state vs. 37ish with the current structure, not to mention a much better chance of hitting peak migration numbers in different parts of the state.

The river corridors historically hold greater numbers of birds later into the season, which 1) are difficult to count and 2) at this time aren't counted at all. The hunters that actually hunt these areas know this - the DNR wishes to ignore it. So why not put a 10-15 mile corridor on either side of the river for the bottom 2/3 of the state to accomodate those hunters that frequent those areas. To my knowledge, there are few marshes within most of those corridors that would freeze early. There certainly are a few - but not like the remainder in the state.

Like I said - this isn't perfect, but it's based off the Nebraska idea and give us something to at least discuss positives and negatives.
Get ready for the"Thats to complicated for the Iowa hunter" response from the IDNR.

Loveing your idea though and it would cure a lot of issues +add more opputunity closer vs driving accross the state.

GUDEY FOR CHEIF WATERFOWL BIOLOGIST!
 

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well someone wake up jr...this needs to be put on guys desk. i think this is probably the most logical idea i have heard about iowa seasons yet...

the biggest problem is that guy will fight TOOTH AND NAIL for the 5 day early season
 

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my thoughts exactly Doug...the fair weather hunter will have kittens if they proposed a zone like what Gudey suggests, albeit that is exactly how Nebraska does it now....river zones are open later due to having flowing and open water late into the season and after. Would be very progressive and even if we don't get a restrictive season structure, it would be very beneficial to the guys that want to hunt late and still get the fairweather guys their time.

it would take a little adjusting to figure out but nothing that much IMHO. Are Nebraska hunters smarter than Iowans as far as knowing where the zones are? It would take less than 5 minutes on the puter or a trip to the nearest license retailer with a regs book to find out and learn the zones.

:25:Apparently that would be just too much for the dumb folks
 

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well someone wake up jr...this needs to be put on guys desk. i think this is probably the most logical idea i have heard about iowa seasons yet...

the biggest problem is that guy will fight TOOTH AND NAIL for the 5 day early season
copy and paste and email it to him. I know his addy has been floating on here many times from Bill....

i would bet he has seen it anyway, looks very similar to what Nebraska has now. river systems are open later than other area's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
the biggest problem is that guy will fight TOOTH AND NAIL for the 5 day early season
In my post I stated with the liberal framework the 5 day early season would still be in place. With a moderate or restrictive season, I don't think guy would be do adament about it.

Regarding the IGLs, do they not normally freeze or is this year an exception. I'm not basing this idea on this past season or even the past 5 seasons, im looking toward the future and maximizing our opportunities for when our framework does change.
 

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that also puts all the major resivoirs in the later zones...which is where a lot of ducks also congregate later in the season. saylorville, red rock, coralville and rathbun would all be in the "late" portions according to your map
I think the raccoon river to lake panorama needs to be included into this. It holds a TON of ducks later in the year
 
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