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I, too, have questioned that for years but no one will or can give us an answer. I think it is like pheasants. If they aren't there hunters will not kill them. Waterfowl hunting is such a big business that they don't want to diminish hunters, like they did in the years I grew up. I had years I could shoot one mallard a day and possession limits were low too. What was the problem back then is that we saw way more ducks even with the low counts then we ever see today. I don't even think they do the flight transits and the bird counts today they did back in the 40s, 50s and 60's. Gov.just brags up the numbers so hunters will keep buying more licenses and equipment and gas and stamps. And to make it worse, the internet counts are way more than what we hunters actually see. Look back to hunters posting on this site wondering where the ducks are compared to the posted counts.
I for one just gave up trying to make sense of what the govt. says on many things. Just go out, take a lot of good food and drink and enjoy the day. You will soon get old as I am and your back will keep you home reading what other hunters are seeing or not seeing.
 

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I have watched them do the count at Big Marsh. They drive there mud motor in to the refuge. Then stop and bang away on the boat and make all kinds of noise. The ducks still dont get up alot of the time. The ducks could be there and you would never see them. I am sure most feed and fly out of the refuges at night to feed
 

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That big marsh method is nothing compared to what they have to do with counts from the hatch. Where and when did it happen, water levels. crops. Preditors and the like. Need planes and helicopters and the like. And lots of skill and money. Hopefully they are not just estimating things.
 

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DA(dumb a--) has written the same article, changing few details, every year. Dennis thinks that because he can't hunt the way he did fifty years ago there are no ducks. He wrote an article once about hunting the Miss where I frequent. After some cans..He was afraid to take his rickety boat across the open water and that no one dared do so. Funny I was over there that day. Shot a limit, but then I was running a 18 foot mud boat carrying a layout boat...

The last thing I would accuse Anderson of being is "thoughtful"

Here's the article I was referencing, I was first in the lot that day, notice the quality blind DA has on his boat, yep going to get lots of birds in tight with that...

http://www.startribune.com/migration-carries-a-hypnotic-pull/106212968/
 

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I see nothing wrong with his article. What you did that day or didn't do doesn't affect anything. Glad you got a limit and didn't have to call out officials to drag the river for you. We have lost a lot of paying hunters but continuing hunters hunt more times. Factor that cut lots of hunters is that lie of steel shot actually helping the ducks. It helped them alright by making duck hunters quit by the big percentages. Anyway, enjoy the ducks because at some point all hunting will be eliminated. or our youngsters will be too busy hanging their noses on the keyboards playing games.
 

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DA(dumb a--) has written the same article, changing few details, every year. Dennis thinks that because he can't hunt the way he did fifty years ago there are no ducks. He wrote an article once about hunting the Miss where I frequent. After some cans..He was afraid to take his rickety boat across the open water and that no one dared do so. Funny I was over there that day. Shot a limit, but then I was running a 18 foot mud boat carrying a layout boat...

The last thing I would accuse Anderson of being is "thoughtful"

Here's the article I was referencing, I was first in the lot that day, notice the quality blind DA has on his boat, yep going to get lots of birds in tight with that...

http://www.startribune.com/migration-carries-a-hypnotic-pull/106212968/
Questioning a mans blind on his boat is kind off childish considering I hunted many years and shot hundreds of ducks inside of 20 yards with NO blind on boat and also hunted many years and shot hundreds of ducks inside of 20 yards with a pop up blind WITH OUT any grass or vegetation on it what so ever.

I think the migration routes and feeding habits have changed drastically over the years. Just my observations with 40 years of hunting waterfowl experience.
 

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The only decent thing about the article is bringing up habitat concerns within the midwest but we all have been talking about that for years after grain prices got high.

Seems to me he's really only concerned about local mallard production. But he is a columnist, he doesn't need to be correct but just have an opinion.
 

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One thing that has really changed since I started hunting in the late 40 is the hunter. Hunter percentages are vastly younger and spend more time hunting. Use to be that the marsh was empty by 10-10:30. Maybe a few in the late afternoon but not many. This kept the birds from getter super smart and decoy shy. Now people go out at 2 a.m. and stay late. Guess they have to justify the big bucks they got in boats, blinds and decoys. Use to be ducks went out into the non-refuge areas late afternoon but now most stay put. I grew up with Sweet Marsh and then Big Marsh and hunted the Cedar river and the Wapsi. And pheasants in between.
Good memories but bad ones too of the vast skybusting and coot shooters.
 

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One thing that has really changed since I started hunting in the late 40 is the hunter. Hunter percentages are vastly younger and spend more time hunting. Use to be that the marsh was empty by 10-10:30. Maybe a few in the late afternoon but not many. This kept the birds from getter super smart and decoy shy. Now people go out at 2 a.m. and stay late. Guess they have to justify the big bucks they got in boats, blinds and decoys. Use to be ducks went out into the non-refuge areas late afternoon but now most stay put. I grew up with Sweet Marsh and then Big Marsh and hunted the Cedar river and the Wapsi. And pheasants in between.
Good memories but bad ones too of the vast skybusting and coot shooters.
Guys left the marsh by 9 or 10 because by then they had shot quite a few shells and had dead birds. Everybody stays out longer now because they've only seen a couple groups of ducks and are praying for a mid day flight.
 

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Guys left the marsh by 9 or 10 because by then they had shot quite a few shells and had dead birds. Everybody stays out longer now because they've only seen a couple groups of ducks and are praying for a mid day flight.
Not entirely true. I know a lot of older hunters that didn't shoot a lot of shells by 9 or 10 but the shells they did shoot were quality shots. Today a lot of hunters think 35 to 40 yards are quality shots.
 

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I believe local conditions play a huge role in forming our views of the total waterfowl picture. A couple of years ago we had local flooding just prior to the season opener. We were literally covered up in ducks that year, while many others were crying the blues as they looked at empty skies.. Other years we have drought here and wonder if there are any ducks left on the continent. This has held true for the 40 years I have hunted my location here in southern Iowa.

Last year I have friends that had super local conditions and shot and saw more ducks than they had ever seen in their lives. It was truly a dream season for them, and it stayed that way for the entire season! Others were left wondering where all the ducks were. It has been this way for a long time, and won't change anytime soon.

I believe in the "bloom where you are planted" philosophy and so have maintained wood duck boxes with a couple hunting buddies since the early 70's. Today we will raise several hundred woodies per year and shoot anywhere from 30-50, almost exclusively drakes (need to wait until it's light enough to properly ID).
This year we have had another great hatch. Here is a couple pics of two new Duck Hut box successes placed back-to-back on the same pole at one of our hunting areas. The Duck Huts are made in Iowa by Grimm Bros. Plastics in Wapello. BTW, the wood duck is one of the best, if not THE best, tasting duck that we have the opportunity to hunt.
I just wish that many of the complainers would do the same, and Iowa could easily become the wood duck capitol of the world!
 

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I have an opinion to this matter , not that it matters much but I do wish to give a lot of you guys something to truly think about. Here is an image of 5 interloping circles. Print this shit. Each circle represents a duck production state and portion of that circle accounts for duck production region / importance.

It works out well when you start to take a portion of that known circle out of the mix of duck production benefits.

Each portion of the duck factory overlaps one another with emphasis being placed on the prized Dakota production region. As stated habitat loss and habitat conditions in the great lakes region has caused local duck production declines and yes duck hunter declines. Now each portion of that duck production region or population segment has its own geographical migration corridor and timing variances, however compiled data would say otherwise. I do not believe that the data can be interpreted with 100% accuracy by the way because I consider Duck Hunter Observation as half of the real answer, truth in what we see or dont see not in what they tell us.

MN PPJV region produces ducks, those ducks migrate it seems a little earlier than the counter parts out of the Dakotas that seem to be more hardy at times. These ducks that travel out of MN may also winter or mid winter in other southern states or coastal regions vs that of the bulk of ducks that migrate out of the Dakotas and winter in KS or Ark or MO. The same can be said about Wisconsin own PPJV region and its mallard population. Data proves that the bulk of these ducks are extremely vital to interior state duck hunters in the Midwest that don't necessarily obtain a large portion of ducks out of the Dakotas in the bag. 2 out of 6 I think was the statistic. Many who hunt the upper Mississippi can attest to the lack there of. As insignificant the production of Iowas PPJV region may be, what may see like nothing is something to some duck hunter beyond our borders. Each aspect of the duck production region is important no matter how big or small that roll is. However some over the years have groomed the now narrative that the Dakotas alone hold the key to future security and sustainability of duck populations and duck hunting itself. This is entirely driven by the concept that you get the best bang for the buck in the Dakotas vs the cost differences in other portions of the duck factory. However that big bang for the buck doesn't pan out to well for the duck hunters who derived their ducks from those other portions of the duck factory, where some have argued that the cost of restoration and preservation of said duck production habitat to be to costly. Again I wish to establish something that truly has been lost, I think we lost sight of the Vision entirely not alone did we do this but it was what we have been told and made to believe. Yep they are producing ducks in the Dakotas but that only makes the said managers look good who can say they are meeting their objectives in sustaining a healthy portion of the duck population. That shit dont work out to well for those duck hunters however who use to depend on the other portions of the duck factory for ducks and thus as time passes we shall see losses continue in duck hunters from those other states and so goes that revenue and the struggle gets harder to such a point that even the Dakotas shall succumb to such losses.

The overall importance and future success of duck production doesn't hinge on just 1 great portion of the known duck factory, there are other portions that have suffered great losses and those losses have hurt overall duck populations from genetic diversity, geographical diversity. It has hurt and in some cases caused drastic declines in duck hunters as a whole.

Some may say Bill your bat shit crazy, really? The boys in the meat market era couldnt predict the outcome of what would be the dust bowl effect could they? Just like in this case our emphasis being on just one aspect of the duck production region vs the overall impact to other key areas or once key areas. I believe with all my heart and love for this sport and the future of it, WE again must align our belief and our goal to secure sustainable waterfowl population with its genetic diversity through the know duck factory so that we can not only perpetuate waterfowl populations but also secure the future of duck hunting itself. Take away the historical meaning of MN WIS, IA PPJV regions. WE AS DUCK HUNTERS HAVE GOT TO STAND UP AND STOP THIS 1 WAY ROAD OF A SLOW DEATH, PAINFUL DEATH.

These ass holes have got to stop spending millions in donations and conservation programs in wintering habitat and start placing emphasis in Restoring the Duck Factory as a whole not in part if we are to truly secure the future of ducks and duck hunting.

Imagine this for a second. What if 1 million acres in MN prized PPJV region was restored? What if 1 million acres in Wisc prized PPJV region was restored? What if 1 million acres of Iowas prized PPJV region was restored? What if we got back to the Original Mission of securing, protecting, restoring duck production habitat in the known 5 portions of the duck factory? What If we did that or worked to that objective?

Now with the image I have attached imagine the 5 known duck production regions each playing their roll in producing ducks and adding to fall flight. Imagine for a minute remove 3 of the 5 regions leaving but only 2 to hold your fate or the future of duck hunting in general. Not very many duck hunters outside the scope of that population will survive long term and the consequences of that mentality kind of brings me back to all the things related to the Vanishing Hunter article. Some things we can identify as a contributing problem, why in some cases blinded by nothing more than pure arrogance. :drunk:

You have long heard this line by hunters in general" The Migration has shifted West " what if I said no it hasn't, that migration has always been there, what has pushed west is the loss of said vital duck production habitat that so many find insignificant today in other portion of the duck production region. Mother nature and the changes on such a scale sometimes take a lot longer to play out. Draw 2 red lines, one down the middle of the right portion of the circles and one right down the middle of the left portion of the circles. Remove the significance of the red line on the right leave the left. Does it look like the migration shifted west? How do you think the effects of such movement would impact duck hunting in general for those not so fortunate to be in the left regions migration pattern? As the right sides dwindling ability to keep up, how does it play out?

Over the years many of us have seen KS or central flyway waterfowl numbers increase to such huge numbers. 20 to 30 years ago you would slap the shit out of somebody for even thinking about going west to hunt ducks in KS. The sputtering decline of duck production over the last 40 years in places like MN,WIS,IA PPJV regions simply couldnt keep up with the mounting pressures applied by lost habitat in those regions. But increased efforts in the Dakotas seem to kind of stabilized that population to a deegree, so much so places like KS have become what akie use to be in part. Only now can many duck hunters see the effects with their own eyes. This shift has effected places like Arkie land to over the past 30 / 40 years as it was a great melting pot for all these breeding populations that would arrive from different portions of the breeding grounds. Not to many sources of ducks are coming like they use to that made up the diversity of said wintering populations. This holds true for KY,TN and of the like who have seen falling mallard numbers over the years. The sputtering effect of the duck production engine is no longer firing on all cylinders and hasn't for sometime. It is what we have to change no matter the cost or face the reality that the 2 cylinders we have today SD & ND might save us some money on restoration but it simply doesn't have the horse power of ALL 5 production regions of the once productive US PRAIRIE POT HOLE REGION STATES. SD,ND,MT,IA,MN. We had been lucky enough to see the tail end of what benefits did come from those regions as populations struggled to keep up and production dwindled.
 

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Not sure why but Iowa has become a fly over state. Just compare the refuge counts back 20+ years ago, if you remembered, and compare. Places like Big Marsh, Sweet Marsh, Otter creek had numbers of 100K at peak some years but not near that any more. Even places like Riverton and Forney were great places just visit but now look at the counts the DNR puts out. Way down. I use to marvel at the numbers going out to feed late in the evening over west. Kept me driving from DM and Marshalltown and before that Waterloo mainly to Forney Lake. Now we hardly get decent snow goose numbers. And now all we hear or see published is the positive, positive, loads of ducks, etc. and go buy your license and spend lots of money on equipment. Better and better decoys and shells. Sure!! We hunters are the suckers. And it is not just Iowa. Talk to the Arkansas hunters.
 

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I told you Howard. Not everything that has transpired over the last 100 years out on the Iowa landscape, MN or Wisconsin landscape plays out in real time as we seem to think it would. Sometimes mother nature takes her time in showing the extent of said changes and during that slow process the resources to react slowly until they bottom out.

I kind of relate my argument points to the late article on the tale of 2 duck factories. 1 over compensated for the lack of the other never really exposing the true extent of region 2s less than marginal production efforts. Its the same thing just on a scale that can be applied to our known 5 duck production regions here within the US PPR / PPJV regions.

50 60 years ago we still had a substantial number of temporal wetlands or seasonal wetlands out on the Iowa landscape. As Agricultural technology progressed that last of them had been wiped off the map by ditch, contour discking or by drain tile. Had we lost the majority of our wetlands by 1920's yes but we had a much larger habitat fragmented landscape. Over time those areas fell to the mentality of drainage. Not much on the ground in Iowa these days to disburse or distribute migratory populations in Iowa let alone hold them long enough.

Even with that said, with so much loss and the sheer cost of restoration, as a whole we as duck hunters should never take a knee or bow to defeat. It has never been so much about the now as most of us tend to believe but its about the future. Do we surrender or do we fight, do we move the needle forward and leave the question of future duck hunters the What If they Done that 50 years ago? I believe as crazy as the cost of restoration might be it is imperative to our waterfowling heritage and the security of it. It is priceless, and no matter the cost, no matter the struggles, the battles it is a fight that must be waged.

Can you imagine not dreaming about a future or having the ability to aspire to be something more? Can you imagine not having goals? What if we all woke up on the same day to be nothing more than who we are? Not much to look forward to is it? ;)
 

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Good points Bill and I never, never advocate giving up. It is that we just don't have the forces to push forward our points. Example, how did that nasty rule get on the book that the DNR can't acquire land unless it adjacent to an existing state land? How did they sneak that by all we waterfowlers on this site. Now we got a mess going because of kyack usage by the general public on waterfowling water. And we can't keep them out. When I use to hunt the points in Big Creek lake near DM, the canoe people use to paddle right thru my decoys. It has got to be much worse these days.
 

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That rule or as they would call it a guide line was done by Administration more or less. How many guidelines does the IDNR publish every month as a means to make the public aware of exactly what they are doing with in its walls? I know I dont see any published changes on a monthly basis unless I am looking at something specific and investigate why or what is causing limitations or no action.
 
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