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"Food plots" for ducks???


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I have several acres of wetlands on my property and like much many of the sloughs I know of, they are past their prime and have never had the chance to regenerate. Just cattails, some duckweed and open water. There are minnows as well. The feed is just not there anymore.

My question is, has anyone experimented with any of this duck food/seed that Mossy oak has or bio logic has? Or anything else? I know it would be great to get a bunch of wildrice or sago pondweed established... but what are other options for getting some food back in a pond? Whats the best way to plant it?

Thanks for any suggestions/comments!

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Best thing you could do would be to eradicate the minnows and transplant in some freshwater shrimp. I have no experience with duck "food plots," but that sounds like quite a gimmick to me...

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Im affraid the minnows are there to stay because of inlets and outlets. I guess its not so much a food plot, just "seed" to improve the vegetation that is beneficial to waterfowl.

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Im affraid the minnows are there to stay because of inlets and outlets. I guess its not so much a food plot, just "seed" to improve the vegetation that is beneficial to waterfowl.

I just thought of something: you'd probably have to clear it with DNR before being allowed to plant vegetation in a waterway. With all the hubbub over ANS these days, I could see them come down on you like a whirlwind if there were anything in the seed blend that wasn't native or could get out of hand. Just a thought.

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I am so glad to see a post like this. We have been working with "waterfowl food plots" for several years and it has been really hard to get people to think about it. People put a lot of time and cost into deer plots and pheasant plots...but rarely anything goes into duck food plots.

I have made some posts on it in the past but it seems the discussion dies out. My degree is in aquatics with a specialization in waterfowl and fisheries. My personal belief is that our water is "dead". We also have a saying..."ducks like water...but they like food in the water a lot better".

It's kinda like...if McDonalds had the AC on in the summer but no food, some people would go there. If McDonalds has FOOD and the AC on, then A LOT of people will go there!!

Gotta provide the food if you want to see more ducks or want above average numbers of ducks.

Just like deer. Do deer NEED food plots? The answer is NO. BUT...if you want to see more deer or have above average deer, then the answer is YES and you will put in food plots.

So...back to ducks...

There are two types of food plots to consider...upland food plots and aquatic food plots.

UPLAND...these are crops you plant and then flood out later. THIS IS NOT BAITING as long as you don't cut, knock down, smash the crop or anything like that. USFW "baiting rules" DO NOT DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN NATURAL FLOODING OR ARTIFICIAL FLOODING. There are many designs for this but the basic idea is that you plant a crop and flood it later on the year when it has hardened up.

AQUATIC...these are food sources you install in permanent water. Wild rice, Sago Pondweed, Water Celery and Freshwater Shrimp are the most common and best for waterfowl. There are many other food sources that waterfowl like and utilize, but these are the top ones.

Rather than go into the details of each one and what might work best for your site, go to the HabitatNOW.com site and go to "Waterfowl Food Plots"...there is a whole bunch of information there.

We have been working with these types of "Food Plots" for years and they make a world of difference! My son and I will sit on our 15 acre wild rice pond, that also has shrimp, sago and celery in it, and watch sometimes hundreds of ducks come in and out of that pond. Sometimes we just set our guns down and just watch with amazement at all of the ducks. We always have the opportunity to shoot a limit even though we don't usually do that. What is interesting is that neighbor ponds don't have the same number of ducks...they lack the food sources! Water is just water without the food. I planted all of these items in this pond over the years and it is great to see the results.

If you would like specific recommendations on what might work for your pond, either post, email or call.

We are VERY excited about this stuff and believe Minnesota has more opportunity than just about anywhere for these types of management. We are actually working with a couple groups to submit a funding request thru the Heritage Grants for funding to install these types of food sources in existing or restored ponds across MN that are enrolled in CREP, RIM or WRP. That would be exciting!!!

Thanks again for the post!

Land Dr

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The DNR has a FREE permit for you to fill out IF you are planting native vegetation in "DNR Protected Waters". You can check the DNR Protected Waters map to see if your site is located within that. Protected Waters are usually 5 ac or bigger or stream courses.

The permit is FREE...they just want to document what you are putting into protected waters.

I have yet to see the DNR say NO to putting in "native" vegetation from a reliable source. From my experience, they have been all for it...especially the items listed above. I have even had some customers work with the local DNR to install some of these items into public WMAs that they hunt on. That is pretty cool and a good feather for the DNR. So...you can consider your own pond as well as some public ponds if you want to put some projects together with your kids or hunting buddies.

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I have yet to see the DNR say NO to putting in "native" vegetation from a reliable source. From my experience, they have been all for it...especially the items listed above.

I think that right there is the key: native vegetation. Doubtful the product the OP was talking about would constitute the same. But saying that, I bet a call to the DNR asking about native vegetation would give you good leads. Who knows: if you say you're willing to help out a water way (private, I assume?) they might just have some funding available. It's worth a shot.

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Native... definitely. Mother Nature makes the best stuff.

That other stuff on the market might work along the edges of ponds, just like our Mallard Millet, but there is nothing better in the water than rice, sago, celery and shrimp.

Just read in any DU or Delta magazine and you will probably see those 4 mentioned somewhere or even an article on them.

DNR is pretty broke and they usually don't do a lot for funding food plots. It is hard to get any funding for deer and pheasant food plots from the DNR...just the way it is with a tight budget.

We are not talking big dollars anyway...couple hundred dollars will go along ways towards planting some aquatic food plots. Most are perennial, so once you get them started they keep coming back. Get your hunting buddies together and then you can really get something done.

Land Dr

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thanks landdr,

how "easy" are these types of veges to plant? How expensive does it get and what do you get for coverage? I suppose its astronomical to plant an entire 5 acre pond, or is it not?

Appreciate the help!

Sorry, you posted while I was writing this...

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Wild rice...reach into the bag and throw up small handfulls broadcasting over the area to plant. Spring or Fall

Sago & Celery...use the paper bag technique we developed as described on the web site. Spring to early Summer

Shrimp...auger a hole thru the ice with your ice auger, acclimate the shrimp and then slowly release into the pond. Winter

Millet or other flooded crops...broadcast or drill. Spring

Nothing too complex or too difficult.

Cost will vary depending on what you want to plant...but usually it is similar to planting a corn food plot. But...many of these items are perennial as I mentioned.

Land Dr

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