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CANOPY SAM

Sunday's story on waterfowl.

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CANOPY SAM

How many of you read the story on waterfowl numbers in this last Sunday's Outdoors section of the MN Trib?

Is there any validity to this? I saw plenty of ducks this year, of all species. Personally, I think many of the birds just didn't get as far south as Stuttgart, Arkansas this year because it's been fairly mild. We've still got ducks here in Waconia that haven't left!

It's really a pity when those poor Southerners can't rip through our northern bred mallards, isn't it?

I honestly think that there's more ducks now than I've seen in years. They're just more spread out cause of the return of the water to the prairie pothole regions. Any thoughts?

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Mark Christianson

Yeah, I saw it.

I don't know what to believe anymore.
The darn USFWS says, "Liberal! Shoot em up. 6 ducks a day and a nice long season."
Then you read stuff like that. I don't know who to believe anymore.
We had a decent season. Not great overall.

I guess my pain is that Ringbills and Bluebills are non-existent anymore compared to 10+ years ago. There are so few reports of 'bills any more, its something that I think is a reality. There are problems.
We see teal, woodies, and some decent Mallard numbers, but I just don't know.
It's kind of funny how 10 years ago we had tremendous Ringbills, Bluebills, Mallards, etc....
Today, its real good on puddle ducks in the early season, then its almost hopeless after that.
It's a trend I personally have seen out near Fergus Falls.

I think there is some big problems out there, but I don't have a clue as to what it is. Nobody can tell me that in 10 years we have decimated habitat. Crap, what happened the previous 100 years?
I am working on wetland restorations right now with the USFWS so I am trying my ****dest to help out.

Signed,
Frustrated and trying to make a difference.

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Guest

I think its pretty hard to deny that something is wrong with the duck populations, and it doesn't appear to be getting any better.
The numbers of ducks seen on opening weekend up in Northeastern Minnesota by our group has plummeted - woodies, teal, mallards all down. Rice conditions have been very good, water levels acceptable, but for some reason the numbers just are not there. As the season winds on, the numbers of ringnecks and bills that come through are a fraction of what I remember even 10 years ago.
I've gotten some shooting, and have put on some miles to put a few birds in the bag, so its not like I'm sitting in the same old places while the birds are a mile or 10 away.
Even my trips to western Minnesota for late season shooting pale by comparison when I compare notes and pictures from earlier trips.

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FlyingV

I did not see the article but I don't see the ducks that they are seeing. I hunt in north central MN and I did see some things that contradict what some other duck hunters are concerned about. That is they want earlier season openers. I shot teal and wood ducks the last weekend in October and according to some people, those ducks should have been long gone by then. I also shot teal in Manitoba the first week of October. According to some they should have not been there either. I'm going to alarm some people and propose that we shorten shooting hours on designated wild rice lakes from sunrise to noon. Maybe some prairie lakes should be this way too. Let the ducks eat, rest, and stay around longer. Also, I would be supportive of legal shooting time to be sunrise, not 1/2 hour before. This is my opinion and I know others will not agree...
On another note, the DU banquets will be starting soon. Make sure you can attend one.
And buy a fur coat for your loved one. Demand a wild fur coat, not a ranched fur. That will save a lot of ducks!

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CANOPY SAM

I still think they're (the ducks) just way more scattered out accross the states because of all the water. 3rd weekend in October we see all kinds of Bluebills in central North Dakota.

The last 3-4 years the birds have been hangin' tight to Canada until the very last minute, then they've poured through like locusts with the first big winter storm. Couple years back they actually had to shut down numerous airports in Nodak in late November because of the huge flights of ducks and geese that came through with a big cold Canadian front.

I know that I've heard stories of geese and ducks flying just into North Dakota to feed during the day, and flying back to Canada in the evening until the water all freezes up.

I just don't think they've been coming down with any regular patterns cause we've had so much mild weather for the last several seasons. They wait up North until they have to move, and then they all barrel through in two days and are gone.

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Riverratpete

Read the article with interest and have a couple points. 1, I think alot of the migration movement of birds have been effected by urban development,10 years ago the Cities, St. Cloud, Brainerd, Duluth, etc had half the population they do today, lakeshore has been being developed like mad for the past 10 years, I'm not saying this is all bad, everyone wants their little piece of heaven, myself included, it's just the price of doing business. The 2nd point is that I think water quality has gone to he$$ in a hand basket in the sloughs and small lakes, too many minnows, rough fish, not enough fresh water shrimp, bugs and wild celery. Ducks don't eat fish, they eat bugs,grain and such. Once people wake up to this fact things will get better and H$##, I wouldn't worry too much about the good ole boys down south, they've been shooting northern birds for years, take some time off.And there are quite a few birds around here in the metro this winter I've noticed.

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KJSnider

Hey Canopy Sam,

Do you hunt near Goodrich in central ND at all???

KJ

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fishface5

I didn't read the article, but, diver # are pretty bad in central MN. I've heard the reports about the Dakotas, But I don't care about the Dakotas, and the southerners have had it too good for too long. I have no sympathy for them. I hunt MN exclusivly. It used to be a sure bet head west of Alx. and you'd have a limit of bills, (after the third week of Oct.) not just 3. I don't know if we'll ever get them back. Too many people useing the big deep waterlakes in the fall(?), and the big shallow water lakes have such poor water quality the ducks don't use them. The early season is a waste of effort. The ducks are shot off the few good public areas by 4:00 Sat. of the opener. There just are not enough quality public sloughs. Most are too deep to support ducks. They either flock to the city limits or head west to the Dakotas. I think some of the mallards they shoot in the Dakotas are MN raised. Mpls. to Fergus is one of the biggest refuges in the country for Mallards and geese. There is some good shooting but you've got to either have money or a relative to get in on it. MN needs to work on water quality in the sloughs, and pub. access to feilds. CRP should be open to pub. hunting (yea, good luck). Duck hunting in MN may be religated to just going through the motions. A,"just getting out there", kind of thing. That is a tragedy for a state with our water fowling history, and traditions.

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honker23

I live in south central MN and I would say there are less ducks now than ten years ago. I had some of the best hunts back when we could only shoot 3. But I know some of that is due to the hunting pressure, none then vs too much now. I believe with all the water dumped on the dakotas 10 or so years ago, most of the ducks have shifted their migration pattern that way. In the last 5 years our only good migration hunts come with weather patterns from the west moving the dakota ducks over. Most north winds have been average at best. This also may have something to do with the decline in divers, which we would expect to see more of with north winds vs mals, pintails, and widgeons with the west winds. Just my perspective here in south central MN.
I do think the loss of habitat here with the increase in hunters has something to do with my views too.

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Riverratpete

I knew I had another point....Bag limits don't mean anything if there aren't any birds to shoot. They could make the limit 100 a day but if you only get a shot at 2 a day who cares what the bag limit is, they could make it a million, dosen't make any diffrence. To me the bag limit is more political than biological at this point.

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Sartell Angler

I'm seeing a lot of good points here....I read the article and think a lot of what Dennis is saying is true. Minnesota needs to step it up with our conservation, and get more habitat set aside and improve our water quality. D. Anderson feels that in order for this to happen, the DNR needs to be restructured completely, to make it more like Missiouri's current department. He has been at this for a lot longer than I have, and I believe that he has the right idea. The '03 season was pretty disappointing for ducks as far as I was concerned. Opener, there were mallards everywhere....I was hunting north of Willmar, and from shooting time until 4pm, the sky was virtually covered with mallards. But the problem with this year was that we got cold weather too fast...the week leading up until the opener was very cold, and a lot of woodducks took off early, as well as just about all of the bwt that our state actually produces quite well. Come the opener of deer hunting, when we were hunting the Mississippi River in central minnesota, basically all of the ducks were past us. We managed 3 mergansers and 4 geese between my brother, myself, and our friend. Then it warmed back up again, but it was too late-- although water was ice-free for the most part, there weren't any ducks left. But while late goose hunting, we could've nailed the mallards because a lot of them winter below the dam in sartell, and then flock out to the fields with the geese....its just a shame we couldn't hunt them at that point. Hopefully next year, we get another season like the '02 season when ND froze up before us, and starting in Mid-October, we had a ton of ducks all the way until the end of the season. I know this post has a lot of rambling, but I had to put in my $.02.
take it easy guys,
S.A.

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ChuckN

I have a lot of opinions from all the research I've read and professionals I have talked to over the years. Here's my long $.02

This past season was pretty poor, weather wise. It was 92 degrees in mid-October at my home near Fergus Falls. I went walleye fishing mid-late October in a T shirt, which is unheard of for me....usually always chasing ducks. smile.gif

It was Thursday Oct. 30, 2003 the push began. If you weren't hunting that weekend you missed out. The BIG push ended around November 4th or so. The MOST incredible duck population sightings I have ever seen. My buddy who hunts Winni with me, hunted Tues the 4th and said it was black and white skies. So many ducks and so much snow it would blow your mind. I missed that hunt, but would have traveled if I knew he was going.

Biglakeba$$ we hunted that weekend, it was fun. It was nothing compared to what I observed a day or 2 prior. Too bad our season was so short.

I think the DNR has to blame, also. You cannot believe how many sloughs they have planted millions, yes, millions of walleyes that eat all the shrimp and infest the waters. I fish lakes around me right now that is insane, they once were filled with ducks. I'm for walleye fishing, but why infest these sloughs with fish and leave them?

I try to control water populations on a pond I live on. It's filled with wild rice. The weather messed it up at the worse possible time in June thru July and flooded the new rice crop. It was a terrible year for the rice. Not many ducks liked that.

There are way too many factors. The ducks, mainly divers, are also shifting their migrations around MN because of poor water/food conditions.

I think the duck populations are ok in general, but some species are hurting.
That's enough...

[This message has been edited by ChuckN (edited 02-19-2004).]

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CANOPY SAM

KJ, I actually hunt primarily just east of their around Hurdesfield. We have hundreds of family owned acres, and it's kinda like my own private refuge dotted with sloughs, fields and CRP.

Face, you make a few good points. You should also consider that many of the ducks that are shot in Minnesota are North Dakota raised. Have you ever driven accross ND in July or August? Every slough, every body of standing water is full of duck families.

This is turning out to be a good thread. It is really interesting to hear others thoughts and experiences with the last several waterfowl migrations. Keep it coming. I'd honestly like to know if the majority of regular waterfowl hunters agree or disagree with the MN Dept of Nat Res bird counts. Personnaly, I have an awfully hard time believing there "reports".

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Guest

The kids and I dropped everything, skipped some school and work, and caught the tail end of the big push in western Minnesota on October 31 this past year.
For a few brief hours, the kids got a chance to see migrating ducks - lots of 'em, and I was glad we caught it. Bluebills, buffleheads, goldeneyes, hooded mergansers, common mergansers, ruddies, ringbills, etc. Unfortunately, the ice was forming as the day wore on, and the ducks were vamoosing southward. The dog got a workout, my hands were frozen, the kids dented a few caps, and for a brief while I was back when seeing good numbers wasn't such a rarity.

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CANOPY SAM

The biggest problem I have with all the Waterfowl production areas that the DNR has is: THERE ARE SO GARL DARN MANY OF THEM.

The great majority of these wetlands are purchased by the state, but very little of it has been maintained at all! Let's face the facts. The state of Minnesota has invested millions of dollars in habitat restoration by purchasing 100's of thousands of acres of land. But they've cut back enormous quantities of money to continue funding for the projects. There are very few CO's in the feild, and even fewer people on salary that are employed to bring these parcels of land to a point where they are viable nesting areas for waterfowl.

How many WPA's have you ventured on in the last few years with virtually no water present what-so-ever? How many have you seen where there has been any human intervention to better the area at all? I'd like to see the DNR offer these tracts of land to hunting groups, and private investors interested in improving them, at a reasonalbe price, rather than have them sit idle.

The ideas that they have to improve land for wildlife are great, but the funds aren't there to support even a fraction of the land that they own. I, for one, would jump at the chance to purchase some of this acreage, at a fair price. Under an agreement that it wouldn't be put into production, or limited production for a given number of years.

But to let it sit there with no enhancement for year after year because the government can't afford to do anything with it is just a waste. I wonder if the Federal government pays taxes to itself for all of the acreage that it owns in Minnesota. If it did, I would think that there would be more than adequate funds for creating ideal nesting and breeding areas on all of it's lands.

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Riverratpete

Canopy Sam, Great idea but the problem is then we turn into Montana or one of them states where a fella has to be independently wealth to hunt/fish, I'm all for capitalism but keep the investors and developers out of there, thats half the reason we have half the states lakeshore/wetland being turned into another strip mall we don't need or low income housing. just my 2 cents

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BLACKJACK

My duck hunting the past few years around Willmar and Grove City has been spotty, lots of wood ducks and a few mallards and teal mixed in. At one time I thought that the wood duck limit should go to three, but now I've heard reports that we're actually shooting too many wood ducks, hunters are targeting them because of the lack of other ducks, and people that manage lots of wood duck houses are reporting less coming back to nest.

Canopy Sam, you're right when you say that some of the WPA's are devoid of ducks, but what would you suggest that the DNR or Fish and Wildlife Service do? They're dependent on rain just like anyone else. WPA stands for Waterfowl PRODUCTION Area, not Waterfowl shooting Area. These areas do have ducks in the spring and all the upland makes for good nesting cover. Plus they are good for pheasant and deer hunting. Selling them off to private interests is a dumb idea, it would just take away public hunting areas available to all. I think that that more areas should be purchased so that they don't get drained by some big farmer.

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Mark Christianson

Hey guys
Not to sway the topic, but it looks like we have some intense duck hunters here.

How many of you own property that contains wetlands, sloughs, ponds, etc?

The USFWS has an awesome program available to landowners.
The USFWS sends a person out to appraise the value of your wetland areas. Once they come up with an appraisal, they will give you a one time payment to permanently retire the wetlands. It goes on the deed of the property, and it can NEVER be drained, filled, etc.

We just got back our appraisal on my Dads 120 acre property near Fergus. WHOA!
Way more than I ever expected. We have roughly 30 acres of wetlands total.
The USFWS is giving my Dad a check for $10,500!!!!!!!!!!!
Yes. A check for over 10 grand just to retire the wetlands. What a win/win!

Let me know if you have questions.

ChuckN, I bet you can do this with the pond below your house. We were paid for part of the big slough that we have, and 3 other people own other chunks of it.

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WaveWacker

Wow, what a topic to get on. I can feel everyones pain about not having ducks like days of old. Some reasons for this is much larger then just the DNR.

First of all Waterfowl Production Areas (WPA's) are federal (Fish and Wildlife Service) lands with there main focus towards waterfowl due to a good portion of the funding for these areas comes from duck stamp money. The DNR is in charge of Wildlife Management Areas (WMA's) and they focus on all types of wildlife.

Just to go over some comments in earlier posts. I have a questions as to what everyones idea of making these areas better is? This kind of ties in with some wetland areas being dried up recently. One problem that we have in MN is that wetland areas actually hold too much water over too long of a period of time and have no upland nesting areas around them.

In many cases, many aquatic plant species that ducks desire require a period of "draw down" in order to rejuvinate themselves. This will also help to kill off many of the minnow species that are in many of our wetlands(through complete dry conditions or improved ability to freeze out) .

Minnows will eat many of our freshwater invertebrates. These invertebrates help improve water quality by consuming food such as algae, etc. Without the invertebrates the water quality of the wetland is lowered, hence reducing the amount of light that can reach the bottom to grow our "good" food plants. Carp stirring up the bottom also contribute to increased water turbidity or "dirty water".

A lot of this has to do with the economic make up of MN's landscape. Agricultural drainage has decreased the amount of wetland basin's across the landscape along with increasing the amount of water (which carry herbicides and other nutrients) into wetlands, lakes, rivers, etc. What I am saying is that a lot of the burden to overall improve waterfowl habitat in MN lies in private lands.

There are many programs that will assist and/or pay a annual rental rate to private landowners in order to improve water quality/wildlife habitat. Such practices include grasses buffer strips along ditches, streams, wetlands, etc.; restoring small farmed wetland areas, etc. MN outdoors people need to advocate the use of these programs. If you are interested in learning more I would encourage people to contact their county NRCS/SWCD office.

Anyway, I could go on, and on but will cut things off with that.

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Riverratpete

Not to pick on any one profession but with the situation with too many minnows in the sloughs, I know for a fact that some of the sloughs that I have hunted for years now have guys trapping minnows for bait shops on them where they never used to. How did the minnows get there? - don't know, I do know the ducks are not there as much. Did the minnows get planted to make a minnow pond for bait dealer? don't know, just one of them hhhmmmm?

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CANOPY SAM

Thank you Big Lake and Wave Wacker. That's some really useful information. Being that it's a program put together by the USFWS, I would imagine that it would also pertain to land in other states than Minnesota? We have large tracts of family land in Central North Dakota. Much of it is already prime nesting habitat, and is not likely ever going to be drained. There is one particular section however that I would like to do a lot of enhancement on.

I believe that this particular parcel of land may be the very starting point of the James River, and as such, I've always wondered if it held some additional meaning or value as far as conservation goes. I'd really like to plant various native trees, shrubs and grasses for deer and upland game, and create a more suitable area for waterfowl production and resting areas there. I simply don't have the dollars it would take to fund a project of this size.

In my earlier post regarding allowing private parties to purchase parcels of state land, I didn't mean for development of strip malls or townhomes. I simply meant that if the USFWS or the State of Minnesota didn't have the money to improve these areas for wildlife, then sell them to someone who does, and will. I should think that some type of caveat could be written into the purchase agreement that would outline what the land could be used for, and for a given amount of time. Essentially, the same kind of contract a farmer gets for CRP acreage.

Or maybe these agencies could allow individuals to Lease a parcel of state land for a fair price, allowing regulated hunting, with an agreement that the tenant would make improvements to the property with an annual, or one time stipend for improvement. I guess that sounds pretty silly though, huh? I don't suppose a lot of people would bother making improvements to land that they didn't own. Groups of people might though!

I still don't necessarily buy into the idea that there are drastically fewer ducks than we had in the "good old days". I used to have interesting debates with Lloyd Jones from the Delta Waterfowl Association regarding their policies on duck depredation by predators. I didn't disagree with Mr. Jones about the fact that skunks, coons and other varmints were having an impact on quality nesting habitat. What I did disagree with was the notion that systematically erradicating varmint populations would save our ducks. We had these discussions back in the early 90's when the Canadian and Dakota prairie pothole regions were dry as a bone. I simply stated that we needed to wait for the return of the water, and Lo and Behold, when the water returned so did the ducks. On many occasions I've seen evidence that would suggest that avian predators, such as Great Horned Owls, and Red-Tailed Hawks have a much greater impact on nesting ducks. I've actually witnessed large groups of hawks hunting sloughs together, and found Owl nesting sites that were absolutely littered with waterfowl and upland game feathers and bones. Never-the-less, all of these creatures have their niche in the ecosystem to fill. For us to intervene, and attempt to alter this balance in our favor is like creating Jurassic Park - minus the dinosaurs of course.

Any more ideas on how we could better use our States conservation lands?

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Mark Christianson

Canopy Sam,

Contact your district office of the USFWS service and get them out to your property.

We did that, and it has blossomed.
The USFWS did some wetland restoration with bulldozers on our farm, free of charge.
We got this wetland appraisal thingy.
We are working on CRP Riparian buffer strip program for around all the wetlands.
We have a Timberstand Improvement Program from the MN DNR Forestry where they are paying us to remove box elder, buckthorn, etc.
I am getting funding from the NWTF for purchasing trees to plant.

It has just exploded into opportunities, and most of which there is nothing out of our pocket. Just some sweat equity.

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fishface5

Nothing against you guys with private prop., but, I'ld like to see most of that money going into some of these public hunting areas that are sterile water holes that raise nothing more than a few fatheads. we do have a lot of pub. water, but most of it is pretty duckless.

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Riverratpete

It's too bad that the state couldn't have a program similiar to SD or ND where they have "Walk In" areas that are privately owned but publicly funded, similar to CRP except the land owner doesn't control access the way they do with CRP. Perhap SD/ND have more areas available to do that with, I don't know. All I know is that I love duck hunting more than any kind of hunting, can see myself when I'm old and gray still duck hunting. We just have to be careful because in the immmortal words of Don Henley "Call something paradise...kiss it goodbye".

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Mark Christianson

I agree with you FF5.
The only problem is who physically does the work on all the public lands?
With most of what we are doing on our farm, we are putting the labor hours into getting things done. And its not simple work in some cases.
We all know, there aren't extra bodies in the DNR to work on the thousands of publicly owned wetlands.

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fishface5

Yes, I agree somebody has to do the work. We do have the MN waterfowl association and a bunch of local DU chapters. It would be nice to see a big grass-roots effort to improve our pub. hunting. Everything from habitat improvement, to ethics education. The DNR needs to lead the way. I'd also like to see the crp walk-in prog. have more interest, but for some reason people don't think it's important. A lot of people have their private opening day spot, shoot a duck or two and that's it till deer season. Oh well this is MN, could be worse I suppose. We do have it pretty good over all when you think of all the different oppertunities we do have for outdoor sports.

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WaveWacker

The great thing about a subject like this is that even with the problems we are talking about, it shows that there is a great concern and interest in MN wetlands/waterfowl. On that same note I have to put a plug in for the Minnesota Waterfowl Association. If your not familiar, they are an organization that is dedicated to doing what we are talking about here, improving MN wetlands and waterfowl.

Yes, I'm sure that you all have heard of the problems that the organization recently had, but I am here to tell you that those days are over. The organization "cleared it's slate" so to speak with getting new individuals in charge, has paid most of it's debts that the last administration incurred, and is working to get back on it's feet to benefit MN waterfowl.

If you want MN wetlands improved I would highly recommend to get involved with/support a local MWA chapter, or if there is no local chapter I would contact the MWA to find out how to start one in your area.

The organization needs the support from us sportsmen and women now more then ever. All of the money raised stays in MN to improve waterfowl habitat. Please keep in mind that I say all this with no intention to take anything away from all the other great organizations that we have available to us here in MN. They are all in this battle to save, preserve, enhance wildlife areas together!

With that said I will now move on. First off, not to burst any bubbles, but the thought of leasing or selling off existing public lands (WMA's or WPA's), chances are is close to never going to happen. Everyone that has purchased their stamps over the years has been buying their rights to have those lands open for them whenever they choose so.

I will tell you that there are some grant money's that local sportsman's clubs can receive to make improvements on State WMA's. I believe that these grants are given out through the DNR. Not sure right now, but can do some more digging to find the information.

As far as for the walk in areas...I believe there is just some initial talks flying around some legislators and the DNR regarding looking into some sort of program. This may be similar to the PLOTS program of ND. The only problem that upset me with that program is the ease that a lot of those lands where hayed off. People are going to be upset (as I was in ND), to see these lands not worthy of hunting when their dollars (most programs such as this are supported by stamp or other fee charges) went into that land so they could hunt.

Well I rambled on long enough for now. One last thing though and this is not meant to pick on anyone in the least bit. It is easy for people to complain on how things are being run in this state but how many people actually contact their local legislator and voice their opinion to them? I have. That's what we have elected them to do, hear our problems and try to get things done. In my mind, they cannot be told enough how much Natural Resources and the outdoors are important to us Minnesotan's!

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Guest

For years we have been tossing wild rice into various areas where it looks like it might "take" and provide additional food for ducks. Some of them have worked, others not. There are a couple that became real little duck factories - including my personal favorite, which is a perennial flooded timber beaver slough. Sadly though, the numbers of ducks using even this pond appear to have dwindled. The rice is still there. The dead trees which once supported 12-15 nesting hen woodies are still there. The ducks aren't. Last year I counted 3 broods.
Hunting pressure is a non-factor in most of these places - we only choose areas where traffic is minimal or non-existent.

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Sartell Angler

way to post up biglakebass.....that is an awesome deal for someone who owns wetlands...so basically for a person who loves duckhunting and wouldn't ever do anything other than hunt the land anyways, the USFWS is basically covering thier hunting expenses for a very long time...
s.a.

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smallies24

How much of a factor do you all thnk hunting pressure has played? I personally wasn't around to take advantage of the good ol' days. But in hunting a lake near the metro area I noticed that over the past six years the hunting quality has dropped. You can still get not a late season flurry and bag a number of birds but once opener rolls around, the birds roll out.

One main factor I've contributed this to is new housing developments. If a development is put up these days there is a required amount of area designated to drainage ponds. And I know I can't be the only one who has seen these pounds covered with birds while a huntable habitat near by is empty. I know this isn't a coincidence.

Perhaps this reasoning can in a way can be applied in a more broad sense. For instance, could an increasing number of hunters and pressure have a lot to do with the changes in the numbers of birds we are seeing in the fall? A lot of reading I have seen suggests some of the migration has moved farther west. The condition of the habitat in the state may be a main factor, but could it also be that birds just don't see the same pressure in the Dakotas they see here.

If you look at how the snow goose population exploded and how hard it has been to get a handle on it, could we be looking at the same thing with other waterfowl? Are the birds simply adjusting their behavior based on ours. AMny biologists believe the reason the snow geese can be hard to hunt is there are so many older (say 15-18 yr old birds) controlling where the flocks rest, feed, migrate etc.

I think you also have to look to today's equipment and the knowledge of the people using it. I have used the robo ducks and such and have had great success, however there are times when some migrating mallards will take a look but stay out of range later in the year. Waterfowl aren't exactly the most intellegent creatures on this earth, but that doesn't mean they aren't learning.

Just a little some thoughts I had and was wondering if anyone else thought there was any logic to my thinking smile.gif .....I realize this doesn't answer the question of where our divers have gone, but I thik it's possible that some of the changes seen over the last few decades are somewhat out of our hands.

......7 more months, guess I'll just have to fish til then

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Dave Bonjour
      im, new to this sight,and my wife and i will be going to Lake Osakis for a few days in mid June to target walleye and crappie,any tips and hints will be helpful,,Thanks
    • KidMoe
      Looks like a great time and some big smiles! You’re gonna have the kiddos rousing early you every weekend for more time on the water!
    • KidMoe
      With that detail Borch I could spend all summer trying the different suggestions and combos! Very well done sir!    I might have to venture away from Pool 4 to try out some clearer water for night time eyes!
    • smalliehunter
      couple good ones from last couple weeks.  Top pic is my pb 10¾"  Bottom photo is a ten incherfinally got a ruler with white lines that will show up in a photo
    • Djsnej123456
      Just meaning trout  waters that have natural population of trout that are born and grow in the water their entire life.  Green pumpkin, browns, watermelons, black, silver/ blue, some orange. Colors those fish are used too. Insects, Minnows, crawdads etc. 
    • Djsnej123456
      Great pic
    • DLS1988
      I was up last weekend(Memorial Day weekend) at the cabin on Birch Point. Where my electronics reading right that water was 64-66 degrees? Also tried up in the shallows in the pencil reads and sandy rocky bottoms of big bay, the side of the point our cabin is on, hoping to find crappies on beds, but nothing. Seems like the perfect area and water temp for all other lakes I’ve fished and there was nothin. Not a sight of beds or fish. Maybe there just isn’t good crappie numbers there? Anyone will to share some shallows for sight fishing on beds? And info on that water temp or what it currently is. and if that was right, is that still not warm enough for vermillion? Gonna be up the weekend of 6/5 to try again, and hoping to not miss it this week. Thank you
    • Mr. 5 pounder
      Thanks for the input, Patches and good to hear you did well in the area.   Johnson lake is a memorable one for me. I fished there for the first time about two years ago around the last week of June and as soon as we drove past Frontier my pin clip for the boat trailer fell off. Never found out why and never happened again, but I noticed it gone at the launch. I was with a buddy of mine and my father, and I told them to just troll near the launch while I went back to look for the clip. After about 15 more minutes I found it in the middle of road, right outside Pine Cone Cafe.   By the way, it was overcast with the occasional sprinkle, but the sun would spill out as well. When i got back to the launch I noticed my two fisherman pals where not eager to come pick me up. In about 20 minutes they caught 3 walleye trolling spinners in about the 10-12 foot weed line outside of the launch.  We kept one feeling we were deserving giving the circumstance, but as soon as I got in the boat luck failed us again. We trolled the whole lake and only caught one more on the east side. The weather kept getting better which was probably the reason, but it seems like Johnson is like most likes in the area... where if there is a hot walleye bite its not going to last too long.    My Dad went out on Burrows the other day and got nothing too exciting besides northern while fishing the same tactic.  Thats one of our "go tos," but Im currenty not in the area, but getting there soon. Hopefully i bring better reports come as well.   Good Luck    
    • CigarGuy
      There's one on Craigslist in the free section. It's in rough shape, but the floats look good. Brooklyn Park.
    • gunner55
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