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2011 Duck Creek Waterfowl Wrap-Up

Jan 24, 2012

Well, another waterfowl season has come to a close. Once again, this year was different from the last. Duck Creek’s waterfowl numbers peaked at the end of November and first of December (Figure 1). Birds dispersed as we experienced our first ice and as the Castor River got out of its banks. We experienced a second, smaller peak towards the end of December before the end of the season.

Our duck harvest across the season reflected a similar pattern. During the first two weeks of November, wood ducks carried the harvest as the number of Mallards started to increase (Figure 2). The harvest of our “other” ducks peaked around Thanksgiving as the early migrants passed through. The peak in mallard harvest was similar to their peak in abundance on the area during the first week of December. The harvest also reflected the dip in birds as our mallard harvest fell between Dec. 12-18, before rising again to finish out the season.

Overall, 8,000 ducks (4,296 mallards) were harvested by 4,298 hunters in 2011. Prior to the beginning of the Duck Creek Renovation, 4,000 to 5,000 hunter trips were averaged between 2007 and 2009. We hope you had a great season and were able to get out on the area and contribute to these numbers.

Species Harvested at Duck Creek: 2011-12
Species Harvest
Total 8000
Mallard 4296
Wood Duck 2114
Gadwall 495
Northern Shoveler 300
Ring-necked Duck 256
Green-wing Teal 236
Northern Pintail 81
Wigeon 42
Redhead 26
Scaup 4
Other waterfowl species 124

Now that the 2011 waterfowl season is over we have already begun preparing for the 2012 season. Water levels in pools 2 and 3 have been lowered to increase the amount of shallow water to be available for the ducks to forage in. The strategy is working. You can go out today and drive around the pools and see quite a few birds in the timber. If you take time to stop and listen, you’ll hear a bunch of happy ducks feeding on bugs, getting ready for courtship and the long flight back north.

As you start to go through your gear and put your decoys away, I know waterfowl may still be on your mind. If you need your fix of seeing birds, they’re still on the area and looking sharper than ever as spring quickly approaches. If the road is open, you’re more than welcome to drive around and take a look.

Thanks again for a great 2011 waterfowl season.

duckcreek2011numbers.jpg

Duck Creek CA Waterfowl Abundance

duckcreek2011harvest.jpg

graph shows 2011 duck creek ca waterfowl harvest numbers
Duck Creek CA Waterfowl Harvest

pool2mallards_jan2012.jpg

mallards feeding in flooded timber
Mallards in Flooded Timber

Comments

This site is a very good information exchange. How about sites to update all the areas or at least update area information for the general region?

Darin, give me some time and I’ll look into it. At first glance though I think we saw what typically happens in Pools 2 and 3.  Wood ducks contribute to the harvest early on in the season.  As mallards show up they increase in the overall bag.  As Pool 8 becomes available later in the season the mallards key on this flooded habitat and contribute significantly to our harvest until we get ice.  What we missed this year with Unit A out of commission was the harvest of mallards in November in the moist soil habitat, which is typically higher than Pools 2 or 3.  

I was able to get some goose hunting in this weekend up in Unit A , me and my buddies managed to scratch out 7 Canada's. Saturday we seen 9 Trumpeter swans in 14, awesome site. Sunday Unit A was covered up with birds, Pintails,Mallards,Widgeon and teal, i think the renovations will provide some good hunting next season. Keep up the good work and hope all of Duck Creek staff has a great year.

I am curious how the harvested species distribution is different this year since Unit A was closed compared to the last few years with timber pools closed or open.

Darin,The east portion of Unit A is accessible by vehicle to all area users up to the 13 / 14 parking area and from the two parking areas on HWY Z.  Unit B may be accessed at the parking area near McGee.

Can you drive into A unit yet, or are they hunting Geese back there? Thanks!! Darin

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