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2011 Mast Survey: Another Nutty Year

Sep 28, 2011

It is that time of year again: time to assess this year’s food production. In open areas, we can examine the moist-soil plants and get an idea of the number of seeds that have been produced over the summer. In the timber, we can scan the tree tops and get an idea of the number of acorns that have developed in the canopy.

Over the last few years, our acorn crop has continued to improve. Because trees are long-lived species, their nut production is cyclical and goes up and down over time.

Here’s the skinny

Last year we had a great acorn crop, so our expectation for this year was going to be a little lower. Surprisingly, we’ve had another good mast year for the red oak species (pin, willow and cherrybark). Take a look at the graphic to see the density of acorns among oak species.

Variability within the survey

This year there was a lot of variability within the red oaks from tree to tree. One tree could have nothing, while the one right next to it looked great. This also applied to density of acorns on an individual tree. A portion of the crown may have looked good, but the rest of the tree was bare.

Species Summary

Despite the variation within and among trees, the pin oak production overall was slightly better than last year’s survey. Willow oak was down slightly from last year, and cherrybark was the same. Overcup was a little higher than the average, but not by much.

The mast production from these trees is important for the wildlife species that will use it as a food source and as the next generation of seedlings that may one day take over the canopy. This information is another nugget, or shall I say "nutlet," of information that helps us keep track and manage these valuable wetland communities.


Graph showing 2011 mast crop summary for Duck Creek CA
2011 Mast Crop Summary


What positions are available for the youth weekend?

Ok thanks for the information.

The rice field at Kinder is directly east of Field 1.  Field 1 is north of Field 2 which is adjacent to Highway 51.  You can not see the rice field from the highway as it lies behind the houses and tree line.  The large graded field east of Pool 3 across the ditch is still privately owned.

I know this has nothing to do with this post but where exactly is the rice field that was purchased by DU. Im not sure i know where it is, is this the one beside pool 3 across the ditch? All I keep hearing is by Kinder

There are plans to develop the Greenbrier Unit (formerly Dark Cypress) and it is included with the Mingo Basin Phase III NAWCA application.  This funding request has been submitted and scored and now wait to see if it is approved.  It is a long, complicated and drawn out process.  Hopefully we will receive confirmation of approval within the next six months.  Keep your fingers crossed.

The Lukin Farm refuge is part of Mingo NWR and is not included in their current hunt program.  There is currently work being done to the levees and water control structures which prevent it from holding water.  The wells which supply water to the Lukin Farm are also non operational until next summer.  There will not be hunting in this area this year.

Are there any plans in the future for the greenbrier area?

Several years ago we got to hunt the liukin farm area at duck creek that is normally a refuge. It was opened up one year that pool 3 was not flooded. Are there any plans with this area? Could this area be utilized as a hunting spot this year since unit A is out for this year?

Hunter...wild hogs are not native to missouri or north america and are not wildlife; they are an invasive species which cause considerable damage to the habitat all other wildlife species depend on. If you want hogs, you get to hunt no deer or turkeys either. Go back to playing your chutes and ladders and candyland games.

I think we need to protect the endangered ragweed and especially the yellow tailed moths who feed on it. The world would not be right if these beautiful moths were to go extinct. The hogs were released anyway, not by greedy landowners, but by jealous duck hunters who make much money by selling their dogs and marketing the wood duck feathers on ebay. Keep up the good work Duck Creek guys!

I agree with Hunter's comments....let's bring back the hogs and while we're at it why not re-stock Japanese beetles and gypsy moths. What the hogs don't kill off the beetles and moths will. Then Duck Creek can be a big swamp with no trees. Good idea Hunter!!!!

You are correct.  We did do a little work around the old C blind.  We cleaned out some of the elm, ash, and maple that had grown up over the years.  However, this is just like cleaning out the cob-webs in a forgotten corner.  We’ll need to a lot more work to throw it in as a viable hunting positions.  So, no, it won’t be included this year.  However, the wheels are moving in that direction. We have the plans put together to do some levee work and put a water control structure here to help trap water out of Ditch 104.  We’ll have to see if our next NAWCA grant comes through to move onto this next stage in the renovation.

How is the Feral Hog population doing around Duck Creek,and what can we do to help assure there survival. I know the hog industry and the game hog land owners want them all killed. But Feral hogs are just as much a part of MO as the Deer. We need to stop the killing and let the population grow for sport hunting. Perhaps the greedy land owners would allow hunting then. Most of us could care less about some endangered ragweed or a yellow tailed moth, if it makes the hogs fat then let them eat it. Lets all help to stop the killings of Feral Hogs untill we have a population vast enough to have a regular season on them. Thanks Hunter

You mentioned in a previous post about work in the old C blind area. Will that area be utilized as a hunting spot this year?

Work on the fish ponds is being done to repair levees that had to be cut to drain the old ponds.  Once this work is completed we should be able to flood this unit and have it ready for duck season.  We were able to plant a few patches of corn this year at Dark Cypress and the moist-soil looks very good.  However, we will still need to wait for the Castor River to flood to get the water we need on the area.  The only other new position that we know of right now is the rice field directly north and west of Kinder.  This position has been mentioned before in previous posts.

Will the area at the fish ponds be flooded for first of season. How does dark cypress look. is there any other positions that will be added this year.

The current water level in Pool 1 is sufficient to flood Pool 2 and Pool 3.  We will begin to flood both pools the last week of October.  Pool 2 should have all 17 positions available by Nov 5.  Pool 3 will have the four center blinds (BB4, AA3, Y2, and X4) available for the first week or two of the season and all 13 positions available by mid November.  Pool 8 should begin flooding after the first big rain mid November. 

How does the lake stage look at this time before flooding begins in Pool 2? I would to at least have an opportunity to see wood ducks in the woods like they used to be. If we have the food can we make is accessible to the birds early? Thanks!!

Our acorn crop seems to be very much up from last year. We literally have a thick carpet of acorns. We live just outside of Columbia City limits to the north east. Last year we had large acorns and this year the acorns are smaller but more plentiful.

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