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2012 Duck Creek Waterfowl Season Wrap-Up

Jan 10, 2013

Each year is different and this one is definitely followed suit. The record drought restricted the amount of options migratory waterfowl could use as stopover habitat during their southward migration over the Mississippi Flyway. With this being the case, areas that that did have water, food, and refuge also had a lot of birds during the course of the season.

Comparison in Duck Numbers

In 2011,at Duck Creek waterfowl numbers peaked just under 54,000 ducks towards the end of November. The numbers exceeded 30,000 birds the week before and after this peak and then spiked a little at the end of December. This year waterfowl peaked at the same time period, which was during the last week of November. However, the total amount and duration of a large number ofbirds was substantially greater than last year. The peak total for 2012 was 62,850ducks and the weekly counts remained above 30,000 birds for six weeks. Granted, it is easier to count when the birds aren’t hiding in the timber, but Mingo saw a similar pattern in the duration of a large number of waterfowl between this year and last year.

Harvest Information

In terms of hunting opportunity, the drought’s impact was also felt here as well. Unfortunately, we did not flood Pools 2 or 3 this year because of low lake levels. However, we got Units A and B online just in the nick of time. Overall, 1,912 hunters harvested 3,379 ducks. Now you might remember last year it was opposite and the timber units were flooded while Units A and B were under construction. I don’t mention this to stir up bad memories, but to note a difference in harvest. Last year the wood ducks kept the harvest aloft at the beginning of the season and there were more than 2,000 woodies harvested when the gun smoke finally settled. Since the timber was out this year, this year’s woody cohort could fly a little safer and perhaps live another year. Only 180 wood ducks were harvested this fall. Mallards, of course, made up the majority of harvested birds with a total of 1,521, which accounted for 43% of the harvest. Northern shovelers and gadwall totaled a combined 30% of the harvest, followed by green-wing teal and ring-necks at roughly 7% each.

Looking to next year, as I stated before, no two years are the same. The three month outlook by the National Weather Service is projecting an increase in precipitation for our region. This bodes well for recharging Pool 1. Hopefully, we won’t repeat the same kind of drought conditions we experienced this year and the timber will be available to hunt once again. We are excited to conduct normal drawdowns on the newly configure pools in Units A and B and are looking forward to managing for more food and cover out there in the coming year. As C.W. graciously stated in a previous comment, we’ve had some hard knocks, but there have also been some highlights. Thank you for your patience and understanding throughout this renovation project. We greatly appreciate your support.


Ducks in a pond
Waterfowl Refuge
The historic drought limited the amount of migratory waterfowl habitat this fall.


We're working on that right now.  We are looking at priorities, timelines, and work loads and trying to see what is feasible for the coming year and what will need to wait. Once we've figured that out I'll let you all know what to expect.  Thanks for the interest.

I did get to see some of the plans on the walls at DC this year, but was wondering if you have any idea of what might actually get done this year weather permitting? Will the old C pool be opened up for hunting. Any of the greenbrier unit? How about some of the areas on the north end of the lake, or will those just be refuge?

We have had to limit some vehicle access in Unit A due to saturated roads being too soft to drive on.  Each parking area is clearly marked with a "NO VEHICLES BEYOND THIS POINT" sign which, unfortunately, means you can not drive to hunting unit 20 to drop off your gear.  We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your cooperation.  Thank you.

Can we still drive down to access area 20 in A unit to drop off gear?

The lake level is currently around 346.  When water is coming into the lake through the structure where our gage is it makes it hard to determine exactly what the lake level is.  Once we close the structure or it equalizes with the ditch we'll be able to determine exactly what the level is.  However we know that the lake is getting very close to 346.5 which is considered full pool.  This is much better than it was last month!  There really is no "normal" pool for Pool 1.  "Normal" depends on the time of the year.  During the late winter or early spring we typically look for rain events like the one we had last week to help re-fill the lake.  We are very fortunate to get so much water from this single event.  It is clear that the new structures placed in Ditch 111 have improved our efficiency to take on water from a singel event than we have in the past!

What is "normal" lake level for Duck Creek??

As of Jan 18th what is the current lake level? Looks like you almost lost some roads in A Unit from the recent rains. Any plan to open C Pool this year???

Thanks a lot for everything that's been done. I got to hunt in pool 11 a couple times and field 55. I believe the areas got some real potential in the next few years with some food and cover out there. Did great when we were in 11 three man limit 2 days straight. 55 was a bit more rough, scratched 5 out of it. Real lack of cover there, but looks good for future years. Would be nice to see if some alternatives could be put in place to get the timber flooded. Hopefully with some rain and good crop production DC will have a banner year next year.

We are looking at ways to improve access to all hunt areas and are working on a plan for some blinds.  We will also take a look at 16 to see what can be done.  Glad you made it out OK!

We received 4.2 inches of rain at Duck Creek this weekend.

You do not have to check in at Duck Creek to hunt at Dark Cypress Swamp.  There are greencards and a check station at the first parking lot at the bottom of the hill. 

how much rain did Duck Creek receive this weekend??

do u have to check in at duck creek headquarters to goose hunt at dark cypress?

Attention Duck Creek Staff. Great Job Keep it up! During the 2012/2013 waterfowl season I noticed several things. May I suggest next year adding about 10 more inches of water to pool 18 in A unit then allowing hunters to drive past the parking area at 16 (along that great graveled road) all the way down to the corner of 18 and 22. That would make accessing pool 18 a snap (wouldnt hurt accessing 22 either). A person could lauch a boat at that corner and reach the entire area that 18 encompasses. Any chance of leveling pool 16 so it is not so dangerous to wade. Shallow on the west deep in the middle and east side. Please through some gravel in that mound of quick mud ( just like quick sand only man made) about 75 yards north into the pool from the first corner on the road past 16 parking lot. If you like I can show someone on a map where that spot is. Dangerous!!! Someone could be injured there. almost had to yell for help after stepping in that mound of muck. Any Idea when and where blinds may be placed in Unit A and B? Thanks for your patience and quick responses!!!

Well another year has come to a close. I again went through another year of duck hunting without even getting drawn ONCE! Owell that makes three years now ,IN A ROW, that I haven't been the chosen one. Thats right I haven't been chosen for 3 yrs straight. I give up, your program has failed me completely. I will no longer try to get reservations , or quick draws! I've had enough! Thanks alot, Craig Monzyk

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