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Duck Creek Waterfowl Hunting Outlook 2011-2012

Aug 03, 2011

Units A and B Renovation

Construction activity is well underway in units A and B. A couple of months of dry weather will facilitate a good portion of the dirt-moving aspect of the project to be completed prior to this year's waterfowl season. However, there are many other facets of the project which will prohibit flooding these hunting pools this year. Reestablishing electric service to the wells is one of the last components of the project and likely will not be completed until summer of 2012. Public use of the construction area is restricted until further notice for safety and liability reasons; however, some activities may be able to be accommodated as the project progresses such as squirrel hunting, archery hunting and dog training. Updated maps showing the areas accessible to the public will be posted at the sign-in areas.

Pool 1 Water Levels

Pool 1 reservoir was recharged to maximum capacity during the historic April rainfall. It is normal to lose more than 3 feet of water through the hot summer and early fall months, and it has been dropping fast. There should be enough water to flood pools 2 and 3 in November, especially if we receive a few significant rainfalls; but an extended period of hot, dry weather from now through October could drop Pool 1 to the minimum pool elevation. Full pool elevation is 346.0, and water starts spilling over the north road at 346.5, which we were above in April. Current elevation is 345.6, so we have already lost about 1 foot of water in the past three months. Current rate of loss is approximately 1/10 foot per three days, or about 1 foot per month. As the reservoir lowers, however, the rate of loss increases due to increased surface area and more abundant vegetation so the rate of loss in October is usually more significant than in July. Minimum pool elevation is 342.5, which allows us about 3 feet of water with three months to go to waterfowl season. Weather conditions and rainfall from here on out will dictate the amount of water available to flood pools 2 and 3.

Duck Creek Waterfowl Hunting Opportunity

So what does this allow for available hunting positions for regular waterfowl season? Depending on available water, Pool 2 and Pool 3 will begin flooding the first week of November. Pool 2 should have 17 positions available by opening weekend, but Pool 3 will experience a more gradual flooding. There will be four hunting positions available in Pool 3 the first week or two and 13 positions available by mid-November. The water retention gates for Pool 8 will be closed mid-November to begin capturing water from Ditch 111 and Ditch 2. Up to 40 individuals will be permitted in Pool 8 depending on the water level. The south Pool 1 positions, L3 and L4, will be available four days per week (Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday). Ducks Unlimited recently purchased and donated two new wetland parcels, the fishponds and the rice field which will provide two additional hunting positions. Dark Cypress Swamp will provide between two and six positions, depending on how much water is available. We were able to plant approximately 20 acres of corn food plots scattered about the east and west pools in 1-acre blocks, and the moist soil plants are looking good this year. All of these positions will be administered through the morning draw.

Teal, Goose, Youth and Reservations

Teal season, early Canada goose season and youth waterfowl weekend opportunities will be available following statewide regulations (self check-in) as conditions allow. We may be able to allow some regular goose hunting in units A and B if the renovation activity has been completed by then. No reservations will be issued this year due to the unpredictable availability of water at this time.


I would like to know how far west the north unit b area will be utilized after the reconstruction? Will it extend past where Blind 37 currently is? Is H Pool going to be changed?

The rumor is false.  We are not draining Pool 1.

There is a rumor going around that you will be completely draining pool 1 in the next few years....true or false

Bandtaker 1 asked anonymous how many quick draws he has received. The answer is honestly 5. Now having said this I still am up in the air as to whether I prefer the quick draw or not. I'm the type of person that is going to hunt reservation or less people in the poor line and more spots to draw for are my goals.

In regards to your question about Unit A and gossip, thanks for turning to us for answers. I was planning on posting a few pictures and brief report later this week. The information from the current post on this page is the same and accurate.  Dirt work has continued to make progress.  However, this is only part of the work.  The structures must go in and the electricity must be run out to the wells.  I don’t expect the wells to be back on-line until next summer so the odds of hunting Unit A and B are very slim.

August 20th Anonymous wants to know where the 55.2% no show statistic came from for otter slough. Ask the Ombudsman. Email address is listed in every Missouri Conservationist. The other no shows for the "regular" reservation system was over 60%. How many times were you (anonymous aug 20th) drawn for a reservation at otter slough? The most recent gossip I heard was that A Unit will be ready for the upcoming waterfowl season. Is there any truth to that rumor?

I'm just curious where the 55.2% figure came from...I'm having trouble finding that one on the web page. Those numbers should be published if they haven't been already. I'm pretty sure that was one of the selling points for quick draw. That more people would actually show up on a short term notice system....although I don't think that you will get a realistic appreciation for quick draw until all the areas are doing it and duck creek is back up to snuff.

Here is the short and sweet of it. The blinds in Pools 2 and 3 are staying.  The blinds in Unit A and B are going.  Some of them have already been removed.  However, because the construction is still under way not all of them have been touched.  I hope this clarifies things.

Bandtaker1 would like to address the anonymous comment on Aug 17th. I participated in the quick draw for otter slough last year and got drawn twice. That was 2 more times than I was drawn for a reservation to duck creek. And the answer to your question is no I do not want to compete with every other duck hunter in the state for a reservation especially when 55.2% were no shows last year at otter slough. I recently did a recon at duck creek and noticed several of the pit blinds were still in place. One person says they are gone one says they are not being taken out. Let me bug you one more time and ask if they are all being removed?

As to the last reservation comment, Duck Creek is not part of the Quick-draw system.

Thanks for your questions and concern.  Most of the locations the existing trees in Unit A, except for L Woods, were located along old field drains.  Since we are reconfiguring the layout some of these had to be removed.  That being said, we are thinking about cover in the future, managing the naturally regenerating willows, and where we can plant some water tolerant trees to mark future hunting locations.  The pit blinds have also been removed.  As you probably know, many were in bad shape.  We may add a few blinds down the road, but are going see how the pools play out first.  This will lend itself more to a wade-in-shoot hunting style.  We’ll let you know if we need volunteers to help with any of our efforts.  We’re like you and hoping for the best in terms of getting the construction done and providing opportunity to hunt.  At this point, it is too early to say so we’ll just keep our fingers crossed.


On August 13 Bandtaker1 would like to say that he is not frustrated in the least with no reservations at Duck Creek this year. Actually that is great news for someone who participates in the "poor line" draw on a regular basis. What is frustrating is all the "Cover" that has been eliminated in A Unit and North B Unit. The treeline in 48S, the treeline and willow thicket near Blind 16 in Unit A. Are there any plans to plant replacement cover in those areas? Maybe some tree plantings? Need some volunteers? Be glad to help. If there happens to be some substantial rains and A Unit gets some water on it will there be ANY hunting allowed? Just hoping for the best possible scenario. Were any of the pit blinds removed, covered or replaced? Thanks for your time patience and efforts to answer these pesky questions!!!

Bandtaker1, I understand your frustration about the lack of reservations at Duck Creek however we feel it is best to be conservative with our reservations for this year.  It appears that we will have water in Pool 2 by the opening of the season, but we continue to loose about a foot of water out of Pool 1 every month.  Even after an inch of rain last week we still lost a tenth of a foot!  This is always the case, but normally we have Unit A to fall back on and we can count on early season flooding of those units with our wells for postitions.  However, as stated in the article, we will have no pumping of Unit A this year so we do not have anything to fall back on.  Dark Cypress is dependent on rainfall, and we typically don't see those rains until later in the season.  Every year, we struggle with predicting how many reservations to offer for a given season, and since we have to provide this information so far in advance we typically underestimate the number of positions because overestimating would be a huge problem.  Imagine coming in to Duck Creek with a reservation and us not having any positions for you to hunt!  Hopefully next season we can start gettin back to normal, but for this year, we hope that you can understand and continue to try your luck in the draw. 

On August 10 Bandtaker1 would like to know the reasoning behind issuing NO RESERVATIONS for Duck Creek. In the same blog comments Pool 2 is estimated to have 17 positions Pool 3 four positions and at least two positions at Dark Cypress for a total of a minumum of 23 positions for opening weekend of the waterfowl season. Water availability has always been an "ify" thing year after year. Has this EVER happened before?

Whew, you guys were busy this weekend.  For years there has been a lot of talk of doing work at Duck Creek and I’m excited to take part in actually putting this on the ground.  Over the last year we’ve replaced dysfunctional structures with ones that can capture and release water more efficiently.  Now we are moving on to Unit A and B.  By working with the topography we will be able to flood ground that has been dry in the past and not have to flood other areas as deep.  Essentially, this effort will allow our management to be more efficient in providing flooded habitat.  This will benefit your waterfowl hunting by providing better quality habitat, as well as adding a few more positions.  I can’t say we’ll get back to the glory days of the 80’s, but I think that what we are doing is definitely progress.  As far as this fall goes, there is no conspiracy.  The Middle Zone will open during the same general time it has in the past (during the first weekend of November).   As stated in the post, the exact timing of flooding may vary upon the pool and water availability, but there will definitely be positions come opening day.  Also as stated in the post, goose hunting could occur in Unit A if construction is finished.  I appreciate and share your passion for waterfowl hunting.  I’d love to be done with the construction and have the entire area opened up so thank you again for your patience as we try to work around the renovation activities, yet still provide for public use.

So if the renovations in Unit A is completed by the end of duck season will it be possible to hunt geese in that Unit ??

Does this mean we are going to start the season later? Since we are flooding the first of November!

Aha- is this prequil to a later start to the hunting season..... if we are flooding the first of November???????

Will we ever see Duck Creek back to the hunting place it was back in the 80's? I remember pulling up to the field blinds and loading decoys in the boat as a child and listening to 1000's of ducks in the pre-dawn....what excitement for a pre-hunt....then most of the woods blinds with constant flights of ducks all morning, then the lunch break, then another flight in the late afternoon....we quit hunting ducks several years ago due to the "non-hunting" changes....will it ever come back? the fishing has changed and the hunting has changed....I hope it's for the best for the sportsmen??????????????

Darin, we were able to plant about 15 acres of corn in the north end of Pool 2, and we have another excellent crop of wild millet growing in the surrounding open ground.  Bandtaker1, it appears that most of the road on the west side of Pool 3 will be closed.  However, we will have access to BB and AA parking lots on that side.  We are planning on dressing up the roads around Pool 2 and 3 as much as possible before the season.  Thanks for your interest!

Are there any crops on the north end of Pool 2? Thanks!!

I really hope this plan plays out well in the future. In the past we've given up a lot of possible hunting opportunity and state funds to see it washed down the drain. I understand that this is an ongoing experiment and I hope that someday I will be able to tell my kids how we all had to suffer to see duck creek turn into the great hunting mecca that you keep promising us. I don't think that it can come out any worse than it was when there wasnt any water in the woods except the boat crops...etc. Otter used to be just so so years ago and look what you've done with if we can just get rid of the quick draw.......

Hello to all at Duck Creek. On August 4 2011 I would like to ask if the road on the west side of pool 3 be open for our use during the upcoming waterfowl hunting season.

Oh another bad year for duck hunting.

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