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Reminder: Zone Boundary and Season Dates Meeting

Mar 23, 2011

Last night we held the first meeting in the Bootheel at Jackson. Tonight will be the second of three public meetings in the region. Tonight's workshop will be at Dexter, March 23, at the National Guard Armory, Hwy 114 East near airport and will run from 7 to 9 p.m.  Tomorrow night (March 24) we will be in Kennett, at the Justice Center, corner of the North Bypass (also called Ely) and Floyd (also from 7 to 9 p.m.).


The purpose is to gather hunter input about duck season dates and zone boundary locations. The Department plans to establish duck season dates and zone boundaries that will be in place for the 2011 through 2015 hunting seasons. It is your opportunity to see how decisions have been made in previous years and to give your input on the next five. We'll see you there.


The reason most of the people I know don't like the quickdraw is because your odds of getting in on any given day are worse than they used to be. I for one did not get drawn one single time last year. I also have a 2.5 - 3 hour drive to OS and DC, but I would rather drive down there and have a 30 - 50% shot at drawing out in the poor line, than a 1 - 5% shot at getting in online. Granted it would save me gas money when we don't get in, but I also have other backup spots that I can go to when I drive down there as does anyone else that drives down there. The backup spots that I hunt are all public places. The odds get even worse when the north zone closes because everyone and their mother puts in for OS then. It may not be as bad if all the areas were QD. The other problem is that I personally know people that put in with no intentions of even going if they got drawn. I think Quick Draw is a good concept, but in practice the way it is implemented does not work well. It needs penalties for no shows, or a points system. I know of at least one person that got drawn multiple times and heard of others. The real problem is that there just isn't enough good public ground to accomidate all of the hunters. If they allowed refilling, (which they tried maybe 10 - 12 years ago) they could accomidate more hunters. It seems that deer hunters have unlimited amounts of public places to go, but that MDC is not focused on providing more places/oppurtunites for us duck hunters. I know that running a wetland can be costly, but at least they could buy up some more opportunistic wetland areas, or open up some that they already have. Columbia bottoms could accomodate more hunters than they put there. Busch Wildlife could have more duck hunting than just a pre-season draw for a limited number of hunts. I know these are multi-use areas, but they are also fairly large areas, and if it is to be multi-use, then use more of it for hunting. Especially since hunting season tends to be when less people are out using these areas for biking and other activities. The list goes on and on. I am sure MDC has some good reasons for doing what they do, but it just seems to me that they could do more to provide access to some more public duck hunting.

I encourage all fair weather hunters to venture out of your comfort zone and discover the amount of birds hanging around in late December and mid January. The birds are still here. I killed greenwing teal, shovelers, pintails, mallards, gadwalls, and widgeon all in late December and mid January. I agree it's tough hunting, but who said waterfowl hunting was gonna be a cake walk. Push yourself to the limit and reap the benefits of late season birds. That's why my vote is for a split season, to push us up into mid January. The birds don't leave when it locks up, most of the reason for birds moving on is because they get pounded every day. If we had a split, it would give the birds a chance to calm down. Give it chance, what could it hurt. HAPPY HUNTING, AND SHOOT EM IN THE LIPS !!!!!!!!

It seems to me that today's waterfowl hunters want the hunting conditions to be sunny and 50 to 70 degrees. While you will kill birds in the conditions, your missing out on the Mallard migration. As any hardcore waterfowl hunter would know,such as myself, the Mallards don't begin showing up in good numbers until the middle of December. That only leaves 2 weeks of hunting with the current season dates. To be a true passionate waterfowl hunter, you have to learn how to adapt, that's what makes this sport so addictive. You have to take what mother nature throws at ya, and adapt. Your gonna have good days and bad, but that's hunting, and you can't kill em sitting on the couch because ya don't wanna bust some ice. So get out there and bust some ice and then bust your Mallards !!!!!!! HAPPY HUNTING !!!!!!



I would like to comment to Justin: Justin, I wanted to give you some insight to the reason for the split season. This would satisfy the early season hunters AND late season hunters in this neck of the woods. We all would like things to go our way, but there are other hunters that love to hunt ducks later in the season. This split would accommodate that. Early season hunters wouldn't have to worry as much about the hard water and late season hunters don't seem to mind it. Also, there are many public land hunters vs. private land hunters. This too in itself causes a challenge for early and late season hunts. Many private land holders would prefer hunting early because of the shallow water they would particularly hunt. Public hunting areas offer more deep water to hunt birds and most people around these parts have no choice to hunt anything other than public. You mentioned the birds all leave when the hard freeze hits; I have to disagree. Many birds linger after a hard freeze but in most cases as soon as the weather turns many birds fly back north to stay on the freeze line. I myself have seen more birds in January than in November or December. We hunted the last day of season in the South Zone and it was froze up; we seen tons of birds. In closing I just wanted to say that we can't be selfish when it comes to setting zones or season dates or splits. We have to look at things from everyone's perspective and hope for the best, there is no magic wand. I hope this helps you to see from a different perspective. Thank you!!

Frank, Thank you for the response. I'm attempting to download the 92 page doc now. My worry is most hunters probably don't even realize this is an issue. I didn't know about until my friend told me last night (he attended the meeting in the Clinton). So I'm concerned the opinion of the hunters may not be adequately communicated. Given the other dates and locations of the remaining meetings, it's not likely I will be able to attend. Is there a person I can contact directly and ask my friends to contact so they understand our concerns? I will beg if needed. PLEASE do not split the season around Thanksgiving. ;) Thank you for your help! Justin

You are right, you might miss some birds with a split season, which is why we need folks to attend the workshops and give their input.  A split season for Duck Creek and Otter Slough hunters would also mean a split season for the rest of the Middle Zone, which would include folks on private and public ground, as well as land north and west of the Bootheel.  This is why 15 different workshops are being held.  In response to another post, if you weren’t able to make one of these, we do have package of information that is used at the workshops online.  Go to the Waterfowl Hunting page, Waterfowl Zones and Boundaries link, and towards the bottom of this page is a link to the 92 page document.

As a Middle Zone hunter, I am VERY concerned about this idea to split the season. Rumors are the split would be sometime around Thanksgiving? That split could not be worse for a Middle Zone Hunter. Here are my concerns: • I only get to hunt on the weekends due to my job. So if I’m lucky, I get 6 or maybe 7 weekends before the big freeze comes and the birds move out. If you do this split season, you will be taking away 2 weekends. • It seems like the big migration birds doesn’t begin to arrive in the Middle Zone until the first or second weekend of November. If you do this split season, we’ll only have a week or two of hunting while the migration is in town. • It seems like by the second weekend of December ever year we get a hard freeze. Then typically a large percentage of the waterfowl leave the area. The result is the hunting is much worse after the freeze than before the freeze. If you do this split, we will be “off” right after Thanksgiving and then start back up about the same time as the freeze moves in. Which means we start back up about the time the birds leaves and the season (while not officially over) is pretty much over b/c the birds are gone. So essentially you would be ending the season around Thanksgiving b/c by the time it would start up again after the split, most of the birds are gone. PLEASE do not split the Middle Zone season anytime around Thanksigiving. The current system we use would be much better. Who can I contact and direct my friends to contact to express our concerns about this? Repectfully, Justin


I went to the workshop in Jackson. I was surprised to see that most of the hunters were in agreement for later season dates. I do not think that the main focus was so much on the zone boundaries as it was the season dates. I was also was surprised to hear that most hunters would prefer a split season to accommodate early season hunters and late season hunters. I am all for it!!!!

some of us were unable to attend these meetings. how can we review the information that was put together. Why not post this?

I understand your frustration. I won’t argue with you, the timing of birds, weather, and habitat are different in this part of the state. Unfortunately, with the past season framework options it can be difficult to fit zones and season dates for everyone. The reality is that the existing framework is a compromise.We use multiple surveys and these public workshops to get an idea of what hunters want. In the past this has changed zone boundaries and season dates in other parts of the state. This year Andy Raedeke and Doreen Mengel have put together an extensive package of information, which has been shared at the workshops. Upon reviewing this information, you, the public, has a chance to suggest alternatives within this framework. Following the workshops the small group alternatives, individual surveys, and mailed-in surveys are taken into account. This is done statewide. To facilitate transparency, if you attend one of the workshop a final report is emailed directly to you. Otherwise, the final season framework and rationale is posted on the internet. It is through this exchange that the zone boundary and season dates are decided.The Bootheel is tricky. I agree I have heard that some folks that hunt down here in the Middle Zone would like to hunt at least a week later. However, if you are okay with the Middle Zone boundary, then input from folks from the rest of the Middle Zone further north and west must be considered. There is another group that has suggested lumping all of the Bootheel in the South Zone. This would move the season opener for Duck Creek and Otter Slough three weeks later. Based on the survey responses this would be too late for most of the folks hunting these areas. So that is the delimma.However, this year the USFWS is considering allowing 2 other possibilities that might allow for a solution (4 zones or 3 zones and a split). A fourth zone could help those that prefer to hunt earlier and would allow the South Zone hunters to keep their later season. Whether or not USFWS will approve these options is yet to be determined. That being said it, we need to know what hunters want if these options are possible. Is one more preferable than another? Where would this fourth zone boundary be? To get your feedback on these questions and potential solutions it is important for folks to come to the workshops and participate. Public participation is required for transparency. I hope you can attend a workshop and be a part of the process.

Just wondering why we should go to these meetings if MDC will do what they want anyways. They don't listen to hunters. Most every waterfowl hunter I know is against the Quick Draw, yet the shoved that down our throats w/o any input from the hunters. It would be nice to see the responses they have gotten about that, but I am sure that won't be released. Most hunters I know don't trust MDC. I am not here to bash MDC as I believe they have done some great things, but I believe we need more transperancy in the way they operate and make decisions. It would be nice if the public had more say so in the way things are done.

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