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What to do, teal season is through

Sep 27, 2013

September’s teal season came to an end last weekend, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a reason to get out and explore Duck Creek.

Aerial Activities

Personally, I love the fall. The summer heat begins to break and you can feel fall’s coolness settling in. The critters can feel it too. Swallows are swarming over the sedges and smartweed, knocking off bugs right and left. Rails can be heard and occasionally flushed from the underbrush for a brief sporadic flight. Snipe and other shorebirds pick and probe at the saturated mudflats. Small flights of teal zip from one spot to the next. In the coming weeks the fall aerial passage will continue and we’ll begin to pick up other early fall migrants like, pintail and shovelers as the regular waterfowl season inches near.

Wetland Renovation Results

By reconfiguring Units A and B we have created new opportunities both for critters and people. Restoring sloughs and working with the fall of the land has created a mix of wetland communities. Most of the sloughs have stayed flooded through the summer and have different kinds of plants than what is growing on the flats. Additionally, these channels let us divert water to and through the pools. Previously, we didn’t have this capability. Certain areas could not be flooded without swamping other locations too deep and putting good food out of reach of hungry ducks.

This September in Unit A we flooded the distribution channel and pool 14. We also used the new well in Unit B to flood portions of 55, 54, and 53. This has provided early fall habitat for migrating birds and new hunting opportunities during teal season. Other pools have remained dry except for the meanders, to save the resources for the rest of the fall flight.

With activity in the air and water wandering around, there is much to do and see.

Rail Hunting

There is still time and opportunity to hone your shooting skills prior to the waterfowl opener. Rail season extends till October 15th on Duck Creek and the daily bag and possession limit is 25 birds. You can take a leisurely walk through the marsh, get some shots in, and cook up a little snack later that evening.

Fall Float

If that sounds like too much work, perhaps a solitary float up and down a winding slough is more your speed. The distribution channel on the south side of Unit A has the easiest access. Put in your canoe or kayak and paddle till your heart is content. It is a good opportunity to see the great moist soil plant production that will be made available in the coming months.

Other Hunting and Fishing Opportunities

However, that’s not all. In the next few weeks you can also fish, train your dog, archery hunt deer, and take advantage of the fall turkey season. The fall turkey hunting is allowed from October 1-14 across the area and requires the use of non-toxic shot. Archery deer hunting is also available area wide until October 15th when Units A and B and the waterfowl refuges become off limits. When the clock strikes midnight on October 14th dog training and fishing will also close for the season.

So as summer slips to fall and the aerial activity begins to increase, feel free to come out experience the renovated marsh before it gets too close to the big opener in November. That is what it is here for and you are welcome to it.


Early fall aerial of Unit A and Pool 1
Early Fall Aerial of Unit A and Pool 1
In early fall, flooded wetlands become refueling spots for a variety of waterfowl, shorebirds, and wading birds as they begin to migrate south.


Restored slough meandering through Unit A
Restored Slough Meandering Through Unit A
The restored sloughs allow water to move to and through the area. It also provides a different habitat for wetland critters to take exploit.


Hunting the solitary sora
Hunting the Solitary Sora


Floating a solitary slough
Floating A Solitary Slough
September’s weather is primetime to get outside and explore nature. A fall float in a solitary slough is a great way to get explore the marsh.


Pool 2 will begin flooding between October 25-28.

When will you start flooding pool 2?

Yep, there will be a few spots in 2 depending on how flooding goes.  Pool 3 will be delayed, but gradually flooded as time progresses.

So with having the 30 spots... Will those include some of pools 2 and 3?

Keith answered the question about 53's hunting status on September 30th at the bottom of this comment string.  This position is one of the 4 spots in Unit B so as Keith more recently noted it will be one of the positions available for the Youth weekend.

hunt 53 will be allowed?

If Pool 7 is opened to waterfowl hunting, access is through the main Mingo NWR entrance, driving east along Ditch11, then North along Ditch 2.  There will be three parking options, all at the south end of the Pool 7: Bow Hunter's Parking Lot, Unit-1 Foot bridge and the Ditch3 Slide gate.

HQ renovations are going to take a while.  We have made preparations to hold the draw in the gravel parking area under a tent. The cards which were filled out and returned indicate that a total of 237 hunters harvested 269 teal (233 BWTE and 36 AGWT).  Pool 1 was 147 hunters harvested 166 teal; Units A&B was 53 hunters harvested 66 teal; Dark Cypress Swamp was 37 hunters harvested 26 teal.  Opening day positions should be around 30.

There will be a draw for Youth Weekend, October 26 -27, at the Duck Creek HQ in the gravel parking area under the tent.  Draw time will be 4:45am.  Number of available positions should be 23: Unit-A (12); Unit-B (4); Fishponds and Kinder Pool (2)Dark Cypress Swamp (5)

If we do get to hunt Pool would it be accessed? Where would parking be?

Any update on the renovations to headquarters? How did the hunters do during the teal season? Any stats you wish to share with the rest of us? Any idea on the number of positions that will be ready for opening day?

I know it's a few weeks away but do you have an idea of how many positions will be available for youth weekend, which ones may be available, and will there be a draw?

Boats and oars will be available for the blind positions in Pools 2 and 3.

What will the boat situation be this year? What pools, if any will they be provided? Thanks for all the hard work guys.

Yes, Mingo is currently closed.

Is mongo closed due to the government shutdown?

Mingo NWR, along with many other National Wildlife Refuges, submitted proposals to add additional hunting opportunities this past year. The process is long and painful and has to abide by many federal mandates and procedures. The current hunt plan proposal for Mingo NWR includes adding Pool 7 to the managed waterfowl hunt program administered by MDC. If the plan is approved, Pool 7 will be included in the daily draw three days / week (which days are still to be determined) for up to 25 individuals. Pool 7 is the block of bottomland forest directly west of Pool 8 which lies between Ditch 2 and 3. The plan is awaiting final approval by USFWS regulatory officials before implementation, but it is possible it could be initiated this waterfowl season. The hunt plan proposal is currently open for public comments which can be accessed at:!documentDetail;D=FWS-HQ-NWRS-2013-0074-0001

Pool 1 water level is high.  There will be enough water to flood Pools 2 and 3.  All Pool 2 and 3 blinds are finished and camouflaged but we are still making some last minute repairs on a few.  Our goal is to have 2/3 of Pool 2 and 1/3 of Pool 3 flooded by November 2nd with gradual increasing water levels rising to full pool by the 3rd week of November.

How does the lake levels look? Are all the blinds in pool 3 good to go and what is the possible time frame of flooding pool 3? If at all possible?

What can you tell us about the possible hunting oppourtunity in Pool 7 at Mingo? The changes say that it could be offered to be hunted through the draw at Duck Creek 3 times a week. Because of the current Federal Gov Shutdown I can not even get a map of Mingo on the government's web site. Where and what exactly is Pool 7? How many hunting positions can it offer? I know this is not a sure thing yet but any info you could give would be great. Thanks for all that you do, this blog included.

Early Canada Goose Season (October 5-13) will be the same as it was for teal season.  Unit A, Unit B, North portion of Pool 1 and Dark Cypress Swamp will be available to hunt.  It is a self-check system and individual pools within Units A&B are not designated.  The central distribution channel in Unit A is full and water is beginning to flow into the east portion of Unit A.  Most of Unit B has some shallow water. 

Any idea what positions will be open for early goose season?

Unti B pool 53 will be available as a hunt unit if enough water is available to consider it a hunt Unit.  This pool does not yet have a dedicated water source other than from precipitation.  It was dry the entire waterfowl season last year, like everywhere else which was dependant on rainfall.  53 is holding some water now and should have enough to consider it a hunting position by the end of October.  Conditions will be evaluated prior to Youth Waterfowl Hunting Weekend on Oct. 26-27.  It will be a walk-in area accessed from 55 parking area this year and, depending on bird use, may be available 2-3 days week for the regular waterfowl season.

will we be allowed to hunt 53 this year?

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