Cape Girardeau Mo -- Teal season is open and will last until Sep. 26. Other waterfowl seasons are fast approaching. This summer has been very hot and dry at Duck Creek Conservation Area. Hopefully, things will change with the seasons and bring cool and wet weather to help create flooded conditions at Duck Creek for fall migratory waterfowl.
According to Duck Creek Conservation Area Biologist Keith Cordell, the prolonged bout of hot dry weather provided excellent growing conditions for several invasive species, such as sesbania, joint vetch, and everyone's favorite nuisance plant, cocklebur. Despite these challenges, it is not all bad news on the habitat front.
“There are some very good wildlife food resources on the area that will be very positive for waterfowl,” Cordell said.
He added that food resources, such as wild millet, sedges and annual smartweeds, are as good as he’s ever seen.
According to Cordell and other wildlife biologists, a millet-seed survey from the north end of Pool 2 estimates an average of 750 lbs of millet per acre.
Golden Anniversary renovations are also expected to affect waterfowl season at Duck Creek so Cordell encourages hunters to be informed on what they’ll find at the area in regards to renovations.
He says the wettest areas of Unit A have dried enough to allow tractors, bulldozers, and excavators to disturb the soil in areas and to promote production of annual vegetation. The activity prevented early flooding for this teal season.
However, Cordell says it will hopefully allow an earlier start next year, which should increase the opportunity for Duck Creek CA renovations to be completed in one year.
“We’ve planted the entire northwest corner of Unit A in wheat and hope to see some goose use this winter,” Cordell said.
He added that there’s been a resident flock of up to 260 Canada Geese already browsing on it.
Cordell says flooding of Unit A on the area is delayed for the renovations, but they’re hoping to begin flooding the unit soon. Barring any unfortunate problems with the wells and pumps, each pool will have enough water to hold birds by mid October.
Cordell added that he’s optimistic there might be water in four specific areas before the end of teal season (specifically hunting positions 15/16, 14/18, 48 South and 19).
Pool 1 is open to teal hunting on the north half. The water level has dropped 1.5 feet since earlier this spring, exposing mud on the very north end and lots of stumps further south. Access is available on the east side. The west side road is only open up to the last footbridge into Pool 8.
Unit A currently has no water except for a few holes in the borrow areas of the levee near 15 and 16 and the big hole in front of the east well. All access to Unit A is at the north from Z Highway. There’s a self check station at that parking lot. All regular Unit A positions are available, whether they have water or not. The gates will be closed to Unit A beginning Oct. 15 to allow waterfowl to use the area undisturbed prior to the hunting season.
Pool 3 road is closed due to construction work and the timber harvest research project.
Pool 2 road is now open, though Cordell says they are currently getting rock on the west side, and the entire road may be closed during periods of wet weather.
For more information on waterfowl seasons and permits, go online to www.MissouriConservation.org. For more information on Duck Creek Golden Anniversary Renovations, check out the area manager’s blog at http://duckcreekcaupdates.blogspot.com/.