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2014 Teal Season Details at Duck Creek

Sep 05, 2014

Duck Creek and Dark Cypress Swamp will be open for teal hunting. Please follow statewide regulations and hunters must fill out teal hunting cards prior to their hunt.

Teal Numbers

An official count hasn’t been done, but overall teal numbers on Duck Creek are low, only small flock (<10) has been seen here or there over the last couple of weeks.  This could change cooler weather blows in from the north.

Sign-in Locations:

Green waterfowl hunting cards will be available for hunters to fill out prior to their hunt at the following sign-in box locations:

1. Area HQ

2. Large parking area on the north side of Unit A

3. 1st parking area at Dark Cypress Swamp

Open Teal Hunting Locations:

1. Pool 1 north of the refuge boundary signs

2. Units A and B

3. Dark Cypress Swamp

There are no assigned positions, nor are there limits to number of hunters. Basically, the area will be open on a first-come first-serve basis.  Hunters will be allowed to self-regulate themselves as far as how far apart they hunt from one another. Each hunter must fill out a card and designate which one of the 4 units above they hunted in.

Flooded Habitats

Similar to last year water levels are still high in Pool 1. The herbicide application from earlier this summer has opened up patches of water on the north side.  In Unit A we have added water to the distribution channel and some of the scours in the numbered pools are still holding water.  Unlike last year the Castor River has stayed down as of late. This means that while Dark Cypress is open, there is significantly less flooded habitat than last year.  Remaining pockets of water are in the scattered ponds and in the borrow areas to the south and west side of the unit.

Good Luck

Hope everyone has a safe and successful teal season! Please remember to identify your target before you shoot. The may be young wood ducks and shovelers showing up so please know what you are shooting. Have fun!

north_pool1_july.jpg

Open Water on Pool 1
Open Water on Pool 1
Looking from the east you can see the herbicide application on the north end of Pool 1 has created pockets of open water to teal hunt this September.

floodeddistibutionchannel.jpg

Early Migratory Habitat
Early Migratory Habitat
The distribution channel in Unit A is flooded for early fall migrants like blue-winged teal and soras and provides a mix of open water and vegetation.

Comments

The contractors were making good progress at Greenbriar prior to the rain last week. Up to that point they had poured several concrete structures and had begun moving dirt around. The distribution channel was receiving water to flood further north up the channel. Some of this had backed in a little to 16 and 18 hunting positions.  Twenty-two has also received some water in the last week. 

Any updates on the Greenbriar Unit? Did I recently see more water being pumped into A Unit? Were more areas being made available for Teal Season In Unit A or B?

That is a good question and one that I’m sure folks have kicked around more than once during a slow day in the blind.  Let me start with the admission that waterfowl surveys are not exact and down to the very last duck on the area. That would be impossible with the movement of birds on and off of the area from day to day, visibility of birds through vegetation, and the vast amount of space that birds could potentially be using. However, repetitive surveys do give us a measure of relative abundance over time and do an admirable job of keeping track of whether or not we have more or less birds from one week to the next and can be compared across years and areas. Biologists typically standardize their process of counting ducks by running similar routes and systematically searching areas for these feathered fowl.  From experience, training, and using two observers biologists develop rough estimates of large groups of birds. Through this process an individual can learn what a 100 birds looks like versus 200, 500, or 1,000, etc. For the same reason you described between you and your buddies, consistency is good and that it why we typically have the same person or persons do the counts every week. One other question you might have is how do we get values like 34,453?  You may have multiple large groups where approximate numbers are rounded off, but then you might have smaller groups, like 12 mallards here, 6 wood ducks there, and 43 ring-necks over there.  Once you add these specific numbers in with the total amount, the survey may look exact, but you must remember that they are relative abundances.   Waterfowl surveys are definitely useful and give us a frame of reference, but it is good to understand there are some limitations. Thanks for the question.   

Hey I was curious as to how the duck surveys work. Every time I'm in the field with my buddies we seem to have totally different estimates as to how many birds jumped up. If you guys use a multiplier or your best guess or?? Any info would be great!

not sure that disking the cockleburs did the trick. better luck next year.

The headquarters is operational. We won't be having the draw in the tent again this year. 

Spraying cockleburs happens earlier in the growing season so the vegetation underneath has a chance grow. Logistics precluded that from happening at Dark Cypress this year, but we have disked down quite a bit of around the unit. Due to the time of year we won’t be spraying between now and waterfowl season.

To answer the question on whether or not Pool 1 is wadeable, I would say “perhaps”, but it may not be recommended.  The deep borrows on either side of Pool 1 are not shallow enough to try to wade across and tromp out towards the center of the pool.  The down woody debris, flooded stumps, and aquatic vegetation that can wrap around your legs can also be challenging. If you can use a boat to get you over these challenges, the water is probably 2-3 foot deep on the north end and you can wade out to set out your decoys and retrieve birds in waders.  So if you’re up for an adventure, you could give it a shot, but I wanted to make sure you’ve got an idea of what you might be getting into. 

Is the work on headquarters complete? If not who is it progressing?

any plans to spray the cockleburs at dark cypress?

Interested in hunting teal on the area and was wondering if the north end of pool 1 is wadeable. Also, any new reports on teal numbers?

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