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Author Topic: Corn ponds and duck patterns  (Read 2647 times)

Online Mfowl

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Re: Corn ponds and duck patterns
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2018, 06:00:42 PM »
There is fewer ducks migrating into the Columbia Basin. The corn ponds have an effect for sure but its minimal. There was a guide last year on the Columbia river shooting client limits and the public hunt areas were very productive.

I don't agree that there are fewer ducks migrating in to the Basin each year. I think you just don't see them like we all used to because they have learned to use the corn complexes and no longer travel the same routes they once did. I also think the presence of 10's of thousands of snow geese that never used the Basin until recent years indicates that it is still a very viable and even improving wintering area for the birds.
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Offline hunterednate

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Re: Corn ponds and duck patterns
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2018, 06:10:36 PM »
There is fewer ducks migrating into the Columbia Basin. The corn ponds have an effect for sure but its minimal. There was a guide last year on the Columbia river shooting client limits and the public hunt areas were very productive.

I don't agree that there are fewer ducks migrating in to the Basin each year. I think you just don't see them like we all used to because they have learned to use the corn complexes and no longer travel the same routes they once did. I also think the presence of 10's of thousands of snow geese that never used the Basin until recent years indicates that it is still a very viable and even improving wintering area for the birds.

Great point. Change of flight path is a killer for public hunters hoping to pull off enough birds from passing flocks to shoot a limit. If you don't see them...they won't see you.

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Re: Corn ponds and duck patterns
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2018, 06:44:54 PM »
If you were to regulate the planting for ducks, where does it stop. Are you going to say that you can't plant a food plot for deer or elk because all the big ones are now on private property. I have land and plant for ducks and Flood my corn and kill the hell out of them. If you can afford it go for it. It just sounds like crazy everyone's a winner mentality. I suppose since I'm a better caller than most and pull birds away from others set ups when I hunt public I should put my calls away and wait till everyone has shot their fair share.
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Re: Corn ponds and duck patterns
« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2018, 08:04:50 PM »
There is fewer ducks migrating into the Columbia Basin. The corn ponds have an effect for sure but its minimal. There was a guide last year on the Columbia river shooting client limits and the public hunt areas were very productive.

I donít think you realize the effects of the corn ponds or enhanced private natural wetlands in the area.  Just one corn complex I have hunted in Royal City will have over 20k birds in it when we walk in.  Not counting the adjacent clubs next door.  The birds will drop in from the blue and vortex down in many cases.  The private clubs probably hold over a 100k Birds in that area alone.
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Offline drk9988

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Re: Corn ponds and duck patterns
« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2018, 08:35:58 PM »
Also as the birds learn these habits and the numbers of birds killed on public drops the price of the private flooded corn seats go up. As the seats go up in price people pay 275-350 to kill seven ducks just giving the flooded corn operation more capital to create more flooded corn ponds.. Look at the different guide operations they are making more flooded corn ponds every summer adding warm well water to the others.... It's a vicious cycle... When does it end?

Also when ducks feed in cut corn that is dry they stuff themselves and then have to find water many times causing them to fly over public land and or use public water. Since flooded corn ponds have existed this practice has become way less because the ducks get the water and the feed in the same location. They water and feed in one spot and seek refuge in another... It takes an entire leg of a daily journey out... This finding the closest water portion of the ducks day makes them vulnerable to hunters on public waters.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2018, 08:50:16 PM by drk9988 »

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Re: Corn ponds and duck patterns
« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2018, 08:47:02 PM »
Also as the birds learn these habits and the numbers of birds killed on public drops the price of the private flooded corn seats go up. As the seats go up in price people pay 275-350 to kill seven ducks just giving the flooded corn operation more capital to create more flooded corn ponds.. Look at the different guide operations they are making more flooded corn ponds every summer adding warm well water to the others.... It's a vicious cycle... When does it end?

It wonít end.  Itís going to get worse.  Lots of money flowing up my way for leases and lots of ground getting purchased for duck spots.  Seeing more and more 10-30 acre corn plots all around.  Some much larger.  Most leases are going from $5,500 to $12,000 per season for good ones.
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Offline drk9988

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Re: Corn ponds and duck patterns
« Reply #21 on: May 24, 2018, 09:00:04 PM »
Also as the birds learn these habits and the numbers of birds killed on public drops the price of the private flooded corn seats go up. As the seats go up in price people pay 275-350 to kill seven ducks just giving the flooded corn operation more capital to create more flooded corn ponds.. Look at the different guide operations they are making more flooded corn ponds every summer adding warm well water to the others.... It's a vicious cycle... When does it end?

It wonít end.  Itís going to get worse.  Lots of money flowing up my way for leases and lots of ground getting purchased for duck spots.  Seeing more and more 10-30 acre corn plots all around.  Some much larger.  Most leases are going from $5,500 to $12,000 per season for good ones.

It's a vicious cycle... As long as artificial manipulation of water to flood corn/crop is legal it is just gonna get worse. It has been fun to adapt and find ways to kill ducks in this environment but where does it end every year as corn ponds are expanded it gets exponentially worse. My gripe is  the possibility of a landowner controlling the majority of a public resource is a very real possibility... It is supply and demand. Good hunting still exists in this state but it could be way better.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2018, 09:11:18 PM by drk9988 »

Offline royalhntr

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Re: Corn ponds and duck patterns
« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2018, 09:31:05 PM »
The numbers are definitely down on public land in the area around  Royal City. We have a seen a decline for the last 15 years. Less and less birds on royal lake. The ducks used to come out of the refuge for almost an hour, now we are lucky to see 10 minutes of flight. Corn ponds are certainly part of the change in pattern and so are the apple orchards. The amount of quality feed fields on the Royal Slope are half of what they were 15 years ago and more apples get planted every year. WDFW does an aerial count of waterfowl, I found it referenced in the spokane newspaper. Does anyone know if they seperate birds seen on public vs private land? Goose patterns have changed as well.

Offline hunterednate

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Re: Corn ponds and duck patterns
« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2018, 09:06:44 AM »
The numbers are definitely down on public land in the area around  Royal City. We have a seen a decline for the last 15 years. Less and less birds on royal lake. The ducks used to come out of the refuge for almost an hour, now we are lucky to see 10 minutes of flight. Corn ponds are certainly part of the change in pattern and so are the apple orchards. The amount of quality feed fields on the Royal Slope are half of what they were 15 years ago and more apples get planted every year. WDFW does an aerial count of waterfowl, I found it referenced in the spokane newspaper. Does anyone know if they seperate birds seen on public vs private land? Goose patterns have changed as well.

Yeah, I'd really be interested in seeing some hard science on this, too. Anecdotal/observational reports from hunters seem to confirm that corn ponds have reduced public hunting opportunity. Does anyone know if any in-season studies/surveys can confirm this with concrete data?

Offline hunterednate

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Re: Corn ponds and duck patterns
« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2018, 09:10:20 AM »
If you were to regulate the planting for ducks, where does it stop. Are you going to say that you can't plant a food plot for deer or elk because all the big ones are now on private property. I have land and plant for ducks and Flood my corn and kill the hell out of them. If you can afford it go for it. It just sounds like crazy everyone's a winner mentality. I suppose since I'm a better caller than most and pull birds away from others set ups when I hunt public I should put my calls away and wait till everyone has shot their fair share.

You're right that hunting will never be "fair" in the sense of everyone having equal skills/gear/etc. My hope is that reducing the  number of flooded corn ponds on private land would increase the numbers of ducks using public areas...and hopefully you'd still find a way to kill some birds on your property without the flooded corn, too.

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Re: Corn ponds and duck patterns
« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2018, 09:14:41 AM »
The numbers are definitely down on public land in the area around  Royal City. We have a seen a decline for the last 15 years. Less and less birds on royal lake. The ducks used to come out of the refuge for almost an hour, now we are lucky to see 10 minutes of flight. Corn ponds are certainly part of the change in pattern and so are the apple orchards. The amount of quality feed fields on the Royal Slope are half of what they were 15 years ago and more apples get planted every year. WDFW does an aerial count of waterfowl, I found it referenced in the spokane newspaper. Does anyone know if they seperate birds seen on public vs private land? Goose patterns have changed as well.

Yes, they do break it down.  I was shown the report and tried to find it again, but was unable to.  They had it broke down per different spots and clubs.  The clubs were holding a high percentage of the birds.
I saw that Eagle Lakes were making several new corn ponds this season as well.  I when you see them on certain days shooting 35-40 limits of birds in a few hours, you know they are holding a few birds.  That hole triangle holds a lot of birds.
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Offline vandeman17

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Re: Corn ponds and duck patterns
« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2018, 09:17:29 AM »
If you were to regulate the planting for ducks, where does it stop. Are you going to say that you can't plant a food plot for deer or elk because all the big ones are now on private property. I have land and plant for ducks and Flood my corn and kill the hell out of them. If you can afford it go for it. It just sounds like crazy everyone's a winner mentality. I suppose since I'm a better caller than most and pull birds away from others set ups when I hunt public I should put my calls away and wait till everyone has shot their fair share.

The big difference is that birds can fly so they can bounce around and never actually touch public areas. Deer and elk on private property, if disturbed can't exactly set sail over public land to their next private property sign.
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Re: Corn ponds and duck patterns
« Reply #27 on: May 25, 2018, 09:20:05 AM »
If you were to regulate the planting for ducks, where does it stop. Are you going to say that you can't plant a food plot for deer or elk because all the big ones are now on private property. I have land and plant for ducks and Flood my corn and kill the hell out of them. If you can afford it go for it. It just sounds like crazy everyone's a winner mentality. I suppose since I'm a better caller than most and pull birds away from others set ups when I hunt public I should put my calls away and wait till everyone has shot their fair share.

You're right that hunting will never be "fair" in the sense of everyone having equal skills/gear/etc. My hope is that reducing the  number of flooded corn ponds on private land would increase the numbers of ducks using public areas...and hopefully you'd still find a way to kill some birds on your property without the flooded corn, too.

If you took the feed and corn ponds out of the picture, it would level the field significantly.  Many spots just wouldn't hold birds without feed.  Some have done it right with good wetland investments, so birds will come without the $30k-$100K crop investments.  I think the game department weighs the outcome.  Food for birds, the state doesn't have to pay for vs. loss of habitat and potential agriculture depredation to farmers, etc.  Many high end clubs only hunt them for a short period per day.  Feeding thousands of birds vs a small percentage harvested?  The birds benefit.  All the clubs in Washington short stop a lot of birds heading south on the Pacific Flyway.  Lots of California clubs have been effected by this amongst other things.  California used to be or may still be the #1 harvester of waterfowl in the US.
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Offline EWUeagles

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Re: Corn ponds and duck patterns
« Reply #28 on: May 25, 2018, 09:37:05 AM »
I'm not a fan of corn ponds either. There is no way they don't pull birds off of natural areas they used to use but like h2o said the state and many other agencies love them. It's free food for the birds. Even when Eagle Lakes shoot 40 limits a day they are still feeding way more birds than they are harvesting. With agencies like DU backing private land owners more than natural habit it makes it even harder to complete. The true result of this is ducks win, rich duck hunters win and public land hunters lose.

Offline hunterednate

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Re: Corn ponds and duck patterns
« Reply #29 on: May 25, 2018, 09:56:39 AM »
If you were to regulate the planting for ducks, where does it stop. Are you going to say that you can't plant a food plot for deer or elk because all the big ones are now on private property. I have land and plant for ducks and Flood my corn and kill the hell out of them. If you can afford it go for it. It just sounds like crazy everyone's a winner mentality. I suppose since I'm a better caller than most and pull birds away from others set ups when I hunt public I should put my calls away and wait till everyone has shot their fair share.

You're right that hunting will never be "fair" in the sense of everyone having equal skills/gear/etc. My hope is that reducing the  number of flooded corn ponds on private land would increase the numbers of ducks using public areas...and hopefully you'd still find a way to kill some birds on your property without the flooded corn, too.

If you took the feed and corn ponds out of the picture, it would level the field significantly.  Many spots just wouldn't hold birds without feed.  Some have done it right with good wetland investments, so birds will come without the $30k-$100K crop investments.  I think the game department weighs the outcome.  Food for birds, the state doesn't have to pay for vs. loss of habitat and potential agriculture depredation to farmers, etc.  Many high end clubs only hunt them for a short period per day.  Feeding thousands of birds vs a small percentage harvested?  The birds benefit.  All the clubs in Washington short stop a lot of birds heading south on the Pacific Flyway.  Lots of California clubs have been effected by this amongst other things.  California used to be or may still be the #1 harvester of waterfowl in the US.

Wow - I hadn't thought of the economics of it from that perspective before. However, could the state be reaping a short term benefit (cheap feeding of birds) while sacrificing long term economic benefit (the loss of overall hunter numbers/license sales due to decreased public land hunting success)? Longterm, the best thing for the birds AND the state is to retain and recruit hunters. You won't do that without increasing quality public hunting opportunity.

 

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