February 14, 2015 at 6:51am
The field I hunt is 180 acres. It is basically a rice field that is now CRP. Most trees are 5-6 ft. So the food source is native grasses and seed. I am surrounded rice fields, crawfish ponds, etc. this is Evangeline parish, so I'm talking about 20-30 miles around me is rice fields, bottomland hardwood and pine plantation. Every acre is hunted. There is ample water and food in the area from Sept. on. On my place I close the main drainage gate in July. So I have water from Sept on. We didn't see nor shoot a bird in Sept or November-so there is no 'pressure'. I start seeing a few ducks around Christmas, and from there on, more.
Now this story of mine reflects the experiences of hunters for a 50-75 mile radius.
The hunting gets exponentially better from Jan 1 till the end, but gets insanely better the last 2 weeks: killing limits early and seeing large amounts of high fliers headed south. The birds I killed did not appear to be 'old birds' that had been hanging down south. A wise old man once told me that bright orange feet meant newer ducks (compared to dull orange). True or not, I don't know??? These ducks decoyed fairly well and, for the most part, were not paired up.
Now I've been hunting this same area for forty years and the hunting experience in late Jan. is identical to the hunts we used to have in early November (pre-2005).
Now when I say that there is approx 10,000 sitting in this field right now, i am not exaggerating. That 180 acres is saturated with birds. They will be there up until April, when I drain it.
I believe that most birds follow a certain flyway. If these are resident birds, why did they follow a different route when migrating back north??
My philosophy , as well as all the other hunters in this 'area', is that new ducks, in this area, are still showing up at the end of the season. I see the same thing in property I own in north LA. You can't apply what goes on in the marshes, especially in SE, to central LA-totally different flyway, in my humble opinion. I don't know why it is so difficult for some to believe that some birds arrive later. I know about aerial surveys , reports, etc. (the red snapper is still endangered).
Look, I'm not a biologist nor claim to be an expert. Just reporting the events as they have repeated, consistently, over the last 10 years. I am not asking to kill ducks in Feb. I am not mad at DU.
I am thankful that we had an extra week to put some fat birds in the freezer.