January 11, 2008 at 10:18pm
Coot, you're right. And, I'll take hyacinths over salvinia ANY day! Salvinia has had a major impact on migration patterns of mallards, widgeon and grays, in the Lakes Pontchartrain/Maurepas and Lafourche basin, and more. Heck, the whole region may just as well have been paved over, as far as duck habitat is concerned. To quote Benny Grunch and the Bunch, "it ain't dere no more"!
Just for perspective, the Maurepas WMA comprises approximately 70,000 acres, which, at 640 acres per square mile is 109.38 square miles. That's a very small part of the entire Pontchartrain/Maurepas/Lafourche Basins. Make them disappear, and you can understand why even the good habitat in these areas doesn't have any ducks!!!! Salvinia, arggghhhh!!!!
It's too bad that most of the guys reading this never experienced the truly unbelievable swamp hunting we had, never beheld the site of wave after wave after wave of mallards coming in off Lake Maurepas, wondering, "How in the world could there be so many mallards in one place?"
Anyone who hunted the Maurepas Swamp, the Joyce WMA, McElroy Swamp, Blind River, Gramercy, Manchac, Madisonville, Bedico Creek, Middle Bayou,Tangipahoa River,Manchac, Amite, Tickfaw, Hahnville/Des Allemands/Labadieville/Morgan City, can tell you how unbelievably fantastic it was. Right up until the late '80s, and maybe '90 or '91. I can remember when my buddy who hunted in Gramercy called asking if I was shooting any grays, because he was tired of shooting greenheads! Imagine having that problem, eh?
I can remember mallards so thick in the peppergrass off of Reserve Canal, or in the older, tall cypress ... man! And you talk about a sight, watching them coming in to roost!!! I remember one Christmas afternoon hunt when the ducks were coming in so thick right at dark. My 10 yr. old son, in total awe, asked me, "Dad, do they ever bump into each other?" What a sight that was.
A lot of the time, it would be the trappers who let us know the the ducks had arrived. Yep, the ducks would get caught in the nutria traps. I remember how easy a hunt it was ... you could go almost anywhere in the swamp, find feathers on the water, and you were guaranteed to shoot. We'd just throw out a dozen (if that many) decoys, and along about 4:00 they'd start flying, and continue 'til dark and even later.
Another way we'd find ducks was by listening for 'em. I'll never forget my first time doing that. It was a hunt on the Joyce WMA, a foggy morning, and we had taken the big boat in as far as we could up Middle Bayou, then pirogued in for 20 minutes, to the northwest. We could hear 'em, and it sounded like they were just beyond the next line of trees. Yeah, right! After walking another 20 minutes, we finally came upon what may have been a thousand ducks, mostly mallards. As they took flight, it looked, felt and sounded like the rotor wash of a helicopter. We purposely didn't shoot 'em on the jump, so as not to "educate" them. Instead, we waited for them to return, and boy, did they return. I honestly don't know if I've had a prettier hunt, but trudging back to the boat loaded down with those butterball mallards was real work!
Well, enough reminiscing LOL! I'm just glad I was able to see it, and sad that my boys never may :-(
Alberta, Here I come!!!!