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WATEROWL REFUGES

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THIS HAS BEEN FOR ME AND AS WELL AS ALOT OF DUCK HUNTERS IN THIS AREA THE WORST YEAR ON RECORD. NO DUCKS OR SO I THOUGHT UNTIL I RODE OUT TO GRANDE COTE WATERFOWL REFUGE AND DIDNT BELIEVE MY EYES. HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DUCKS JUST SETTING OUT THERE. AS FAR AS COULD BE SEEN MALLARDS PINTAILS TEAL GRAYS AND A STEADY STREAM OF INCOMING BIRDS. HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO ATTRACT DUCKS TO SURROUNDING AREAS WHEN THESE TYPE PLACES EXIST? DUCKS LEARN QUICKLY WHERE THEY ARE NOT PRESSURED AND ONCE THERE THEY DON'T LEAVE. THOUSANDS OF ACRES OF UNHARVESTED SOYBEANS RICE AND CORN FOR THEM TO FEED ON. AND WHAT TICKS ME OFF THE MOST IS THEY USE OUR TAX DOLLARS TO FUND THESE AREAS TO ASSURE THAT WE DON'T KILL DUCKS. A FEW YEARS AGO BEFORE GRAND COTE WAS ACQUIRED BY THE FEDS WE KILLED DUCKS ON A REGULAR BASIS. SINCE THEN IT HAS DECLINED DRASTICALLY. ITS THE SAME THING EVERY YEAR, WE KILL A FEW THE FIRST SPLIT UNTIL THE DUCKS FIND THE REFUGES THEN WE GO SEVERAL HUNTS WITHOUT EVEN SEEING A DUCK!! I AM THE ONLY PERSON NOTICING THIS?
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I agree but I think the feds and state could get together and move these refuges year to year. If they are not in the same place year after year I think would help.

Tommy
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Is helped by DU and if we can get everyone who supports them idiots and stop sending them money and supporting them we would NOT have this problem. DU is doing nothing but hurting Louisiana Hunters!

Did you get the email from DU with the pictures back in December with that hard freeze we had and all the ponds north of Arkansas that are run by WLF and DU had thousand of ducks still in them cause they were heated or had running pumps so they would not freeze over. Missouri had
-10 weather for 4 days and they kept birds cause there ponds were not froze. So it messed up all of the south killing ducks!

Sending money to Duck Unlimited is doing nothing for us and we will continue to have horrible duck seasons if we keep it up

Greenheadgetr

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AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FIXING TO START PLAYING GOLF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SUPERDAVE
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Its not just the Feds and DU that are manipulating waterfowl migration, its also wealthy private land owners/managers all the way up the Miss flyway. There are MANY private properties in Mo, Ill and Ark that are holding many 100,000s of ducks (mostly mallards) because they can afford to maintain constant water and food. The early season in north and central La is still fairly good because of the 'early birds' (mostly teal and greys) passing thru. But after that, it has generally (past 5 yrs or so) been pretty slim pickins. The big mallard flight has never arrived like it used to CONSISTENTLY 10-20+ yrs ago. They are getting like Canada Geese and staying up north - even with significant freezes and cold weather. There is a private club in Ill called the 'millionaires club' where over 1500 mallards were killed in 1 hole in their flooded timber during the 2006/2007 season. Thats where a lot of our ducks are going. My advise - hunt the La coastal areas - that seems to be the least impacted area due to DU, refuges and lack of mallard migration.
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I dont think all these theory's are correct. Just some thing to think about. For as long as I can remember people are allways talking about arkansas holding all the ducks and cold weather to ice them over, well the duck counts for arkansas are only 550,905 thats it! They have the same problem as us. But I do beleave that they have good sucsess because of most of the 550,905 being concentrated in certine area's (the rice belt). Now if you look on there DNR website they state Missouri having 750,000 mallards reported on just there public area's, and thats just mallards! I went to the missouri site and the last up to date info have only half the state iced up. and hunter harvest at 514,275. Kansas has a season extended to just as long as our's and the reason the ducks are stying up north longer. Why they have not reason to leave they took a good look at the sucess we have had for years in the south with flooding feilds and farmers have found they can make more money by no till farming and leaving all this grain for the ducks. That means that if there isn't 2 feet of snow on the ground there not going anyplace. and when it does get cold river's dont freeze up big reservoir dont freeze deep pits dont freeze easly. it would take a week or 2 of freezing temps to ice alot of these place's over. and when it does get cold these yank's slotter the ducks all stacked up in these place's. Heck Ive seen ducks in canada in december, with all the habitat being created by for the most part duck hunters like you and me, they dont need to migrate any farther then the freeze line. add refuge's into the mix and boom crappy duck season's form hear on out. I dont think DU has the power to shot stop a migration, heck the top DU guy live's in natchez why would he screw him self. most of the money from DU goes to keep land ducks use to breed from not becoming the next shopping mall or plowed under by some farmer to make more fields. And lobbying in DC for us. We do have a lot of ducks in this state but what sucks for us in the north and central part of the state is there is alot more suttable habitat to the south in the marsh. and with the mallards staying in the north and lack of water the past 2 years there goes the season. grande cote is open for hunting well parts at least. I wish I had the answers or knew the reason its been driving me crazy all season. But I do support DU and delta I hunt or used to hunt on a place du helped build on red river wma. that was holding alot of ducks for teal season. but drained to plant trees in there by the ldwf. wrecked my season right there, I think our huning would improve if there was a flyway wide ban on mojo's to keep kill number's down to the north where they work best by desamating young birds. and a season with no zone's and 2 split's hunt early and late the hole state but dont put the split in early dec when we get to me the biggest influx of new birds but place it mid jan to give the one's we have a rest. I Know i dont have the answers but when was the last time you heard some yank crying about lack of ducks its because more ducks winter there than ever before.
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   David B.
First off I have to admit that we have had our worst season in 10 years on our property. I hunt on the southshore of lake pont. and we averaged probably 2 birds per hunt on about a 350acre piece. I don’t think that the refuges had any effect on that because the refuges have always been here not to mention there are none around us. Its not like they just popped up in the last few years. It just makes sense that the ducks need some place to pile up with no hunting pressure. We traditionally have done extremely well in our marsh. Its brackish that usually holds enough widgeon grass and coontail to suffice holding a good amount of birds. (which we had a good amount of this year) I talked to numerous peers that hunt in various locations in the state and some were slaughtering the birds and some were struggling like us. I've got a good friend that hunts near lake Catherine and they did extremely well this year and the bottom of there marsh was as smooth as concrete, i mean 0 feed and the greys were eating them up all season. The few birds that we had were extremely difficult to hunt. Very decoy shy and very particular as to where they wanted to land. We do have A LOT of pressure in our area and i think that is a huge factor. I also think that ducks change their migration patterns from time to time giving the impression that there are less ducks in state. A friend in the deer camp brought a wildlife biologist as a guest and I drilled him on all issues discussed today. The duck numbers in the state overall this year have been excellent. Not as much as last year, but up overall as compared to the last 5 years, so that tells you that the ducks are here there just concentrated in certain areas of the state. To say that Ducks Unlimited is shortstopping ducks I think is a cheap copout. Thats unrealistic. I do think that its a combination of pressure, the mojo effect, change in migration patterns, weather, and hunting terrain. Me and my padnas are about as hardcore as they come and hunt knowing we probably were not gong to kill anything. We also became mobile hunters learning WMA’s and huntable refuges which salvaged our year. We actually were pretty successful in our ventures. If I really thought that DU was shortstopping, I would be the first in line to protest, but come on man. Theres not enough evidence to prove that, especially since the duck numbers in the state have remained consistent.
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Guys,
I am not trying to start a problem, but, ya gotta hunt harder. The days of throwing out a few dozen decoys and making a quick blind are over.
Ya gotta get stealthy! Ya gotta scout! Ya gotta move with the birds! Ya gotta change your spread! Ya gotta add motion to your spread(not MOJO)! Ya wanna shoot a duck, think like a duck! Just my two cents, hunt 'em hard! Get in the game! Move if ya have too. I know it is hard, but try different things! Ya gotta want it!
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   papa-p
We had a great season this year, killed limits on all but 2 hunts. Alot of those hunts we were done for 8:30. I hunt public land. I think what helps this spot is there is no hunting allowed on Mondays and Tuesday and also you have to be out by noon. It never fails Wednesday is usually the best hunt of the week. The birds need to rest. We have way to much hunting pressure in southwest Louisiana. I wish there was a way to have these rules in the whole area.
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David B, Zeringue, and Papa P are on it. There are birds here, you got to hunt them. Check out the reports on here alone, some guys are just flat out slaughtering birds but take note, most of them are putting in the work for it. If it's not worth the effort to you, it's time to sell your decoys to guys like those mentioned above so they can keep on doin what they're doin!

Think those folks to the north, talking about waaay north yankee folk, know what a good duck hunt is?? Check out some websites where they share their hunts, my favorite is duckhuntingchat.com, and you will see that on our worst hunts down here we still do better than they do. A true Louisiana slam with any type of birds, I don't care if it's teal, greys, mallards, whatever is something most up north can't fathom. It's nothing for some LA guys to post a season total of 100, 200 or more on those sites and those folks from Michigan and surrounding states are proud of their 20-40 bird season. I hunt 99% public land so i'm not rich guy with a huge tract of private lease. Birds are here, get out and scout.
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   spoiler
Look we have killed over 300 ducks a season for over the last 15 years in the area that we hunt. Not to mention the geese we kill but also have logs for 15 years. Logs do not lie and the ducks(mallard pop. esp.) population has defintely declined dramatically in the last 15 years in the areas . I still consider my hunting great but I look at the logs and it just blows my mind. This year was one of the coldest winters I have seen in the middle states above us for a while and this was the last excuse everyone was giving on why we never get the mallards. HMMMMMM Well that hypothsis has been proved wrong and let me tell you that where I hunt in South Central LA we use to be loaded with mallards and now we kill a hand full a year. In fact 2005 we did very well with the mallards for the first time in a long time and I was kinda of bewildered but thought maybe the trend had changed back but now I think that was all due to the hurricanes and and Arkansas driest year on record was 2005.(in Duckville not entire state) The mallards that came down went mainly to the arg. fields in Central and South Central LA. It was not that we had a lot of mallards but they were isolated. NO FOOD IN MARSH MEANS MORE DUCKS IN ARG. FIELDS. We did not limit on mallards all the time but it was not uncommon to kill 4 mallards a hunt with 3 hunters. Now it is 1 here and there. I can remember not to long ago that I would jump up ducks in fields loaded with majority mallards and that has not happened in a long time. Well that is my two cents but read this article one of my buddies passed along. PRETTY GOOD STUFF.

http://www.nola.com/timespic/stories/index.ssf?/base/sports-0/1198996272203570.xml&coll=1

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Grand Cote NWR allows duck hunting, and even has set out blinds in their milo fields for that purpose. However, I will confess the other day I walked back the with a buddy taking pictures, and there were thousands of ducks in the flooded timber, not in the milo fields, which were only partially flooded. Did not realize until later that I was in an off limits area, but the number of ducks was impressive. Refuge areas are necessary for the resource. You just need to find a public or private spot where they want to be, and maybe work a bit harder.
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Good article Spoiler - I just read it and thats xactly what I'm talkin about. Anyone that has hunted around central/North La the past 20 yrs can tell U there is no doubt the mallards #s are dwindling - no radio tracking necessary. Its private places like that in S Ill that have learned to hold them all winter long. Many yrs ago i used to make trips to hunt Canada geese in S Ill at commercial clubs around Crab Orchard and Horseshoe Lake, and now those clubs don't get the geese anymore because they are staying farther north and not migrating, so guess what - most all have now turned into commercial DUCK CLUBS ! i saw it for myself when I was up there 2 yrs ago in late Oct - 1000s of mallards already on Horshoe Lk and in the surrounding corn flds. MO DUCKS = MO MONEY for these clubs. They manage and hold ducks now lkike they used to hold canadians ! Bottomline - the mallard hunting in central and north La ain't getting any better, and even Ark may be getting short changed. Thank God for for all of the non-mallard ducks that seem to look at the calendar and say "OK boys - time to head to the La coast".
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I swear, you guys are sissie's!!!!!! Get out there an Hunt! Ya can't sit at work all week and think ya gonna pound them on Saturday. Those days are over. OVER! HELLO, DONE, PUT A FORK IN THOSE DAYS!!!!!!!
Ya gotta watch the weather and hunt the fronts. Hunt before the fronts, hunt during the fronts and hunt after. Get it through your heads, we are in 2008. not 1967. Those days are done, HISTORY!
YA GOTTA WANT IT! YA GOTTA LIVE IT! YA GOTTA BE THERE! YA GOTTA FEEL THEM! YA GOTTA TASTE THEM! YA GOTTA WORK THEM! YA GOTTA LEARN HOW TO CALL! YA GOTTA LEARN HOW TO SET A SPREAD FOR THE PROPER WIND! YA GOTTA HIDE! YA GOTTA LOVE IT! YA GOTTA LOVE IT! YA GOTTA HATE NOT BEING IN THE MARSH! YA GOTTA GET MAD AT THEM!
Just because ya drop money on a beautiful Go Devil, Pro Drive, or whatever! Just because ya got the best Decoys Cabela's has to offer! Just because ya went on a wonderful guided duck/goose hunt! IT DOESN'T MAKE YOU A HUNTER!
If you believe what these knuckleheads are saying, you are living in LA-LA LAND! The birds are there, get off your ass and hunt! Get dirty! Get sweaty! Get outa' BED! Get screamed at by the wife! Get out of your silky underwear and start getting use to burlap. QUIT THE BITTCHIN! I PROMISE YOU THIS, THE HUNTING WILL NOT AND NEVER BE ANY BETTER, BECAUSE YA POST YOUR GIRLIE THEORIES ABOUT DU, ARKANSAS SHORTSTOPPING, HEATED PONDS ETC on LaSportsman.com. QUIT IT! YOU GUYS ARE EMBARASSING TO OUR SPORT. NOBODY SAID IT WAS EASY, IF IT WAS, THEY WOULD CALL IT DUCK SHOOTING NOT DUCK HUNTING! If ya wanna call yourself a Louisiana Duck Hunter, then don't WHINE!
Thanks guys, I had to let that rip!
Gary Zeringue
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    Coot
Easy there Gary! I consider myself a La. duck hunter with 30 years of experience and a very successful one too whether it be on private or public land, however I must agree with the others about the lack of mallards that migrate to La. these days. I keep hunting logs too and logs don't lie. Although I had a great year, one of my best, I can certainly attest that we don't get the mallards like we use to. There are many reasons why the mallards don't come here anymore. The introduction of Giant Salvania alone has runied the mallard hunting in the flooded timber areas of Maurpeaus WMA, Reserve Canal, Blind River, Garyville etc..... These areas were prime mallard hunting back in the 80's and early 90 to mid 90's, but NOT NO MORE. The first Duck Commander videos were filmed in this swamp. Now Phil doesn't even hunt in this area anymore. Ask Warren Coco what he thinks about that area and how he finally gave up on it. Even your neck of the woods back by Guste Island and Bedico Creek use to be loaded with mallards. NOT NO MORE! The amount of mallards that use to raft up on Earl Chatalier's pond was mind boggling back in the early 80's, BUT NOT NO MORE. Refuges are some of the blame and may only be a tiny part of the problem, but one thing for sure is the deep south does not get the mallards like we use to and cold weather has nothing to do with it.

NOT NO MORE!

South La. use to be awesome Canadian Goose hunting back in the early and mid 1900's. There was no reason to drive to Illinois or Canada to shoot a bunch of greaters, b/c they came to us. Now days you can only shoot 1 canadian during a one week special Canadian Goose season and you must buy a permit to shoot a Canadian goose in LA. What ashame! Their migration patterns changed over the years. The same thing is happening to the mallard!

I do agree with you that we have plenty of ducks and anybody who puts in the effort will be rewarded, but I must agree with the others as well about the lack of mallards that make it this far south these days.

Thank Goodness for the Almighty Gadwall and Teal, otherwise our duck hunting here in the south would SUCK!
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THANKS Coot - I was about to get my feathers ruffled. I guess we are kinda whining Gary ... maybe even crying. Its like a best friend has died and isn't coming back (the mallard flight that is). I'm 51 yrs old and have been hunting hard since I was able to walk. I've kept a daily log of every hunt starting in 1979, and I have had many, many unbelievable mallard hunts over the years (the hunting was so good in '93-'94 that we bagged 126 greenheads and only 2 mallard hens). The mallard bag in my log has been on fairly steady decline. I typically hunt 20 - 40 days a year, and its blue collar hunting staying on the move hunting both private and public lands - I don't think that I (or any of us) fall in the "sissy category" - duck hunting is WORK and isn't for sissies. Some of these younger guys get discouraged and complain and vent frustration on this website - thats OK - sometimes we all get frustrated. Enough said. Theres really nothing we can do to make the mallards come back to La. But there will always be a few here, and we will just appreciate it that much more when we are able to put those big greenheads in the bag with the teal and greys.
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I tell you what I wish someone could explain to me why i hunted every weekend this season and ended up with 39 ducks for the season. I hunted golden meadow fourchon and leeville area. I agree with you guys about the ducks staying in the refuge and similar area's. 7 to 10 years back i never had trouble killing my limits. Things have changed but not for everybody. no one will admit it but most of the guys still killing duck in my surrounding area are feeding, but im to scared to do it. Ill open a can of worms here whats the difference between hunting rice and corn fields and us feeding. Also why is it that you can feed deer in la. but not ducks.
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    Coot
Has ruined the Golden Meadow and Fouchon area. There is no food anymore to even hold a significant amount of grey ducks. Everybody I know that hunts that area is singing the same song about how bad it is now compared to how great it was. I think you can blame coastal erosion for your concern where you hunt. Just my 2 cents.
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I started hunt the first year of the 3 duck limit (I believe 1988). This is the 9 season I have hunt in Lake Learny. There is deversion (bad speller) canal that ties in about 3 north of our lease. I have so much grass that a 30 mph can't make white caps 100 yards off the shoreline.

Grays made 85% or so of our bag for the season. Starting 2 season ago it starting change. This year don't think we killed 15 grays. In 20 years this is the first time I quit early. I took my blind off 3 weeks early.

Last year I only had 5 hunts we did not limited out on. We hunt 1-4 guys a hunt. This year we did not limited out once. We made 3 hunts with 2 guy and 3 hunts with 1 man.

I think that up north when they do not let the water freeze up is killing us. I also think the birds moved more west.
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Coot & Swampmeister,
I appreciate your opinion, I appreciate your love of the sport. Believe me, I do. All I am getting at is yes, times have changed! I am 40 now, been at it since my Dad introduced me at 5yrs old w/BB gun. I remember coming home after hunts with my Dad an his buddies, they would break out the wax and a crayfish pot and hang all the ducks on the fence. Ducks out the whazzoo! Yes, Mallards. I almost failed out of college, due to duck hunting. I realize it is different, but can we just move on.
Personally, I capped 14 mallards this year, 11 of them greenheads, I like to pick out the males. I find it challenging to pick males, be it mallards, greys, pins, widgeon or teal. Personally, it adds to my hunt. If you look at my earlier post I did say those days are over. Easy days are over. I realize it, I just don't worry about it. I love it, it is in me, it runs in my veins, I can't shake it! I will take a limit of greys any day. Try to take a limit of male greys. It is hard! Once, I got a two man limit with my brother of male widgeon! That's tough!
Challenge yourself and your hunt will be more rewarding. What I am getting at is, appreciate what we have and don't worry about what we don't! We live in Louisiana man. Ya wanna know what I did yesterday after that front. Went out to the Lakeshore, toss out two dozen dekes, shot two Dos gris an two golden eye at 12 noon(east zone). On the way in, jumped in a deer stand, an let a doe walk. Where else can ya do that, only in Louisiana. Sure, they weren't mallards, but hey, I scratched my itch! Sure, I didn't see a trophy Buck, but I saw deer. Was back home in time to get the kids off the school bus. It's all good!
It just ticks me off sometimes to hear people crying about Louisiana, wait til summer, they will be crying about the red snapper. We have everything we need, right here, man!
Gary Zeringue
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   HAL VAR
HUNT HARDER? PUT MOTION IN MY DECOYS? IVE PROBABLY FORGOTTEN MORE ABOUT DUCK HUNTING THAN YOU KNOW. I DOUBT YOU COULD FOLLOW ME ON ONE OF MY DUCK HUNTS. IVE BEEN HUNTING FOR 37 YEARS. IVE WALKED 2 MILES CARRYING DECOYS AND HUNTING GEAR TO GET TO REMOTE UNPRESSURED AREAS. I HUNT AN AVERAGE OF 50 OUT OF THE 60 DAYS. IF DUCKS ARENT IN THE AIR ITS KINDA HARD TO GETEM IN. AND AS FAR AS GOING TO WHERE THE DUCKS ARE??? IN AVOYELLES PARISH THE FEDS KINDA FROWN ON YA IF YOU ARE CAUGHT HUNTING IN THE REFUGE. THERE ARE OVER 15,000 ACRES IN AVOYELLES PARISH ALONE IN RESTRICTED WATERFOWL REFUGES ALONE. I HAVEN'T FOUND A DECOY SET YET THAT WILL PULL DUCKS AWAY FROM 300,000 LIVE BIRDS SETTING IN A FLOODED BEAN FIELD.
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    Coot
An article that was posted today on www.MadDuck.Org that talks about the disappearance of the mallard in Mississippi.

http://www.madduck.org/pdf/midnight.pdf
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YOU SHOULD HAVE TOLD THEM YOU HAVE BEEN HUNTING DUCKS SO LONG THAT YOUR GRANDMOTHER REQUESTS AMMO ON HER CHRISTMAS LIST AND THE BIGGEST CITY YOU HAVE EVER BEEN TO IS WALMART!!
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   kraemer
Hunt Hard? Be mobile? What about those of us that have private leases and have invested a ton of time, money, sweat, blood, you name it in the property and camp. It isn't easy to walk away and (1) find a new lease whether it is good or not or (2) hunt public land especially when you are 70 plus years old. We have had the worst year ever by far no comparison and every year gets worse. We don't even see birds migrating. The only steady birds are wooducks which we actively put out boxes and maintain them, but the limit is only 2. The question is what is the state doing to help with the overall duck population to help all hunters on private and state land. David Helms the head biologist has been quoted several times this year on the lack of mallards in south east louisiana as stating, s.e. la never really had any mallards. This is coming from our head biologist, obviously he never saw the duckman videos our come to our camp which use to roost b/w 5 to 10,000 mallards on any given night. Comments like this can only hurt us not help. With leadership like this combined with the state not doing a dang thing to help our resources like fighting non native species, salvina, etc., combined with fighting coastal erosion, etc., the few ducks that come to our state will not spread out giving all opportunities instead to a few lucky individuals who have great seasons. We need help from the state to CARE, we need leadership from our head biologist who doesn't know what he is talking about to CARE. We need help from all who love this sport to CARE about our sport and do what they can to help make sure that it will continue in this state for all and not go the way of the Canada Goose. Please contact the department of Wildlife and Fisheries and any and all government officials and demand they do more for our sport.
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I think hunter success this year just depended on where you hunt. Where some of the guys that I hunt with hunt in Cameron parish, had limits every hunt that was the best place I hunted all season. But where I normaly hunt in central LA was very hit or miss some days we saw ducks till 11 or 12 easy limit, come back the next and not even see a duck. This seemed to be what I got from 5 or so diffrent wma's. I dont think we hunted the same spot 3 time's in a row this year hit umm here one day here the next. We did ok cant say it was the wort ever ,I didnt break 100 but im not the far off.But what I have seen was a big drop in mallard numbers and the past two or so years the greys havn't been in the numbers they have been in the past. What I dont like is looking at the duck counts and seeing all the ducks concentrated in the west, how it was early in the season and last year. we still get a few but there not here like the normaly are. I balame lack of early water more than anything though, But anyday I watching the sun come up over the tree's with my lab by my side is a good morning so I shouldn't complaine to much great memories are made every season.
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Glad I hunt up on Toledo for ducks. Good numbers every year has been for over 20 years. Limits are not that hard to get. Dont have to pay those high prices for leases. Just find a nice shallow point set out some dekes and reap the benifits. A little money for gas and steal shot and your in business. I made 6 hunts this year to south louisiana. 3 of them I traded with some guys to hunt up here. We went to a fine camp in Grand Cheiner area twice. Had a great weekend but out of four hunts the three of us killed only 12 ducks and 3 specks. Made another hunt to Kaplan area stayed in another nice camp great weekend. Two hunts killed 7 ducks and 1 snow. Brought those guys up to my camp on toledo. Out of 7 hunts we had a limit all but once and the only reason we didn't have a limit is because the kid miscounted the ducks and we left the blind thinking we had a limit. They told me they pay thousands every year for those leases. And in the last 10 years they have none had hunts like we gave them on Toledo for free. So next year Im sure ill get plenty of phone calls from those fellows looking for a hunt. But I showed them how to do it up here so they might come up on ther on. Point is your almost insane to pay the prices that some for blinds and leases when some of the best hunting in the state is free
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   turbo66
everything i've read regarding the comments about mallards leans towards fewer mallards in La., i can also attest to that, i've had a lease in the Basin for 37 years. early on we had all the mallards we wanted along with wood ducks. No decoys, just using the right kind of call. i was amazing at the number of ducks that would come down on the call. the weather really didn't matter that much, but clear blue days were really good. we had three flights, one early, another at about 9:00 and again at about 11:00. then of course they came in late to roost also....in the past 10 years we have not had hardly any mallards. some of it was due to a lack of water because of low water in the Atchafalaya. last year we had good water levels, but no mallards just woodies.....the reason is not clear to me about the lack of mallards, but i guess its a combination of all the reasons i've heard
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   David B.
I posted earlier on this comment. Unfortunately I think the "old days" are way in the past and will never return. The mallards are not nearly as thick here as they used to be (maurepas swamp for exmaple used to be loaded, now its dead), the birds are 10x as harder to hunt, and the birds are not as predictable as they used to be. Yes its easier for me as a 30yr old to be more mobile than a 70yr old. And yes I do have a private lease that I have put a lot of time and sweat in that costs us a good amount of money that I haven’t killed crap on this year. But I also am willing to accept the fact when I’m wasting my time day in and day out. I enjoy my company and my sunrises but sheite, there is a point where you gotta draw the line. You have to accept the fact that duck hunting has changed and will continue to change. The simple fact is its different than it was 5 - 10 - 15 years ago. I'm sure you remember better than me when the population was so bad you could only shoot 3 birds?! The duck numbers have quadrupled since that time but yet its getting harder to kill em. I truly believe that ducks have evolved into a very smart and wary game bird, with much of that being contributed to mother nature adapting and mojo's, simply by killing a ton juvenile birds over many years. Ducks are now very particular where they hold, and if any pressure is felt, they leave. And I very strongly believe that migration patterns of ducks change as well and have been changing. Marshes that have traditionally held loads of birds are struggling all over the state where others are slammin em that have not done so well in the past. What is the state gonna do? The ducks are here! Look at the surveys. Of coarse there is going to be more ducks in the west, thats b/c 90% of the farmland is rice! And on that note farmers up north have learned that if they flood some of their agriculture, they will hold an ass load of birds (mostly mallards) and lease out blinds or just shoot the hell out the ducks for themselves. Heck, if I lived up there I would do the same thing. Bottom-line, duck hunting is a different sport than what it was back in the day and its only going to get more difficult. The refuges are not going anywhere and neither are the thousands of acres of farmland in west Louisiana not to mention the millions of acres up north. IF the camp life is what your there for and you love staring at empty skies then keep on keepin on hoping that the next season will be better. I just won’t settle for that. Over and out.
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To Duck Assassin,
All I did was challenge your statement. I never challenged your abilities as a hunter. I realize you whine, yet, I have never met ya. It is just my opinion.In a nut shell all I was saying is, ya a got to want it? Plain and Simple! When you whine, your done, the birds and marsh beat ya! Ya see pal it's all a game. You just thru in the towel by whining!

Normally, that would be all I would say,BUT,unfortunately you callenged me!

I'd put my 30 yrs of Duck experience against yours any day! I don't care if you walked ten miles thru the marsh for ducks with a mudboat on your back, push poled two fat guys, a dog and four sacks of dekes thru the worst mud flats in vietnam or if ya trudged thru roseau's so thick ya had to chop your way thru them with a philips screwdriver! All the while, keeping your paper shotgun-shells over ya head so they didn't wet! Obviously, all that does is make ya whine!

It makes me proud to be able to still be in the game! Proud to work it! Proud to get my butt up at 4am every morning, make coffee, smoke a cigarrette, check the weather, and pick deer? or Ducks? Just love the fact that I have the opportunity to live it! I refuse to squander it, curse it, get mad at it or whine I about it! I respect it! I live it! I am one with it! Period!
By the way, you can unwad your panties now!
Gary
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   HAL VAR
I CAN TELL FROM YOUR POST YOU ARE A MARSH HUNTER. A LOCAL BIOLOGIST TOLD ME YOU BOYS HAD A FEW DUCKS OUT THERE IN SW LA. HE ALSO SAID THERE ARE NO RESTRICTED AREAS FOR YALL TO DEAL WITH SO YOU HAVE NO IDEA AS TO WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT. AS FOR PACKING THE MUD BOAT ON MY BACK, I AM MAN ENOUGH TO DO IT. I DONT JUMP IN MY GO DEVIL BOAT RIDE AROUND UNTIL I FIND MY LITTLE HUNTING SPOT AND DROP A FEW DECOYS WITHOUT EVER EVEN GETTING MY BOOTS WET.IVE HUNTED MARSHES, RICEFIELDS, PONDS AND EVERY TYPE OF AREA POSSIBLE. I HUNT FLOODED TIMBER. I HUNT IT BECAUSE FEW PEOPLE ARE WILLING OR CAPABLE OF HUNTING WHERE I HUNT. AND AS FOR YOUR EXPERIENCE VS MINE? I KILLED MY FIRST DUCK WHEN I WAS 6 AND BEEN SHOOTING OUT OF A PIROGUE SINCE I WAS 8. READ A FEW MORE OF YOU WATERFOWL MAGAZINES TO LEARN YOUR DECOY PATTERN SETS. NOW GO CHANGE YOUR TAMPON SO YOU DONT MESS YOUR DESIGNER CAMO PANTS ALL UP.
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We can all say how good we may do this or that. However, in the end if you have no birds flying in your area it does not make a differance. If you go one day and for example kill 10 and the next day only kill 2 for the most part it has nothing to do with what you did from one day to the next(unless you shot bad). I do agree that decoy placement, calling, not moving when ducks are coming in, mojo, etc... may help but, if you do not have any ducks it does not matter. If you have bird it may make a differecne in killing 12 instead of 18. Trust me, I know some people that think they are GODS gift to duck hunting..ie....it is easy to act that way when you have have a lot of ducks in your area and of course killing limits. I remember the year the storms hit in 2005. I knew some people in the marsh that did not really kill hardly nothing that year. By the way, they are hunting with the same tactics that year as this year in which they killed a lot of ducks....ie.....because they had ducks this year. If you have no birds in your area no matter how good of a caller or how good your decoy spread looks it does not matter. However, some people act like they can kill ducks on a golf course.
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Assassin,
Yea I hunt the marsh! I hunt SE, Myrtle Grove (Private), Madisonville Marsh(Public), Big Branch(Public), Delta(Public),Kaplan(private)You are man enough to carry a mudboat. That is funny! I tell ya what, let's go make a hunt together. I will sit in the mudboat, you throw the boat on your back and walk us out.
I love ya man. It's all good!
Peace, Brother! Shoot me an email, I will hunt with ya, it's all good! Let's get a beer, for crying out loud!
Gary Zeringue
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   papa-p
You are wrong about us not having restricted land with no hunting in SW Louisiana. Just on Laccassine there is over 20,000 acres that has not been hunted in atleast the last 50 years. Not sure how long before that. But I think what helps the rest of the refuge is there is no hunting on Mondays and Tuesdays. Also you have to be off the refuge by noon. This gives the birds time to feed and rest. We have been hunting this refuge for over 30 years. Its always has been great hunting but have to be ready to work for them.
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Dang it farley its just duck hunting.
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    Coot
Anybody wanna challenge me to a COOT hunt! LOL!

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   widgeon6
I have to agree with xpress in the fact that no matter how good you are if there aren't any birds in your area you won't be successful no matter how much work you put into it. I also think that if you are where the birds want to be you don't have to have too much skill to kill a limit. I've made many hunts mostly marsh as a guest where the birds absolutely wanted the spot. The people I hunted with had the worst looking decoys I've ever seen, next to no camo on the blinds, couldn't call to save a life and the decoys were just thrown out in a group and we limited very easily. When the birds want a spot you can stand up in the pond and they will come in, it has little to do with skill. Skill comes in to play when you are in a spot they don't know and are trying to get em in. The Duck Commander himself said that the #1 rule for success in duck hunting is be where the ducks are. Like someone else said he doesn't hunt Maurepas anymore because there aren't any ducks. I don't think any of us duck hunters would say he doesn't know what he's doing and even he would do bad in an area with very few birds or in a spot they don't want to be. This is where the young bird theory comes in,( there aren't many young birds due to mojos, making it down.) It makes since that young birds who have never been to an area can be tempted to check out your spread while an older bird who has been to your area knows the safe spots because of experience. That old bird might have been fooled before at your blind in the past and made it out due to a bad shot and he remembers. I realize that if you want to really hammer the ducks you have to be able to move to where they want to be, whether it means being able to afford a huge lease or hunting public land. You still have to have birds in your area. This means that you have to be lucky enough to have a job which allows this, not many people can drive all over the state and hunt different WMAs and leases where the birds are. What made most people successful this year was the fact that they were fortunate to have the time to scout and find the ducks or lucky enough to have a lease where they wanted to be. You definately have to really want it like G Zeringue said if you aren't one of the lucky few that had a lease where they wanted to be. I really want it and for next season I'm thinking really hard about hunting some public marsh. This however will be really hard due to school, late nights working(bartending), and location(Lafayette). It won't be a 4 am morning it would be a 230 am morning living in Lafayette the WMAs aren't exactly close. I want it bad enough and my schedule might allow it 2 or 3 days a week so we will see. If you aren't able to hunt like this then just realize that things change that is the way of the world they always have. I guarantee that spots that slaughtered em this year won't do much next year and maybe in a few years your spot will be good again. There are way to many factors that affect the hunting to even think about. At least a few bad years will probably weed out the guys who don't really want it and that can only help. If everyone is slaughtering ducks than too many posers will try to get in the game.
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