Post-Season 2019-2020

Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby Darren » Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:55 pm

Saw this article and thought it indicative of some key players in the duck season that was:

https://www.nola.com/news/business/arti ... eDiPI1ieVU


“The warm winter weather really helped crawfish to grow and farmers to catch them,” she said. In response to the ample supply and to trigger customer demand for things such as early crawfish boils, businesses are dropping prices.


Other items of note:

“A year ago, we were selling 60 to 80 sacks of crawfish a week,” said Will Boutte, the owner-manager of Capital City Crawfish in Baton Rouge, a Government Street market that also has wholesale and catering operations. “This year, live and boiled, we are selling about 250 sacks a week. We’re off to a real good start.”


While it's still early and a lot of things could go wrong this crawfish season, like a late cold snap, Boutte said prices are on track to be the lowest in about eight years. He predicts Capital City Crawfish will sell between 800 to 900 sacks at the season's Easter peak; last year they sold 500 to 600 sacks. "We had almost no cold weather this year, maybe three frosts, no freezes," he said. "That's helped out tremendously."



Strong early crawfish seasons are generally factors of mild weather and above average winter rainfall......both being adverse conditions for our hunting.
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby DComeaux » Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:21 pm

Not the first time this has happened. I could understand your thinking if this duck migration issue was experienced in the short term, but it's not.

As long as there are the bountiful buffets to our north, which are growing, we will never have the ducks in any numbers as we've once had.

I'm pretty sure you saw Dales video mentioning the planted refuge near his hunting property. It's only a two year observation but it's pretty telling of what happens during the season. Multiply that X many and you have what we see today. I'm sure hoping that the telemetry data will shed some light on this issue, and I hope they share it and act on it.
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby Duck Engr » Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:46 pm

I’m really looking forward to seeing Paul’s telemetry data.
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby Rick » Thu Feb 06, 2020 8:37 am

DComeaux wrote:I'm pretty sure you saw Dales video mentioning the planted refuge near his hunting property. It's only a two year observation but it's pretty telling of what happens during the season.


Haven't seen the referenced video, but I'd not take the past two seasons as telling of anything without factoring in observations from the north like a great many ducks never leaving Alberta last year or them not moving through Manitoba or the Dakotas in "normal" numbers this one.

Otherwise it should surprise no one that most birds are sticking to daily flight plans that don't get them shot. Or that guys, like Dale, who are hunting near places birds are concentrated by no or low pressure fare better than most without that advantage.
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby Darren » Thu Feb 06, 2020 8:51 am

After all, DC, while some may not have, Dale had what appeared to be a fine season based on post after post after post of beautiful mixed bag hauls that had their share of greenheads.

Less ducks than he's ever seen in a prior season? You can bet it. But sky has fallen and "no ducks come to La anymore".....nope.
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby Rick » Thu Feb 06, 2020 9:20 am

Duck Engr wrote:I’m really looking forward to seeing Paul’s telemetry data.


I've seen just enough to be dangerous, in that it's all from birds captured during December or later and in locations where their capture wouldn't interfere with hunting, which is to say our birds were likely predispositioned to their behaviors by at least relatively recent environmental conditions in terms of known forage and lack of gun pressure.

Then, too, the subjects are all adult hens and also culled for body condition, ie: not just the survivors but the thrivers. So the sampling's behavior is apt to also be somewhat influenced by the longer term survival skills of what Heitmeyer dubbed "super hens".

Therefore, this untrained non-biologist would think that a much broader picture of the birds' behavior here on the wintering grounds will be gained from those surviving to return next fall.
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby DComeaux » Thu Feb 06, 2020 10:19 am

Rick wrote:
DComeaux wrote:I'm pretty sure you saw Dales video mentioning the planted refuge near his hunting property. It's only a two year observation but it's pretty telling of what happens during the season.


Haven't seen the referenced video, but I'd not take the past two seasons as telling of anything without factoring in observations from the north like a great many ducks never leaving Alberta last year or them not moving through Manitoba or the Dakotas in "normal" numbers this one.

Otherwise it should surprise no one that most birds are sticking to daily flight plans that don't get them shot. Or that guys, like Dale, who are hunting near places birds are concentrated by no or low pressure fare better than most without that advantage.


Two years ago a planted federal refuge (20K acres) near his hunting property was fully planted and in an agreement the farmer he leaves a percentage of unharvested (Beans /Milo) and the property is flooded. The refuge was said to be holding 150 to 200K ducks and his take that year was 200 (He hunts often).
This past season the farmer was not able to plant any of the refuge property and it was flooded. It was said that the duck count was 30K on the refuge and his take numbers this year was over double that of last seasons. I'm going to assume he'll keep monitoring the refuge activities going forward in regards to his seasons harvest of fowl.
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby Rick » Thu Feb 06, 2020 10:25 am

Lot of "saids". Curious what refuge was holding 150-200K ducks and by whose accounting?

Not saying it wasn't so, mostly just curious. As well as about what was or wasn't available there this year.
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby Darren » Thu Feb 06, 2020 10:56 am

In reference to a question on FFL on another site, had to share:

Don’t know. I Just go over there occasionally and read some of the stuff then shake my head

February is a big month for them. It’s when they go out and video ducks and say they just got here because the states north of us pull the plug on the flooded corn and allow the ducks to finally leave rather than realize they come out of hiding because 5000 coonasses aren’t shooting at then or riding around in mud motors


Made me smirk a tad
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby DComeaux » Thu Feb 06, 2020 11:14 am

Darren wrote:In reference to a question on FFL on another site, had to share:

Don’t know. I Just go over there occasionally and read some of the stuff then shake my head

February is a big month for them. It’s when they go out and video ducks and say they just got here because the states north of us pull the plug on the flooded corn and allow the ducks to finally leave rather than realize they come out of hiding because 5000 coonasses aren’t shooting at then or riding around in mud motors


Made me smirk a tad



They aren't just getting here, what little is here is now spreading out. I would imagine those refuges food sources are running low.
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby Darren » Thu Feb 06, 2020 2:58 pm

DComeaux wrote:
Darren wrote:In reference to a question on FFL on another site, had to share:

Don’t know. I Just go over there occasionally and read some of the stuff then shake my head

February is a big month for them. It’s when they go out and video ducks and say they just got here because the states north of us pull the plug on the flooded corn and allow the ducks to finally leave rather than realize they come out of hiding because 5000 coonasses aren’t shooting at then or riding around in mud motors


Made me smirk a tad



They aren't just getting here, what little is here is now spreading out. I would imagine those refuges food sources are running low.


That and its a whole lot quieter out there than "WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA" in the predawn hour running off birds. Some marshes are part of a pattern where the birds are going to after feeding elsewhere......see marshes of SW La shooting birds full of rice.

But in my neck of the woods, our birds are around; all day and night, they eat there and they sleep there. So when WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA comes running in hot at 5:30a and crosses other leases in the process (pretty common), that isn't good for anyone.
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby DComeaux » Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:26 pm

Darren wrote:
DComeaux wrote:
Darren wrote:In reference to a question on FFL on another site, had to share:

Don’t know. I Just go over there occasionally and read some of the stuff then shake my head

February is a big month for them. It’s when they go out and video ducks and say they just got here because the states north of us pull the plug on the flooded corn and allow the ducks to finally leave rather than realize they come out of hiding because 5000 coonasses aren’t shooting at then or riding around in mud motors


Made me smirk a tad



They aren't just getting here, what little is here is now spreading out. I would imagine those refuges food sources are running low.


That and its a whole lot quieter out there than "WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA" in the predawn hour running off birds. Some marshes are part of a pattern where the birds are going to after feeding elsewhere......see marshes of SW La shooting birds full of rice.

But in my neck of the woods, our birds are around; all day and night, they eat there and they sleep there. So when WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA comes running in hot at 5:30a and crosses other leases in the process (pretty common), that isn't good for anyone.


Maybe the number of "duck hunters" will thin out if this continues.

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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby Ducaholic » Thu Feb 06, 2020 5:26 pm

Dale's family owns a 300-400 acres cypress lake that has always had good hunting due to it's location near the Red River. He's in an excellent spot to gauge how Lake Ophelia NWR flooded crops usage impacts local hunting. His observations may be anecdotal in nature but they shouldn't be dismissed. Dale also has a close relative that is a an employee of the USFWS and is well aware of how many ducks are on Lake Ophelia NWR at all times and what their crop situation is year to year.
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby Rick » Thu Feb 06, 2020 7:09 pm

Thanks, Perry. I couldn't find any bird counts for the refuge but do see they've 3,400 acres of ag land.
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby Ducaholic » Fri Feb 07, 2020 6:26 am

Rick wrote:Thanks, Perry. I couldn't find any bird counts for the refuge but do see they've 3,400 acres of ag land.



Rick...I once had to write the USFWS SE Regional Director to get the waterfowl survey numbers for Lake Ophelia and Grand Cote NWR. The refuge manager was chastised by his superior for not sharing that info with the public.Both are in Avoyelles Parish where I hunt and live. Word is Lake Ophelia was holding 70,000 ducks in the winter of 2018. Not sure what the number was this past season but it had to be considerably less given the lack of food source.
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby Rick » Fri Feb 07, 2020 7:11 am

I got curious enough to e-mail the refuge last evening, so we'll see if their attitude has changed. But 70,000 sounds a lot more reasonable than 200,000.

Re: food sources, did the water remain too deep on their ag land for moist soil vegetation to emerge or be reached for forage? A common theme I at least think I'm seeing with our telemetry efforts is that the birds are often showing a strong preference for forage other than grain.
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby Ducaholic » Fri Feb 07, 2020 1:31 pm

Rick wrote:I got curious enough to e-mail the refuge last evening, so we'll see if their attitude has changed. But 70,000 sounds a lot more reasonable than 200,000.

Re: food sources, did the water remain too deep on their ag land for moist soil vegetation to emerge or be reached for forage? A common theme I at least think I'm seeing with our telemetry efforts is that the birds are often showing a strong preference for forage other than grain.



This land is ridge and slough ridge and slough so it's far from flat so any moist soil that would grow would be limited at best even in ideal conditions. In 2019 the water didn't come off the ag land until July so I doubt if any thing at all grew.
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby DComeaux » Fri Feb 07, 2020 8:19 pm

I would like a scattered stand of wigeon grass in our marsh next year.
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby Rick » Sat Feb 08, 2020 6:12 am

DComeaux wrote:I would like a scattered stand of wigeon grass in our marsh next year.


Have seen Tiger Island school section ponds on the other side of the road from you flat matted with it some summers.
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby Ducaholic » Thu Feb 13, 2020 7:22 am

Rick wrote:I got curious enough to e-mail the refuge last evening, so we'll see if their attitude has changed. But 70,000 sounds a lot more reasonable than 200,000.

Re: food sources, did the water remain too deep on their ag land for moist soil vegetation to emerge or be reached for forage? A common theme I at least think I'm seeing with our telemetry efforts is that the birds are often showing a strong preference for forage other than grain.



I'm guessing you haven't heard back from Brett Wehrle? If you do ask him specifically about Lake Ophelia NWR. That is the refuge that Dale was referring to.
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby Rick » Thu Feb 13, 2020 8:50 am

I just e-mailed the refuge, rather than a specific individual, but got no response and am not nearly curious enough to pursue it.
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby Ducaholic » Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:01 am

Rick wrote:I just e-mailed the refuge, rather than a specific individual, but got no response and am not nearly curious enough to pursue it.


No worries. :thumbsup:
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby Darren » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:47 pm

Interesting telemetry stuff coming from Paul L. @ LDWF

Not sure if this link will work for yall but try it:

https://www.instagram.com/p/B8fafyVlBZQ ... 22f7h78by9

I love a good WTH movement as much as the next person, but I really like watching the ones that really have things figured out. The coastal mallards are even more mythical than the white-fronts. They have their safe place for daylight. They're always there well before legal shooting time and never leave until it's well past dark.

At night anything goes. Occassionally they're bombing around sticking their heads underwater in a way that almost looks random, but I know it's not. Normally it's precise and as calculated as the corner table at your favorite bar and grill. When it changes I always ponder why? Did they eat it down to the giving up density, did the water make it unavailable (too deep or high and dry), or did disturbance force it?

Their daytime hideaways in the marsh don't look special from afar, yet they return to them day after day, often within the tiny margin of GPS error. Their flights to and fro too: how can they possibly fly the exact same path in the dark night after night? I'll never know, and I kinda like it that way.


Capture1.JPG


Capture.JPG


Capture2.JPG


Capture3.JPG



Many have surmised that birds were becoming nocturnal in response to pressure, hunters' daily patterns. Thus this evidence fits right in with the "no ducks in Louisiana" crowd vs. aerial survey data. Survey said birds are here, hunters said "no they aren't".......telemetry data shows why.
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby BGkirk » Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:51 pm

That birds not gonna get shot in its repeated stopping spot to the south, but to the north it looks possible. I believe that would be the Lacassane club, which on 2-3 family gatherings a year, I get to speak with there head guy Zaunbrecher, and from our last talks I was very surprised at the number of blinds that are hunted each day (very low). Pressure is really starting to climb its way to the tip top on my list of why ducks are in decline or don’t stay long enough to get noticed.


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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby Rick » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:05 am

Cory, that bird and most of the others are doing their flying well after LLST and well before LST. Jude Z and his hunters never see them. (None of the transmittered birds have been shot on LLC, though Mike Miller did, in fact, give a collared speck a pass.)

I don't claim to be smart enough to know how valid my early observations of what I've seen of the telemetry stuff is, but most of the birds seem absolutely religious about maintaining mostly short and nocturnal flight patterns from safe or relatively safe place to safe or relatively safe place. Which shouldn't surprise anyone, considering that they're mostly Dec and Jan caught birds that have been around long enough to know the ropes. (If there was a serious late season influx to the region we caught these birds in this year, I missed it.)

But it may not be for nothing that most feeding flights to ag land are to places I know to be what some would call "duck farms," where pressure is tightly regulated and crawfishing quite limited or absent to maintain good gunning. With the surprise for some being the number that are mostly going to moist soil/flooded fallow ground, rather than rice.

What I think will be most interesting and telling will be the timing, activity and habitat usage of those returning next fall.

On an only kinda-sorta related note, a chilly airboat ride yesterday resulted in finding a suitable section of cutgrass marsh along our boundary with Cherry Ridge for the mottled duck gal, Lizzy, to do that portion of her study of nesting mottleds.
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby SpinnerMan » Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:18 am

Rick wrote:With the surprise for some being the number that are mostly going to moist soil/flooded fallow ground, rather than rice.

I don't see anywhere close to enough ducks when warm to have even anecdotal evidence, but with geese, warm weather they are more likely to hit grass and cold weather they want corn. I wonder if ducks do the same. They are far more likely to go for the higher energy stuff in the cold and more likely, but not as strongly so, to go for the lower energy in the warm.
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby Rick » Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:22 am

Doubt the hot and cold calorie equation is as clearcut as some make it sound, though not that there's something to it.

Know it seems easier to get birds on bait when it's cold, but some use it in the heat and there are still an awful lot of them using nearby moist soil forage for every bird on the bait when it's cold enough for me to be bundled and wishing for more clothes.
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby Ducaholic » Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:32 am

I would think the hot and cold food source choice is more pronounced to our north.
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby Rick » Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:38 am

Probably so, but still not cut and dry. Have photographed mallards slurping shad in Ohio River navigational dam tailwaters when it was serious winter up there. And I'd be amazed if Norther moist soil forage didn't see a lot of usage in "winters" like this one.
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Re: Post-Season 2019-2020

Postby Ducaholic » Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:04 am

Rick wrote:Probably so, but still not cut and dry. Have photographed mallards slurping shad in Ohio River navigational dam tailwaters when it was serious winter up there. And I'd be amazed if Norther moist soil forage didn't see a lot of usage in "winters" like this one.



Agree totally on this past winter. I'm talking primarily when we actually do have a winter and the midwest is seeing single digits and below freezing temps for 4-5 days in a row several times during the season.
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