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Changes a gonna come to a WMA near you

Discussion in 'Alabama Flyway Forum' started by stevena198301, Nov 17, 2017.

  1. Stealyourface

    Stealyourface Refuge Member

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    Apr 7, 2017
    unfortunately I don’t own any blinds in this year. I’m hunting blinds of friends’ and won’t even know if any are open, boat or not, until Friday night.
     
  2. JP

    JP Elite Refuge Member

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    Indian Territory, Oklahoma
    Wheeler NWR used to be run in a professional, efficient manner. In the early 1960's while the Mississippi Flyway was enduring 30 day seasons with one (1) mallard in the daily bag, Wheeler NWR was wintering almost 100% of the James Bay population of Canada geese (~100K birds) and 75-110K ducks. The habitat was managed to the maximum efficacy and daily blind hunting kept the birds moving.

    Then, in ~1967, a management change led to discontinuance of the blinds, almost total abandonment of habitat management and dumping of corn from trucks in front of the observation center effectively converting the refuge mission into a birdwatcher event facility.

    North Alabama had a long history as the wintering Mecca for waterfowl. Prior to the construction of Wilson dam my grandfather and other family members would speak of clouds of waterfowl that would actually block the sun. The fifteen mile stretch between Wilson and Wheeler dam(s) has a 200' drop in the river bed. It was a series of pools and rapids that kept ice free (back when there were real, cold winters) and thus provided open water for the birds to spend the terminus of their migration. Hence, the source of the term and city, Mussell (Muscle) Shoals. In HS, mom worked for judge Fuqua and remembers his stories of hefty bags of geese from that stretch of the river.

    The Harris-Sweetwater dewatering unit (shooting gallery) is a case study of waterfowl wintering habitat mismanagement. Ever wonder why the crappie fishermen are elbow-to-elbow in February when the electric pumps are pulling the water out along the canal adjacent to Hwy. 31?

    Could it be because the tons of fertilizer they have to dump (because the soil is so leached) to get the crops to grow and is attracting forage fish for the crappie?

    Natural wintering habitat (smartweed, sprangletop, pigweed, toothcup, canary grass, et al) has been proven to be not only preferred by waterfowl for wintering forage but actually better for them. The seeds of these plants can (and, do) lie dormant for years waiting until conditions are right to germinate. They also provide the incubator for invertebrates which are a major source of protein. Such a habitat scene was present on the Great Plains prior to the arrival of Europeans and likely accounted for biologists stating the fall flight (back then) was ~500 million birds.

    The habitat management of the HWDU has been (IMO) political in nature and nowhere near science based as local powers have used it as their de facto duck club.

    The real losers are the birds.
     
    stevena198301 and Stealyourface like this.
  3. Stealyourface

    Stealyourface Refuge Member

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    4FA4CF66-10B1-4E4E-A495-8926778F6340.jpeg “Used this be a bang until gad hole” - yup. Back when there was green tree in green tree.
     
  4. cholt

    cholt Senior Refuge Member

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    Location:
    Oneonta al
    My buddy has a blind but it sucked for them Friday and sat going up towards mud creek fri and check some holes
     
  5. Stealyourface

    Stealyourface Refuge Member

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    Mud creek is probably where I’ll be if not green tree on Saturday.
     
  6. stevena198301

    stevena198301 Elite Refuge Member Supporting Member

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    From the limited stories I know of the place, they all sound like this one.

    Those 25k weren’t at the observation post. They were very close to the WMA. No clue how many are at the observation post.
     
  7. JP

    JP Elite Refuge Member

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    Just saw where there a day and ammunition restrictions relevant to SCWMA and CCMCWMA's. Has this been in effect for long?
     
  8. stevena198301

    stevena198301 Elite Refuge Member Supporting Member

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    Swans a changin. Started this year. That’s how I found out about the draw stuff they plan to do.
     
  9. JP

    JP Elite Refuge Member

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    Wow! Things must have really suffered as a result of the Duck Dynasty epoch. Monday-Thursday closures, 25 rounds per gunner restrictions seem a bit draconian considering the relative paucity of waterfowl in north Alabama. With a ninety (90) day deer (gun) season in effect, only the most afflicted waterfowlers would endure the frustrations of such on a continuing basis. Shunting off Wednesday, Thursday & Friday from such dedicated hunters is an affront designed (IMO) to accommodate the weekend warrior set.

    Guntersville reservoir was a relative secret regarding it's waterfowling quality from the 1950's-early 1980's. The Internet and Google Earth have apparently become major factors in the degradation of it.
     
  10. stevena198301

    stevena198301 Elite Refuge Member Supporting Member

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    Location:
    HSV, Alabama
    I was across the river from SC on Sunday. I have never heard less shots in the 10 years I have been hunting there. Usually, it’s a wood duck barn burner for both opener weekends. Not hitting them, so much as sky blasting them as they zip by at 900 mph and 100 yards out. But a lot of shots fired, anyhow.

    Hey! On a positive note, we got a new little station to get your SC permit now! They tore the old mail box down. Oh yeah, don’t forget your newly added management area harvest report. I don’t mind it so much. The results are confidential enough... but it is something new.
     

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