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Declining # of Waterfowl Hunters

Discussion in 'Chesapeake Flyway Forum' started by Duckin' Lost, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. Md Hunter

    Md Hunter Senior Refuge Member

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    Aug 7, 2000
    Location:
    Maryland
    With the lack of ducks on any given day, there are too many other activities that are more "certain".

    As my oldest son (who loves to hunt) said when we were debating whether to go skiing or hunting for a week in January: "if we go skiing, I know I'll get to ski; if we go hunting, I may or may not get any shooting."

    Add to that the fact that my wife and younger son don't hunt (or don't hunt much), but do ski and you see why we ended up in Vermont!
     
  2. duckbuster5901

    duckbuster5901 Senior Refuge Member

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    Feb 15, 2011
    Location:
    maryland
    And if the impoundment owner was unforunate enough to plant his in milo there is plenty of that spilled also to make up for blackbirds wipeing out crop. A lot of blatant baiting being done in some of these planted impounds. Simply matching the bait to the planted crop. Ij my opinion impounds should only be allowed to be planted in natural grasses . They would still provide the seeds and invertabres waterfowl need without the candy crops that are drawing all the birds now.
     
  3. Langford

    Langford New Member

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    Dec 3, 2016
    After recent discussions with many different hunters who are club members, outfitters, and guys that organize and run some smaller gun clubs here on the Eastern Shore, the overwhelming feedback I hear is declining numbers of new hunters. Also I hear many existing members had decided not to come back. They say that the cost is not worth the lack of birds. Apparently, many of the larger hunt clubs still have plenty of openings and others are losing leases because they can not come up with the money to pay the farmers. Still seems as though Sub Leasers are wanting the $2500-4000 for a mediocre pit or blind on farms off the flyway. Perhaps the suckers are still out there. What is everyone else hearing or experiencing? Could the lease prices have finally peaked? I have definitely noticed a decline of hunters in the area that I hunt but the lease prices have not dropped off, they actually went up a $1,000 this year. The farms we lease are great farms but I have to say we won't be paying any more than what we are up to now. Enough is Enough and its getting to the point where we just can't justify spending any more money.
     
  4. Montauker

    Montauker Elite Refuge Member

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    Location:
    Virginia/Montauk NY
    In my experience leases do not follow the laws of economics.

    Prices inflate over time, then when the price peaks the owner would rather let it sit unleased rather than lower the price to the market. I swear that there are owners who would rather lease a property once every three years at $10,000 rather than get $4k a year for it.

    We are also on a string of successive down years of hunting.

    I dropped a farm, and also dropped another club membership after last year. Just wasn't worth it.
     
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  5. Smackdown 870

    Smackdown 870 Elite Refuge Member

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    Location:
    Smyrnadelpha
    I am lucky enought that I dont have to deal with clubs and have some ok places to hunt. I think that most farmers dont care about hunting other than just grabbing the cash. My deer lease farmer tells me everytime I see him there aren’t any deer around but will still cash the check. I was at a DU dinner in Delaware last year and this lady in her 60’s comes up and said “its great to see you” I said sorry do I know you? She says you bring me the goose hunting money every year.... was not me.... She didn't even know the person that leases her land. I dont falt them in earning money one bit but I think several are still thinking its the 80’s with todays money.
     
  6. Dirtybird420

    Dirtybird420 Senior Refuge Member

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    Feb 8, 2017
    I’ll never pay 1000 bucks or more a man to shoot waterfowl. It’s justcrazy. All the money in decoys guns ammo driving possibly a boat n such. K won’t say never but I better b living pretty freaking good first. The leases across the board seem crazy high to me for any type of hunting. The days of the 750 ish n under clubs are gone. Heck half the farmers are leasing the deer n waterfowl rights separate.
     
  7. Montauker

    Montauker Elite Refuge Member

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    Location:
    Virginia/Montauk NY
    We are beer money in the equation.

    Take a 1000 acre property and assume 600 tillable.

    Corn is bringing 350,000-375,000 on that farm.
    No till cover crop is bringing in 30,000 to 45,000.
    We are renting it for how much?

    The kick in the teeth is paying 15-20K for a farm in which zero is done to entice deer or birds. Then you get into depredation permit killing and such. But who is the fool, the guy paying or the guy getting paid?
     
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  8. Super Swamper

    Super Swamper Moderator Moderator

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    Location:
    Central Maryland
    It's actually encouraging to read all of this here. It broke my heart to give up my lease in Kent County in 2016, but I'd been skunked >50% of the time hunting there the two previous seasons. The price per person also went from $600 to $1000 at the same time, and as someone who understands basic economics, that doesn't work when the number of ducks and geese are going down. Yeah, they'd send out great photos of all the geese and ducks there in February, but the season is the season. As Montauker said, maybe if they'd built an impoundment (instead of just a permanent pond), maybe if they had food plots or buffer strips, maybe maybe maybe. But just to get on a piece of ground with some blinds, and to have the migration occur after the season ends? Nah.
     
  9. Super Swamper

    Super Swamper Moderator Moderator

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    Location:
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    That's us in Florida (where I now spend half of the late season) anymore. My kid doesn't want to sit in the cold and watch no geese fly in for an entire day. Nor does he want to troll for 6 hours to find one striped bass per person. In Florida he lands 10-20 fish per hour, sees clouds of ducks (and spoonbills and storks and every other crazy bird in the sky) every time we're in the marsh. Public land and water and public boat launches are plentiful and it is fantastic. Except July - September.
     
  10. 7bartman

    7bartman Elite Refuge Member

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    Location:
    Hanover/Cambridge, Maryland
    SS, that's been my thinking for fishing. Its much cheaper for me to fly down to FL/Mexico and catch lots of fish with a short boat run rather than run 50+miles out of OC with marginal to good fishing. I think I'm going to have to adopt the same approach for waterfowl. My buddies out West are smacking the waterfowl.
     

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