Ice eater questions

Discussion in 'Habitat Forum' started by thatguy2, Jan 1, 2018.

  1. thatguy2

    thatguy2 Elite Refuge Member

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    I have done a lot of sifting through old threads looking for answers. You may have seen the thread about my pond build. It is 220 yards from the house to the pond. I could run electricity from my house to the pond but don’t want to go to the expense unless I know it would be worth it. I have no issues buying a generator to power it since we have a transfer switch on the house and it could be dual purpose use. I’ve got a power plant cooling lake 10 miles away, a 10k acre lake 1 mile away, and some river that doesn’t freeze and is non hunting 6 miles away. Some questions
    1. Do you run the ice eater full time once the deep freeze hits?
    2. Is it a build it and they will come kind of scenario?
    3. How do you hunt it to keep birds coming back?
    4. Any other advice?
    Been seeing geese and ducks fly over the house. I think an ice eater would keep the majority of the pond ice free.
     
  2. DisplacedDuck

    DisplacedDuck Senior Refuge Member

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    1. Depending on your definition of "deep freeze," it is not just advised to run them 24/7, it is required to keep a hole open.

    2. I don't have enough experience to say if it is a sure thing in every scenario, but I can say that when we have a deep freeze, the birds we see are more apt to work. But, I'd be remiss if I didn't say that when a deep freeze hits we usually see only 10% of the birds as on normal days.

    3. Again, I don't have a ton of varied experience, but in my neck of the woods we're more than likely hunting passer-bys, so we don't worry too much about over hunting at any point in the season. That being said, if you were truly worried about over-hunting I'd just observe the pond on days you can't hunt, if possible, and see what activity is like and when there is activity.

    4. Don't over estimate the power of an ice eater. It will keep a beautiful pocket open in warmer sub-freezing temps, but back in Missouri, where the windchill has pushed temps below 0 for days on end now, our two (2) 3/4hp ice eaters, started before the freeze and ran around the clock, have struggled to keep much of a hole open. Is there still a hole? Yes. Does it look enticing to a bird flying overhead? Debatable. I'd argue not really.

    In conclusion. I am a huge fan of ice eaters, but they have their limitations. Don't expect them to keep a huge pocket open in frigid cold temps, and they aren't a golden ticket, although I do feel you are more apt to work birds, if there are any birds to work.

    Hope that helps!
     
  3. Timber Hole

    Timber Hole Senior Refuge Member

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    If you can run permanent power do it!!! Generators are a pain in the $@& and noisy, some more than others. Being able to flip a switch and have open water is an ideal scenario. The deeper you can set the ice eater the better hole you will have.
     
  4. DisplacedDuck

    DisplacedDuck Senior Refuge Member

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    Timber Hole brings up a good point, and better addresses another question the OP asked-run power or not? and I agree with him completely, running power is the way to go. We had power ran to one of our spots and it made life 110% easier. From keeping batteries charged to running the ice eaters. Definitely the way to go.

    HOWEVER, in your situation I'd rather you 'prove the concept' from running eaters off a generator for a season or two before going to the expense without any knowledge of if it'd even work. If after a season or two you see positive results, it's well worth the expense, but only after it has been proven. Just my $0.02.
     
  5. thatguy2

    thatguy2 Elite Refuge Member

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    If we get rain and the pond fills I thought about running it off a generator next year to see what happens. Ideally I’d run electricity for the ice eater and build a blind near it as well so we could have some juice in it as well. Pond is 12 ft deep in the middle. Pond size roughly 1/4 acre so could a big one keep the whole pond open? I’m in KS. High today was 9 low last night was -6.
     
  6. Timber Hole

    Timber Hole Senior Refuge Member

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    Here is a pic of my hole after running the ice eater for 24 hours. Eater is located on the right side of the pic and is pointed left. It sets up a circulation in the pond and will eventually melt the center area. The temps were single digit and the hole is only 3 to 4 feet deep. If you can get the eater 5 to 7 deep you'll get better results.


    image.jpeg
     
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  7. Waterdog Trainer

    Waterdog Trainer Senior Refuge Member

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    One eater will not keep a 1/4 acre pond open with the temps you describe. When temps are that cold you can keep a hole but it's hard for them to keep up. It would take several to keep the majority of it open. More trouble than what it would be worth. You don't need the entire pond open. Just where your blind is.

    Electric power with GFEI would be the best for a number of reasons. If you elect to run a gen for a test be prepared to spend some bucks on fuel. You may spend enough on fuel the first season to pay for wire and a trencher.
     
  8. KSU86

    KSU86 Senior Refuge Member

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    019.jpg


    3 acre pond. 1hp ice-eater runs on electricity. Conduit/Wiring is pretty pricey - 200 yards from road. I anticipated this pond being covered up during cold snaps -it rarely works that way.
    My neighbor across the road has a nice 7-10 acre complex (old fish farm) & they sometimes hold decent #'s of duck & geese, but they over-hunt & push roosting birds out regularly.
    I still set up the Ice-eater and pay the electric bill, every December - hoping to keep more birds in the Valley. Every experience is unique. In my case, the hunting benefit is minimal.


    Sylvia 394.jpg Westpond Feb 17, 2014.jpg
     
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  9. bill cooksey

    bill cooksey Elite Refuge Member

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    Always interesting how different spots are easier, or harder, for an ice eater to keep open. As far as being effective in helping kill ducks, they are a huge deal if you are in an area where a big concentration of ducks are regularly out looking for food. Most of my experience has been in flooded fields, so when the birds leave the roost to look for food, we look perfect to them. In our application, one usually has a huntable hole open in under two hours. Usual scenario is to get there about 11:00 am to fire it up. Birds here usually fly in the afternoon during a freeze, so we're set by about 1:00. The place I've done it the most has the MS river on one side and big refuges a few miles away in the other three directions. Water is so shallow it barely covers the ice eater when it's flat on its side. It's pretty much a perfect scenario for killing during a freeze.
     
  10. Drake Decimator

    Drake Decimator Senior Refuge Member

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    Watch out for beavers if you have them in you pond, SOBs have clipped my cord several times. I run the cord out of the water i a metal pipe and zip tied to brush/trees to the generator. Nothing like showing up with several inches of ice and plugging in the generator and it doesn't rev up from draw of ice eater. Time for 330 conibears I suppose.
     
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