Land Question

Discussion in 'Habitat Forum' started by Greekangler, Sep 30, 2017.

  1. Greekangler

    Greekangler Senior Refuge Member

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    so if you were to purchase additional land would you buy something that already has some sloughs in place- or would you purchase the neighbors land less water developed but create units assuming you have an ability to flood with well water.


    I do believe the ducks have memory but wouldn't they find well constructed duck habitat with food if it's in close proximity to where they migrate? I saw flat fields last year that were flooded late in the season naturally- holding hundreds if not thousands of ducks within a few days of the flooding event

    Or would you choose the property with water then add more as a percentage of the land and improve what is there already? My local biologist believes that you can buy a flat piece of land and develop it as good or better as a neighboring property if your characteristics are more favorable

    I look at it as if there's less work for you the better off you are but if you can get something at a discount and re-create it you may be better off financially and productively.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. KSU86

    KSU86 Senior Refuge Member

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    This topic hits home for me. Ten years ago, I purchased very raw pasture ground, with good water features. Multiple duck clubs and a NWR are near. “Build it and they will come”, was my motto. It has been a wonderful journey, filled with success & failure. One of my neighboring clubs roosts 5-6k ducks for as long as the 65 year old caretaker can remember. I figured, gobble up some cheap pasture, dig a hole and those ducks would move on over to the “new club”… wrong. Those first years, we’d sit, sipping coffee, and watch thousands of water fowl sortie up and down the valley - offering us little more than a “middle wing” and some duck poo. Ducks get conditioned (imprinted) – They stick with their favorite roosts and their favorite food sources. Patience & determination can change their patterns, but simply digging a hole and putting out a welcome sign rarely yields the success we all yearn for.

    The first four springs, I was committed to corn. I acquired farm equipment and “got to work”. Corn proved beyond frustrating – several years of June flooding, washed out those early efforts, followed by years of historic drought. Year 4& 5, I figured out the 90 day germination of sorghum allowed me to miss the early (corn killing) spring floods, but the ducks didn’t rain on my place for milo – that grain need was likely available elsewhere and imprinted on the ducks for decades.. I struggled to get moist soil to take off, spent hundreds of $$ on Penn smartweed seed, which never germinated. BYG did well, but was planted in areas too deep and it seeds out relatively early. I tried Japanese millet in some areas, but was a tight wad on fertilizer and (again) planted in areas to deep.

    Mr. Beaver tortured me for years, knocking down strategic trees and burrowing through expensive dike work, BUT I credit him for helping me find success. While repairing pockmarked dikes, we re-worked large areas of the marsh, making a vast area 13-14 inches deep @ full pool. 8-10 acres of “fertilized” Japanese millet, plus two loafing islands appear to have softened the decade’s long imprinting on my neighboring properties.

    Good luck and enjoy the journey either way
     
  3. Greekangler

    Greekangler Senior Refuge Member

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    Oh my.......probably a combo is best choice from what I have discovered-

    Most puddle ducks feed in 2 to 6 inches of water. They will totally abandon a wetland when it reaches over 30 inches. Do you think when you have water maybe it was too much that's why they weren't using it or do you think it was 100% imprinting
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
  4. JFG

    JFG Elite Refuge Member

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    Boy, KSU really provided some "real life" experiences that in my opinion are much the norm when it comes to the build it and they will come adage. I've been there, and still am, finding out just how long it takes from the get-go to get birds using on a regular basis. Each years improvements (and failures) has helped me understand more what needs to be done in order to improve on this. Everyone's situation can and will differ from even your neighbors pond. The victory is finally figuring out what works best for you and that doesn't come overnight when trying to establish a new property. As one of my successful impoundment builder/owner friends told me, it would take 5 years before things started getting really right, provided we worked hard at it. Got to be prudent and patient when going this route.
     
  5. KSU86

    KSU86 Senior Refuge Member

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    Yes, I agree - it's a combination. One of the many lesson's I've learned, the hard way - I put too much faith in the NRCS design team and missed the pitfalls of two much elevation change in the original design. Another personal observation -10 years ago, I liked hunting all ducks -today, it's all about the mighty Mallard.
     
  6. Teamjefe

    Teamjefe Refuge Member

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    We turned some old row crop fields into 4 DU units 5 years ago and its turned out well. It was trial and error but through this forum and some handbooks I have gotten the hang of moist soil management. I believe that being in the flyway is the most important part. They will find the food.
     
  7. hannibal

    hannibal Senior Refuge Member

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    Iowa
    We were fortunate enough to find a relatively developed property in 2007. Levees, electric pump/well and water control structures were all in place when we purchased our duck hunting spot. It has been a tremendous amount of fun developing the property further by placing of blinds in strategic locations, determining how much row crop vs. moist soil, mow vs. not mow, running electric to the pool area to run ice eaters to name just a few things we have tackled since owning the property. It has been ever evolving and changes based on what mother nature dictates at times. With that said the #1 consideration, as someone has said, is being in an area where waterfowl are present throughout the season. That certainly does not guarantee you ducks or hunting opportunity but it does almost always keep you in the game. It has been an absolute labor of love from the very moment I called this "our place". If you decide to build be sure you are in the right location (location, location, location). Next, count on there to be about 75% more work than you originally anticipated (unless you are buying into a club that has a manger and all you do is show up and shoot). Finally, there are expenses and beyond the initial cost of purchase there are many, many expenses associated with owning and managing a quality piece of waterfowl hunting property. I have two great partners that work well with one another in developing our property……that is hard to find as not everyone can make that work.

    I have never regretted (nor will i ever) the purchase of our property and I get excited every single time I roll into the lane headed to our little slice of duck hunting heaven.

    I'm convinced if you work hard enough and long enough you will find that special place!

    Good luck in your search.
     
    stevena198301 and JFG like this.
  8. hhpage

    hhpage Senior Refuge Member

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    Based on my experience, and it seems to be consistent with what others have said above, you can develop a place from scratch that birds will use, as long as you are in an area that waterfowl frequent. It is not a good strategy for getting a great "deal", as the development costs are typically a lot higher than you would think and it takes a long time to get it done right.

    If you enjoy the challenge of creating something in your own image and you are willing to put in the time, effort, and money, it can be successful and rewarding. If you want something for immediate hunting enjoyment, you should probably pay up and buy something proven.
     
  9. da fowl slayer

    da fowl slayer Elite Refuge Member

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    I have developed properties from scratch twice that had never been hunted

    Both properties kill 1000 ducks plus per yr

    In my opinion it's ALL about your line

    And food
     
    Vahunter likes this.
  10. JFG

    JFG Elite Refuge Member

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    Spot on all the above!

    Hannibal, I'm giddy just like you every time I roll into the field, regardless if its 95 degrees and the skeeters and yellow flies are chewing. I know I'm getting something done positive that day which will pay off in the winter. Love it!
     
    WHUP ! Hen, Timber Hole and hannibal like this.

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