Later Season Framework

Discussion in 'Missouri Flyway Forum' started by jeffc, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. hannibal

    hannibal Senior Refuge Member

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    Just last year everyone was screaming about the slowest start in years. It was a wasted first 3 weeks of season as I recall. Every year is different.......not because of the season dates but due to the ever-changing weather.


    After slow start to duck migration, weather change signals push of waterfowl




    COLUMBIA — The slowest waterfowl migration in years was expected to get a tailwind this weekend with an influx of ducks and geese to Missouri.

    This fall marks the slowest start to duck season in the past 10 to 15 years, said Andy Raedeke, a waterfowl biologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation.


    A survey on Monday of public wetlands in Missouri estimated 502,743 ducks in the state, with increasing numbers of mallards compared to other species. A report released Wednesday by Frank Nelson of the Department of Conservation noted that this fall has been the warmest since 1963 and the latest count was the lowest since 2004.

    According to the report, "October is typically dry, but this year was drier than normal for much of the state."

    The report also noted that the first frost often occurs during the latter half of October, but this year it didn't occur for much of the state until Nov. 12.

    Clayton Light, a wildlife biologist at Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area south of Columbia, said the warm weather has limited the migration and hasn't been favorable for hunters.


    "The ducks are traveling south from Canada, and they like to travel in big, strong cold fronts," Light said. "Winds have been very light during this season."

    Colder temperatures, wind and sunny skies are the best combination for waterfowl hunting, and Raedeke said the cooler weather expected this weekend is what hunters need.

    Dale Humburg, senior science advisor with Ducks Unlimited who lives in Columbia, said the weekend weather change signals a significant migration event.


    While climate affects migration patterns, Humburg said, other factors include the availability of water and food in wetlands that ducks and geese favor.


    Raedeke said the weather has been disappointing for hunters because public wetlands are in good condition with plenty of crops and other food for waterfowl.

    "Every year is different, and you never known when we will get an extended cold snap that makes hunting difficult," Raedeke said. "This weekend things should turn for hunters."
     
  2. hannibal

    hannibal Senior Refuge Member

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    And our best hunting was by far the last 10-15 days of the season in NW Missouri in 2016. Wished we had that extra week tacked on to the end of the season.

    To eliminate the early vs late debate let hunters choose their 60 day season dates.......two options. 1) Last Sat in Oct. For 60 or 2) First Sat in Nov. for 60.

    Might spread out the hunting pressure which seems to be a big complaint at times.

    Onward and upward we go!!!
     
    Mack Molloy likes this.
  3. Guthook

    Guthook Senior Refuge Member

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    One thing that would have changed this season is moisture. Half the wetland areas were able to get pumped or filled by rain but many of the lakes, ponds, sloughs and bottoms were dry, very dry. When we did get an influx of birds they sucked to the refuges quickly which lead to isolated and stale action for several weeks prior to the big freeze. Before blaming the season on dates look at all the conditions. I agree with most regarding the late season potential vs. the early season. The only thing I don’t care for is the timing of the split in the middle zone where I would of liked this after the first 30 days. Warm temps and rain scheduled this weekend, time to adjust again, go get it!
     
  4. Mallet67

    Mallet67 Refuge Member

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    I agree the split should be later. I would love to see a 7 to 10 day split and have it much later. The week it was closed it was swee season. I think they did it to accommodate the deer season. And it would be nice if more places like Schell Osage to be in the south zone. You turn off hwy 54 and head north about 10 miles to get to Schell where you turn of 54 to head north I could hunt the south side of hwy 54 right there and be in the south zone. Ridiculous. Same thing with duck creek and other slough although 10 mile is in the south and farther north if not close to otter and duck creek and it's in the south. Kind of ridiculous. They can think of better border lines than that. Maybe should consider certain counties as zones. Heard 50s next week in spots. Ducks will head north somewhat with those temps . Seen it happen too many times. Year's ago we had a split which opened around the 20th of October for a week then close a week and re open. That was a joke. That week was a glorified teal and wood duck shoot. Swatted mosquitoes more than saw ducks. I'll take what we have for the next 4 years better than what we had but not much better. Fair weather hunters in their Wal-Mart clothes can't take the cold anyway. Plenty ducks here if you know where to look and your equipped and can take the cold.
     
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  5. jolle

    jolle Elite Refuge Member

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    Agreed on middle split being too early, that's a prime time usually for the early species and first waves of mallards as it was this year. I will say it appeared birds spread out and were using hunting areas during the split, which helped hunting the few days afterwards which were very good for us and the stats on the CAs, but a front helped that also.

    Id vote for that split in mid December when we're primarily looking at mallards that have been here a bit and are patterned, and were waiting for weather to shake up our current birds and force the hardy ones that are hanging with the geese on the snow line down. Those are the ducks that need a break to get back into hunting areas, and then a rude awakening when the split ends.

    This year had severe drought, prolonged warmth in early December, then record cold at the end. Agreed with others that we can't draw all our conclusions on this season based on those weather events.
     
  6. WHUP ! Hen

    WHUP ! Hen Elite Refuge Member

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    From our WRP Project we can see factories in Iowa, grain elevators in Illinois and can hear barges going up and down the Mississippi River. The best hunts have always been early in the season. I spent time in our blind before this season opened to try and guage what we were missing. The birds were there as they have always been. I have kept records for about 30 years and the average freeze up has been December 6, the latest date we have ever hunted has been December 16. Needless to say I voted for a October opening. I guess it will take me another 4 years to express my opinion again.
     
  7. wilhelmina slim

    wilhelmina slim Senior Refuge Member

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    Mallet67 I have for years stated to MDC that the middle/south zone border needs to be changed but it never has and never will I guess must be money or politics. When south border starts at Cape Girardeau to hwy 25 down 70 miles to Mc Quire over to hwy 53. The East side of 25 south zone west side to 53 middle zone. Once you get below Bernie on 25 there is no waterfowl hunting between the two hwy. I live 15 minutes from Otter Slough and have not hunted it in 20 years. Only 1 managed wma in south zone 10 Mile. If line came across from 60 hwy at Charleston to 53 it puts Otter slough in south zone. That would give another place for people that hunt wma to hunt longer.
     
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  8. 10GAGENUT

    10GAGENUT Elite Refuge Member Sponsor Flyway Manager

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    Think a lot of the problem is the people on the committees that make the zone borders and seasons are so stuck in the past it's unreal, they haven't changed and won't change mainly because they aren't forced to by anyone. We hear contradicting stories from these people but never get any straight answers, we're told there's record numbers of ducks the past few years yet they want to keep things like they were 20 years ago.
    They could make it so simple for everyone but they don't, all they have to do is split the state in half at a given point lets say U.S. 50 for example, make anything above U.S.50 North zone and make anything below U.S. 50 South zone, start the north zone November 1st and the South zone December 1st and be done with it. IMO not only would this give us much more flexibility if the weather is like it is this year or as hot as it was the past few years, it would give many more hunters opportunities to hunt places in either zone.
    I know to simple !!!
     
  9. wilhelmina slim

    wilhelmina slim Senior Refuge Member

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    If I remember right in the mid 50's the season opened last day of October for the whole state. There were no zones season open and closed same dates for all of MO. It would be simple if state would be divided in half and then set dates according. I know hunters would be for and against this idea, MDC would hold meetings and tell us what the season and zones would be it would not matter what the results of the meeting were.
     
  10. TooTall

    TooTall Elite Refuge Member

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    Here's the issue with getting changes to seasons and zones: waterfowl hunters can not come to a consensus. I attended all but two of the meetings MDC hosted a couple years ago on shifting the zone boundaries. I read the report they compiled of the data they collected at those meetings. As far as I can tell, they listened to the hunters. The ONLY consensus at each meeting was that hunters in the middle and north zone wanted later seasons. Hunters in the southwest portion of the old north zone wanted much later seasons. I believe the changes MDC made fell right in line with what was requested and proposed by local hunters in those areas. The meetings in SEMO were thinly attended and there was no consensus for a change. Sure, 90% didn't like how it was, but some wanted to shift boundaries north, some south, some east, some west, and some argued vehemently to leave them as they were. In which case MDC did just that as there was no consensus for a specific change.

    My $0.02 is that if you don't like the way they are now, make sure you attend the meetings 5 yrs from now. Start lobbying and get all your buddies to come and support your argument for change. If you can bring supporting measurable data - that will help your argument even more. Seems to me like where there's consensus - MDC was willing to change.


    As far as this season is concerned - I'm pleased with how it's shaking out. As others have mentioned - this is certainly an abnormal weather year. Too cold too quick and not enough snow to the north has put a damper on hunting as of late. However, we killed ducks the last day of north zone, and guys are still killing ducks in the middle zone.
     
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