NWFL Duck Impoundment - Need Opinions /Help!!!

Discussion in 'Habitat Forum' started by BULL SPRIG 88, Dec 23, 2016.

  1. BULL SPRIG 88

    BULL SPRIG 88 New Member

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    The Woods
    I'll try to be brief but want to adequately describe my situation and would love (and desperately need) some feedback... I own a 91 acre farm in Northwest Florida. I am thinking about building a 5 acre duck impoundment in an existing old field. It is extremely isolated so pressure would never be an issue. To build the impoundment it would probably require $10k (guessing) of dozer work to cut the grade down, build berms, etc. I would likely install a flashboard riser to control water levels and can pump from a pretty reliable creek that is about 80 yards away. So here are the questions and a little more background info:
    1. We have ducks in the area. Probably 90-95% wood ducks. I'm about 2 miles from a decent sized river that has a "mini flyway". The woodies fly over my farm every day and I usually see 20-80 each evening during the season. Problem is they have no reason to stop on my farm except to roost on occasion in a small swamp on my farm. They are generally headed to roost in an 80 acre swamp about 1/4 mile away. I have no food so they have no reason to use my farm as there are a lot of swamps and roost holes in the area. I cleared out an area in my swamp by hand and they use it occasionally as a roost. There is no way to get reliable food in the swamp and I have no way to control the water in there.
    2. I feel like if I can provide some groceries I might be able to get them to use our farm.
    3. The goal would be to plant millet & corn in the impoundment.
    4. Do you think wood ducks will come to a flooded corn impoundment? I know that sounds like a crazy question as most ducks love corn but here in Northwest Florida... virtually no one builds impoundments (except about 2-3 hours east of us) and I've always viewed wood ducks as "swamp ducks" as that is the only place I have ever hunted them. I'm not sure how much they would utilize an "impoundment" type habitat.
    5. Is 5 acres big enough to attract any other species? There are some public spots a few miles away that get teal, ringnecks, etc. I would guess if the water levels are right and there is desirable food that we might get a few other species besides wood ducks.
    6. Last question... i know its difficult to predict success and there is some truth to "if you build it they will come" but... I just don't wanna throw $10k (or more) down the drain. If you were in my shoes... would you build it?
    Thanks for your anticipated help and responses!
     
  2. mister gadwall

    mister gadwall Senior Refuge Member

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    Tennessee
    How far are you from Tallahassee ? In that area there are LOTS of privately owned "duck ponds" on the larger wild quail plantations. Those places draw large numbers of ringneck and other puddle ducks in addition to woodies. That area is a destination for ducks annually . And Lake Seminole is as well. I suspect you would be successful over time. Ask a local waterfowl biologist as well. Corn is the preferred crop in Tallahassee area. fwiw
     
  3. BULL SPRIG 88

    BULL SPRIG 88 New Member

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  4. BULL SPRIG 88

    BULL SPRIG 88 New Member

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    I'm about 1 hour west of Tallahassee near the Choctawhatchee River. I originally reached out to the NRCS, DU, , a waterfowl biologist and a guy that has built impoundments on the large Tallahassee plantations with no success. The NRCS Rep in our area was basically clueless in regard to waterfowl and potential programs. DU never responded. The waterfowl biologist never responded. The guy who builds them hasn't been real responsive as I think he is looking for someone with extremely deep pockets like the Tallahassee plantation owners. So it's looking like I'm pretty much on my own and am looking to fellow hunters for advice/recommendations.
     
  5. Porter Bayou

    Porter Bayou Senior Refuge Member

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    Mississippi
    To each his own, but there's no way I'd spend $10k on an impoundment in FL on the off chance that it might attract a few wood ducks. $10k can pay for a lot good guided hunts.
     
  6. ArmChair Biologist

    ArmChair Biologist Refuge Member

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    I'm sorry that you didn't get any responses from those organizations. If I were in your shoes, I would try contacting DU again. You could also contact a professor at a university that specializes in that field. They might even help you get a grant.

    Even though my username suggests otherwise, I'm a biologist who specializes in wetlands. If I were in your shoes I would definitely build an impoundment. Five acres is definitely big enough to hold a good amount of ducks. In my experience, if there's a good food source, there's always ducks. I've been to lakes that have been restored and the ducks show up immediately. If you build a good impoundment the ducks will use it, no doubt.

    That being said I'm not sure what would be best for you. I'm located in the Midwest and up here moist soil management with native seasonal grasses produces the best results. I know flooded crops work really well down south but up here not so much. Wood ducks will eat corn. I've shot plenty out of dry cornfields. However, wood ducks might not key in on those food sources down there. For a variety of species you might want to plant native seed producing moist soil plants. This will ensure allot of invertebrates for diving duck species as well.
     
  7. greyduck

    greyduck New Member

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    https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/nrcs142p2_016986.pdf

    Moist soil management, as mentioned by Armchair, would probably be your least expensive management option, assuming you have a reliable summertime water source. Standing corn is also very productive as noted in the link above.

    Hard to understand why NRCS and DU are so unresponsive. I would suggest that you keep after them both and maybe involve the Florida Game and Fish and the Fish and Wildlife Service. There are government programs that will cost share with private landowners for projects like you propose.

    I used to work as a biologist in your country and feel confident that if your soil type will hold water your project will attract more than just wood ducks.

    Sounds like a fun project. Good luck.
     
  8. WHUP ! Hen

    WHUP ! Hen Elite Refuge Member

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    Northeast Missouri
    Very good book. I have an 80 acre WRP project that NRCS was and is very involved with, their assistance has been much needed and they have been very cooperative.
     
  9. JFG

    JFG Elite Refuge Member

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    I did the same above and found a gov. sponsored program that was best suited for my particular situation. Once evaluated and approved, I started building from scratch, which started after the timbering of my land. My program and their partners (USF&W, DU, NRCS, NCWRC) ended up contributing 60% of my cost. The timber income, albeit small, added additional revenue towards the project expense.

    If you can acquire some assistance and you think you'll have about a 10k project, I'd go for it. It will never hurt you unless birds totally avoid it like the plague. Heck, we spend 30 plus thousand for vehicles that eventually are worth next to nothing, what's a few thousand invested for what will probably be a capital improvement even if it doesn't pull in hundreds of birds? I personally like the idea of securing a place of my own over paying guides that do everything for you, including telling you to not bother bringing your dog, not to call, to keep your head down until the shot is called, etc., etc. Doing things "my" way resonates much more over killing limits if I'm pretty much just relegated to being only a shooter. It's a labor of love.
     
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  10. DisplacedDuck

    DisplacedDuck Senior Refuge Member

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    Location:
    Southeast Missouri
    Truer words could not have been spoken on this thread. There is something to be said about having a place to call your own, where you're calling the shots and what is done is left up to you. It may cause a headache from time to time, and it surely won't be easy on the pocketbook, but to me, there would be no better feeling that a labor of love such as this.

    If you end up moving forward, please keep us in the loop. There is a lot of smart individuals on this site, and I know I speak for more than just myself when I say we would love to follow any progress.
     
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