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Discussion in 'Arkansas Flyway Forum' started by bullpinnie, May 4, 2017.
Just glad to be coming home. Pardon me for whipping that dead horse.
I primarily hunt on the north end, not seeing much hog damage. I also hunt Hurricane and Black Swamp. I hunt all year, more in the summer and fall than in the winter. Spring is limited on public land due to the WMAs being closed to coon hunting April - June. I can attest first hand that the healthiest looking timber is in the Swamp, the worst is in the Metro, and Hurricane has a mix. When the water is completely out of Hurricane, it's very evident what areas are the "greentree" pools and what areas are dry during most of the year. The timber in the "greentree" areas just looks sick. Same at Meto. If you look at the same timber all the time you probably don't notice it, kinda like watching your kids grow.
It was really a very good meeting in LR. The tree survey data they presented was very interesting, basically the diversity of various tree species based on age class of the trees. Speaking for Meto and parts of Hurricane where they have been holding water, the older trees have a much higher percentage of red and willow oaks, while the young trees are predominantly overcup. Maybe the issue is not flooding, but if there are less red and willow oaks in the younger generations of trees while at the same time more flood tolerant species like overcups, I would tend to come to the same conclusion it has something to do with the water levels. I guess in 40 or 50 years, if the water practices are changed, they can do another survey and see if the newer generations of trees at the time are showing a come back of red and willow oaks. Most of us won't see that, but based on what I am personally seeing in the trees, something needs to change and I am willing to take a chance they are right and support changes that might benefit my kids and grandkids in decades to come.
The only thing I think would have helped, is if they had done the same survey in the Black Swamp. They referenced the Swamp and the water variations, but I think actually doing the species survey would have given a "gold standard" would have maybe at least made a few of the "doubters" see that the validity in their data. I would venture to say that the percentage of red and willow oaks is the same in the Swamp in the younger generation of trees as it is in the older generation. Not anything unknown, but the lowest elevations are cypress and tupelo, the middle elevations are predominantly overcup, and the highest are overcup and red. Two out of the last three seasons (14-15 and 16-17) the water never got in the willows and reds during duck season. 15-16 of course was very wet and everything flooded. I'm not saying that the willows and reds never went under water in the past three years, they certainly did, but the water is generally on and off, with varying levels at varying times of the year.
What they want to do is simply try and emulate a more "normal" flood pattern. Impounding water around hardwood trees and holding it stagnant for months at a time is not natural. Obviously with the levee system in Meto and the poor drainage to get water off due to the levees they have a lot of work to be able to do that. The goal is that they hold a different level of water each year, and some years being designated as "dry". They intend to keep it dynamic. If 17-18 is targeted to be high water and and 18-19 is dry, but 17-18 turns out to be dry due to no rain, that will become the "dry" year and they will adjust going forward and close the gates in 18-19. Seems fair enough.
They also want to close the gates later, about a week before the season opens in Nov. I don't see any issues with that, but to me it gives more credence to opening the season later. Back it up 60 days from the closing day in Jan, close it Christmas Eve/Day, and open it around Dec 1. That would allow them to leave the gates open even a little longer and attempt to keep the trees dry even longer. More importantly it potentially benefits hunters, because there is a much greater chance of having water in early December than during the third week of November. Obviously Sugartown would not like that, but it's a win for the trees and a win for hunters if those 11 day are not wasted just so Sugartown can have it's festival.
The biggest issue I see with the changes for OOSer's, is making the 5 day permit specific to only one WMA. What you do by limiting the permit, is create incentive for permit holders to continue hunting the same WMA regardless of how "crowded" it is. If a group shows up from OOS and the first morning they hunt is tremendously "crowded" by whatever standards an individual measures, if the permit allows them to hunt multiple WMAs, there is a chance they will go somewhere else the next morning. Sure they could buy another permit for a different WMA, but if their permit allowed them to option to go somewhere else without spending more money or wasting days from their limited number of permits, they are much more likely to go somewhere else.
Dang that was long. I'm gonna disappear for a few weeks again.
Stumpy, I think BM should fall under the "Too far gone" sign....You know my forefathers did not leave me many Buffalo...so mankind switched to Deer, Elk, etc.......BM is headed in that direction. If they keep fing with it NOBODY will be hunting...all in hopes of saving something that is too far gone to overcome, at least without putting a chainsaw to it to let new growth have a chance....the young trees now are overcome by the old growth trees....but nobody wants to cut trees, right? So leave it the **** alone.......MG
Can a guy agree with you both (Stumpy & MG)? LOL!! Stumpy, I see what they're saying about the flooding. But, as we all have pointed out - isn't the biggest issue flooding in Spring/Summer when the tree are no longer dormant? How much are we really going to help the cause by decreasing flooding in Winter dormant season when we do NOTHING to alleviate the spring/summer flooding? (I know we differ there MG on the AGFC's ability to get/keep water off). Every season is different and this Spring has been a wet one. Brother is running nets in Bayou Meto and the water has been falling out for the last 2 weeks - despite these big rains we have been getting. My understanding is the AGFC still has the gates closed on the bottom end of the WMA?? I'm no expert, maybe someone else can weigh in here, but seems to me if Bayou Meto is going down, it would be fine to release some water out of the WMA..
Also, my understanding the new water plan that pumps water from the ARkansas to the Prairie will keep water moving down the ditch at all times. If this is true, it may alleviate the need for monsoon rains in Nov/Dec to flood the WMA - it can't hurt...
All good points. That said, count your blessings. We could be dodging IED's. I'm gonna let the heavy end drag on this one otherwise duck hunting will become a job.
new water plan that pumps water from the ARkansas to the Prairie will keep water moving down the ditch at all times. If this is true, it may alleviate the need for monsoon rains in Nov/Dec to flood the WMA
I've been waiting for them (agfc - Corps) to put in a pump or canal from the Arkansas River to flood Bayou Meto since I was 18 years old.....We had a plan (The Arkansas Duck Hunters Assoc.....Now Defunct) back in the 70's to put in a canal from the river to BM @ Cornerstone......it fell through....I hope before I die or BM goes to a draw (the day I quit) I will see a plan that works.....
Are you trying to say, "don't hold your breath"?? lol!!
You can always come hunt with me.
Thanks Cooksey! Hope to do that anyways!!