Planting = Baiting???

Discussion in 'Habitat Forum' started by Gmann, Apr 29, 2002.

  1. Gmann

    Gmann Elite Refuge Member

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    OK, forgive my ignorance. . . not to mention all the opinions I've heard about this. . .

    When you plant food for ducks, dove, etc, what's the difference between that and baiting?

    You are not planting to harvest it, but to attract the birds, and then hunting them in that area. Or, does everyone who plants not hunt the areas they plant? Do you have to plant in areas adjacent to where you hunt? I'm just not real clear on this issue.

    Straighten me out someone. . . :D
     
  2. peewee

    peewee Elite Refuge Member

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    Gman this year I will (along with my camp) will plant 3 different wholes to hunt. We will also plant numerous other areas on our camp that we will not hunt. That is what duckmen has been preaching about, we need to do more for the ducks than just plant areas to hunt. Thats not conservation.
     
  3. Gmann

    Gmann Elite Refuge Member

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    That's not what I'm saying. . .

    If you hunt any kind of planted area, that you planted, where you specifically planted crops in order to attract birds, then how is that any different from going out there and dumping a bag of corn on the ground???
     
  4. silvermallard

    silvermallard Elite Refuge Member

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    Gmann,

    This may be hard for a TX boy to comprehend, but in the US East and North of TX, there is not much "native" ground left. It is either covered with a golf course, park, concrete, asphalt, building, or farm. Modern row-crop farming is aggressively "anti" wildlife/native plants...especially in this region I'm discussing...due to the demand for acreage in cultivation. There would be little to no wildlife habitat left in another decade if man were not planting and preserving it. Thus, no wildlife...therefore...no hunting opportunity. So, regardless of the "ethics," it is certainly the lesser of evils.

    However...

    In my opinion...and that of the vast majority of wildlife scientists...there is a tremendous distinction between planting flora beneficial to wildlife and "baiting." Baiting is the act of disbursing/deploying grain and/or seed for migratory birds. Planting the plants that produce this grain and letting the birds find them and harvest them themselves is NOT the same thing. Now, we ARE allowed...under federal regulations...to "bait" doves by disbursing the seeds by "manipulation" (mowing, rolling, disking, etc.). Waterfowl is a different story. We are ONLY allowed to "bait" waterfowl by manipulation of these plants IF they are non-agricultural...including millet a minimum of 1 year after it was planted. At that point, it is considered "volunteer," a re-growth occurring naturally in a previously planted area. Any ag (cash crop) plant must be planted for ag purposes (meaning the intention of harvest and sale/consumption) and cannot be manipulated and then hunted...unless said manipulation is a common agricultural practice in that area, which is to say it would be done if the ground were to be hunted or not. Ag crops can, however, be flooded and hunted...so long as the INTENT was harvest. Up here, we are often able to harvest flooded corn once everything freezes solid. Thus, we can plant, flood, and hunt cornfields...because we are able to harvest it after duck season is over.

    Quality wetland habitat is in short supply on this continent. Thank God there are a bunch of folks out there making sure it exists by finding the wetland and then working to ensure the right balance of flora is present, or by flooding ag crops (at a significant loss of ag revenue) in order to create additional acres of flooded duck food. Once upon a time, many cornfields (and such) along the Mississippi Flyway flooded all by themselves in Fall...often before harvest was finished. Thus crops were left in the fields when the water came. Nowadays, our beloved Uncle Sam controls the level of the water in our rivers, and probably around 80% of that wonderful and historical source of waterfowl habitat is denied the birds and hunters in an effort to keep subdivisions and industrial parks dry. If it were not for the wells pumping water into cornfields, a practice many Southerners take some umbrage with, the birds would simply have nothing.

    "Great!" you say, "They'd fly on down to the delta marshes sooner, then."

    And right you are! But many would starve along the way, and what arrived would largely be emaciated and too weak to fly much. Furthermore, when they hit these areas on the way back in the Spring, they find a critical element of their life-cycle: Spring feeding areas for the Northern Flight. This means a huge difference in their health when they return to the nesting grounds of the North, which translates into much higher nesting success.

    If the only ducks you want to see are the "straight through" birds like BWT and Snow Geese, then you should advocate us stopping what we do up here. If you want to see Mallards, Pintails, Gray Ducks, Wigeons, divers, etc....well...you best hope we keep doing what we do. Most waterfowl species are NOT capable of flying straight through. They need habitat along the way. If we don't "make it," it doesn't exist.

    Like it or not, here is the bottom line: in the 20th century we destroyed so much wildlife habitat in this country that without a concerted and herculean effort to re-create what we destroyed there would be virtually no hunting to speak of. In my opinion, the moral issue of "baiting" is not whether or not it is right/wrong. Rather, it is an issue of what management TECHNIQUES constitute an unfair advantage of hunter over game.

    I say, if you are re-creating that which occurs in nature, then you're good to go. When was the last time you saw a galvanized corn feeder growing from seed in the middle of the woods? When was the last time you saw a 3' tall x 10' wide pile of shucked corn laying in a cornfield that got there by itself? Mother nature doesn't own a lawnmower. (She does, however, have a disk! It's called herd animals. ;) )
     
  5. Gmann

    Gmann Elite Refuge Member

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    I totally understand what you are saying SM, and by what you said in your second paragraph, you can understand why I'm a bit confused. And I'm not out to plant my lease simply to attract and harvest more birds. I just don't want to get caught doing something wrong when I didnt' know it was wrong in the first place.

    We will begin planting this weekend on our lease. And like was mentioned, some areas will be for hunting and some just for the birds. Not to mention, sometime this summer, DU will be coming in and creating a wetlands project on our lease. I don't have any detals yet, so there's not much more I can tell you about what they are going to do. Hopefully, I can fill you in later. . .

    I've always admired what Benny and Duckmen are doing and wished I could do my part. Now, I've got a place where I can, and I'm really fired up about getting it going. The lease I'm on is a prime wetland area. Even today, there is standing water and/or boggy places. Now granted it's not July/August in TX yet, but this place could be nothing short of awesome. I would guess we'll have somewhere between 800-1000 acres of wetlands!!!!!

    My next concern about planting, is all the friggin hogs that are out there. Looks like it could be time to re-zero in my scope again :D
     
  6. silvermallard

    silvermallard Elite Refuge Member

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    If you fellas expect to grow anything down in them bottoms you had best get to shooting and trapping those hogs as fast and as furious as you can! Sows give birth 3 times/year to an average litter of 13 swine. Kinda hard to hunt them down at that rate of reproduction. And they tear up and eat anything and everything they find. They'll destroy levees and water-control structures lickety-split, too! You put 1 big, hungry boar hog in a bottomland field overnight during a good moom, and you'd swear somebody was in there with a disk the next morning when you go look at it!

    Hogs are going to be a real problem down there, and that was one of the "issues" I was going to raise. There's $$$ in hog hunting, too...yearround $$$. They are an uprotected nuisance animal that can be hunted day/night, spotlighted, trapped, beaten to death with clubs, run w/hounds, etc. Nothing like turning a "have to" into a major revenue stream!

    There's my $25k piece of advice, Gmann!;)

    Tell them to call me if they get frustrated or hit a brick wall.
     
  7. Marshmaster

    Marshmaster Elite Refuge Member

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    You'll also want to check with your local CO/Game Warden/Area Wildlife Manager for what you can legally plant and be able to hunt over. Some species of plants may require an entire season to grow before you can hunt over it, so it reseeds itself - otherwise it could be construed as baiting.

    Marshmaster
     
  8. peewee

    peewee Elite Refuge Member

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    Well put SM.
     

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