Corn complexes in the Columbia basin

JBG

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The interesting question to pose is "What actions do you want to take?" Or "What is the end result you want to see?"

Distributed Birds is the end answer for me. If you want better hunting for the general public it starts with this.
I think we (the hunting public and government lawmakers) lack data to make any informed decisions on what should be done and to what end.
I'd like to first see data that supports the thesis that corn complexes congregate birds to the detriment of public land. And that their regulation or removal would increase harvest in public areas specifically and not just change it over to the closest legal imitator to a corn complex. Until then were are operating off of anecdotal evidence and perceptions (some of which can be reality but there is no way to know).
 

Mallardmasher

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Good read, just search “Duck die off” 2017. A host of problems come from these corn ponds both private and on refuge systems, when we over crowd the carrying capacity for extended periods, many problems rare there heads. Ducks where meant to eat out a food source and leap frog south, during migration
 

buzzkill

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Good read, just search “Duck die off” 2017. A host of problems come from these corn ponds both private and on refuge systems, when we over crowd the carrying capacity for extended periods, many problems rare there heads. Ducks where meant to eat out a food source and leap frog south, during migration

Have you driven by the McNary refuge ponds during peak migration?
 

EWUEagles

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I think we (the hunting public and government lawmakers) lack data to make any informed decisions on what should be done and to what end.
I'd like to first see data that supports the thesis that corn complexes congregate birds to the detriment of public land. And that their regulation or removal would increase harvest in public areas specifically and not just change it over to the closest legal imitator to a corn complex. Until then were are operating off of anecdotal evidence and perceptions (some of which can be reality but there is no way to know).
I would love to see data but we won’t ever get any, I’ve been told multiple times. The powers that be don’t care or are members at the clubs. It’s no wonder the high ups at DU are at Tony Vandemore quite a bit.
 

Mallardmasher

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Have you driven by the McNary refuge ponds during peak migration?
Yes, and I mentioned both private and public corn ponds, ie mcnary, Sauvies, and a host of others
 

Mallardmasher

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I would love to see data but we won’t ever get any, I’ve been told multiple times. The powers that be don’t care or are members at the clubs. It’s no wonder the high ups at DU are at Tony Vandemore quite a bit.
They probably funded half his program like Deer island
 

harleymc

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DS3Smartie
The interesting question to pose is "What actions do you want to take?" Or "What is the end result you want to see?"

Distributed Birds is the end answer for me. If you want better hunting for the general public it starts with this.
DS3Smartie is exactly right, the question comes down to what we want to do about it. EWUEagles is also correct that the argument of "make money so you can own your own flooded corn" is flawed in that wildlife is a public resource. In the USA and based on the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, it is held in trust for the common good, it isn't owned by landowners. If the wildlife were owned by landowners, you'd have a feudal system like Europe, and only the rich elites would have the ability to hunt. I'm not OK with that.

The way I see it, we could take a staged approach to get this changed. The change in the law/regs that I would like to see is an amendment to the USFWS regs that DS3Smartie posted, which says that it's OK to flood standing crops for the purpose of hunting. I think we would want the WA law to state this instead: "Hunting over unharvested crops that have been flooded is considered baiting and therefore illegal." That's it. To get this changed, I am thinking of these steps;
1 - Start a petition signed by X number of WA hunters saying we want this changed, and bring it to the Waterfowl Advisory Council to have them make the change. I'd like to hear from those on the council the efficacy of this approach. Does the WAC take public input on issues such as this? I'm sure we'll face opposition from those with money and clubs, but it's a place to start. We should also see about getting WDFW biologists to weigh in on the downsides of corn complexes for issues such as disease, etc. as posted earlier.
2 - If that fails, the next year we go to the WDFW Wildlife Commission. Considering what they did to spring bear hunting - screwing us over because it seemed distasteful to them, rather than based on biologists recommendations. I'm guessing they'd be more than happy to take this form of baiting away.
3 - If that fails, the third year we try to get a ballot initiative going and take the issue straight to the voters. Again, in this liberal leaning state, I don't think we'd have any trouble convincing citizens that this form of hunting/baiting is unfair to wildlife and should be stopped.

I fully realize that there is risk here in creating a black eye for hunters and more controversy, but that may be the cost of doing business. Those of us without the means to build corn complexes did not ask for this fight. One of the things I love most about hunting is that it isn't based on position, pretense, wealth, power, etc. like the rest of life. Whether it is work, politics, etc. outcomes are based on lots of things apart from merit. But when I'm hunting, I'm free to make my own choices, and I have success or failure based on those choices, my skill set, my level of effort, etc. My outcome is merit based. But if all the ducks in the region are pulled to private clubs where only a select few have access, then it undermines the democracy of the hunt and spoils one of the core aspects of pursuing wild game. So while this fight is inconvenient or even painful, I think it is a fight worth having.
 

JBG

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"1 - Start a petition signed by X number of WA hunters saying we want this changed, and bring it to the Waterfowl Advisory Council to have them make the change. I'd like to hear from those on the council the efficacy of this approach. Does the WAC take public input on issues such as this? I'm sure we'll face opposition from those with money and clubs, but it's a place to start. "
D3Smartie answers how requests can happen in his first post of the WAG thread:
"I would ask that a few things are kept in mind in regards to the requests.
What is the goal of the request? What is the end outcome of the request? Is there data to support a change? Can we get the data to support change? How does it benefit the average hunter?"

Again the data end on this is lacking. If it was available it would make a huge difference on being able to actually affect change. I think if the WAG advocated for better hunter surveys and funding for aerial surveys that would be an easy thing for WDFW to get behind and a good starting point. Remember harli was completely shut down this year due to lack of data. Data matters.
 

EWUEagles

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"1 - Start a petition signed by X number of WA hunters saying we want this changed, and bring it to the Waterfowl Advisory Council to have them make the change. I'd like to hear from those on the council the efficacy of this approach. Does the WAC take public input on issues such as this? I'm sure we'll face opposition from those with money and clubs, but it's a place to start. "
D3Smartie answers how requests can happen in his first post of the WAG thread:
"I would ask that a few things are kept in mind in regards to the requests.
What is the goal of the request? What is the end outcome of the request? Is there data to support a change? Can we get the data to support change? How does it benefit the average hunter?"

Again the data end on this is lacking. If it was available it would make a huge difference on being able to actually affect change. I think if the WAG advocated for better hunter surveys and funding for aerial surveys that would be an easy thing for WDFW to get behind and a good starting point. Remember harli was completely shut down this year due to lack of data. Data matters.
Harli were shut down because of data not the lack of. They would have been shut down sooner but they didn’t have data from 2020 (or 2021).

Don’t they already do surveys on private land? I don’t know if it was true or not but I was always told when they did winter surveys they did them at the big complexes in the basin to get counts.

Like I’ve already said the powers that be don’t care about who kills the birds and where. They know the general numbers of birds that are killed and they are happy with that. The WAG can push for all they want but they aren’t the deciding factor on what happens. Also there’s no repercussions for not filling out a survey so people just don’t do it.
 

JBG

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Not sure if this has been posted or not. Southern states have had banner years for duck harvest even with corn complexes north of them. As of 2019 there is a group in LA (the state not the city) working to try and outlaw corn complexes with help of a US congressman.

Biologists saying moist soil crops hold more birds than corn.
 

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