Improving duck habitat

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Improving duck habitat

Postby TXducksanddeer » Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:31 pm

Hey y'all I really need some tips and advice. We are going to start improving our duck ponds so we can hopefully start seeing some more birds. Now what we got are some 4 - 5 acre big ponds that are pretty deep. I don't know the exact measurements but I'll put it this way; I can't walk out 20 yards out with chest waders without getting wet. That makes putting out decoys pretty limited. We have a canoe and a 10 foot Jon boat both with motors we just haven't used them hunting much. The place is great for fishing, it has a lot of bass. Just not many ducks. We see some good flocks but usually they are too high and going another direction. The place is surrounded by a ton of oak trees but not in the water. I do have to say that the water is usually not this deep, we got a lot of rain this year. It does go down over the summer.

Now I'm asking for your help. What should I do? I don't know what will grow in this deep water. We still want to have good fishing too. We more than one big pond and I thought it may be a good idea to bulldoze one pond to make shallower water. The water would dry up the water in the summer, letting grass grow. Hopefully it would flood in time for duck season naturally. I actually don't know if I can even do this. It might be better just to level the pond edge and make it shallower. Or it may be better to plant something that is able to grow. I know we can put some wood duck boxes in the oak trees but I don't know how many would be good. I really don't know what to do but we are willing to do whatever to make this land a duck paradise hopefully. Thanks for your help.
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Re: Improving duck habitat

Postby tenfingergrip » Wed Dec 25, 2013 3:54 pm

In my experience, nothing will grow in 3 feet of water. That is the depth that sunlight, which plants need to grow, is diminished to the point that photosynthesis no longer is supported.

Your thought of taking a bulldozer, or better yet, an excavator (track hoe), and pulling back the edges 20 or so feet for a depth of 1 foot to 6 inches would allow you to get plants to grow around the edges. If there is any way to put in a water control structure to be able to drop the water level down in the late spring/early summer, you could actually plant grain crops such as corn, millet, sorghum, etc. around the edges for the ducks. Are there ducks in the area so that would draw them in?

You could also put in a drain ditch leading away from the pond to lower the level, put a flashboard riser at the entrance to the ditch with a pipe into the pond at a maximum level you wished to drop the pond and drain the water into the oak trees for woodie hunting. You ,of course, would have to put some kind of berm around the oaks for water containment during the season. Without seeing the set-up, lay of the land, etc, that is about all the advice I can offer. Be advised that if you flood oaks year round, they will die. Winter time only.

Good luck.
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Improving duck habitat

Postby TXducksanddeer » Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:32 pm

Thanks ten, I got some pics now of it hunting today. We have a nice shallow spot I think that will work. Any advice for types of plants? Should I pull out any vegetation before I start planting like brush? I don't think rice will work as this is texas but I really have no experience. Corn is also not an option.
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Re: Improving duck habitat

Postby TXducksanddeer » Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:38 pm

Image
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Re: Improving duck habitat

Postby pk38 » Wed Jan 01, 2014 8:52 pm

Interesting we are about to do something similar here in GA this fall... We are using a blend of japanese millet.... sorghum..... dwarf corn..... wild rice and millet...... Let me know how it goes......As I will do the same.... Cant wait to see what everyone says.....
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Re: Improving duck habitat

Postby tenfingergrip » Thu Jan 02, 2014 7:44 am

TXducksanddeer wrote:Thanks ten, I got some pics now of it hunting today. We have a nice shallow spot I think that will work. Any advice for types of plants? Should I pull out any vegetation before I start planting like brush? I don't think rice will work as this is texas but I really have no experience. Corn is also not an option.



Why is corn NOT an option? Probably the best, longest lasting grain crop available to attract ducks in a flooded environment as long as you can control the water. What is the source of your water supply? Creek, stream, spring, rain, or ground water?
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Re: Improving duck habitat

Postby TXducksanddeer » Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:39 pm

tenfingergrip wrote:
TXducksanddeer wrote:Thanks ten, I got some pics now of it hunting today. We have a nice shallow spot I think that will work. Any advice for types of plants? Should I pull out any vegetation before I start planting like brush? I don't think rice will work as this is texas but I really have no experience. Corn is also not an option.



Why is corn NOT an option? Probably the best, longest lasting grain crop available to attract ducks in a flooded environment as long as you can control the water. What is the source of your water supply? Creek, stream, spring, rain, or ground water?


No I know corn would be best but we just don't have the equipment or money right now for corn. We are looking for something more inexspenive. The water comes from rain water. Here's a better picture of the land.Image
Last edited by TXducksanddeer on Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Improving duck habitat

Postby tenfingergrip » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:54 pm

Do you have access to the lake/pond immediately north of the top pictured lake? If you do, it looks better suited to doing a little excavation/bulldozer work on the north end and attempting to grow wildlife food there. It also looks more isolated and less available to human intervention. Those piers, docks, etc lead me to believe there may be lots of traffic on those two lakes you posted.
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