MS Delta Ducks Duck Report as of 11/20/12
After a fast and furious several weeks of preparation, the field staff guys have taken a few days to be with family and rest up for opening weekend. 22 field blinds have been built. 13 of these have Mexican thatch roofs. We have 6 sled blinds, 1 pit blind and 8 holes to be hunted from natural cover. 13 areas are planted in millet and 26 holes required pumping. Other blinds will be added as the season progresses and the low-lying areas flood. I am still observing more mallards and gadwall than in the previous few years. The ducks remain concentrated in the complex areas though I am spotting some gadwall and wood ducks in the brakes and yesterday began noticing small gatherings of ducks resting in flooded fields in the outlying areas. More specks and snows are in the Delta than is normal for this time of fall. This may be a good indicator that the Midwest will not hold as many wintering waterfowl this year because of the dry conditions and shortage of food sources.
I plan to spend a few days with my Lauderdale County family while Cris holds down the Delta. He will continue today and tomorrow to monitor water levels and repair spots of blind brush that have been affected by the elements. The water level may be ideal in a hole one day and then drop significantly the next day through soil absorption and leaking water control structures. One of the benefits of the season hunt program is having eyes on the water level each day.
For opening weekend, hunters can set the pace of the hunt in complex holes. There is a larger overall presence of ducks here, consisting of mallards, gadwall, green wing teal, shovelers, blue bill and ring necks. To increase the variety of ducks on the game hauler, patience is required. With a large concentration of shovelers early in the year, a quick shoot will probably yield a number of this species. If the hunt group allows the shovelers to land in the decoys and the hunters devote some time to being in the blind, the likelihood is that they will get good shots at gadwall, mallards and teal. The shovelers will often circle and come back even after a shotgun volley.
In the brakes and outlying areas, the ducks will set the pace. Hunters can expect sudden appearances by groups of gadwall, teal and mallards. When they show, shoot! Woodies will add to the mix.
Turning to the administrative side of the licenses purchased in the season hunt program for the 2012-2013 season, I feel that it is beneficial for the hunters to understand how the money is spent. The funds were expended to the following categories in the percentages listed:
Field staff 11%
Web site administration 4%
Landowners are outside entities with no ownership interest in the corporation. Field staff are the guys that handle the work of building and assigning blinds, and getting the hunters to their holes. Operations includes the material for building blinds, premium for liability insurance coverage for landowners, seed for millet food plots, hunting and fishing guide listing, trade shows, and small miscellaneous expenditures. The web site administration is for third party administration outside the corporation. The shareholders/officers represent funds that went to accounts not devoted to expenses of the program. However, the officers still cover a number of expenses from this category, including travel to and from the hunt areas and other miscellaneous expenses.
It is our goal to be transparent in our services to the MS Delta Ducks hunters. We all endeavor throughout the process to make certain that the hunters' expectations meet the program. Also, we plan extensively to keep the hunting affordable and accessible. I hope that the season proves us worthy to the calling.
Get your gear together and let's bag some ducks.