Releasing Mallards

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Releasing Mallards

Postby COOP3 » Fri May 24, 2013 9:50 am

I recently replied to an older post on the North Carolina forum about releasing mallards, what the opinions are on it and what not.

"We are releasing mallards for the first time on our farm this year. What got me interested was my neighbor did it last year and he invited me to shoot with them a couple of times. I would guestimate that a solid 75% of the birds we killed out there were wild birds with both due claws (released birds had clipped toes). I also think this had a lot to do with the fact that he released a small number (200) and by the end of summer, about half were left. Later when late November rolled around, he had well over 300 birds that we counted on what we call the "holding pond" and thats when I realized how many wild birds it attracted. I don't have any personal problems with it as far as hurting the wild population. These are the same species ducks and you're only creating a small population that will stay around your place over years which in my opinion is a plus. I also think the disease argument is invalid because, after breeding poultry for so long, I've realized that the wild birds are usually the ones who are more immune to diseases so if anything, the released birds are prone to get sick and die but its unlikely the wild birds will catch a disease. Just my thoughts on it. We're releasing 150 in a couple months at 5-6 weeks old and giving them plenty of time to become "wild" and also we'll be banding 33% of them to see where they end up.

Good luck! Hope some of yall northerners get a band from Willis Pond Farms!"

What are everyone elses thoughts on it? Just curious and wouldn't mind any helpful tips or advice. I know a lot of people disagree with it and thats fine, I don't mind a dissenting opinion. Lets keep it civil.
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Re: Releasing Mallards

Postby klee7013 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 4:16 pm

we have released mallards for the past few years. We are not doing it this year.

Our worst problem for ducks is our damn neighbors hunting the roost and running them off. We will have a couple hundred roosting on our place they hunt em coming over their place to ours on roost and screw the season over.

But yes they do seem to attract other mallard and birds if you have plenty of food to be had then i say yes.

We released some in williamsburg county and a guy from nc called us first season and thanked us for releasing the birds. which the area he was at is over 125 miles by vehicle. Which sucked because most of the birds left but it was cool to see them migrate. And yes we banded them ourselves so only way they could travel was fly. There are a few birds that are left after the season but never seem to have any babies survive the predators around us are brutal. But wood ducks babies thrive
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Re: Releasing Mallards

Postby COOP3 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:47 am

Thanks for the info, that's one of my concerns right now going into it. I have one number that helps me a lot and releases mallards as well. On the other side, we have a neighbor that would just hammer these mallards if they happen to roost on their place. I guess if we can manage to get them to roost in our ponds we'll be ok.

Got any advice or tips that you think are worth knowing going into this sort of thing?

Any information is appreciated.
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Re: Releasing Mallards

Postby Cajunwannabe » Sun Jun 09, 2013 4:56 pm

COOP3 wrote:Later when late November rolled around, he had well over 300 birds that we counted on what we call the "holding pond" and thats when I realized how many wild birds it attracted.

What are everyone elses thoughts on it? Just curious and wouldn't mind any helpful tips or advice. I know a lot of people disagree with it and thats fine, I don't mind a dissenting opinion. Lets keep it civil.


Since you don't mind a dissenting opinion: I wish y'all wouldn't release ducks.

When one realizes "how many wild birds it attracted".....how is this honestly considered "hunting" let alone proper hunting ethic, regardless of what the law allows under the guise of a "Mallard Release Program"?
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Re: Releasing Mallards

Postby COOP3 » Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:51 am

I understand this argument, and I would be lying if I said I completely disagreed with you. I think one of the biggest reasons I feel like it is a good thing is because of the plain numbers. Whether people agree to this point or not, the fact is we are adding 150 mallards to the overall population of waterfowl in my area. I was always a big proponent of the motto "take one, make one" and this is one way of making one.

As far as the ethics go, maybe its not the purest of hunting. I'll admit there is less work involved in scouting and finding a spot as you would on public land. But I spend most of my time hunting public water and thought this would be a good way to supplement the rest of my season.

Comparatively, however, there is less work going into an individual who hunts on flooded crops too. I don't disagree with this type of hunting. I also can't afford to do it. But, if the resources were available, I would flood planted corn and rice are our place and hunt over it. Many call this manuever less ethical, but I just say "if you can do it, go for it."

There is enough laws and regulations restricting waterfowl hunting already. I follow all of it, without question because I believe in the conservation of waterfowl. However, I also plan to use every legal means of harvesting these birds that I can. I don't think thats unethical, I think as long as I'm obeying the law, I'm doing just fine.

By the way, if anyone were to harvest a released bird with a band on it, I would gaurantee that they smile just the same. :wink:
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Re: Releasing Mallards

Postby Cajunwannabe » Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:59 pm

If you truly want to add bird numbers to the population, please consider doing some of this in your spare time:

Install wood duck boxes
Fix up, clean out and repair some of the many (1000's) abandoned wood duck boxes on lakes or rivers
Trim surrounding trees that might assist predators in accessing nesting boxes.
Contribute to a work day and help build nesting tubes for wild mallards and SC mottled ducks to use.
Install nest tubes for our SC mottled population.

To be honest even tho I live in SC, I mostly hunt out of state. I go to where the wild ducks are and am fairly successful at harvesting birds due to many years of learning areas that comes with associated failure as well as SWEET success.

I do however feel it's my responsibility to put back and "pay it forward" if you will. I believe conservation organizations are HUGELY important but I also enjoy putting time in the field during the off season doing the above mentioned things. My thought is how many wild ducks can 20 properly cared for nesting boxes "put back" in one or two successful hatching's per year? How many could 100 properly cared for nesting boxes produce? I would like to feel that my effort isn't measured by the size of my pocketbook or my desire to attempt to keep "my" ducks on "my" pond. The increased Wood Duck numbers have allowed SC to enjoy a 3 bird / day bag limit. In the 80's a 30 day / 3 bird limit was the law. (not applying to wood ducks either) South Carolina has a wonderful resource that can be properly managed to assist with nesting success for all to enjoy.

I like to think that "my" birds that survive, will go forth, allowing someone the opportunity to enjoy another sunrise on a beautiful Fall / Winter morning. Inhaling the frosty air while slugging through a marsh to retrieve their gorgeous drake wood duck that they dropped with one shot at 25 yards.....possibly their first bird ever killed........or sadly, quite possibly their last. To me, this would be the ultimate honor to know that this first or final harvest was my contribution to a true waterfowler. This moment would be soured if one was to look down and see that the bird had a clipped toe, solid band or other distinguishing characteristic indicated it as a "captive reared" bird.

I would rather a mallard raised from a man made nest tube migrated 2000 miles South and I smoked it over the decoys, cupped and committed to MY call. To be filled with wonder as to whether "my" wild birds may even possibly survive duck season, more predator attempts, food shortages and return to nesting boxes and attempt to produce another batch of birds for this process to be repeated, again and again and again. MRP birds are "put and take" and do not put birds into the population for success, just for sport.

If I can sway just one proponent of the Mallard Release Program to truly understand that in order for waterfowling to continue, we must do what we to "put back". My idea of Take One, Make One is for our younger generation to learn to "put back" as well and by THEIR actions I am attempting to insure that my grandchildren will have wild waterfowl to enjoy one day.
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Re: Releasing Mallards

Postby COOP3 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:32 am

We put up several wood duck boxes here and we also maintain them year in and year out. They produce a substantial amount of ducklings in our ponds and swamp and just this spring, I've already noticed 2 hatches of 12+ not counting what I haven't seen.

I've also noticed several mallard hatches from last years released birds nesting in my neighbors ponds. They did not use any nesting tubes (which Im sure would help and I plan on looking into doing this next year) but, just like wild birds, were able to nest in the swamp and have ducklings who, low and behold, do not have clipped toes!

This also creates wild birds, to say other wise is without looking ahead. I guess my overall take on it is, our Atlantic Flyway population of waterfowl has been at a steady decreasing rate (although I would say the last two years haven't shown this) however people are going to release mallards as long as its legal, thats a fact. So if my neighbors are going to better their own hunting, then you better believe I'm gonna give it a shot on mine! By the way, the mallards are only $2.00 a bird which is why I didn't need a fat pocket book to buy 150 ofthem. Heck it might even be cheaper than doing most of my duck hunting out of state. :biggrin:
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Re: Releasing Mallards

Postby COOP3 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:37 am

And just for the record, I know one reason a lot of people are objected to releasing mallards is because of some of the ways its done. Many mallard preserves release the birds by opening the door right before the hunters shoot them. This, I acknowledge is not hunting at all. You might as well be shooting clay targets.

What we do is raise the birds until 4 weeks of age, and then release them to become as wild as possible and to fend for themselves. You are lucky to have, generally about half of what you released left so long as it isn't too big a number. By releasing the birds mid-July, we give them a solid 4 months+ to leave or become wild or whatever so there is somewhat of a difference between the styles of releasing the ducks.
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Re: Releasing Mallards

Postby grey duck » Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:29 pm

My beef is that hunting over released mallards is hunting over live decoys and I think it is time that USFW do something about it.
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Re: Releasing Mallards

Postby romeocadet08 » Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:28 am

Shooting released birds is about as cool as AIDs

...just my 2 pennies
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Re: Releasing Mallards

Postby wanapasaki » Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:37 am

Think what you want but those mallards will leave with wild strains and pair up with them. May or may not come back. Most likely not. Atleast your keeping the population up and throwing some new genetic make up into the flocks lol
Give a man a duck... Feed him for a day... Teach him to fowl hunt... Feed him for a lifetime...Teach him in your spot... Learn to hunt a different spot....
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Re: Releasing Mallards

Postby grey duck » Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:21 pm

wanapasaki wrote:Think what you want but those mallards will leave with wild strains and pair up with them. May or may not come back. Most likely not. Atleast your keeping the population up and throwing some new genetic make up into the flocks lol


Not supported by science.
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Re: Releasing Mallards

Postby grey duck » Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:22 pm

romeocadet08 wrote:Shooting released birds is about as cool as AIDs

...just my 2 pennies
:clapping:
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Re: Releasing Mallards

Postby grey duck » Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:24 pm

Shooting pen raised mallards is for people with money that lack the knowledge to kill wild birds.
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Re: Releasing Mallards

Postby LowcountryGamecock » Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:53 pm

wanapasaki wrote:Think what you want but those mallards will leave with wild strains and pair up with them. May or may not come back. Most likely not. Atleast your keeping the population up and throwing some new genetic make up into the flocks lol


The released mallard is one of the greatest threats to the preservation of the nesting mottled duck population in this state. Migratory mallards (not released mallards) will do what a mallard is supposed to do. They will head North at the end of winter to pair bond, nest, and raise a brood. Mallards are forceful maters. A male mallard is a known sexual deviant and the majority of the time hybrids stem from a mallard drake mating with another species. What happens when you increase the population if mallards in an area where they shouldn't be that has other species nesting there? That's right, hybridization. Years and years ago the mallard release program involved mating wild caught mallards with docile tame mallards. These produced mallards which weren't too far from their wild mallard cousins. Those original released mallards could be found nesting in various standard marshes and praries at higher latitudes throughout our flyway.

Fast forward to today. We take clip toed bastardized non migratory mallards, throw them in a pond, and get excited when half of them survive the winter and produce "wild" mallard offspring with all their toes. Duh they'll produce offspring with all their toes. Clip toed mallards aren't genetically modified so their offspring won't have their extra toe. The fact that they have all their toes does not make them "wild". It makes them docile local ducks that mate with whatever they can pin to the ground. The SCWA has spewed their "mallard release program" far further than they should have. I think the argument could have been legitimately made during their early days (the days of the wildxdomestic crossbreeds) that they were on an ok, but not totally sporting, track. Anyone who believes the mallard release idea is legitimate at this point though is just being ignorant.


Oh by the way, hey guys. I'm new here. I hope I didn't just make too many enemies with my first post.
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Re: Releasing Mallards

Postby romeocadet08 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:21 am

LowcountryGamecock wrote:
wanapasaki wrote:Think what you want but those mallards will leave with wild strains and pair up with them. May or may not come back. Most likely not. Atleast your keeping the population up and throwing some new genetic make up into the flocks lol


The released mallard is one of the greatest threats to the preservation of the nesting mottled duck population in this state. Migratory mallards (not released mallards) will do what a mallard is supposed to do. They will head North at the end of winter to pair bond, nest, and raise a brood. Mallards are forceful maters. A male mallard is a known sexual deviant and the majority of the time hybrids stem from a mallard drake mating with another species. What happens when you increase the population if mallards in an area where they shouldn't be that has other species nesting there? That's right, hybridization. Years and years ago the mallard release program involved mating wild caught mallards with docile tame mallards. These produced mallards which weren't too far from their wild mallard cousins. Those original released mallards could be found nesting in various standard marshes and praries at higher latitudes throughout our flyway.

Fast forward to today. We take clip toed bastardized non migratory mallards, throw them in a pond, and get excited when half of them survive the winter and produce "wild" mallard offspring with all their toes. Duh they'll produce offspring with all their toes. Clip toed mallards aren't genetically modified so their offspring won't have their extra toe. The fact that they have all their toes does not make them "wild". It makes them docile local ducks that mate with whatever they can pin to the ground. The SCWA has spewed their "mallard release program" far further than they should have. I think the argument could have been legitimately made during their early days (the days of the wildxdomestic crossbreeds) that they were on an ok, but not totally sporting, track. Anyone who believes the mallard release idea is legitimate at this point though is just being ignorant.


Oh by the way, hey guys. I'm new here. I hope I didn't just make too many enemies with my first post.



You'll be just fine here!!! The MRP is to duck hunting as Obama is to our economy.

People can spin it anyway they want to and use all the smoke and mirrors they need but in the end ...after all the dust settles....the MRP is detrimental to our sport.
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Re: Releasing Mallards

Postby BurninPowder » Wed Sep 18, 2013 7:34 pm

COOP3 wrote:And just for the record, I know one reason a lot of people are objected to releasing mallards is because of some of the ways its done. Many mallard preserves release the birds by opening the door right before the hunters shoot them. This, I acknowledge is not hunting at all. You might as well be shooting clay targets.

At least you do concede this.. And I pose the question. How do you tell "your" birds from "wild" birds on the wing? As I have no experience with this type of hunting, seems it would be hard to tell the difference.
grey duck wrote:Shooting pen raised mallards is for people with money that lack the knowledge to kill wild birds.

I work with a fella that does exactly this and has no shame in doing so. In fact he boasts about it, while looking completely ignorant in the process. I drives me bonkers! I just have a hard time getting my head around it... There's no challenge, no mystery, no wondering what's gonna drop over those tree tops next (I would guess, I have no personal experience) and I don't know that I wouldn't rather just get some extra sleep.
romeocadet08 wrote:You'll be just fine here!!! The MRP is to duck hunting as Obama is to our economy.

Amen Brother! And LCG, I'm with RC, I think you'll be just fine.
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Re: Releasing Mallards

Postby Bigpuddin43 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 7:52 pm

I don't have any experience with releasing mallards but deal with people who think that releasing quail is a great idea. I tell them that usually 50-80 % become prey within the first few weeks. They come off with well if the coyotes and hawks are eating them they aren't eating the wild birds. Which makes sense except that removes the natural predator prey relationship. Basically you keep the predators fat and happy and producing more offspring therefore more predators to take both your released birds and the wild ones. It removes the natural predator prey cycle and puts much more pressure on wild birds. Releasing pen raised birds does not increase genetic diversity turning 150 birds loose that were all bred at the same facility by generations all from the same group of ducks is far from genetic diversity.

Do the right thing provide the habitat and manage harvest numbers and ducks can thrive. Habitat is the most important factor in the survival of our waterfowl why throw money away to help the predators that will be taking our wild birds.
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Re: Releasing Mallards

Postby grey duck » Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:11 am

Bigpuddin43 wrote:I don't have any experience with releasing mallards but deal with people who think that releasing quail is a great idea. I tell them that usually 50-80 % become prey within the first few weeks. They come off with well if the coyotes and hawks are eating them they aren't eating the wild birds. Which makes sense except that removes the natural predator prey relationship. Basically you keep the predators fat and happy and producing more offspring therefore more predators to take both your released birds and the wild ones. It removes the natural predator prey cycle and puts much more pressure on wild birds. Releasing pen raised birds does not increase genetic diversity turning 150 birds loose that were all bred at the same facility by generations all from the same group of ducks is far from genetic diversity.

Do the right thing provide the habitat and manage harvest numbers and ducks can thrive. Habitat is the most important factor in the survival of our waterfowl why throw money away to help the predators that will be taking our wild birds.

:clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping:
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Re: Releasing Mallards

Postby XhailGC » Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:03 am

Releasing mallards is like shooting fish in a barrel. Where's the sport in it?
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Re: Releasing Mallards

Postby romeocadet08 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:21 am

XhailGC wrote:Releasing mallards is like shooting fish in a barrel. Where's the sport in it?

Get back to scducks
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Re: Releasing Mallards

Postby bigsprig » Fri Oct 04, 2013 4:14 pm

Not going to enter the debate, but just wanted to inform those not old enough to have been around then that several states in the Atlantic Flyway released hundreds of thousands of ducks during the 1960's and 70's which joined, mated with, and flew our way with "wild" mallards.

I am convinced many of the "Santee Mallards" in the 1970's were birds released in New Jersey, Maryland, etc.

In Maryland during the 1970's landowners released hundreds of thousands of mallards which were supposed to stay on their farms?

I think not.

Bottom line is released birds have been in the Atlantic Flyway population for as long as men have been able to release them, and we are destined to repeat the failures (or success depending on your perspective) as long as there are people with the money to buy and release ducks.

Put and take is a reality in this day and age, whether it is quail, trout or ducks, for some people that is the only way they can experience "hunting".

My opinion , worth exactly what you paid for it. :hammer:
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Re: Releasing Mallards

Postby greenbean » Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:45 pm

Canada Geese along the Atlantic flyway and turkeys in much of the southeast rebounded due to release programs as well.

I have thrown SCWA bands away with the duck's innards but the meat did taste about the same. I have never kept those bands, in fact, my partner threw a band away on a bird taken here in SC that was banded by the NC waterfowl association. To us it is disappointing.

I think it is really a matter of what "the hunt" means to you. To me, it means hours of hard work, burnt fuel, and the prospect of weather, finding a new overlooked spot or some hole that appears to be my new top secret spot. I accept only a few good hunts because I quit spending the night in a hole a long time ago. Work smarter not harder....I dont hunt Saturdays any more either. And a basket rack 8 point I finally outsmarted after a few weeks of trying is more rewarding to me than a 10 point taken on a stand at a preserve.

This is a young man's sport after all. I think you are missing out on the hunt by releasing ducks but there are those who think im stupid fighting the crowds and doing all the work i do.

so when is the put water on corn versus put corn in water debate going to pop up?
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Re: Releasing Mallards

Postby grey duck » Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:51 am

Water on corn, I have no prob
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Re: Releasing Mallards

Postby bigsprig » Thu Oct 24, 2013 1:21 pm

"so when is the put water on corn versus put corn in water debate going to pop up?"


It has in so many forums that all you have to do is Google it and it will surely be there.

Next time you get one of those "awful" released bird bands, give it to a kid.

Young mans game my a**.
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