Post Duck Season Blues; New Restoration Project

February 21, 2019

Img 6902 It's utterly depressing to know we have 9 more months til season opens

Who else is missing duck season? After recovering from duck season for a few weeks, I am back to obsessing about ducks and desperately missing season. I am already making plans on what to plant and how to manage the farm for ducks and deer. I obsess over planning at White Oaks Duck Woods and I think that’s what gets me through to duck season. I guess it’s my own type of therapy.

I found myself going through pics of season the other day. Once I got a little removed from season, I realized just how good of a year we had. Of course, we had days where we struggled, but we didn’t have many. I know we killed birds fairly darn consistently except for about a 7-10 day stretch in mid-January. We couldn’t seem to have a good hunt and I was getting fairly frustrated. Then the White River rose and ducks were everywhere. The last 10 days of season was the best stretch of duck hunting I have ever had. Finishing season off with the hunting being so strong just makes me miss it more. I hope everybody else finished strong as well.

We should be knee deep in banding mallards right now, but the banding has been extremely difficult to impossible due to extensive White River flooding. With the river continually fluctuating, we can’t keep the traps at the right water levels long enough to consistently catch birds. Currently the river is over 33’ at the gauge at Augusta and with over 4” of rain forecast this week, it doesn’t look like it is going to stabilize for the next few days or quite possibly much longer. We could use a break from all this rain---and that doesn’t look like it’s gonna happen anytime soon. As soon as all this flooding slows down, or at least the river stabilizes, we will get back after banding mallards.

The most exciting thing going on since duck season ended is the purchase of over 1800 acres along Bayou DeView near Fisher, AR. I, along with two partners bought a great piece of property and it is going to be an incredible restoration and conservation project. Over the next several years, we will turn this farm into another world class duck hunting property. When the Bayou DeView gets big and there is plenty of water around, the place already holds a ton of ducks. Once we are able to develop the place, provide food and control the hunting pressure, I know it will be another amazing place to duck hunt. I cannot wait for it to dry out so we can get started. Along with leveling fields, planting trees, creating rest areas, and restoring habitat, we will be building a very nice lodge. We are considering doing some limited corporate type season long leasing on this property and possibly combing that lease with some hunting rights at White Oaks Duck Woods. Lodging and guides would be included in the annual lease. The interesting thing about that structure of a lease is that if one area or flyway is slow, you would have access to go to a completely different area to hunt. I would think this would dramatically increase your odds of staying on the ducks. I have learned that no matter how good your property is, there will always be a lull sometime during season. Having multiple places to hunt would seem to combat that. Nevertheless, it will be fun to see how the project unfolds over the next few years.

I also recently got news of an extremely top-flight property near White Oaks Duck Woods that is going to offer day hunting in flooded timber, excellent lodging, great meals, clay shooting, quail hunting and fishing. The place is called Straight Lake and is owned by a guy I know fairly well named Max Sharp. They have 2 lodges, excellent private, controllable flooded timber and great fields too. It is one of the only places I know where you can book a hunt by the day and be guaranteed hunting in flooded green timber. For any of you interested in something like that, friend Max Sharp on Facebook and send him a message. Or, you can email or message me on FB and Instagram and I can get you in touch with Max. His place has been world class hunting for years and it is going to give a lot of folks access to some of the best flooded timber in the state.

Not much else to report on this boring February day… 274 days 'til opening day in Arkansas. That literally seems like fifty-leven years.

Img 6945 Me, my dad and my son on the last day of season. It was a great way to close it out.
Img 6850 The last week of season at White Oaks was some of the best hunting of my life
Img 6928 The last weekend of season was the most sun we had all year...
Bayou DeView Project
Tags: duck hunting; mallards banding program white oaks duck woods conservation project habitat restoration flooded timber arkansas duck hunting