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View Full Version : Duck hunting, the drought and farmers



crawdaddundee
06-27-2014, 04:32 AM
I have a club just south of marysville off plasant grove road. Been there now for 12 seasons. I deal with the farmer and take care of all the money, water and any issues that come up during the season. This season the big issue is water as it was last but even more so the second season into the drought. I finally got an answer from the farmer in regard to if we were going to get water or not. The answer was yes but not without an additional fee to cover pumping costs. The cost went from 15 to 18 per hunter and the crazy guys all agreed. Knida suprised me as the hunting there is what i call mediocre at best but they like the place for more than just shooting. The farmer there has 9 pumps on the property he leases and as of this season, only 6 are still in use due to low water table. This is getting really serious now. I really couldn't believe he was willing to pump water at all for the club. He said that if we did not get a wet winter this season that the club would be closed until things turned to normal. From what i have learned there are only a handfull of places that will be flodded for rice decomp and or duck hunting this season. If you are planning on huntng this season, you might want to start asking questions about the water situation. From what i understand, the entire riego road and surrounding areas will not get water at all this season. That is a lot of displaced hunters and the same issue in the delevan, sacto wildlife refuge area. There is just no water to have. Fish and game now desperatly looking for water for the refuges and facing the possibility of closing some of them for the season. At the rate the water lords are releasing water right now for the farmers ets. Or who ever down south, by duck season there will be little or no water left.
I hear tell of the possibility of a el nino event building far out in the pacific like the one that we saw in 96. That would be most welcome to help fill all our lakes but the ground water issue will be with us for a long time to come. I am not what you would call a religious type but if ever there was a time to pray for rain, it's now upon us. For the ducks, the salmon and all the fish and o ya for us.

Waterdog
06-28-2014, 11:49 AM
I didn't renew the lease on my rice blind last year and am not going to look for another this coming season. I am an avid hunter but I think the drought and low water conditions are too critical to flood acreage just for duck hunting. Flooding areas like refuges and other places to give ducks a place of refuge and a place to rest is a good idea if we have the water to do so. I will be hunting the bay as I have for 20+ years so water won't be a problem. I agree with you Dundee pray we have a wet winter because if we don't it will affect waterfowl, fishing and just about everything else for years to come.

Whatever
07-16-2014, 08:42 AM
There may be another way of looking at this. Lets face it we have added thousands of acres where the ducks and geese have the opportunity to feed/rest. That has actually been a negative in my opinion because it has opened up the flyway and diluted concentrated areas. Because of that we haven't had really decent duck hunting for a couple decades. It could be the remaining fields that have water will have a major concentration of waterfowl because of their limited opportunities to feed and rest.

If we have El Nino that kills that theory, but I may pay the extra $$$ depending on location. Doesn't sound like Sutter will have water until late into the season...

crawdaddundee
07-17-2014, 03:46 AM
Update to my original post. Got a call from the farmer where I hunt yesterday. The pump on our field has failed. Starting to pump earth. We are done. We are in some serious due due for most all outdoor hunting and fishing if mother doesn't give us some h2o assistance. There will be no rice decomp water this fall either. I'm guessing the ducks are going to have to spend a lot of time floating around down in the delta. While there is still a little water left in the Sac. river, I quess it's full time salmon fishing for me.

DRF
07-17-2014, 04:30 AM
Update to my original post. Got a call from the farmer where I hunt yesterday. The pump on our field has failed. Starting to pump earth. We are done. We are in some serious due due for most all outdoor hunting and fishing if mother doesn't give us some h2o assistance. There will be no rice decomp water this fall either. I'm guessing the ducks are going to have to spend a lot of time floating around down in the delta. While there is still a little water left in the Sac. river, I quess it's full time salmon fishing for me.

Before I gave up on serious duck hunting we were staking our decoys down to dry land. In fact i was buying more shells rather than floaters. Ducks do land on the ground. Heck set up a bunch of honker decoys and start calling ducks, it's worked for us. No water needed. Location location location.

With that said. From a duck hunting standpoint and water conservation. I would love to see rice burning again.

Whatever
07-17-2014, 05:47 AM
I agree on all points DRF. I've driven away from my flooded rice blind with ziltch as a guy in a dry field has his hands full of ducks and geese.

Burning is done....to bad. I still think this will be a good year for those who know where to look.

Problem with salmon fishing is also water...

Waterdog
07-17-2014, 05:09 PM
I too think that the drought will change things for duck hunting. I have noticed a few thing over the last 20 plus years in the Sac valley. During duck season the valley looks like a giant lake. The ducks have gotten more and more spread out because everything is flooded. They have changed their flight paths also. They seem more and more to fly further east. I remember lots of limits on a blind on the west side of highway 5. Last couple years hardly any ducks seen around there. I have also noticed both ducks and geese fly more at night. I don't think that has anything to due with the water but rather hunting pressure. In any event the lack of water and the lack of flooding fields is going to change things mucho. Goose hunting should not change much but hunting ducks in dry fields will be more challenging. I suggest a combination of goose and duck dekes and practice your calling. I think calling will be more important than ever. I'd also suggest using a number of confidence decoys in dry fields. I am still going to continue hunting the bay which should be the same as it always is.

K-15
07-18-2014, 05:46 PM
The amount of decomp water available to birds in recent years is amazing.Looking into the valley from the foothills, it almost looks like a solid lake from the buttes north.As you drive by un hunted fields, you see 100's - 1000's in some, resting and feeding.Mini closed zones per say, it doesn't take long for the numbers of scattered birds across the valley to really add up. It will be a plus for the waterfowler with a lot of the fields dry, lot less country for the birds to loaf. The water situation up at L.K. and Tule is dismal at best, cholera can and will be a major threat.Hope for Wet winter and spring, or like said above, our state will be in serious trouble, not that we aren't there already. Mike

Hof
07-20-2014, 09:53 PM
Right on DRF, I was talking to a rice farmer yesterday and he was talking about how right now, it makes a lot of sense to allow more burning but he knows it won't happen. Common sense seems to rarely be involved in decision making.

I agree with you on location........but today location usually equals big $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

I'm in a very inexpensive club with decent goose opportunities but ducks not so much. This club gives access to a lot of ground so if you are willing to get off your butt and put in some hours you can get your birds. Those who want to sit around and wait for birds to come to them don't do well.

But hey, before the ducks and geese show up, there are some silver bullets coming in september...... :krzyhunter4ez:


Hof

Mr Ed
08-13-2014, 08:22 AM
That is one reason the fee at Grizzly Island in the Bay area is so HIGH !!

Tidal water should be there no matter what unless something really bad happens.

I always wonder how the old duck club in the Prinston area is holding up.
All the club owners were allowed so much acre feet and had to adjust their "Boards" in the canals to let the next club be able to receive their water.

At least Calif. has the Sac. river............
I think Nevada will have another very poor season again............. and no amount of $$$$
will help the average hunter in this state.

nvthis
08-13-2014, 01:21 PM
I wonder... There are a few public areas that have not been great for several years. With limited access to flooded fields, this could change.