2010/11 at Mayberry a Sad Season

The Mayberry subsidence prevention and tule growing program is in full swing. A permanent marsh has now completely replaced the seasonal marsh we created over a period of years and we sure miss it.

In past years we would sit in camp at dusk and watch thousands of waterfowl descend onto the property. Now a handful of ducks arrive. There’s just nothing there for them.

Deep water and a lack of duck food seem to be the biggest problems with attracting ducks at Mayberry. The new channels are about four feet deep, about double the maximum attractive to puddle ducks. Open water doesn’t produce good cover. The ducks just aren’t using the property. This is pretty much as expected.

Seasonal marsh was a rare and treasured commodity that few people appreciated. It is unfortunate that it was not a higher priority for preservation. I am very saddened by its loss and it can never be reserected.

Maybe we’ll find a silver lining in this cloud next year after the marsh has time to develop, but permanent water will never be as attractive to wintering waterfowl as seasonal marsh that contained a variety of the wetland plants ducks feed on during the harsh winter weather.

So far this year I”ve bagged a dozen ducks in eight days of hunting from the Final Approach duck boat. I’ve enjoyed some success by laying low in the remaining cover, but I’ve changed my policy from the “all greenheads” days. So far this year six of my ducks have been greenheads, one hen mallard and the rest a mix of other puddle ducks – even a couple spoonies.

The levees are beginning to sprout grass and the ponds are mostly deep open water.

We bagged about eight roosters during pheasant season, pretty good considering the lack of upland habitat.

I loaded the Final Approach duck boat onto a trailer for transport to Webb Tract. Later this week I'll find out how it works in the flooded corn.

With a month left to hunt ducks, I’m planning to turn up the heat and see if I can bag a few waterfowl. So far I’m behind schedule.

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