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Another discussion on flooded corn fields


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I read some old arguments for and against flooding corn fields. Both sides of the argument are interesting. However, I have yet to see anything like what I have seen. Flooded corn has changed entire flight patterns of migrating ducks. The proof sits on USFWS survey flights. What used to be great public land hunting has now turned into a barren hit and miss operation, while the private hunt clubs pound away at thousands of ducks. Any thoughts?

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Adding water to grain = adding grain to water.

There is no difference.

With rice, the water is an integral part of the agricultural process.

With corn, barley, millet, milo, wheat, etc., it isn't and it should be just as illegal as tossing grain into a pothole to draw ducks in for easy shooting.


There's an outfit in Washington state that exemplifies everything that is wrong with these practices.

It's a commercial operation where so-called hunters pay big bucks to so-called guides to shoot ducks over a pond that is surrounded on all sides by barley.


They sell decoys and blinds and all kinds of crap off the premise that these are the things making the difference there. They're not.

I could sit out there in a blaze orange tuxedo and kill a limit of their dumbed down mallards, but they promote is a hunting experience of a lifetime.


It's like shooting animals at a petting zoo. :mad:


Trust me when I say that the feds are looking at these practices HARD and their days are numbered.


Here's a quote from an e-mail correspondence I had with some officials last year.


"I have attached a copy of our pamphlet on waterfowl baiting. My read on it is that this is not baiting but it should be. Under the "Planting" subheading the pamphlet says that FWS does not distinguish between crops planted for an agricultural practice and for those planted without such an intent... The paragraph on Wildlife Food Plots may give us some of way calling this a baited area but I am not familiar with the legal definition of a wildlife food plot to be able to make that call. I am sending this to a couple of agents for a more experienced opinion. I will let you know what I find out."


And this one -

" I am one of the persons who responded to your request for information on baiting ducks. The last questions you asked about how to get legislation to make such practices illegal is one I cannot answer on government email or time. If you want some ideas call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx. I might be able to help you and help the ducks."

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My thoughts are that many game animals are baited by man-made food or shelter in one manner or another.


Deer and turkeys are commonly baited with food plots, as are dove, quail, pheasants, etc. Waterfowl are attracted by artificially planted foods such as duckweed, sago, Johnson grass, etc.


For someone to bash a legal method of attracting a game animal is pure drivel. Sorry Tuck, but your reply is one of the most ignorant things I have ever seen on the Internet :( Using your logic, no one should ever be able to hunt next to a food source. How far away is far enough Tuck? Who gets to decide? You? Why? Who are you? You have issues with Paul and I suspect the color green has something to do with it :D


The location in question is Paul's Pond in Washington state. Paul set up the club in complete accordance with all applicable state and federal laws. He actually requests that LE inspect his operation to ensure legality. His club is a non-issue.


As far as legal baiting changing flyways, deal with it. It's a land-owners right to legally use his or her property in any manner they see fit.


I think hunting pressure has much more to do with hunting success than many realize. I know many great clubs that do nothing more than offer the birds a place to rest and loaf. They only hunt 1-2 days a week and they stop hunting at noon.


But if baiting is the issue, I am confident in letting the proper authorities set the rules rather than letting Internet Wizards with chips on the shoulders set the rules.

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I never said what they were doing was illegal, and I fully understand that it is indeed legal.

My contention is that they are manipulating wild game for the sole purpose of making them easier to shoot.


If it weren't for the ducks, I doubt he would be "farming" at all, and I'm sure his farm equipment wastes more grain than that of the guy making a living from the grain and not the hunting.


The law is ignorant and blind to these guys.

The laws were changed back in the old days when a bottomland farmer whose crops were lost due to river flooding were not allowed to even be able to shoot ducks to try and feed their families and make up for some of their losses.


Now, the clubs and the likes of Paul are exploiting an exception that was created with good intentions to generate revenue for fat cats who are too lazy to get off the fat azz and go find the ducks in their natural and normal patterns.


They don't even leave the water up to nature. If rains don't flood the fields, then the pumps are turned on. Some even run aerators to keep the water from freezing, keeping ducks on the northern ends of the flyways beyond the times that they would normally be pushed south by weather.


All they want is to go pay their money, shoot a bunch of mallards, and take a few pictures to show what great hunters they are.


Mudhen, I respect you and your opinion, but we'll just have to disagree on this one.

Edited by tucker301
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Interesting thoughts. I understand the private land argument and the things that go with it. If they want to do that and its a legal loop hole, then fine enjoy it until the rule is changed. Flight patterns always shift a bit with changing ag practices,however, changing the patterns using flooded corn fields to do this and then make money off it disturbs me. If it is to remain legal then I believe the USFWS should begin flooding its corn to bring some of the public resource back to where the public can have a crack at them without paying 250 dollars a day. I used to really enjoy dry corn field shoots in late November, now, unless you are really lucky most of those ducks now refuge on the flooded corn ponds, and the refuges remain empty.


I think these discussion are really good for the future of waterfowling because to the regular person it is seen as baiting, cheating or whatever. And this is where the anti hunting parties begin there onslaughts, they did it with bears, whats stopping them from going after shooting ducks near or on any agricultural fields??

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Someone is leading us off the wrong direction and not pointing out how much habitat has been lost. I grew up in the columbia basin and public hunting for ducks was rich until about 15 years ago. Very few ducks in the air to pay the high gas prices to point out all the land we use to hunt lost due to development. My understanding growing is not baiting and I never heard of a law at one time you could not hunt if nature destroys crops. My Dad growing up in the 50's brags about how good the hunting was in a wheat field that burned down just before harvest one summer. My Dad would not hunt if it was illeagal. The Feds have a budget and will not go the extra mile to flood, at least in my area. The feds do grow some corn in one area that is open to the public for hunting and left standing for the birds that I know of. The only standing corn you will find because farming pratices are so much better these days and that is another major factor affecting mallards.

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The fact is that the rich can afford to lease the lands form the growers that are in optimal locations, and manipulate the growers on what they grow and how they manage these areas, it's on thing to manipulate the crop, but it's another to manipulate it's enviromet ie: adding water to corn fields. This in turn changes the flight patterns, more ducks are concentrated in certain areas. For us poor folk, we have to concentrate on sloppy seconds. With flooded corn fields being taken away maybe we can change back the flight pattern, so we all can enjoy waterfowl season!

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I remeber if a guy wanted to go public or pay everone was happy. Now with test tube crops the farmer can have a feild harvested and turned to dirt by October which ducks need standing for grain in my area that use to hold over a million ducks. Now there is nothing and we the public won't get the ducks back because there is no food anymore. That is one thing that fustrates me about DU because they only seem to consentrate on nesting habitat which is great, but they need to start improving the winter food source IMO. My thoughts is they should start to lease feilds and grow just for the birds not hunting. At least this could bring birds back to the big picture.

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I agree with you on that one, but I am sure most of the upper management (or the people that make the policy decisions) of DU, do most of there hunting on private lands managed for amazing duck hunting. Therefore, I am sure it they would be a little hesitant to spread the wealth overwintering areas. Washington State Fish and Game has actually done some leasing corn fields just for ducks. However, again only a token amount of ducks use dry corn fields now. With record corn harvests the past two years you would think things may go back to the good ol days abit, but most of the birds are sitting somewhere on a flooded corn field to really have any idea there may be more out there....Get up and fly like you use to Green heads:rolleyes:

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  • 3 weeks later...

It is perfectly legal to hunt a flooded corn field. If you in anyway knock a cob off the standing corn that is considered altering the field. If you ride you ranger or 4wheeler over the stalks this is also altering the field. If you cut the field with a combine and leave the gates open and all the corn comes out the back of the combine it is legal. Since it was a legal agriculure practice.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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