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Long time Florida duck hunters, were we just spoiled?

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  • MissedMissed O-townPosts: 51 Deckhand
    I remember the 30-day 3 bird seasons.  It wasn't as much of a crunch where I was hunting cause we rarely got 3 birds each anyway - it was more like 1 or 2 was a good day.

    With the push to get more hunters into the already crowded areas, it seems like they are less likely to reduce seasons or bag limits.

    Lots of guys complaining about scouting - be careful what you complain about...folks are reading this stuff.
  • MRichardsonMRichardson Posts: 10,100 AG
    duckmanJR said:
    After nearly 3 decades of " Liberal" seasons ( 6o day 6 bird ) seasons we need a few " Restrictive " ( 30 day 3 bird ) seasons.  People who hunted back in the early 90's remember how well that thinned the herd....and I can't even tell you how many times I heard " It just ain't worth goin' "  

    The rise of the "mud rig" allowed people to "scout" by driving around and knocking birds off to all those retention ponds mentioned in another post.  Go up in an airliner and look at what is below you...Florida is nothing but water.
    And while some bemoan the habitat...birds will load up in lesser habitat that has RESTRICTED ACCESS.
    Now me being a well known restrictionist....that it comes as no surprise that I support that.
    It was in years gone by that you could get restricted access just by being willing to work harder than the next guy.....Hard walks....long paddles...pushpoling great distance..... But that is far less the case now.

    Now you can still do well...but not with old tactics..... 
    Restricted access?  That sounds like law-breaking.  "Difficult access" I certainly agree with you.
    I prefer to put in the work to get away from the idiots.
    I have never seen live bones, but I know that they are often used by rich people to decorate the interior.
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 20,495 AG
    Missed said:
    I remember the 30-day 3 bird seasons.  It wasn't as much of a crunch where I was hunting cause we rarely got 3 birds each anyway - it was more like 1 or 2 was a good day.

    With the push to get more hunters into the already crowded areas, it seems like they are less likely to reduce seasons or bag limits.

    Lots of guys complaining about scouting - be careful what you complain about...folks are reading this stuff.
    The Feds ( Atlantic Flyway council )  set the framework.....and could not care one hoot what people say or like...It is driven off duck numbers ( no matter how flawed you feel they are )  
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 20,495 AG
    duckmanJR said:
    After nearly 3 decades of " Liberal" seasons ( 6o day 6 bird ) seasons we need a few " Restrictive " ( 30 day 3 bird ) seasons.  People who hunted back in the early 90's remember how well that thinned the herd....and I can't even tell you how many times I heard " It just ain't worth goin' "  

    The rise of the "mud rig" allowed people to "scout" by driving around and knocking birds off to all those retention ponds mentioned in another post.  Go up in an airliner and look at what is below you...Florida is nothing but water.
    And while some bemoan the habitat...birds will load up in lesser habitat that has RESTRICTED ACCESS.
    Now me being a well known restrictionist....that it comes as no surprise that I support that.
    It was in years gone by that you could get restricted access just by being willing to work harder than the next guy.....Hard walks....long paddles...pushpoling great distance..... But that is far less the case now.

    Now you can still do well...but not with old tactics..... 
    Restricted access?  That sounds like law-breaking.  "Difficult access" I certainly agree with you.
    I prefer to put in the work to get away from the idiots.
    Restricted access is day and time restrictions... They are common on almost all duck leases and are used to manage pressure.   Also restrictions on types of watercraft ( no motor or restricted HP IE: < 10 HP)  are the most common.
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 2,836 Captain
    While some of that may be true, even the restricted areas like the STA and TMZ aren't as good as they once were. Sure STA 2 had great numbers this season from the data but was that from decent water levels and good habitat, or because of limited pressure? I can tell you with fair confidence the STAs are not as good as they were, and are in ducking decline.  Mostly due to different plants being used to filter the water and from being choked out with other vegetation. That's the end of the story.

    The  glades suck. Not  from pressure either, although access sure has become more readily available to a larger segment. They look great, but barren of the pressure it had when there were actually ALOT of ducks around.
  • TGunnTGunn Posts: 1,919 Captain
    According to FWC, they don’t spray hydrilla...and their chemicals don’t kill hydrilla, Pinman. 



    Amusing, huh?
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 10,959 AG
    Pinman said:

    I think 4 things have changed duck hunting in Florida since I began in 1978ish.

    1. Loss of Hydrilla.  I dont care what anyone says, ducks will risk life and limb to be sitting on top of a mat of topped out Hydrilla.  I saw what happened on Lake O when it was sprayed and I saw what happened on the STAs. No doubt in my mind. Hydrilla has become a problem in states to the north....hmmmm.

    2. GPS.  I grew up with a compass, a headlight and a knowledge of the trails. And we got lost occasionally. GPS allows anyone to navigate freely and have multiple spots and historical data at their fingertips.

    3. Mud Motors.  We used to run outboards which restricted you to existing trails. If ducks were seen dropping into a hole, we often would grind our way in. Some could afford airboats (maintenance) but those had concealment limitations. Mud motors can run just about anywhere scouting or hunting.

    4. Refuge.  Golf course ponds, wetland mitigation, preserve areas, water farming. There are many more undisturbed areas where ducks can go. The population explosion of Florida has increased these exponentially over 30 years ago.

    I do think I was spoiled years ago. And lucky to have been a part of it. I don't think it was the way it was supposed to be and was artificially inflated by Hydrilla. Duck hunting today is a gut punch to those of us who saw it back then. But duck hunting today is not what it should be either. Maybe some Peppergrass, Coontail, Smartweed can somehow grow amid the chemical onslaught. I hope so.

    I agree, cept for the divers in the salt here, not sure what happened to them.

    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 20,495 AG
    Big Mak said:
    While some of that may be true, even the restricted areas like the STA and TMZ aren't as good as they once were. Sure STA 2 had great numbers this season from the data but was that from decent water levels and good habitat, or because of limited pressure? I can tell you with fair confidence the STAs are not as good as they were, and are in ducking decline.  Mostly due to different plants being used to filter the water and from being choked out with other vegetation. That's the end of the story.

    The  glades suck. Not  from pressure either, although access sure has become more readily available to a larger segment. They look great, but barren of the pressure it had when there were actually ALOT of ducks around.
     I assure you it is all true Gene. 

    As far as the STA's / TMG... the basic difference is that one is just a " Happy coincidence" of a combo of habitat and controlled pressure...It also enjoys the great advantage of less refugia in close proximity.....while the other place is active management.  If you look at historical data both the STA's and TMG go thru cycles....mostly relating to habitat conditions both on the property itself and surrounding property. We also were boned by all that rain in December...The wettest I can remember and that had birds moving to ephemeral wetlands in this area.

    Next time you see Mark...ask him to talk about " Successional marsh".  It is well known that recently flooded lands are the high yeild spots but they eventually " time out".... Lakes that are drawn down have a boom in both fishing and hunting because it resets the successional marsh system.... Fire also does this to a lesser degree.  

     
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 2,836 Captain
    edited February 7 #41
    Ron is right, Joe is only half right....

    My main concern is the salt, okeechobee, and the glades, not the googan areas like the STAs and TMZ. The areas I'm speaking of are unregulated, vast places that are troubled by concentrated "mini" flocks crammed into a couple of tiny pockets. Gone are the days when you can cruise around and bump hundreds or thousands of ducks every couple hundred yards. Now, I don't expect Joe to comprehend this since his limited perspective is coming from a canoe inside a well managed, small scale square, but that's the way it used to be in the lake, glades, and coastal bays. Even when the boat ramps were full of hunters and all day shooting was talking place, it didn't matter. Again, something is woefully wrong.

    Here's another example...  Hickory hammock; arguably one of the very best WMAs in FL to deer hunt ten years ago and longer. The deer hunting pressure is the same now as then but the habitat was actively managed by my good friends Jason Williams and David Blood. Today both men have moved on and the WMA has been left to it's own demise. The deer and turkey hunting are a fraction of what it was when the habitat was actively managed by those two men. So much so that I am not sure I would waste my preference points to hunt there anymore.

    In my mind, you cannot just simply regulate hunting back into a success story. Without some habitat management you really have nothing for the long term except a tangled jungle of invasive and legislative crap to look forward to. 
  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 2,836 Captain
    edited February 7 #42
    One could also just as easily take a look at Blackpoint Drive at minwr expecting to see loads of waterfowl after believing the logic behind ducks being there, in the non accessable, no hunt area, because of shooting and boats running in the refuge's surrounding hunt areas, and subsequently see the folly in such belief... That's the way it USED to be, BTW. That refuge in particular, sure hasn't improved at all with years of new regs n restrictions designed to make it better.. 
  • josh_scott84josh_scott84 ClearwaterPosts: 429 Deckhand
    edited February 7 #43
    Article about Lake O spraying on front page of CNN.com today. Hate CNN but I'll share the article...

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/07/us/florida-weed-killer-spraying-red-tide/index.html

    "The FWC declined five CNN requests for interviews or comment and has yet to say what new ideas they received or when they might be tested. While a brief spraying pause was enacted last year, the airboats and helicopters keep spraying for now."
  • TGunnTGunn Posts: 1,919 Captain
    duckmanJR said:

     Lakes that are drawn down have a boom in both fishing and hunting because it resets the successional marsh system.... Fire also does this to a lesser degree.  

     
    YES.
  • TGunnTGunn Posts: 1,919 Captain
    Article about Lake O spraying on front page of CNN.com today. Hate CNN but I'll share the article...

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/07/us/florida-weed-killer-spraying-red-tide/index.html

    "The FWC declined five CNN requests for interviews or comment and has yet to say what new ideas they received or when they might be tested. While a brief spraying pause was enacted last year, the airboats and helicopters keep spraying for now."
    Unsurprisingly, Rodney Barreto continues to suck.
  • joelunchbucketjoelunchbucket Posts: 169 Deckhand
    edited February 8 #46
    Surprised to see Mac’s admit what he did.

    Maybe what they say about old dogs is true after all!
  • spanglerspangler daBurgPosts: 2,215 Captain
    edited February 8 #47
    Article about Lake O spraying on front page of CNN.com today. Hate CNN but I'll share the article...

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/07/us/florida-weed-killer-spraying-red-tide/index.html

    "The FWC declined five CNN requests for interviews or comment and has yet to say what new ideas they received or when they might be tested. While a brief spraying pause was enacted last year, the airboats and helicopters keep spraying for now."
    To say the least.  This really pisses me off!  Take responsibility.  It's gonna be ugly when we come demanding accountability.
  • PinmanPinman Posts: 2,567 Captain

    That all time historic drought on Lake O about 10 years ago kicked the duck hunting up to greatness until about.....3 years ago.

    All the comments lead me back to my original premise. "If you hunted just about anywhere in the state from 70's to 90's, or STAs from the beginning to about 5 years ago, you were spoiled by the large number of ducks".

    But something greater is going on too. What about Snipe and Dove?  Dove have been low for decades.  I don't see near as many Snipe in the woods either. Woods that are sprayed constantly for this weed and that weed.


  • spanglerspangler daBurgPosts: 2,215 Captain
    edited February 8 #49
    Oh btw, went to another fwc managed dove hunt.  At caravelle.  I got there late. 4ish.  No birds taken.  When I left.  No birds.  Had 3 different planted fields.  Of fair size.
    I actually shot at one I bumped from a tree lol  Woulda sworn I got him, the way it fluttered, but he just flew off to another tree.  Heard 3 other gun shots the couple hours I was there lol
  • josh_scott84josh_scott84 ClearwaterPosts: 429 Deckhand
    spangler said:
    Oh btw, went to another fwc managed dove hunt.  At caravelle.  I got there late. 4ish.  No birds taken.  When I left.  No birds.  Had 3 different planted fields.  Of fair size.
    I actually shot at one I bumped from a tree lol  Woulda sworn I got him, the way it fluttered, but he just flew off to another tree.  Heard 3 other gun shots the couple hours I was there lol
    Hunting grounds managed by a golf course designer. But how was the par 4 on the back 9? 
  • spanglerspangler daBurgPosts: 2,215 Captain
    Woulda been a great day of golf!  Only 12 people on the course :D
  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 2,836 Captain
    While the jury may still be out for some concerning duck hunting, i think it's universally accepted by now that anyone who had the opportunity to dove hunt in FL up into the mid 80s (and to some degree even into the 90s) was monumentally lucky and indeed spoiled...
  • spanglerspangler daBurgPosts: 2,215 Captain
  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 2,836 Captain
    edited February 8 #54
    But; but, but, they're plenty ducks around. It's the best I've ever seen! You just gotta work your a$$ off and spend your retirement looking for them.... If you can't find them you're not working hard enough and spending enough money! Says the noobs, know nothings, and millennial nitwits.... **** ridiculous!
  • bowhunter4lifebowhunter4life Posts: 1,441 Officer
    Duck hunting is now “Epic “!....
    some of you old timers just need to change your way of hunting!...
  • OGBOHICAOGBOHICA floridaPosts: 162 Deckhand
  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 2,836 Captain
    Yeah I've changed all kinds of chit and none of it has revealed any impressive numbers to my eyes.
  • bowhunter4lifebowhunter4life Posts: 1,441 Officer
    Big Mak said:
    Yeah I've changed all kinds of chit and none of it has revealed any impressive numbers to my eyes.
    Maybe you need a new prescription then......it’s epic I tell you!
  • bowhunter4lifebowhunter4life Posts: 1,441 Officer
    I hunted once and shot one duck this season!...lol
  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 2,836 Captain
    I hunted once and shot one duck this season!...lol
    A perfect 1 for 1 season!
  • josh_scott84josh_scott84 ClearwaterPosts: 429 Deckhand
    Big Mak said:
    Yeah I've changed all kinds of chit and none of it has revealed any impressive numbers to my eyes.
    Maybe you need a new prescription then......it’s epic I tell you!
    You should see how it looks through white rimmed costas ;) Epic I hear 
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