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#6396511 - 08/05/16 11:56 PM New to moist soil management...please help!
Fishuhalik Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 03/10/14
Posts: 401
Loc: Katy, TX
So here's the deal. A good buddy just bought a small piece of property by Garwood. Right in rice field central. Has a small pond on it, about 4-5 acres when it's full and 3-4' deep at the most. The previous owner said he'd shoot decent numbers of teal off of it early but nothing much came during regular season. Any ideas on what we can do to make it more appealing to big ducks, or if it would even be worth messing with? It drains if he doesn't pump it full out of the creek, so we can definitely cultivate it. This is what it currently looks like. Only about 10% full right now (circled in red) and you can see the total flood able area (circled in white). Those cat tails are on dry land right now.





He also has a tractor with a bucket, so if we really wanted to go nuts, we could increase the size of the pond. My biggest question is to those of you that have hunted that area, is all that work gonna be worth it? Will a 4-5 acre (or a little bigger) pond with the right food hold decent numbers? And finally, what would you plant and how would you plant it? Any and all (constructive) criticism is much appreciated!!
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#6396516 - 08/06/16 12:03 AM Re: New to moist soil management...please help! [Re: Fishuhalik]
Fishuhalik Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 03/10/14
Posts: 401
Loc: Katy, TX
Here's the only photo I have of when the pond is full

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#6396919 - 08/06/16 02:27 PM Re: New to moist soil management...please help! [Re: Fishuhalik]
woodduckhunter Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 04/25/11
Posts: 212
you can shoot teal on almost anything that's wet down there during teal season. Big duck hunting anywhere is primarily dictated by food. when you say you can pump out of a creek. how good of a water source is it? 100gpm, 500 gpm, 1500gpm? that would be the decision maker for me. If its enough to flush irrigate and still have enough to flood up for the season, id plant rice as a first choice. Japanese millet second, browntop third. and would resort to so called "moist soil management" if for whatever reason none of the other three worked...but they will. nice looking property, good find.

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#6397009 - 08/06/16 04:15 PM Re: New to moist soil management...please help! [Re: Fishuhalik]
Greekangler Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 09/05/04
Posts: 1493
Loc: North Tejas
Agree w wood ducker- one thing to add- looks like the grade is too steep for my liking- needs dirt work. You need to have 18 inches or less water for 50-75% of surface area- or shallower

Looking at pics again- yes- 4-5 acres hunted 1x week (2 major fronts) can hold lots of ducks.

Get rid of Cattails. If they take over will dominate.

I would also see if you can add water control were creek is- if it's doable. Manipulating water key. How is the water shed? Massive or mediocre? Also big variable if u can't pump it.


Edited by Greekangler (08/06/16 04:24 PM)
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#6397033 - 08/06/16 04:46 PM Re: New to moist soil management...please help! [Re: Fishuhalik]
duckboogieman Offline
Tracker

Registered: 08/22/05
Posts: 936
Over the years I've learned the biggest dictating factor in these type projects, and utimetly their success, will be determined by the time you have to invest. Those who have never done so, do not understand how much time it takes to propagate a truely successful crop. Draining, discing, leveling, fertilizing, planting, herbacide app, cultivating, side dressing, watering, and on and on and on.

If the local is where it can be monitored on a daily basis (and you can handle the heat of July and August) then you are only limited by your imagination (read dwarf corn...) and the size of your wallet.

But if your like myself and can only invest a handful of days per month, the moist soil route is the way to go. Since establishing our seed bank (took 2yrs) we have consistently produced waist high smartweed and shoulder high barnyard grass, year after year, so thick you can't even walk through it.

Is it worth it? There's only one way to find out. I will say this, the first time I drove over that levee and saw 500+ birds enjoying life, I felt as satisfied as I've ever felt on any hunt (and we've shot TONS of 'em).
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#6397041 - 08/06/16 04:53 PM Re: New to moist soil management...please help! [Re: Fishuhalik]
muddyz Offline
Tracker

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 682
Loc: McKinney, TX
Disc the area that is already dry and throw down Japanese millet mixed with brown top. Drag it to cover. Wait for rain or pump some water back in ( just enough to irrigate it). Need to get it done in the next two weeks.

That's good enough for the first year.

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#6397254 - 08/06/16 09:24 PM Re: New to moist soil management...please help! [Re: Fishuhalik]
woodduckhunter Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 04/25/11
Posts: 212
seconding what dbman said. when you invest the amount of time and $$$ to grow and produce a big time grain crop just to hunt ducks on, its best if you can check on it at least twice a week. the one time you "let it go" for a few days, will be the time when the neighbors cows come into to maturing seed heads, hogs find it, or some type of insect gets in at some point. lots of time and money in the work, seed, fertilize, and spray. Everybody knows and understands that flooded unharvested rice and corn(mostly farther north) will produce ducks mainly the big grain eaters like pinnies and mallards. But not everyone understands how much it cost per acre just for seed, fertilize and water to produce it. excluding the expense of equipment and time. Just to simply whack some ducks with your buddies on the prairie, any variety of millet that you can get to produce a seed will provide plenty of duck shoots.

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#6397350 - 08/06/16 11:05 PM Re: New to moist soil management...please help! [Re: Fishuhalik]
Fishuhalik Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 03/10/14
Posts: 401
Loc: Katy, TX
All great suggestions guys, thanks for taking the time to post. To answer the questions/concerns:

Water source
The creek is flowing like crazy right now, but it piddles down pretty good during a normal year I think. It was about 5-7' wide and a foot deep last winter when he started looking at it

Grading
I plan to do a lot of dirt work to get a more consistent grade. Should make flushing/flooding a lot easier.

Time
This is gonna be the hardest part of this project. The property is about an hour from both of us, and we're both pretty busy guys. He owns a business, and I work in the oilfield working 2 weeks on, 1 week off. I can get down for a day or two during my week off, but I'm gonna have to get him to go down as much as possible too. Both of us love this kind of work, so it's not like it'll be a burden to get down. We're just a couple busy guys with young families.

Muddyz, I don't think we'll be able to kill/disk/plant this year to get it ready in time for season. This is probably gonna be started after season is done.

WDH, that's a great point. I was kinda leaning towards rice, but millet just sounds like it's so much more forgiving. We aren't trying to set up a duck paradise here. Just a place we can take the kids once every week or two and get em some shooting, without having to fight the crowds on the coast. Not to mention, the ability to stay in his camper, walk 200 yards and be sitting in the blind! Definitely beats waking up our 11 year old boys at 0230, leaving from Katy, launching the boat, trying to beat guys to a spot, etc etc. Y'all know how it is
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#6397570 - 08/07/16 09:26 AM Re: New to moist soil management...please help! [Re: Fishuhalik]
Greekangler Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 09/05/04
Posts: 1493
Loc: North Tejas
Originally Posted By: Fishuhalik
All great suggestions guys, thanks for taking the time to post. To answer the questions/concerns:

Water source
The creek is flowing like crazy right now, but it piddles down pretty good during a normal year I think. It was about 5-7' wide and a foot deep last winter when he started looking at it

Grading
I plan to do a lot of dirt work to get a more consistent grade. Should make flushing/flooding a lot easier.

Time
This is gonna be the hardest part of this project. The property is about an hour from both of us, and we're both pretty busy guys. He owns a business, and I work in the oilfield working 2 weeks on, 1 week off. I can get down for a day or two during my week off, but I'm gonna have to get him to go down as much as possible too. Both of us love this kind of work, so it's not like it'll be a burden to get down. We're just a couple busy guys with young families.

Muddyz, I don't think we'll be able to kill/disk/plant this year to get it ready in time for season. This is probably gonna be started after season is done.

WDH, that's a great point. I was kinda leaning towards rice, but millet just sounds like it's so much more forgiving. We aren't trying to set up a duck paradise here. Just a place we can take the kids once every week or two and get em some shooting, without having to fight the crowds on the coast. Not to mention, the ability to stay in his camper, walk 200 yards and be sitting in the blind! Definitely beats waking up our 11 year old boys at 0230, leaving from Katy, launching the boat, trying to beat guys to a spot, etc etc. Y'all know how it is


The beauty of Jap and Barnyard grass- with the right grade- as water draws down you can simply broadcast Jap and BYG and seeds will take. That along with dewatering in spring will produce smartweed. Look up moist soil management for ducks- there are tons of free resources out there. Remember- discing isn't always the best or most productive solution- a lot can be done w glyphosate (water safe type) and 2.4D

The refuge forum under habitat has A LOT of information- basically a free consultant with tons of information


Edited by Greekangler (08/07/16 09:28 AM)
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#6397684 - 08/07/16 10:43 AM Re: New to moist soil management...please help! [Re: Fishuhalik]
Fishuhalik Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 03/10/14
Posts: 401
Loc: Katy, TX
Another thing to address is keeping deer out. He's full up on deer and I'm worried about them tearing into any decent crop we get.
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#6399248 - 08/08/16 03:53 PM Re: New to moist soil management...please help! [Re: duckboogieman]
LarryCopper Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 11/16/07
Posts: 3728
Loc: The Great State
Originally Posted By: duckboogieman
But if your like myself and can only invest a handful of days per month, the moist soil route is the way to go. Since establishing our seed bank (took 2yrs) we have consistently produced waist high smartweed and shoulder high barnyard grass, year after year, so thick you can't even walk through it.


Are you saying that you don't draw down the water every year and replant?

Weighing options here...
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#6399831 - 08/08/16 10:27 PM Re: New to moist soil management...please help! [Re: Fishuhalik]
Greekangler Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 09/05/04
Posts: 1493
Loc: North Tejas
You have to draw water down- naturally or by board system- to successfully engage in MSM. Smartweeds respond to early season draw down, Barnard grass to mid and late season , etc
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#6399870 - 08/08/16 11:05 PM Re: New to moist soil management...please help! [Re: Fishuhalik]
SpoonPlatoon Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 02/24/07
Posts: 7893
Loc: Palestine
MSM isn't hard. Draw it down early and slow. Start mid/late March then fill it up in August. Optimal feeding depth for ducks is very shallow 2-8inches is ideal. I wouldn't worry about cultivating. The seed bank should be plentiful.
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#6399920 - 08/09/16 01:55 AM Re: New to moist soil management...please help! [Re: LarryCopper]
duckboogieman Offline
Tracker

Registered: 08/22/05
Posts: 936
Originally Posted By: LarryCopper
Are you saying that you don't draw down the water every year and replant?

Weighing options here...


We do draw down but we do not replant. That's the beauty of perennials. Control the water, fertilize and watch it grow..... That is of course after the seed bank has been well established.
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#6400045 - 08/09/16 07:51 AM Re: New to moist soil management...please help! [Re: SpoonPlatoon]
Greekangler Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 09/05/04
Posts: 1493
Loc: North Tejas
Originally Posted By: SpoonPlatoon
MSM isn't hard. Draw it down early and slow. Start mid/late March then fill it up in August. Optimal feeding depth for ducks is very shallow 2-8inches is ideal. I wouldn't worry about cultivating. The seed bank should be plentiful.


not hard to draw down water- maximizing seed, spraying invasives, dealing with mother nature- drought and floods, etc- lot involved- Difficult, not really- different results, absolutely- some years supplementing is a must- sometimes you cant draw slow (floods)- every year different

I usually do combo of MSM and Jap on mud flats


Edited by Greekangler (08/09/16 07:52 AM)
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