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Planting Vegetation to Attract Ducks


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Zkight89

 After taking him hunting last year a friend has asked me to help him plan/ plant a few small ponds and wet areas on his place to attract ducks.  The areas are adjoining a river bottom that hold Wood Ducks year round and other  migrating species during fall and winter. Small numbers of ducks currently use the ponds now. 

 

 I'm going to look at the deeper pond harder, but it'd most likely need something plantable in standing water. Wet areas and shallower ponds could possibly be manipulated a little to plant in mud flats and allow to flood.  We're in North Central Oklahoma if it matters any. 

 

 Any ideas or tips? 

 

 Edit to add: any recommended texts on the subject or resources would be greatly appreciated.

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molliesmaster

Call the waterfowl biologist in your area and see what they recommend for your locale.  

 

Without being able to manipulate water you are looking at seeding the banks with millets.   Your best bet would be trying to establish some native and natural food in those ponds. This is what the waterfowl biologist could help you with.       The places where you can get it dry: ducks like corn and soybeans.  Soybeans are fairly easy to grow just scratching the ground and broadcasting seed.    

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If you can get the wet areas and around the pond edges drawn down enough that there’s atleast just mud. Use Japanese millet.  I know that the Oklahoma wildlife dept used to plant a ton of it around the edges of a bunch of lakes in your area. It was a real draw to ducks.  Jap millet is easy. Just get water off enough to atleast have mud and top sow.  If you can plant like normal with a plow milo is another.  Jap’s just plain easy. 

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Sagittaria species grow in ponds, slow streams, ditches and freshwater wetlands. Sagittaria species may be planted from bare root stock, by transplanting the tubers, and by seeding directly into wetland soil. Live plant transplants or transplanting tubers are preferred revegetation methods where there is moving water.
There are several sites online that can hook you up should you like to establish it in the ponds for waterfowl and other wildlife forage.
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Zkight89
On 4/7/2021 at 10:12 PM, spring said:

I've read that rice needs some flow, none of the places we're looking at have any. Being able to seed directly in the water is definitely good for our situation though. 

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mister grouse

Barn yard grass is the favorite of the Habitat Forum of a major duck hunting web site, assuming you cannot grow corn and are merely planting a wet soil area  that can be manipulated for water level  but not tilled .

 

 

Corn at the right height  of ears to water is by far the most effective IMO if you can both manipulate water level and till to plant.  Ive had a drained tilled and flooded family place to play with for 40 years and corn outperforms it all  as compared to soybeans, sorghums etc.  But I am not in an area  where ice can be grown . Rice is project to grow by reputation .  

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  • 6 months later...

Despite planting late our  Millet, Milo and Buckwheat mixture is coming up pretty good now I hear. Should be fencing the cows off of it this weekend. 
 

 Next big question, how long before season to flood it? 

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molliesmaster
1 hour ago, Zkight89 said:

Despite planting late our  Millet, Milo and Buckwheat mixture is coming up pretty good now I hear. Should be fencing the cows off of it this weekend. 
 

 Next big question, how long before season to flood it? 

 

2 weeks, give or take.    Some may say earlier, but the millet will break down pretty quickly once the water gets up.       

 

I'd chalk this year up to a learning year, probably the next 2-3 years to be honest.   Be observant and write down what works and what didn't. 

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2 minutes ago, molliesmaster said:

 

2 weeks, give or take.    Some may say earlier, but the millet will break down pretty quickly once the water gets up.       

 

I'd chalk this year up to a learning year, probably the next 2-3 years to be honest.   Be observant and write down what works and what didn't. 


 My thoughts exactly. We kill ducks without anything planted anyhow. Couldn’t hurt things any! 

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molliesmaster
2 minutes ago, Zkight89 said:


 My thoughts exactly. We kill ducks without anything planted anyhow. Couldn’t hurt things any! 

 

100%     Even when the millets breaks down and goes submerged, you are creating a great habitat for invertebrates which are a great food source for ducks.   So it's not all for nothing.      The buckwheat should stand longer but I don't know how the seed will fair with water.  Either way, I'd say you're off to a great start. 

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WI Outdoor Nut

I am the new owner of a duck property and will be learning as well.  We have 3 marshes that we can control the water level, and 2 out of the 3 are filled with wild rice - to a point they are counter productive to hunting.  This area we knocked down to create a pocked for ducks see our decoys and have a landing zone.  The rice is a great attractant, but would like to try millet next year as well.  

Rice.jpg

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LabHunter
2 hours ago, WI Outdoor Nut said:

I am the new owner of a duck property and will be learning as well.  We have 3 marshes that we can control the water level, and 2 out of the 3 are filled with wild rice - to a point they are counter productive to hunting.  This area we knocked down to create a pocked for ducks see our decoys and have a landing zone.  The rice is a great attractant, but would like to try millet next year as well.  

Rice.jpg

How did you guys knock down the rice?  Chemically or mechanically?  Our lease has some smartweed choked marshes that we need to clear out...

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12 hours ago, Zkight89 said:

Despite planting late our  Millet, Milo and Buckwheat mixture is coming up pretty good now I hear. Should be fencing the cows off of it this weekend. 
 

 Next big question, how long before season to flood it? 

Did you use jap millet.  It will last a while.   I guess you have a way to plow and plant.   Corn is a good crop and the ducks love it for sure.  Just make sure no matter what you plant. Don’t run over it or show any way that you possibly manipulated it.    Many years ago our local mill owner plants a big duck pond for ducks.  He has shoots for his customers.  Someone I have no doubt accidentally ran over some corn.  Game wardens came when they shot it and started handing tickets to everyone.    It was a big stink.    The fed wardens are really serious.  

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WI Outdoor Nut
19 hours ago, LabHunter said:

How did you guys knock down the rice?  Chemically or mechanically?  Our lease has some smartweed choked marshes that we need to clear out...

mechanically

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