When it comes to waterfowl hunting it is all a matter of geography and that drives our Missouri waterfowl hunts. That geography is the convergence of the Missouri River, Upper Mississippi and the Ohio River watersheds into Missouri concentrating migratory ducks and geese on large standing water structures.
Add to this that the Lower Missouri River Basin is composed of three large sub-basins: the Northwest, Grand and Osage, that each contains large expanses of both natural and manmade calm and moving water surface surrounded by the river valley floors rich soil crop land. Hunts in this region does yield both goose and duck from early season local wood ducks and geese to late season migrating mallards, light and dark geese. In general good hunts throughout the season with density being a matter of degrees relative to the migration.
We further enhance our duck hunts with our own private wetlands using natural water flow, building levees, inflow/out flow pipe lines and pumps to make better the natural duck attracting wetlands that can be drained, replanted, brush cut to enhance the surrounding natural landscape.
We then post permanent blinds that are stable with 4x4 posts augured three foot into the earth and strengthen by 2x6 lumber frames and 3/4 plywood decking all covered with our own grown as an agricultural crop rippy grass.
At this point our hunts may seem to be as good as it gets. However, this next point is where the Association hunter has additional benefit of our having been in the duck and goose lease business (not a duck club) for a very long time. We thoroughly recognizing that not all localities and habitat are equal.
From the FWS management system our best Missouri Waterfowl hunting is under the Mississippi Flyway with the line dividing the Mississippi Flyway from that of the Central Flyway being an arbitrary manmade boundary, on Missouri's west state line, rather than based on waterfowl migration influencing geography. No small point when understanding the difference between manmade organized approach to attempting to manage the chaos of nature.
Most hunters will agree that the greatest majority of the Missouri River watershed is in the central flyway and it is the largest of all the watersheds in the United States making for much of the better waterfowl hunting to be found. Further, this watershed accounts for more duck production than any other watershed. What is ignored by the Mississippi and central flyway dividing line is that the Missouri River watershed transcends this line bringing with it the migration following the river from the north central flyway into the lower Missouri River basin. Combined with the upper Mississippi and Ohio River watershed making our area waterfowl central.
At this point most will agree that the central mid-west has good waterfowl hunting due to geography. This translates to good waterfowl hunting as enhanced by our seasonal temperate weather. We are in that region of the United States that is the fringe zone transcending warm and cold winters freeze line.
Warm winters holds the duck in our area shifting the migration peak toward the end of December much to the disgruntlement of Arkansas duck hunters. Cold winters will see the migration peak shift more towards the end of November. This leaves us with the condition of not hoping for a good migration during the waterfowl season, it leaves us for picking the difference between weather influenced shifting peak periods within our regulated seasons.
Finally, the greatest value this Association brings the waterfowl hunter is understanding and placing into action the concept of micro flyways.
It is widely held that while the large expanse of the river basins has overall good waterfowl attracting properties not all areas within the basin are equal in these attracting characteristics, holding capacity or density of migration pattern. To this end we have paid far more lease money for wetlands development in some better waterfowl localities and completely ignored existing wetlands at much lower cost in other areas directly due to this understanding of where to hunt and where not to. The payoff is that better waterfowl hunting sustains a higher membership renewal and in the case of our waterfowl hunters they are the least likely to quit the organization of all hunt disciplines. Hunt our wetlands one time and this will be proven.
Our Missouri waterfowl hunting on our own wetlands and crop fields is for those that want to have their own self guided goose and duck hunt on private wetlands and avoid the competitive nature of public lands. For those that can call, camouflage and decoy we have the last element, the wetlands and blinds, to insure as good season of a season as the migration will allow.
Private Missouri Waterfowl Attracting Wetlands
A view from one of our blinds on a flooded crop field within the Missouri River Valley proper that is part of the smallest of the three sub-basins to the overall Lower Missouri River Basin. The ridge line in the background is much further away than it appears.
The crops this year were soybeans that leave little stubble to attract ducks. The surrounding 1,700 acres in field stubble under lease went a long way for bringing in ducks. Most years see this flooded crop field in corn.
This flooded field is a 1/4 section or a 160 acres with four blinds. The surrounding 1,700 acres of this lease is in crop stubble suitable for field sets for duck and goose. The surrounding area has thousand's of acres in row crops as the fertile valley soil is far too valuable to sustain the adverse effects of cattle. To the immediate south of this wetlands is the Bob Brown Conservation area and north is the well known Squaw Creek Waterfowl Refuge. Between these two refuges heavily covered in water, the river and our wetlands, this centralized area within a very large flat valley has very good duck attracting capability.
The round structure in the near center of the picture immediately above is the water inlet from the electric pump and shallow large diameter casing well we use to pump this wetlands. All the water around each of the blinds is well within easy chest wader depth. The deep water on this wetlands is the drainage cannel that is marked on the member issued wetlands map and well outside of all duck blind shooting pools.
A larger view of the same wetlands (flooded crop) is seen behind this youth hunter. The grain storage silos barely visible at the right far ground is the parking area for this wetlands.
Our waterfowl hunting approach allows each hunter to choose when and where to hunt be it our custom built wetlands, farm ponds or watershed lakes with adjoining crop fields. For the most part he will get to hunt where he wants as our limited membership, blind numbers, acreage and season length is managed to insure membership renewals. There will come a time or two during the season when another member will beat any one else to the telephones and reserve a spot that some other member may have wanted to hunt at the same time. This is a matter of luck, or bad luck, not due to excessive hunter pressure. While that second hunter may have been disappointed that he could not hunt his first choice there will always be another blind as no hunter is ever denied a hunt. How can the prospective member gain the confidence he will be able to hunt every free day possible? That is easily accomplished and we offer a plan.
First, the prospective member should review his primary and secondary hunting interest on our web site. Next read our rules as they establish the relationship between the hunter and the Association. Next read several testimonials to see the value others have gained from their membership. From those sources question will be developed and the best questions are those that bridge the gap between the hunts sought and those we provide. Those are the questions to call and ask us about.
If after that first Q&A telephone conversation both the prospective waterfowl hunter and we agree we can work together we will offer the names and telephone numbers of more current waterfowl hunters than most will take the time to call. Ask those hunters how often they hunt as desired and where they want to hunt. The answers will show that we are not the right answer for every waterfowl hunter, however we have more waterfowl hunters hunting private Missouri wetlands and better duck and goose hunts than any other Missouri waterfowl hunting option to be found. If that was not the case we could not sustain our business that has existed since 1965 and planned to be taken over by Jon Jr. and T.J. for the next generation of waterfowl hunters.