Clouds of ducks taking off from the Lone Oak Duck Club in western Missouri. Probably mostly mallards with a few shovelers, gadwalls and teal. But this video was taken in FEBRUARY! Where were they in November and December??
The guys worked hard all summer creating good waterfowl habitat and I’m glad the birds can use it on their way north. But the least the little bastards could do is allow the folks who did all the hard work a little action.
If done right, owning a duck club is an all-year job and the guys at the Lone Oak Duck Club do it right. That hot sweaty work all summer starts to pay off and by November the place is a duck cafeteria.
There’s a long season ahead, but first… the traditional night-before-opening-day bonfire.
The Lone Oak Duck Club is an L-shaped tract of land in Bates County, Missouri. As the duck flies it’s roughly three miles northwest of the Four Rivers Waterfowl Management area. It was founded in 1979. I know because I was one of the founders.
“Duck Club” sounds like a fancy place where rich guys hunt. This duck club is nothing like that. Our “club house” used to be an ancient trailer with mushrooms growing out of the damp carpet. We shared the place with mice and the occasional blacksnake. We kidded ourselves into thinking we managed the water level but the beavers and Mother Nature had the last say on everything. Later we built a little five-bedroom cabin with two johns. It still wasn’t fancy but it was a definite upgrade from the leaky old trailer.
Actually one guy who knew what he was doing built it and the rest of us tried to stay out of his way.
Like all duck hunting places we had good seasons and not-so-good seasons. Thankfully, this past summer the food at Four Rivers was destroyed by high water so the ducks can’t sit on the refuge all day, cashing their welfare checks for flooded corn and smartweed. They have to get out and fly around like normal ducks, so this season is showing some promise. I bugged out a couple of years ago when the hard part of hunting started out-weighing the fun part. So I’m not there to enjoy it in person now, but I’m keeping up with the action thanks to Jay Lang and his son Chuck’s photography.
Now if they’d just overnight me a big, tasty mallard…
Good opening weekend at the Lone Oak Duck Club, then tapering off. Now we’re iced up but hopefully not for long thanks to climate change. This cold weather should bring new birds down from up north (or push the ones that are here on down south). We’ll see what the rest of the season brings.
Speaking of climate change, the current issue of Delta Waterfowl magazine has an article about waterfowl migrating later than they used to.
Short answer:less severe winter weather and more acres of corn being planted in the Dakotas.
In fact the last few years some mallards and Canada geese haven’t migrated’t all. They don’t do it just because they like to fly.
Meanwhile we’re having fun and that’s what it’s all about.