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Waterfowl Habitat Management

Waterfowl

Waterfowl require several types of habitats and foods to meet

their needs during winter. Waterfowl tend to remain longer in areas

with habitat complexes than in areas with single habitat types.

Small-grain fields can provide important habitat for wintering

waterfowl. Although croplands are the habitat type most frequently

developed by private landowners, small grains do not provide a

nutritionally complete diet for waterfowl. Naturally occurring seeds

from plants associated with wetlands regularly survive flooding for

several months or even years, whereas grains such as corn, Japanese

millet, milo, and soybeans deteriorate rapidly when flooded continuously

for 90 days or more. Grassy-weedy areas are important

because native plants, such as grasses, sedges, and smartweeds,

supply essential nutrients. Forested wetlands fulfill special waterfowl

habitat requirements not provided by open lands. Wooded

habitats produce nutritious foods for waterfowl and provide them

with secure roosting areas.


The natural flooding of wetlands provides ducks access to fallen

acorns and other seeds. Waterfowl use areas longer if the entire area

is flooded over a long period of time versus short-term flooding.

When creating waterfowl areas through the use of terraces, crops,

and artificial flooding, it is best to avoid placing levees or terraces in

the annual floodplain, since they are high-risk management areas.

Levees and terraces in the annual floodplain are impediments to

natural water flows can be harmful to natural wetlands. Any water

control structures should be developed above the one year floodplain

to hold 1-18 inches (preferably 4-8) of water. Low level terraces on

well drained, gently sloping or nearly flat farmland can be highly

productive for waterfowl foods and hunting success.


Important Waterfowl Foods:

Barnyard grass, sedges, smartweed, foxtail, Japanese millet,

browntop millet, grain sorghum, corn, Fall panicum, hairy crabgrass,

beggarticks, spike rush, pondweed, acorns, pearl millet, wild millet,

nutsedge, and aquatic insects


The Link Below Provides Additional Information

University of Tennessee Publication,
"A Guide to Successful Wildlife Food Plots".



  What to do when

Use the planning calendar below for tips on enhancing your land throughout the year. Click any of the selections below for more details.






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