Dean Gross, SFCHA President shared these conditions.
1-5 (Share Cropped- soybeans with corn for cover)- fair amount of deer/sand hill crane damage however corn turned out excellent with sorghum planted for cover strips
6-8 (Transfer Shares- normally corn strips and small grains)-sorghum planted for cover and blinds built in each zone, very little small grains, exceptional moist soil crop -100% turnaround after July flood-NOTE boats should be left at the ditches as there is not an excess of cover to be knocked down as a result of hiding boats.
9-14 (Share Cropped soybeans (Jon Oakes lost his entire crop in here due to July flood))-sorghum planted for cover and is going to be 5-6’ tall cover, excellent buckwheat and millet crop for food- NOTE boats should be left at the ditches as there is not an excess of cover to be knocked down as a result of hiding boats.
15-22 (River Blinds)-water levels down slightly from last year (zones 21&22 may be reopened this season as there are some promising new potholes in their)
23-28 (Federal Marsh)-is under a 2 year marsh reconditioning plan and is nearly complete. The MDNR contracted a Marsh Master machine to go in and create new openings as well as reopen old ones. Through the 2017 season water levels will be reevaluated and a plan will be made to complete the project in 2018. Looks to be well worth the wait with the # of birds currently using the newly opened areas.
29 (Marsh)-cattail cover is re growing nicely and this has been an excellent environment for both ducks and geese this year-water levels raised to make boat access easier last week.
30-38 (Share Cropped soybeans with corn for cover)- exceptional crops with new experimental corn “blocks” in place of “strips” share crop has been pulled and farmer is completing fall plowing. As soon as this is done water will begin being added probably hunt able sometime in the first week (not been open the first week for years!)
39-46 (Transfer Shares corn strips and small grains) –exceptional crops with experimental trial-(2) South end fields instead of (4) eliminating 47 and 48 becoming permanent as well as new experimental “blocks” in place of “strips”
49-52 (Triangle Marsh)- cattail regrowth is coming along nicely has been holding numerous geese
55-60 (North Prior Transfer Shares corn strips and small grains)-exceptional crops-2nd year in “blocks” instead of “strips” with the 2016 season showing 20% more birds killed than previous years
61-66 (South Prior Transfer Shares corn strips and small grains)-exceptional small grains crops with moderate to severe deer/sand hill crane damage done to (E) end 62,64, & 66 strips. Hunters may consider bringing supplemental cover for these zones
67-76 (Wahl Rd Marsh)- experimental mallard nesting tubes installed throughout the marsh. Some Marsh Master work done last year seeing great results from that this season. Adding more water now
77-117 (Flooded Woods)-new cattail openings in the works, spraying completed late September will be looking to have Marsh Master work done in the 2018 year to open some old and some new potholes.
137-150 (Rookery Marsh)-new cattail openings in the works, spraying completed late September will be looking to have Marsh Master work done in the 2018 year to open some old and some new potholes