Shiawassee River State Game Area Report 10-10-2018

Managers Update 10/10/18

Due to wet weather and receiving two inches of rain crops have not yet been harvested in 1-5, 9-14 and the 30’s (crops are ready just too wet). We would expect that the 30’s will have a couple of zones with water on by opening day. Fields 1-5 and 9-14 are still up in the air because of wet conditions and B2 pump not complete yet. There will be another update on Tuesday the 9th so stay tuned.

Hunting Changes
We’ve added more availability for single hunters to pick a spot in all fields (ask staff for information). REMEMBER!!! Draws at the Shiawassee River State Game area are at 5 a.m. and 11 a.m. The Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge has additional hunting opportunities on their area this fall.

FIELDS THAT WILL BE FLOODED FOR THE OPENER:

  6-8 will have 4 to 8 inches of water

15-21 the river blinds are wind dependent but should have plenty of water to get around in

23-28 is at full pool

Zone 29 will be shallow will water only in the shallow parts of the unit

55-60 will have 6 inches to 1 foot of water

61-66 will have 6 inches to 1 foot of water

39-46 will have 8 inches to 1 ½ foot of water

77-117 will be at full pool

137-150 will be at full pool

Waterfowl abundance: Duck numbers remained steady throughout  the area this week, our refuge count doesn’t provide a good overall number of ducks using the area with the fields starting to get flooded. I would estimate we have somewhere around 8500 ducks using the area right now.

Hunting conditions:  Crops this year are marginal, we started off good but heavy rains flooded out crops that were planted thus resulting in poor corn growth in some fields. North Prior, South Prir, 9-14 and 1-5 fields all have poor corn in them (corn is 2-4 feet tall). Fortunately, sorghum was planted in these fields and will provide good cover in those units. South Prior has moist soil plants in there for food with 65-foot-wide strips of buckwheat planted in there and grew well. All of our small grains grew very well this year and will provide an excellent food source for migrating waterfowl. All of our marsh units have good water levels and the opening work that we have been doing is starting to work well in these units.

MANAGED ZONES/HUNTING OUTLOOK: 

1-5  Sharecropped field that was planted to soybeans with our shares planted to corn. Soybeans are expected to be harvested next week. Corn is poor in this unit but there has been sorghum planted for cover and it will provide for good cover.

6-8  This is moist soils unit again this year. Blinds have been placed for cover and sorghum was planted as well for cover.

9-14  Sharecropped field that was planted to soybeans and the states shares planted to corn (corn is poor in this unit). Sorghum was planted for additional cover and will provide for good cover for hunters. Soybeans expected to be harvested next week.

21-28  This marsh unit is at full pool and should provide for some good hunting opportunities this fall.

29  This marsh unit was drawn down this summer to help promote plant growth. The SFCHA had spread millet in this unit and it grew well. We have begun to fill this unit and it will provide for some good hunting opportunities this fall.

30-38  Sharecropped field that was planted to navy beans and states shares planted to corn (7 to 9 feet tall). This field was sprayed on 9/27 to kill off green vegetation and is expected to be harvested next week.

39-46  Corn was planted by the sharecropper in this unit and is 7-9 feet tall, excellent food and cover source. Small grains consisting of buckwheat and millet were planted and grew well. Lots of food and great cover in this unit. Unit will be flooded for opening day.

55-60  Sharecropper planted corn in this unit heavy rains stunted growth, the corn will not provide cover and very little food value. There is sorghum planted in this unit and it will provide good cover in all hunting zones. Millet and buckwheat were planted in this unit and grew well. This unit will be flooded for opening day.

61-66 One of our sharecroppers planted corn in this unit as well and due to heavy rains growth was stunted and it is only 2-4 feet tall. Because of the heavy rains we were unable to get into the field for farming operations early, upon inspection of the field we discovered that the field had 90% cover of moist soil plants. We left the moist soils plants grow and we now have a beautiful crop of foxtail, wild millet and other moist soils plants available to waterfowl. We also planted a 65 foot wide strip of buckwheat right next to the decoy opening.

67-76  This marsh is at full pool and will provide for some good hunting opportunities this fall.

77-117  This unit is at full pool now. There was a lot of smartweed growth in this unit during the summer months and this unit will provide for some good hunting opportunities this fall.

137-150  Rookery marsh is being pumped now and will be at full pool for the opener.

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