It is Wood duck box time!

Woodduck Box_3_2016Spring is coming and it is time to maintain or build new wood duck boxes. MDWFA has directions and plans for you on how to build and install your wood duck boxes and we sell predator guards for protecting them.

Our own Aaron Ward has made instruction on how to build the nesting boxes.

Here is another  article on how to hang the boxes with the predator guards.

If you need to buy Predator guards you can from our web store at this link. MDWFA would like to thank everyone that participates in doing this work and making waterfowling better in this state, one duck as a time.

 

Maryland Wood Duck Initiative Hatch levels

Re-posted from their newsletter.

MARYLAND WOOD DUCK INITIATIVE
“A Total Wetlands Experience

February, 2017 Activity Report

                         2016 Hatch Now Expected to Approximate 2014-2015 Levels

Preliminary indications based on ~75% data collection from ~1,800 boxes suggest Maryland public lands wood duck production will be now be comparable to recent years in the 7,500-7,600 instead of exceeding 8,000 ducklings. Several of the larger sites appear to be down moderately instead of modestly and the extent of the gain at Jug Bay may not be as high as thought.  Some unexpected predation occurred at another site where the results of active nests were effectively overrated initially – high water permitted a surge in snake predation.

With a renewed effort on admin, reporting and volunteer recruitment as time now permits, I have also reconciled prior year’s production reports while still chasing 2016 nesting results. In some cases, where we estimated the hatch on partial data or by extrapolating prior year data, the actual results have come in lower than projected.  There may be overly conservative net result but I’m trying to honor the actual data in hand despite knowing that these results are probably somewhat understated. A full assessment will be available by the end of March when 4-5 larger projects will be finished.

Field activity on new sites is and has been robust. Box numbers are not large by site but MWDI expects to have more than 120 sites in 2017 up from 90 just a couple of years ago. Several Eagle Scout projects have been completed. Calvert County has seen a surge in dedicated volunteerism and a commitment by the County Parks office (more on these project specifics in the annual report). PG Park Rangers have added a few new sites. The Maryland DNR office responsbile for wetland restoration of certain forest properties has added a few projects. Certain environmental remediation sites across the state have included modest box programs (6) and the Wellington DNR field office has initiated 3 projects. Functional box totals will be up but not materially given the limited nature of these new sites although project diversity is way up!

There is a continuing issue with certain sites getting them managed. Recently, the list has been significantly reduced but MWDI will begin to drop sites this season from ongoing reporting. Use of some type of index may be more relevant to assessing annual statewide production and more analysis will be conducted once this year’s report is concluded.

The annual lumber order and box cut day have been completed with more than 170 boxes for both public and private use involved. Continuing kudos to the Safari Club Chesapeake Chapter, Patuxent State Park, Dupont’s Chesapeake Farms and the Discovery Channel for funding this year’s wood needs. DNR’s Wildlife & Heritage Service continues with their critical predator guard funding support among other supplies provided and website services.

Private program interest has not abated and the contribution to the Maryland population continues to rise. Once again, the Akridge program managed by Clay Robinson in Talbot Co. took top honors generating over 800 ducklings!!  Only PG’s Patuxent Park – Jug Bay beat them for statewide honors. The competition and bragging rights are certainly ”duckling productive” as Jug Bay added 25 boxes this past year.

Contact us to participate – either as a volunteer on an existing site or bring us a new public site.

Thank you for your consideration. And thank you to the volunteers who make these results possible!

2016 Meet, Greet and Swap at the Talbot Rod and Gun Club

The Maryland Waterfowlers Association proudly announces its 2016 Meet, Greet and Swap at the Talbot Rod and Gun Club. This event is open to the general public and free of charge so please come on out to become better acquainted with our organization and buy, swap and/or sell some outdoor sporting gear!

This event is also being held in conjunction with MD DNR Wildlife & Heritage Service hunter safety classes held at the club that day.

To help introduce the new hunters to waterfowl hunting MDWFA will be providing youth hunters with calls, calling and shooting lessons after they have complete their last phase of hunter safety program.

When: Saturday August 13, 2016 Event begins @ 9:00 AM until 3:00 PM

Where: Talbot Rod & Gun Club, 26 Chapel Road Easton, Maryland 21601

410-822-4442 Club website:http://www.talbotrodandgunclub.com

What: Tables are available for attendee’s to sell their hunting, fishing and shooting gear under the Club’s Pavilion

Who: Please contact Steve Myers to reserve table: mdl12skeet@aol.com

Disclaimer: (MDWFA nor Talbot Rod & Gun Club are not responsible for any lost or stolen merchandize and all transactions and actions are the sole responsibility of the parties involved.)

Baltimore Co., Possible ban on taking gun to boat ramps reversed.

by Brian Cain

Greg Tracey, Paul Donhauser, and I attended the Baltimore County Council meeting on Tuesday to address Bill 42-16 which would have made it illegal for anyone to possess firearms or knives on Baltimore Co. parks or property and subject such weapons to confiscation. The bill would also not allow retriever dog training on county property or parks. We thought the bill was poorly written and too broad and would hurt those stakeholders that have contributed so much in way of licenses etc.

The council agreed that the bill was hastily written and amended it on the spot to allow a licensed hunter to transport cased weapons at boat ramps, etc. during hunting seasons. They are also going to amend the bill to outlaw only weapon type knives and not pen knives and fillet knives. As was pointed out by the council, it has ALWAYS been illegal to have guns on county park property even though a blind eye was turned to allow us to hunt, now it will be totally LEGAL to have our guns on property with boat ramps. They are also going to address the hunting dog issue. We are waiting to read all of the amendments before signing off on them. Councilman Wade Koch was definitely on our side as was another councilman that I don’t know.

Barry Williams, the Director of Baltimore County Parks and Recreation followed us out of the room to speak with us and was very amenable to our proposed changes. I spoke with him on the Baltimore County land offshore waterfowl hunting and, again, explained that it’s never been a safety issue and the only place we had any problem was at Cox’s Point. I know the land is tied up in riparian licensing for another 2 years (I think) and proposed that we, MDWFA, submit a map to him of the properties we would like turned back on and he agreed that he would entertain such an exercise. So, it looks much more positive that we may get Baltimore Co property turned back on.

So, all in all it was a double win for MDWFA yesterday at the County Council meeting. The vote on the Bill is July 5th and I will be out of state but Greg and Paul will monitor the amendments.

Wood Duck Box inspections

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2 Wood Duck eggs on left, 3 Merganser eggs on right

by Aaron Ward

Greetings from the Lower Shore. Just in time for the 2016 nesting season, MDWFA & Maryland Wood Duck Initiative volunteers have concluded Wood Duck box inspections in Worcester County for the 2015 nesting season.

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Woodduck Box_3_2016
Everyone can get involved!….even Boo (the dog)

The Scope: In Worcester County volunteers manage approximately 125 boxes on public lands. Inspections take between 14-20 hours per year (for one person) to conclude.

The Numbers: Overall ducks hatched were slightly lower (41 eggs) from 2014, but the hatched percentage (74%) was up 1% over 2014 (73%) and up 12% over 2013 (62%). The average number of eggs per nest was 9.

The Conclusion: Feel good about the contribution we are making to keep Wood Ducks a successful species in Maryland. With our efforts, we are making it possible for hens to have a safe place to nest & produce more ducklings. Once they leave the nest, it’s totally up to her & the environment. Hopefully more ducks produced will result in more hens returning in coming years!

Last box of the day!
Last box of the day!

If you haven’t already volunteered in your local area & would like to assist in the cooperative Wood Duck project, please contact me. I’d love to share my experience with you and fuel your fire to keep them squealing through the trees for generations to come!

Jack “Doc” Scanlon

Jack Scanlon
Jack Scanlon

It is with great sadness that the MDWFA has learned of the passing of Jack “Doc” Scanlon on Wednesday night. Doc was a true gentleman and an avid hunter, fisherman and dog trainer.

Doc was a Lifetime member of the MDWFA and a volunteer to countless other organizations. Doc served as the Dorchester county rep for the MDWFA for many years. We offer our condolences to his wife Kathy and his family.

John W. Scanlon, Jr. MD, 75, of Cambridge passed away on Wednesday evening November 5, 2014 at his home. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 15, 2014 at Zion United Methodist Church in Cambridge with Rev. William Davis officiating. Family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. In lieu flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Dorchester Center for the Arts, 321 High Street, Cambridge, MD 21613 or to the Stripers Forever, P.O. Box 2781, South Portland, ME, 04116-2781.

Youth Hunt – November 1, 2008

Jack with Will
Jack with Will

The Maryland Waterfowlers Association (MDWFA) sponsored an essay contest where youths were asked to describe why they wanted to hunt ducks and geese. One of the winners was 13 year old Will Waibel from Bel Air. Will’s prize was a youth day hunt last Saturday at Garyview Farm in Cambridge hosted by Dr Jack Scanlon.

Will with his birds
Will with his birds

More elaboration on yesterday’s wonderful youth hunt at Garyview Farm. Bill, Will’s father, is a fine gentleman. Bill is a head football coach and teacher in Bellaire. He also had guided for ducks and geese in the past and carved his own dekes (he generously gifted one to me). Bill is also a fly fisherman for trout and smallies. We had many mutual friends from my old Trout Unlimited days fishing local streams. I personally want to thank MDWFA for this opportunity to give something back and watch a boy grow into adulthood doing those things MDWFA stands for.

High School Students Lend a Hand to Help the Ducks

Students in Courtland Lilley’s Transportation Technology class at James M. Bennett High school in Salisbury, MD recently transformed 25 empty Freon canisters into Wood Duck nesting boxes. Wood Ducks are cavity nesters and to promote their come back (seasons were once closed do to low population numbers) artificial nesting boxes are placed in critical habitat locations to increase their nesting success. Wood (primarily cedar) is traditionally used to make a rectangular box that we hope they call home for a few months.

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The Freon canisters were donated to Maryland Wood Duck Initiative (MWDI), extreme home makeover by Mr. Lilley’s class, and will be installed, monitored, and maintained on a Lower Shore Wood Duck box project by the Maryland Waterfowlers Association. Six of these nesting boxes are installed on Nassawango Creek in Worcester County as part of a 2008 nesting project.

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As all raw material prices rise, the use of alternative sources such as this one benefits both man and nature. All eyes will be focused on the hatch/use data that comes from these boxes to evaluate their success. MDWFA works in cooperation on with MWDI on many Wood Duck box projects throughout the state to increase the success of Maryland’s Wood Duck population.

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The students that participated in this project (Jalonzo Bateman, Tai’Rell Copper, Eric Farrell, Nathan Hetzler, Tim Hull, Vince Lowery, TJ Martin, Jeremay Moats, and Grendi Zunun) not only gained service learning hours required by all high school students for graduation, but a deeper knowledge of what everyone can do for their environment.

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