National News

  • 01 Feb 2017 12:52 PM | Tabatha Cloutier (Administrator)

    WEST CARROLL FFA BUILDS

    WOOD DUCK HOUSES FOR WATERFOWL USA
    By: Ron Kaufman

    _____________________________________________________________________________

    Fulton- The West Carroll FFA Ag shop class recently finished a project that will benefit wildlife.  The students are very proficient with all of the tools the shop has to offer.  The making of 20 wood duck houses came easy for them.  For several years, instructor Dan Hartman has shown his students how to make the boxes and every year he seeks to improve the nest a little.  The students used a CNC router to make a perfect hole in the front. The front hole in a wood duck nest is elliptical in shape.  The shape replicates the shape of a wood duck body and discourages other larger animals to enter the box.  Students also used the CNC router to make designs on the front door.  Students put the school name on some and the FFA logo on others.  They was also was able to duplicate the Waterfowl USA logo and put that alongside their FFA logo.  They also added color to the logos to make them stand out.

    This year the FFA class made changes to the ladder inside.  In the wild, wood ducks nest inside tree cavities.  Newly hatched babies have toe nails and once the mother calls the babies to climb out of the tree cavity they can make their way to the hole by jumping and climbing.  On the artificial wood duck nest previous students installed a mesh screen to help the wood duck babies get out of the hole. This year they took it up a notch and used a router to make a permanent ladder inside the door to help them get out.  The previous nest always had issues with the screens coming off.

    Another improvement was to recess the bottom up into the box.  This helps by letting the outside walls to shed rain without the bottom board getting wet.  This step helps make the nest boxes last longer.

    The boxes will be used by Waterfowl USA in this area.  The local chapter has provided the FFA with material and hardware for years. The students have gotten so good at making the boxes that they look too good to hang up in a tree.  

               


  • 04 Oct 2016 1:13 PM | Tabatha Cloutier (Administrator)

    Gracious Organizations, Donors and Volunteers Get Kids involved in Conservation and the Outdoors


    By: Joe Robison-


    As fall was fast approaching the preparation for the annual youth waterfowl hunt was well underway.  With the help of the Gibraltar Duck Hunter’s Association (GDHA) and Southwestern Lake Erie Chapter of Waterfowl U.S.A. (WUSA), the planning and implementation for the 13th Annual GDHA/WUSA youth waterfowl hunt went off without a glitch.  This annual event grows every year.  The first year the event was hosted, a total of five young hunters participated. Today, just ten years later, we were able to treat 43 young hunters to an excellent experience learning about the value of hunting and participating in a great hunt.


    The money generated at two separate events throughout the year helped pay for the entire youth hunt along with many donations from generous donors.  GDHA has an annual banquet every year where their funds raised at their event goes towards this youth hunt annually.   WUSA has a summer waterfowl workshop every year and all the proceeds from this one-day event goes towards the co-sponsored youth hunt.   


    Once again it was great to see all the volunteers step up and help out for a great cause.  Having these youth hunts is a great way to introduce some young men and women to a great time in Michigan’s great outdoors.  Also, highlighting the importance of hunting as a wildlife management tool to these youngsters and teaching them that hunters have been the main conservationist in Michigan for the last 75 years is also very important.


    This year, I mentored Cameron Mandel and Lawson Kominek. After breakfast was cooked and served to the kids, we headed out to our destination. We were set up about 15 minutes before legal shooting time.  As the sun came up the kids’ expectations became high.  We had a few ducks flying.  The two youngsters had good shooting, taking many shots at teal and wood ducks.  


    Cameron and Lawson ended up harvesting three wood ducks and two teal.  We headed in around 10:00 a.m. for the barbecue at the Pte. Mouillee State Game Area headquarters. All 43 kids, guides and other volunteers were treated to lunch donated by Tony Packo’s, (Jason Mandel).  The youth were also treated to a series of waterfowl related presentations put on by guest speakers.

    Pictured left to right: Cameron Mandel and Lawson Kominek.

    In addition, each young hunter was given a bag full of goodies including:

    • a duck call from Zink Calls,

    • a goose call from Zink Calls,

    • a hat from Rig em Right,

    • ducks at a distance booklet

    • a box of Herters mallards

    • ducks of Michigan poster

    • lanyard

    Thank you to Cabela’s for donating dozen of the decoys and for giving us a discount on the remainder of the duck decoys and raffle prizes.  Also a big thanks to Zink Calls, Avian X, Rig em Right and Hevi-shot for donating items to the raffle table as every kid received a prize off the raffle table.


    After all the activities and lunch, some of the youngsters helped me band some wood ducks that had been captured in a floating duck trap at Pte. Mouillee State Game Area.  They learned the importance of banding and to identify male and female wood ducks, and how to determine if they were an adult or juvenile.



    Joe Robison showing the youngsters how to determine the age and sex of the duck.


    This event could not have happened without the time, energy and money invested by GDHA, WUSA, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division and all the other volunteers that helped guide or cook for the youngsters and all the generous donors!


    Collectively, though, we can preserve our heritage of waterfowl for generations to

    come, and they can be in awe as they watch backlit birds drop out of the sky on a cold morning in early fall somewhere knee-deep in a wetland.


  • 23 Sep 2016 9:26 AM | Tabatha Cloutier (Administrator)

    MISSISSIPPI FLYWAY CHAPTER UPDATES
    By, Ron Kaufman

    The Mississippi Flyway Chapter of Waterfowl USA recently partnered in on a  project to kill invasive cattails.  Cattails are a monoculture that inhibits other plants that are more beneficial to a marsh.  Cattails commonly fill in marshes and reduce open water areas in wetlands.  The Iowa DNR Wildlife

     Division developed a plan to control the cattails in two marshes that it manages.  An ag spray plane was used to apply approved chemicals to kill dense areas of cattails at Green Island Wildlife Management Area and Goose Lake Wildlife Management Area.  Green Island Management Area is 3637 acres which is half marsh and is near Green Island Iowa.  The Goose Lake Management Area is 370 acres and is near Goose Lake Iowa.

     While curbing the growth of cattails is not permanent it will help open areas for waterfowl and wildlife.  The Waterfowl USA chapter donated to the cost of spraying and has been a partner in both properties before on nesting projects and land acquisitions.   The chapter previously donated to help purchase an additional 40 acres at the Goose Lake Wildlife Area and two years ago the chapter donated to purchase more upland habitat at the Green Island unit.  Both areas are open to public hunting and trapping.

     A plan to excavate the north end of Goose Lake will be executed whenever a dry period permits.  The Mississippi Flyway chapter has been asked to help financially when that project takes place.  


  • 23 Sep 2016 9:17 AM | Tabatha Cloutier (Administrator)

    TWIN BRIDGES YOUTH DOVE HUNT
    By Adam Rager

    Twin Bridges hosted its 15th annual youth dove hunt at Blue Grass Fish and Wildlife Area in Southern Indiana on Sept 3. All youth must be accompanied by a parent or guardian no more than 2 youth per adult. The event is free to the youth and run by Twin Bridges Members and Indiana DNR workers. The youth sign in and are given their field assignments between 12:30-1, a light shore lunch is provided, a short Hunter Safety refresher course is given by a conservation officer around 1:30, the youth and their parents/guardians meet with their field commander for any last minute information they will need to know about their field. The youth hunt is from about 2pm-6:30. Cold watermelon awaits the youth after the hunt. 

    The hunt allows the youth a chance to spend time with their parents/guardians enjoying nature and passing the tradition of hunting on to the next generation. The adults are very grateful and appreciate the work put in by Twin Bridges and Indiana DNR for the event. Depending on the local activities we've had as many as 85 kids sign up and as few as 25 (our first year). We try and leave extra room in a field or two in case we have any walk up the day of the hunt. We try not to turn any youth away and want to pass this great pass time and source of food along to the next generation of kids. 



  • 28 Jun 2016 4:19 PM | Tabatha Cloutier (Administrator)

    New membership cards have been designed and the first batch has been printed.  For all members who signed up after February 1st or renewed at a banquet will receive the new cards.  I am in the process of stuffing all the envelopes.  I mailed out the first half Today.  Any feed back on the new design is greatly appreciated.  Below is a picture of the sample card. 



    Thank you

    Tabatha Cloutier

  • 09 Feb 2016 10:39 AM | Tabatha Cloutier (Administrator)

    Fulton-  A “Sportsman’s Banquet is being planned for all area outdoors men. The mid winter banquet will bring everyone together for a great meal and fellowship.  An auction featuring sporting goods, decoys and wildlife art is planned.  A special portion of the banquet is reserved for beginning hunters.  Hunting families are encouraged to bring their kids as they will have games just for them.  Older youths are also eligible to participate in the “Free youth gun raffle.  Several sponsors of the event have donated toward this special event for the kids. Last year 24 guns and 5 BB guns was giving away to the young hunters.   The idea of involving kids in the event is to keep the traditions of hunting, shooting and outdoor sports strong.

         A ladies raffle is planned that will feature a ladies handgun .  The event will feature raffles to win complete waterfowl packages, sporting goods, wildlife art and collectibles.  The fundraiser is hosted by the Mississippi Flyway chapter of Waterfowl USA and will be held in Manny’s banquet room in Savanna.  The wetland and waterfowl conservation group uses funds raised at its banquets for local conservation efforts.  Conservation and nesting projects have been performed in Carroll, Whiteside, Jackson, Clinton, and Rock Island counties.  Some of the money raised from last years banquet was used for excavation at Millroad Marsh near Fulton.    For information about the Sportsman’s Banquet call Ron Kaufman at 309-887-4390


  • 02 Feb 2016 7:43 PM | Tabatha Cloutier (Administrator)

    Mississippi Flyway chapter removes woody growth at Millroad Marsh

    By: Ron Kaufman

    Fulton-  The Mississippi Flyway chapter of Waterfowl USA recently took measures to remove trees and brush from a local wetland project.  Millroad Marsh is located along US route 30 and was intended to provide nesting and habitat for waterfowl.  The property was purchased with Illinois State Duck stamp funds, a donation from the Quad City Conservation Alliance and Waterfowl USA chapter funds. After the purchase was complete it became property of the state of Illinois and is overseen by the Morrison Rockwood Park.   The area holds a mix of permanent wetlands, drainage ditches and upland habitat.  Over the years willows and small trees have established on the edges of the marsh and into the retired fields surrounding the marsh. 

    Waterfowl rely on acres of upland habitat to establish nests and the woody growth was overtaking the available area.  To clear out the trees the chapter had Morrison Blacktop look over the project.  An excavator with a thumb was brought in and the trees was pulled out and piled for burning later. The goal of the chapter is to provide both artificial and natural nesting areas for waterfowl.  The area has wood duck nest, goose floats and mallard nest tubes.  When the area was originally purchased small nesting islands was created for nesting geese.  An adjacent landowner followed up by excavating two large areas with an island in the middle for nesting waterfowl and many trees was cleaned up that could provide predators like raccoons a safe haven.  

    The project near Fulton is one of many that the chapter has a stake in.  The wetland and waterfowl conservation group has used funds from its banquets to help several landowners with the cost of building and improving wetlands. 

      

  • 01 Feb 2016 8:13 PM | Tabatha Cloutier (Administrator)

    Gracious Organizations, Donors and Volunteers Get Kids involved in Conservation and the Outdoors

    By: Joe Robison-

    As fall was fast approaching the preparation for the annual youth waterfowl hunt was well underway.  With the help of the Gibraltar Duck Hunter’s Association (GDHA) and Southwestern Lake Erie Chapter of Waterfowl U.S.A. (WUSA), the 

    planning and implementation for the 12th Annual GDHA/WUSA youth waterfowl hunt went off without a glitch.  This annual event grows every year.  The first year the event was hosted, a total of five young hunters participated. Today, just ten years later, we were able to treat 46 young hunters to an excellent experience learning about the value of hunting and participating in a great hunt.


    The money generated at two separate events throughout the year helped pay for the entire youth hunt along with many donations from generous donors.  GDHA has an annual banquet every year where their funds raised at their event goes towards this youth hunt annually.   WUSA has a summer waterfowl workshop every year and all the proceeds from this one-day event go’s towards the co-sponsored youth hunt.  


    Once again it was great to see all the volunteers step up and help out for a great cause.  Having these youth hunts is a great way to introduce some young men and women to a great time in Michigan’s great outdoors.  Also, highlighting the importance of hunting as a wildlife management tool to these youngsters and teaching them that hunters have been the main conservationist in Michigan for the last 75 years is also very important.


    This year, I mentored Nat and Jorydnn Pulling. After breakfast was cooked and served to the kids, we headed out to our destination. We were set up about 5 minutes before legal shooting time.  As the sun came up the kids’ expectations became high.  We had a few ducks flying but not what I was seeing the week prior.  It appeared the cold front two days prior to the youth hunt pushed some ducks out.  But the two youngsters still had good shooting, taking many shots at teal and mallards. 




    Nat and Jordan ended up harvesting three mallards and two teal.  We headed in around 10:00 a.m. for the barbecue at the Pte. Mouillee State Game Area headquarters. All 46 kids, guides and other volunteers were treated to lunch donated by Tony Packo’s, (Jason Mandel).  The youth were also treated to a series of waterfowl related presentations put on by guest speakers.






    Pictured left to right: Jordynn and Nat Pulling.


    In addition, each young hunter was given a bag full of goodies including:

    • a duck call from Zink Calls,
    • a goose call from Zink Calls,
    • a hat from Rig em Right,
    • ducks at a distance booklet
    • a box of Flambeau mallards
    • ducks of Michigan poster

    Thanks to Cabela’s for donating half of the decoys and for giving us a discount on the remainder of the duck decoys and raffle prizes.  Also a big thanks to Zink Calls, Rig em Right and Hevi-shot for donating items to the raffle table as every kid received a prize off the raffle table.


    After all the activities and lunch, some of the youngsters helped me band some wood ducks that had been captured in a floating duck trap at Pte. Mouillee State Game Area.  They learned the importance of banding and to identify male and female wood ducks, and how to determine if they were an adult or juvenile.

    Joe Robison showing the youngsters how to determine the age and sex of the duck.


    This event could not have happened without the time, energy and money invested by GDHA, WUSA, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division and all the other volunteers that helped guide or cook for the youngsters and all the generous donors!

    Collectively, though, we can preserve our heritage of waterfowl for generations to

    come, and they can be in awe as they watch backlit birds drop out of the sky on a cold

    morning in early fall somewhere knee-deep in a wetland.


Chapter News

Address: PO BOX 500, Oak Forest, IL, 60452
Phone: +1 (803) 637-5767
Email: nwfusa@yahoo.com

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