Friday, March 19, 2010

What to do in the Arizona off season

Here it is middle of march and looking for something productive but still kinda huntingish?
Here's a idea. How about building mallard nesting boxes ? This is a very economical method that I have used for years. Simply grab any unused 5 gallon pails with lids that you have laying around, make sure they are clean on the inside (no oils or grease all over them). Then take a saw and cut the lid in half, and put the half lid back on the pail and snap it back on. Lay the pail on it's side, and drill several holes on the side that is facing down for drainage. Find some old boards laying around about 1 1/2 feet long and screw one across the bottom of each pail by the drainage holes so they don't roll. fill half way up with grass hay. Bingo Bango !!!! you have just made your first mallard nesting house. I like to place these on small nesting islands and have had a great success ratio. You can also put these on elevated platforms above the water line, just make sure you consider that water levels go up and down. If you do the elevated method, put another board on the bottom but facing out the front so the hen has a place to jump on to before going into the house. Warning !!!! if you do place these on nesting islands,make sure they are true nesting islands or these houses will become death houses for the hens when located by predators. Make sure that you remove these houses when the ducklings have hatched and store for the next year.
It makes me feel so good to be looking at my nesting houses through my binos and seeing ducks go in them. The feeling is even stronger when you come back later and see ducklings swimming out in the water all over the place. I know, I take a lot of ducks out of the sky. It's my way of justifying it, by putting back what I take, to fly again.
Hope to hear you in the marsh,
Darryl Mathews
Arizona, Pro Staff

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