Saturday, November 30, 2013

Baiting Waterfowl?

This latest episode of lunacy regarding cover crops is on the NoTill Farmer website.

"Source: Minnesota DNR Waterfowl hunters should keep in mind that some fields are considered baited and off limits to waterfowl hunting. Due to the wet and cold spring, some farmers were unable to plant a normal crop for harvest. Instead they worked with their insurance companies or the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources Conservation Service office to plant a cover crop. "These cover crops were never intended for harvest and are now being disked, tilled or plowed.

The food sources such as oats, which were a common cover crop, are now an attractive food source for ducks and geese," said Dean Olson, DNR enforcement district supervisor in Rochester, Minn. Olson noted these fields are considered baited and off limits to waterfowl hunting. Federal regulations define a baited area "as any area on which salt, grain, or other feed has been placed, exposed, deposited, distributed, or scattered, if that salt, grain, or other feed could serve as a lure or attraction for migratory game birds to, on, or over areas where hunters are attempting to take them."

"Any such area will remain a baited area for 10 days following the complete removal of all such salt, grain or other feed," Olson said. Hunters are encouraged to talk with the farmers about fields prior to hunting to assure none of them were planted as a cover crop."

Travis Martin from Pennsylvania had a good reply: "
Comparing a bare field with that of a field with a vibrant green cover crop in winter, it would make sense that it would provide more potential cover and forage for wildlife when they need it most. Is this something that should be discouraged? In talking with an Agent from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services the violations come when using an agronomic practice that is not recommended by the Cooperative Extension Service.
There is no issue with a standing cover crop that is not disturbed, which is an approved practice. It is when you manipulate your cover so grain, seed or other feed is exposed to attract migratory waterfowl. If you “manipulate” such as mowing, shredding, disking, rolling, chopping, trampling, flattening, burning, or herbicide treatments you will need to wait 10 days after seed or grain is removed from the field before you can hunt migratory waterfowl. This does not include birds like doves.
This article needs to have more details explained so to make things clearer on how to best utilize cover crops for wildlife management. I would suggest a more in depth story to bring more understanding to this issue. Many hunters are paying more rent to having hunting rights compared to rent paid to farming the land. This could be another opportunity to making cover crops pay."
Reading AgTalk you would think farmers don't even plant covers without help from the government.  I have never depended on the government to help me do what is best for my farm and my soil though I have used the few dollars per acre for DCP and price relief to help manage my risk.  I inherited the CRP program when we bought two farms but they never even paid for my new waterway.
Ed Winkle


  1. The small terraces at my house I built with the tractor and bobcat. I paid for the fuel my self to do it. I dug and paid for all the tile too! When we get a gully washing rain the water goes over them just like the ones the nrcs put on my aunt.

    All my cover crop seed was paid for by me except that bag I won from Garth for naming the "covering ground" newsletter.

    I am going to do what's best for my farm. If I can get money for something I'm already doing I'll take it, but I'm not going be the nrcs's "dancing chicken"

    Do we really need the Fsa and nrcs?

    If a landowner wants to seed his land down for wildlife that's his deal, the gov paying cash rent for that is a waste of money. I have to plant food plots in my aunts's in crp for I doing to have to distroy the food plots now before they hunt in the crp?

  2. I don't need them Brad but if our government is going to hand out food aid through our department of agriculture, then we need those jobs for food security. In other words, our big, out of control bureaucracy is never going to quit handing out our tax money so we better stand tall and make sure we get our share. We are in the riskiest business in the world.

    NRCS is doing a much better job here locally and nationally in my opinion.

    I always misspell bureaucracy so I sound it out, bureau crazy but c instead of the z. LOL


  3. Wildlife agencies do whatever makes them the most money in license sales and fines.

  4. Some people think this is just a Minnesota or liberal thing but I think it runs deeper than that.