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Manitoba Marsh Magic

A waterfowler's pilgrimage to the Canadian Duck Factory and the birthplace of DU's conservation work 
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  • photo by Rick Adair
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A Freelance Hunter's Paradise

From Gladstone, Scott and I followed Bob farther west to the town of Neepawa, on the eastern edge of the Minnedosa pothole country. Here we checked into a motel and quickly changed into hunting clothes. Bob also briefed me about the region's waterfowling opportunities.

"The best hunting in southwest Manitoba lies within a 50-mile radius of Shoal Lake," Bob said. "This area is dotted with thousands of potholes that were formed when the glaciers from the last Ice Age retreated from this area. They left behind enormous blocks of ice that melted slowly, leaving depressions that gradually filled with water from rain and snowmelt. Today these small wetlands constitute some of the very best waterfowl nesting and brood-rearing habitat in North America. Ducks Unlimited Canada owns some 100 conservation projects in this area and has easements on another 150."

Bob explained that in late summer, local ducks collect in large flocks and begin feeding in nearby fields of wheat, barley, and peas. "They will roost on potholes and fly out to the fields at dawn," Bob said. "Then they will return to water around midmorning. Hunters who locate these loafing areas can toss out a few decoys, hide in adjacent cover, and enjoy some great shooting when the ducks come back."

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