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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Cold, Hard Facts

Five ways to bag birds when the mercury dips
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Manage Your Roost

When cold and snow have pushed birds out of the northern plains, the number of ducks and geese congregating in central Missouri can be staggering.

When the conditions are right, tens of thousands of those birds wind up at Habitat Flats, and guide and part-owner Tony Vandemore says that taking care of the birds that roost on the property is a top priority.

"Managing the roost during the last weeks of a season will make or break our hunting," says Vandemore. "If we mess up the roost at that point, we know we'll likely lose those birds for the rest of the season. But if we play our cards right, we know we'll have hunts that are truly world class."

Vandemore says, when the temperature is cold, ducks will stay on the roost longer in the morning and return earlier in the afternoon from feeding in order to keep the water open. Allowing this pattern to stay free from hunting pressure is key, he says.

The wind can also be friend and foe when trying to manage birds roosting on the property.

If you hunt too close on the upwind side of a roost, you may as well kiss those birds goodbye, he says.

But if you're able to hunt downwind from the roost, Vandemore says, you can have a banner hunt without the bulk of the birds knowing you were even there.


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