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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wasn't able to go to the opener at the Todd Farms, anyone make it? How many birds there? and whats the kill total so far?
Thanks
 

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Was there yesterday. They estimate about 21,000 geese on the refuge. I can't remember how many ducks, but did see a couple of very large flocks. The kill board for the day was at 20 after we checked in ours. I think the total goose kill was 118 but not sure.
 

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It's super slow right now. Some guys were pass shooting really high on some property North of the Farm this past weekend and have the birds really spooked. Some shots had to be 200 yards. The normal excess of skybusting is also happening in the hunt zones. So I guess its the Todd Farm as usual. We did have a good hunt on Tuesday after our skybusting neighbor ran out of shells and left. Shooting for the sake of shooting. Hunting should be better with 21K geese.

Brian
 

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I was there Sunday, 1/8. 90+ parties. I hunted zone 8-D. Not one bird flew out of or into the refuge from my vantage point. I heard only a handful of shots and I hunted all day to 2pm. Talked to the technician checking birds at about 2:30pm and he said only 1 bird was shot all day!! He also said the count was waaay lower than reported.

Saturday they had 150+ parties and only shot 18 birds. Pathetic!! I've been going to the Farm on and off for 30 years. I remember them drawing balls out of a bucket for nearly 300 parties. We usually go once a season lately. I can't remember it being this bad. Sure, we all have to endure the skybusters, the marginal callling, and sometimes lack of birds, but to not even have a chance at calling one is something else. Maybe it's time they change how they do things there or no one will go anymore and we will lose another hunting opportunity.
 

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We also hunted Sunday, Zone 7-D saw alot of geese but they all know where the refuge line is. Totaly ignored the calling, flagging, and decoys. Seriously, we did not even get a look! It was stricly bird watching. The skybusting this year was unprecendented, it was way over the top. I think it was due to first timers to the farm, and all the normal pass shooting spots in the area had no geese, so all the pass shooters came to the farm to hunt. Saw two parties come out of 7 without any decoys.

Brian
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have herd "rumors" and its just that "rumors" that some in the DNR want the Farm shut down and done away with.
I wonder if it might be better to up the bag limit to say 3 birds and reduce the quota? The idea being : get the qouta and shut down leave the birds alone.I don't believe they hit their qouta in many years, so why keep the bag limit at 1 bird? Even the Muskegon unit has a 2 bird bag.
Just seems to me that the longer you have sky busters in there, the smarter the birds get and the more P'oed the hunters get.
They have changed the dates around, but the results seem to be the same.
I realize the goose numbers are down, but to set a qouta that hasn't been met in years? I can't imagine its a money maker for the DNR?
I wonder if a new refuge/ hunt unit could be created in S.W. Mich?
 

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The qouta for this late 13 day season is 2 - but that is a moot point when they only get 1 bird off the whole d*mn farm. My guess is they won't get rid of the farm because it's a big deal in the community (Goose Festival & hunter's dollars). I'm not sure what happens to the fees and proceeds from the crops. I know when they got the new building there was a sign that said it was paid for from hunter fees.

Anyway, shaking things up like higher limit-shorter season may make sense. As we were sitting there getting our sun yesterday, my brother and thought "why don't they plant the crops perpendicular to what they have been the past 50 years?" Sounds simple, but maybe the birds couldn't so easliy identify the boundries. Maybe switch every year. Those long strips that go for a half mile or more are an easy visual marker to flare. Planting them differently might keep the birds off guard. Or they could go to a 4x per week draw like Muskegon and raise the limit. Muskegon shuts down early every year. Just idle thoughts of a bored waterfowler.
 

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I've heard the same rumors about the farm. If it closed I don't know if I would be all that disappointed, although it would seriously cut into my goose hunting, it would not cut into my yearly total of geese too much. I've been there 9 times this season and have only shot 3 geese, and that's better than most people! Its just too bad slobs have to mess the whole place up.

Man, I wish I was rich so I could lease or buy my sorry butt a club membership.

That 3 goose limit and reduced quota woul be nice, also take down all the corn and make it a layout hunt only, that would weed out the slob skybusters. You know that will never happen, there is just too much red tape to go through for maost of the DNR staff to function efficiently and in the sportsmans best interest.

Brian
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes, you are correct on the late season 2 bird bag. I had forgot about that change. Does the DNR ever hold public meetings on this farm unit? Open up to questions and answers?
Perhaps they could open a section of the refuge and close other sections to alter the refuge area a "little" (not relocate it) This may move birds a little more???
The bottom line is if you've had say 1,000 hunt parties over a weeks time and only 100 birds killed? maybe some changes could be made either it be hunt times, limit days of the week, crop rotation, hunt zone layouts, whatever...... They did mess with the dates this year, but it doesn't sound like that helped.
Whats the quota this year? 1,500 birds? and what are they currently at?
Theres weather and overall bird count to take into count, but things seem to be on a downward spiral there.
maybe nothing will change whats happening :confused:
 

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I have not hunted at the farm in the last two years, but one thing that always made me wonder was this: Why dont they plant corn in front of the shooting zones? The refuge area is made up of almost all corn, and the geese are always hanging out in the cut corn fields inside the refuge. Why not plant corn in the hunting zones, then cut it so it will look the same as the refuge? Seems like the only place on the farm where there is hay/alfalfa is in the hunting zones. How smart does a goose have to be to figure out that if he stays in the corn he is safe?

Also I dont think Muskegon "always" shuts down early due to hitting their quota. In fact I think this past season was more of an exception than it was the norm.
 

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I have never hunted the TODD for geese - ducks only. But I hear what you are saying - it seems they go out of their way to make it more difficult to kill geese. They can't be worried about overharvest because they have the quota. Get rid of the grass, vary the strip direction for diff winds, flood a few areas, have a rufuge hunt once week, whatever theres lots they could do.

They did have a meeting this past spring to get input of local hunters and hutning groups. THey made some chages that seemed smart, but, they have a long way to go.
 

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duckman#1 said:
I have herd "rumors" and its just that "rumors" that some in the DNR want the Farm shut down and done away with.
I wonder if it might be better to up the bag limit to say 3 birds and reduce the quota? The idea being : get the qouta and shut down leave the birds alone.I don't believe they hit their qouta in many years, so why keep the bag limit at 1 bird? Even the Muskegon unit has a 2 bird bag.
Just seems to me that the longer you have sky busters in there, the smarter the birds get and the more P'oed the hunters get.
They have changed the dates around, but the results seem to be the same.
I realize the goose numbers are down, but to set a qouta that hasn't been met in years? I can't imagine its a money maker for the DNR?
I wonder if a new refuge/ hunt unit could be created in S.W. Mich?
If we could only be that lucky...right now, I wouldn't mind seeing that place close down for awhile. I have talked with other guys about this...but they need to do things different there. If that means closing it down and restructuring the whole Farm...than I am all for it!
 

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Bullrush said:
They can't be worried about overharvest because they have the quota.
Well yes they can...the Mississippi Flyway Council can be very hard on us the next season if Michigan exceeds their quota of migrant geese. I think it was a couple of seasons ago but there was one year were the hunters in MI really "spanked" the migrant flock as they went through...and our punishment the next few years was a severely reduced regular goose season (I think it was reduced to only those 2-2 1/2 weeks in Sept for awhile).


Chad
 

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Duckman Racing said:
I have not hunted at the farm in the last two years, but one thing that always made me wonder was this: Why dont they plant corn in front of the shooting zones? The refuge area is made up of almost all corn, and the geese are always hanging out in the cut corn fields inside the refuge. Why not plant corn in the hunting zones, then cut it so it will look the same as the refuge? Seems like the only place on the farm where there is hay/alfalfa is in the hunting zones. How smart does a goose have to be to figure out that if he stays in the corn he is safe
Amen brother...I have been saying that for awhile now. Even better get rid of the standing corn all together and we will see which hunters are going to be killing geese. It sure isn't going to be the "pass shooters" (aka-skybusters).


Chad
 

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After talking with Jeff at the farm a little on Sat. It sounds like it would take too much time and resources to be changing ther directions of the furrows. From a farming standpoint it is just not sensible farming practice to change crops and furrow directions very often, ther is alot that goes into preparing a field for winter wheat Vs. corn etc.... One thing to remember is that there area some farmers who actually farm that place for profit so they have to cater to the farmers also. I have always said the same thing about the direction of the furrows.

Making changes at a place this big can be tough, the Farm management also has their hands tied by the DEQ and the rest of the mismanagement of the DNR from the top down. I feel bad for the employees, they feel our pain and would like to change things.

Someone also asked if there is a meeting for the todd farm. The answer to that question is YES, but nobody ever shows up for it. It is usually in March sometime and gives the public a chance for input. I'm as much to blame as I have never attended either.

So to sum it up I feel there is no real soution other than handing out free permits to shoot the jerks in the zone next to you who are skybusting fools, I actually talked to a gent on Sat the could not believe I passed on 40 yard passing birds. It was completely beyond the realm of his poor imagination when I told him that I come home empty handed more often than not.

Brian
 

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Just to clarify a statement about the meeting that you were in reference too. It is a general meeting that is held in regards to the Allegan State Game Area. It is a round table where you Ty talks about the past year and what is planned for the upcoming year. The turn out for this is usually poor, so your opinion will be heard.

I have had the pleasure of hunting at the Todd Farm with my father since I was able to shoot a gun (13 years ago!!), and I have seen a lot of change there. I remember seeing 300-400 parties there on a given Saturday and re-draws would go as high as 75. The goose population has definently affected the results that hunters are seeing. Ever since there was that freeze up in Hudson Bay about 7-8 years ago, the population has never really recovered. This is due to a number of things that I can not compound on, since do not have the knowledge!!

A few of you are upset about not seeing any geese or having people skybust next too you. I will not even beat around the bush, that irrates me, and I sympatize with you on that. However, the number one reason why I continue to go out there hunting is because I get to hunt with my dad, and his buddies and spend the morning watching the sun come up, drinking a cup of coffee, telling lies. That is number one in my book. I am well aware of the fact that chances of harvesting a goose are not as good there, but is more of a tradidtion then any thing.

There was an earlier post about people hunting with out any decoy's, etc. Perhaps that is the way you should have been hunting. If I were to go this week, I would maybe put 6 big foots out there, and leave my calls in the truck. You need to switch things up a bit, and be different from the crowd in the way you hunt now. These birds have seen everything under the sun since Christmas, and something more subtle will sometimes be the trick. Also, the 6's & 7's are not the best spots to be hunting unless the birds are flying out of the south end, but to each there own.

I know we are very fortunante to have a lease in East Saugatuck, which gives us another option. However, this year, it is actually begining to get the feel of the Todd Farm out there. Never have I seen so many hunters in this area. It is feast of famine out there as well. So we are doing not calling, and minimal flaging at best. Change is good this time of year, when you can't rely on the weather to change the birds.

One last thing, Grundy; are you the same Grundy that lived with Kenny and Stinky at FSU? I belive that you are the ones who lived up the hill from Norm in the sweet Double wide T-Railer!! Is this correct?
 

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Yes, I am the same GRUNDY, almost the same anyway. I used to live in a trailer down by the river! If you know this, I can probably safely assume that you were there to participate in the shennanigans? By chance, did we happen to float down the Muskegon from Norm's to Rogers pond on a makeshift raft with lawnchairs on it, and of course a case of Natural Light? This would of happened in about April.

Brian
 

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I try to get to the farm once a year. One thing I am impressed about is the employees, they are extremely helpful, courteous, and knowledgeble.

I always thought I knew what a skybuster was until I went there. It is unbelieveable the shots taken, easily 150-200 yard shots. Even if you hit the bird all it is going to do is sting it at that distance.

They definetely should go to 3x or 4x a week there. Getting rid of the cover ( standing corn strips ) seems like a no brainer. Like mentioned before, make it a true layout hunt. If not I would be all for them closing it down and scattering the birds around allegan county more.
 

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I agree that the employees are top notch and have a thankless job when it comes to listening to hunters. I also agree that it's about journey and not the destination (hunting as opposed to pulling the trigger). The commradship of seeing 200+ of your fellow camoflage hunters waiting for "the boards" to come out, then seeing either jubilation or dejection. We hardly ever leave after a bad draw. We usually take what we can get and see if our skills are up to the test--that and a whole bunch of luck. And that is the reason for me staying Sunday until 2:00. The sight of a flock coming towards you and setting is the same to me as seeing a buck in my scope.

Do I pass shoot? Yep, when the conditions and opportunity call for it. My 10 gauge has killed many birds out there over the years. I prefer decoying birds and do my best for that to happen, but as you know, most of those birds know exactly where they are going to land. Nash Buckingham said something to the effect that duck hunting is pass shooting and shooting decoying birds is murder. To each his own.

I don't keep figures on what I kill, miss, or otherwise. I don't hunt for subsistance and I don't expect that many of us do beacuse that would be the most expensive meat ever. Bag limits don't concern me as I rarely limit out. The memories I keep are the ones where we got some birds to work, made a good shot, got a really good draw, or simply having fun with friends.

Do I think they should abandon the Farm? No. It provides opportunity to hunters such as myself to goose hunt; who don't have the time or money to secure private fields. Many of us get up at 0 dark thirty for an hours drive just to get there. No, I just think changing some of the long time practises there would keep the birds out of thier routine and give hunters a bit more opportunity.
 

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TNL, I have nothing against someone pass shooting in realistic range, just some of the guys there shoot when there is no prayer of hitting the bird. Even when you decoy ducks and geese a lot of time you end up pass shooting anyway it the birds will not committ.

I do agree I do like the comraderie(sp?) there. It is cool to gather with fellow waterfowlers in one place, that is why i like to hit it at least once a year, kind of like a social event. I also stay after a bad draw and pick what is left ( zone 8 bfe ). It is also neat to see so many birds in numbers that you will not see anywhere else, public or private land.

The only thing I do not like is it does concentrate the birds a lot and makes hunting the rest of the county almost impossible, and since most of allegan county is in the gmu, I will not be able to hunt geese at all after 1/13 in allegan county.
 
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