I started my early drives through some of my sons and my favorite hunting spots to try to talk to some of the landowners. I seem to have been somewhat early as most of the wheat and barley is just starting to come off the fields. I was scouting southcentral ND and found very few honkers in the air although did see a couple of groups of 75 or more in sloughs. Found only one flock of 20 in a barley field but the farmer told me they have just been walking from the slough to the field. a couple of farmers said they didn't think they would be flying much for a week or so. The farmers also said the ducks haven't been flying much either although there seems to be as many as last year. Saw one brood only about a week old.
I reluctantly started to bring up the cap on NRs to find out opinions of the farmers in the area. Only one actually knew they had put a cap on and they were ok with it. He thought there were too many hunters not just NRs in the area the last 2 years and he would welcome some relief. In fact he had a group of 4 hunters run across the road in front of his farm to shoot some mallards in the ditch. He didn't have a problem really with that but he had to chase the 50 head of cattle that broke through the fence as a result. He is now posting all his land for the first time ever.
Another younger farmer was very upset that so many guys are coming from out of state to hunt and purchasing land and houses in the small towns. He gave a specific incident where he had been waiting to purchase 300 acreas of land and a group of guys from Indianna came in and offered almost double the land value. He lost it. The same guy told of a corn field that I had originally stopped to ask permission to hunt for later in the season. The corn field last year had been very good for honkers and mallards until a local guide noticed it as well and leased the field for a week from the farmer at the best time for hunting. This guy has thousands of acreas to hunt for his clients but is now scouting areas with geese and offering $$$$ to tie it up for a short time. The farmer stated that the only plates he saw hunting the field for that time were out of state. That's not bad until you take into consideration that the local guys were hunting up to that time and the geese were using that field exclusively in the area from all directions. Not a good thing to have happen to the local boys when they were born and raised there. It would be interesting to see if that outfitter is going to allow local guys to hunt on the 21st for waterfowl as some of the guides have stated they do allow the locals to hunt.....I bet he won't.
As far as the purchasing of houses by hunters they thought the actual purchase was ok but that too many others are invited as well. One guy told of 4 NR hunters who purchased a nearby farm house and the sloughs that surround it. the first year they had a great time.... the next year there were 20 some guys there and they started to spread out congesting the surrounding un-posted land as well.
Just some opinions and stories that I got when the subject was brought up. I don't think I'll bring it up in the future.
As far as the water. Many of the small sloughs and potholes are dry. Although there are some that I was suprised to see that had water in them. The farmers told that certain areas this year had no water early but have gotten some rains lately that have filled some areas. The majority of the big water have large mud flats surrounding them.
Sould be great time on Sept. 21. There are some mallards starting to show green. Identification will be tough on some but should be able to get green heads. The teal are everwhere.