Duck Conservation Important To Hunters - TribPapers

Duck Conservation Important To Hunters

A sample of the boxes that the Duck Box Project are giving to landowners. Photo submitted by David Plyler.

Buncombe – Duck hunters play a crucial role in the conservation of duck populations and their habitats, embodying a unique relationship between sport and environmental stewardship. This relationship is deeply rooted in the understanding that sustainable hunting depends on healthy and thriving ecosystems. Through various conservation efforts, hunters contribute significantly to preserving wetlands, waterfowl habitats, and biodiversity.

One of the most significant contributions of duck hunters to conservation is through financial support. Hunters in the United States are required to purchase federal duck stamps, the proceeds of which are dedicated to the conservation of wetlands and the protection of critical waterfowl habitats.

Since the inception of the Duck Stamp Program in 1934, hunters have helped raise over $1 billion, securing more than six million acres of waterfowl habitat. This funding supports the National Wildlife Refuge System and other conservation initiatives, ensuring the preservation of essential breeding, feeding, and migration areas for ducks and other wildlife.

Another essential aspect is that duck hunters actively participate in habitat restoration and management. Many hunting organizations, such as Ducks Unlimited, mobilize volunteers to restore degraded wetlands, plant native vegetation, and implement sustainable land management practices. These efforts enhance the ecological health of wetlands, benefiting not only ducks but also a wide array of other species that depend on these habitats.

A new group has emerged to further aid the duck population. The Duck Box Project, which can be found on Facebook, has started providing duck boxes to landowners. “We are building wood duck nesting boxes and donating them to landowners that have suitable habitat, such as a secluded pond, marshy area, or riverfront property, where wood ducks would be likely to nest in the spring,” said one of the project’s founders, David Plyler. Plyler is joined by fellow conservationists and duck hunters Bruce Gatta and Matt Miller in this effort.

Duck hunters also serve as advocates for conservation policies and regulations. Their firsthand experience with the environment and wildlife provides valuable insights into the impacts of environmental changes and the effectiveness of conservation measures. Hunters often collaborate with government agencies, environmental organizations, and local communities to promote policies that protect waterfowl habitats and ensure sustainable hunting practices.

“The Duck Box Project is a group of friends who are avid outdoorsmen and duck hunters. Like most hunters, we want to do what we can to help our wildlife resources be sustainable and healthy,” said Plyler. “Installing duck boxes, which are primarily utilized by Wood Ducks (also commonly referred to as Carolina Ducks or Summer Ducks), is one way to accomplish that.”

“Our intent with the Wood Duck Project is simple – we want to grow more ducks. By installing these boxes in places that wood ducks are likely to use them, we are able to help the species thrive,” he stated. “As we have boxes available and with a landowner’s permission, we will build and install these boxes at no cost and help with annual maintenance also, as long as there is the right kind of habitat to support ducks.”

As for maintenance of the boxes, “Duck boxes should be checked each year and cleaned out before spring,” he added. “Anyone wanting more information can visit us on Facebook – just search ‘The Duck Box Project.'”

Full Disclosure: Plyler is an advertiser in this newspaper.