Ponds used for duck production should be 3-5 acres. Leave up to of the flooded area in trees, especially oaks, for mast, cover and nesting. In general, farm ponds cannot be managed intensively for fish and ducks, since duck food plants interfere with fish production. With closed raceways it may be possible, and even desirable, to plant duck foods in the holding reservoir. Duck food plants help take up excess nutrients furnished by feed and fecal material produced by fish. Plants should be harvested by ducks and/or man to remove nutrients.
Duck production ponds must have water control devices to allow dewatering during the growing season and flooding prior to hunting season. The pond should be reflooded by the latter part of October. Ponds without water control can be ``managed'' for ducks by planting edges with smartweeds or millet and deeper waters with pondweeds, naiads or muskgrass. Remember these plants could become a nuisance depending upon the primary use of the pond. Best results can be expected in ponds with ``feathered'' edges.
It is possible to manage natural bodies of water for ducks, particularly beaver ponds. In early July, drain the pond. Use a three-log drain. Plant Japanese millet. Remove drain and reflood in October.
The Wood duck is the only duck which nests In any numbers in Georgia. Normally, it builds a nest in tree cavities. If cavities are absent, put up nest boxes. They should measure 12 12 20 with a 4 3 entrance hole. See extension Bulletin 649, ``Wanted More Wood Ducks in Georgia''. It is available from your county Extension office.
The shooting schedule depends on the size of the pond. However, rarely should there be more than 3 hunts per week. Schedule shoots for mornings only, so ducks will return for roosting and remain in the area longer.
Plants which can be used in duck ponds include asiatic dayflower, corn, corn-soybean mixtures, browntop millet, Japanese millet, brown-top millet-grain sorghum mixtures, sago pondweed, and nodding smartweed.