After two waterfowl seasons at Cottonwood, we’ve learned a lot about the property, the habitat, and the ducks that use it. We’ve been attentive students, allowing the ducks to tell us where they want to be and what they need at different times throughout the year and throughout the hunting season. Over the years, we have developed a proven formula for waterfowl habitat, including controlling what we plant, where we plant, where we put water, the depth of water, all the way down to where to position duck blinds. However, Cottonwood was a new challenge, presenting us with a unique habitat type that we had not previously experienced. This area of the flyway is also unique in the incredible variety of waterfowl species that it brings to the property. It took some discipline to start small with our habitat enhancement efforts. Such a unique property with so much potential made it tempting to go all out right away, but our experience told us to take it slow, and take some time to learn. The ducks’ response to our initial efforts allowed us to adapt and hone our approach.
We’ve had a busy summer at Cottonwood, implementing what we’ve learned to expand waterfowl habitat throughout the property. Earlier this year, we were able to extend the borders of Cottonwood by acquiring Bluebird Farm, an adjoining 3,800 acres that gave us access on both sides of the Trinity River. This was a huge win for waterfowl habitat, allowing us nearly 6,000 acres of land to manage as a single unit. Bluebird Farm has presented its own opportunities and challenges. With many of its acres in agriculture production, we were excited to collaborate with the farmers to accomplish agriculture and wildlife objectives side by side. These agricultural landscapes provided the perfect opportunity to integrate dove and pigeon habitat.
Over the last several weeks, we have worked to design and build new road systems to create more effective access throughout the property, and relieve as much wildlife pressure as possible. We have added over 200 acres of habitat with new flooded timber holes and ag fields, and new native moist soil impoundments. We have used the past two years’ of observation to find the most effective locations for new duck blinds. These enhancements will greatly diversify our offering of resting, feeding, and hunting areas. We were fortunate to have the gifted Clayton Lind with Atlas Media Group spend a week with us at Cottonwood filming and photographing many of our ongoing development projects. The content Clayton captured allows us to portray development season more effectively than ever before. We’re excited to share some of these images with you, and hope you’ll follow along on instagram and facebook to continue sharing in the journey.
A glimpse of development season at Cottonwood and Bluebird Farm.