“To promote and encourage the preservation of Wisconsin’s Waterfowl Heritage, by committing to improve the wetland natural resources and wildlife along with the involvement of youth in these pursuits.”
The Green Bay Duck Hunters Association was started in the late ’50s by a group of concerned duck hunters who wanted to help establish a refuge for waterfowl to rest and shelter. Two such refuges were aided by this effort including what is now the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary in the City of Green Bay and Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve in the Town of Suamico.
While supporting such organizations such as Delta Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited and the WI Waterfowl Association, GBDHA members seek local input and hands on resource work. Early efforts involved feeding resting waterfowl, raising waterfowl for release and planting native food sources.
Duck Rescue Program (learn more)
Along the way a duck rescue program began in the late ‘70’s by two founding members, Ted Thyrion and Milt Geyer in which nesting hens, in high risk urban areas were monitored and upon hatching, were rescued and moved to various wild release sites in the area to ensure survival rates. Thus the birth of the duck rescue program.
Currently, when hens and ducklings are in danger “Duck Rescuers” are on call with the county emergency dispatch center. In a partnership with the WI DNR, the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary RPAWS Program rescuers receive training in handling and banding of hens. The data collected is then forwarded to the USF&WS Bird Banding program. Hundreds of hens and ducklings are rescued each year, currently pushing the total rescued ducks close to 10,000.
Other current efforts include stewardship projects in the Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve, a special place held close by local bird watchers and waterfowlers alike. This preserve has a very notable history, being started by a national DU founding father, Louis H Barkhausen. Projects associated with this local treasure include building a waterfowl observation tower, planting food sources and maintaining numerous duck nesting cylinders. Past projects have included a very successful Purple Loosestrife eradication by repopulating Loosestrife beetles.
GBDHA members are very active in the local goose population issue, believing that more hunting opportunities should be made available to curb this population explosion. In belief that more data should be collected to identity the locally harvested geese and track their movements, GBDHA, in partnership with the WI DNR has established a local goose banding program. Started in 2004, GBDHA continues to provide manpower and funding to work in cooperation with WI DNR and F&W Service on this issue.
GBDHA has been active in supporting the re-establishment of the Cat Island Chain in lower Green Bay working with our local F&W Service on how we can help in reestablishing native plant cover and food for waterfowl once the islands have been completed.
Meetings (learn more)
GBDHA generally meets the first Monday of the month at 7:00 p.m. and host various speakers ranging from DNR, DU, the Fox River Trust Group, duck hunting icons of the area, past and present, duck hunting authors and others who share in our “web” of the resource. Our link sites are meant to provide further knowledge into related issues and organizations. We are an active member of the Brown County Conservation Alliance and an affiliate member of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation. GBDHA delegates attend, hold office and participate in state waterfowl conferences, the state Game Bird committee and the WI Conservation Congress.