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This Land’s for the Ducks

John Shaw leads a small tour around his land on May 11 east of Hagerman. Shaw transitioned 30 acres of his property into a conservation easement. The land will be used as a game reserve to hunt ducks and other fowl and he has built a number of ponds turning the area into a wetlands.

HAGERMAN • One Hagerman resident is tapping into conservation efforts to expand his duck-hunting opportunities.

John Shaw — a member of Ducks Unlimited — has allowed close to 30 acres of his Hagerman Wings Farm to be managed under a conservation easement.

“I love taking someone out duck hunting for the first time,” Shaw said. “It’s been a real passion for mine almost all my life.”

Last November, Shaw approached the Southern Idaho Land Trust about converting a section of his 270-acre farm into an easement. Under the easement agreement, the property can’t be commercially developed for the next 30 years. During that time, the property owner should protect the land’s resources for the public’s benefit.

The new easement is now a wetlands area for ducks and other types of fowl. And as owner of a duck-hunting club, Shaw made sure to build in duck blinds along the easement for additional hunting.

“I’ve got the water and Ducks Unlimited put the money up for the easement. It just all came together pretty easily,” Shaw said. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do for awhile.”

Since its inception, SILT has converted almost 1,000 acres of farm and ranch land into conservation easements, said Ben Collins, who works for the local land trust. This is the seventh easement that SILT has successfully managed to convert into a conservation area around Hagerman since 2002.

“We take them as we come along,” Collins said. “We would like to get more, but since we’re still so small we’re dependent on other people offering to donate the land. We don’t have resources to purchase large pieces of property yet.”

The Hagerman Wings easement is located west of Hagerman along the Snake River. It’s taken several months of work to convert the designated property into a wetlands area for ducks, but Shaw says it should be ready for hunting in the fall.

With the help of grants from Ducks Unlimited, Shaw filled in sinkholes that previously consumed the majority of water flowing in from streams. The land now has pipelines that push the water out to feed a small series of ponds.

“I’m a perfectionist, so I wanted to make sure I got this right,” Shaw said. “Basically, the water was already there, now it has the chance to finally be a wetland.”

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