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Mission Statement

To encourage protection and restoration of waters, wildlife, forest and field;

work toward the elimination of pollution in all forms; discourage unwise drainage of wetlands; seek wise land and water use for migratory waterfowl hunting; nurture and improve wildlife stocks; restore and rehabilitate wildlife environment. To aid youths and adults, through conservation education, to recognize resource conservation as vital to the perpetuation of the sport of migratory waterfowl hunting. To seek an end to methods, programs and activities detrimental to migratory waterfowl hunting. To cooperate with county, state, federal and private conservation agencies in developing, improving, strengthening and implementing fair and practical programs of Maximum public utilization of migratory waterfowl hunting areas within the confines of good conservation practices. To promote highest standards of sportsmanship and to strengthen understanding and cooperation between migratory waterfowl hunters and regulatory agencies.

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Recent Accomplishments:

  • Helped avert IDNR budget cuts at Regional Offices.

  • Prevented IDNR closures of check stations.

  • Assisted in seeing the Dabb’s Road project come to fruition.

  • Initiated Diamond/ Godar Phase II Refuge project.

  • Raised over $200,000 for the Godar project.

  • Lobbied to reinstated the ag lease programs for the waterfowl areas.

  • Sponsored high school youths trap shooting teams.

  • Sponsored youths to attend the IFOR Youth Camp at Carlyle Lake.

  • Initiated duck blind inspections for safety purposes at Anderson Lake and Sanganois.

  • Appropriated money for 2 new concrete boat ramps at Sanganois.

  • Purchased over 1.000 pounds of millet for the USFWS Twin Rivers Refuge at Batchtown and Brussels.

  • Worked hard to initiate the West Point project at Anderson Lake.

  • Co-hosted with IDNR a dinner for the UMRCC Technical Session at Pere Marquette.

  • Held area committee meetings for all blind builders in public hunting areas in the MRA and Sanganois.

  • Hosted and co-sponsored Two Rivers sanctioned duck calling contest at Nilo Farms.

  • Had MWHI representatives attend Rend Lake and Carlyle Lake Task Force meetings.

  • Were represented at the Winchester World Calling Championship at National Hunting and Fishing Day in Southern Illinois.

  • Actively participated in the Illinois Waterfowl Ad Hoc Committee meetings.

  • Assisted in writing the legislation for the Hunter Heritage Act.

  • Hosted Youth Hunt event, family picnic, annual banquet, golf tournament, wild game feed, Nilo event, Alton-Wood River Sportsfest.

  • Raised $600 for Back Stoppers to help victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack.

  • Donated wood duck nest boxes to East Central College in Union, MO.

  • Sponsored ‘Wounded Warrior” Duck Hunting Event.

  • Are proud sponsors of the WLFA “Protect What’s Right Program”.

The Migratory Waterfowl Hunters


By: Larry Reid

History is truly “the witness that testifies to time” and Migratory Waterfowl Hunters, Inc., since its founding in 1970 has definitely become part of that claim. It all began after the 1969 Illinois waterfowl season became another chapter in the hunter’s logbook when four dedicated and hardcore waterfowlers decided it was time to call together and organize their fellow camo-clad warriors in an effort to maintain the existing 3-year regulation on duck blind sites in the Mississippi River Area.

Going back in time, the MRA had been established in 1939 after completion of Locks and Dam #25 at Winfield, Missouri, and some 30 miles downstream on the Mississippi, Locks and Dam #26 at Alton, Illinois. Vast areas of backwaters and wetlands were formed providing excellent sites for waterfowlers to build “duck hides” to pursue their passion. Over the years, some 500 duck blinds would be built and hunted without any controls.

Then, in the early 1950’s the Illinois Department of Conservation (later to become the Illinois Department of Natural Resources) decided to place numbered stakes at each blind and builders were required to register their blind each summer prior to the waterfowl season. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had established refuges at Batchtown and Brussels in Calhoun County in Illinois. Also, check stations for daily blind registration were put into place in the MRA. The state and federal agencies had taken control of the once hunter freedom in the MRA.

The next step in the agencies control was placing a 2-year reallocation of each blind with a summer drawing for each numbered stake. Hunters had no choice but to accept the new regulation. Then, beginning in 1970 the IDNR decision was to begin a 1-year reallocation doing away with the 2-year plan. That ridiculous proposal would result in the beginning of Migratory Waterfowl Hunters. Thanks to the founders: Bob Becker, Miles Bruckner, Ed Hurley and Bill VanHoose.

The first gathering was held at Faith Lutheran Church in Alton in early spring of 1970 with 78 people in attendance. The focus was the Department’s proposed 1-year reallocation plan. Two more meetings were scheduled to further organize, elect officers, form by-laws, and sign up charter members. Ed Hurley was elected the first president. He would serve for two years.

By the spring of 1974, MWH membership had grown to 510 and many accomplishments were in place including the building and installation of 800 wood duck and mallard nests, release of 2000 mallards, cash donations to Ducks Unlimited and funding $15,000 for a Canada wetlands project.

Despite Migratory’s hard work and dedication to maintain and improve the MRA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would declare a 2-year duck blind reallocation in 1977. This would stay in effect until 1981 when, thanks to MWH’s continued influence, Director Glen Harper of IDNR declared a return to a 3-year allocation. The 3-year draw was held June 7, 1981.

Then in June of 1982, the acting director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife sent a letter stating, “A three-year reallocation of blind sites would be in the best interest of the MRA.” To date, this rule is still in effect; mission accomplished.

As the years flew by like a green winged teal, Migratory continued to campaign for hunters, being the first organization in the state of Illinois to donate over $1,000,000 to Ducks Unlimited, working with the IDNR on wetland improvement and maintenance, as well as financially supporting many events for youth and veterans. In 2016, MWH turned 46 years old and continued to be the oldest and largest membership (with 650) organization of its kind in the state of Illinois.

During its time MWHI has been honored to receive numerous awards. The list is long but these are a few: Awards from the Illinois Governor, State Senate, IDNR, N. American Waterfowl Management, Winchester Corporation, Arkansas Wildlife Federation, the Golden Mallard Award, National Wildlife Federation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Army Corps of Engineers and the President’s Award from the NRA. Scott Bryant would serve as president of Migratory for eight years (2004-2012) before turning the position over to present day leader, John Gineris. The organization holds quarterly meetings each year that are open to the public at the Alton-Wood River Sportsman Club plus a yearly fund-raising banquet in the spring helping spread the word. Members are updated monthly by receiving “The Sentry” publication thanks to the work of editor, Rosi Franke.

So much more could be said about the organization but by now I’m sure you get the picture. Forty-six years and still going, like the birds of the flyway.

Larry Reid is host of “Outdoors with Larry Reid” airs Sundays at noon on WBGZ Radio, 1570 AM/94.3FM.
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