Two years prior to the time that Ducks Unlimited (DU) was founded, More Game Birds laid the foundations for conservation of waterfowl by securing what was at the time, the largest and most extensive recension of waterfowl ever undertaken. The year 1935 was the time More Game Birds funded an aerial survey known as The 1935 International Wild Duck Census. The first air-based census of this type that was conducted in 1935, the International Wild Duck Census helped determine the number of ducks in to the Great Slave Lake in Canada all the way to and including the Upper Midwestern United States. The aerial surveys were supported by ground counts that required 1,500 volunteers and the estimates were that there were around forty millions ducks in Canada and 2.2 million birds in the United States in the spring of 1935. The aerial surveys would soon be a standard of conservation efforts for waterfowl. they also showed that any attempt to boost and sustain waterfowl populations should focus on those in the prairies of central Canada, America’s “Duck Factory.”
With this information as a reference point, Ducks Unlimited was incorporated on the 29th of January, 1937 in the United States and Ducks Unlimited Canada was founded in Winnipeg on the 10th of Nebraska Ducks Unlimited of the same year. The aim of these organisations was to raise money from hunters of waterfowl to continue aerial surveys and to restore vital habitats, especially in important Canadian habitats that were depleted for agricultural use. More Game Birds provided the initial funds needed to start the research process and to Nebraska Ducks Unlimited Ducks Unlimited in Canada and Ducks Unlimited Canada.
The year was 1938 and DU offered $100,000 in money for DU Canada to restore habitat and to finance aerial surveys. DU Canada hired Thomas Main Chief of the surface water engineering of the Canadian National Railways and an avid hunter of waterfowl, to manage the Nebraska Ducks Unlimited. Expert in waterfowl Bertram Cartwright of the Natural History Society of Manitoba was named DU Canada’s first naturalist in the same year.
Then, in the month of April of 1938 Main, Cartwright and other prominent participants of DU Canada, organized the first restoration project of DU Canada on Big Grass Marsh in Manitoba. The wetlands were drained in 1916 to make cultivable land, Big Grass Marsh, as with other wetlands that were drained, was not suitable for agricultural use. Local farmers who lost money in agriculture were thrilled to take on the work that was undertaken Nebraska Ducks Unlimited the rehabilitation of Big Grass Marsh, and a dam to control the flow was built to guard adjacent farmland from floods. Others projects followed and, by the end of 1938, and only the period of eighteen weeks in the existence of the organization, DU Canada had restored and conserved over 150,000 acres of important nesting habitat. In 1940 The More Game Birds of America Foundation which had aided to in the creation of Ducks Unlimited, ceased to exist. All of More Nebraska Ducks Unlimited Birds assets were sold to DU.
Hunters from across Canada and across the United States began taking note of the accomplishments of DU, and pledges were increased. The three states of Texas, California, and Arkansas hunters poured in hundreds of thousands of dollars to the DU’s work and earned headlines in local papers. Gordon MacQuarrie, famed outdoor columnist for the Milwaukee Journal, praised DU’s efforts and helped increase awareness of the organization in Wisconsin. DU began to sell “subscriptions” that promised pledges for five years. In addition, ammunition and shotguns were raffled at events to raise funds. As the money poured through the organisation, the mission and mission of DU was expanded. In Nebraska Ducks Unlimited 1940s thousands of millions of more land in Canada and the United States and Canada was converted to breeding areas for waterfowl through DU. Louisiana oil baron Alfred C. Glassell, was so impressed with the efforts of DU that he went to Canada to observe the restoration in person. After returning in Louisiana, Glassell called a gathering of Shreveport duck hunter. They gave $1,000 to the efforts of DU Canada, requesting that all hunters take the same action (rumor is that Glassell saw a check of $500 on the plate, and then took it down to the ground and then urged the donor to increase the amount, which he did). Glassell was the president of DU in 1944 and 1945.