Migration Update – July 29, 2014

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New early teals seasons for the upper Mississippi Flyway.

The count down is on for resident Canada goose and Dove seasons in many states – and the start of hunting season is just over 30-days away.  That’s right, a mere month away.   As we ramp up for the coming season, and another record year for duck production, issue #22 of Waterfowler.com Journal is in production and slated for a September release to celebrate the arrival of another hunting season.

The 2014 off-season has been quite productive for both waterfowl and waterfowl management.  Duck numbers will reach another record this season and in response to those numbers a number of states in the Upper Mississippi Flyway will host in their first early teal seasons this year – including Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa and Minnesota.  Waterfowler.com encourages our readers to consult their state regulations for details and to participate in these experimental seasons.  Of course, during teal-only seasons, species identification is paramount and wood ducks can be easily mistaken for teal during the early season before waterfowl molt into colorful breeding plumage.  Waterfowler.com reminds our readers to hunt safe, hunt legal and take extra precaution with regard to species identification.

While some government agencies continue to work hard to improve quality-hunting opportunity for sportsmen, the polarization on Capitol Hill continues to put politics before good policy for sportsman. Much to the disappointment of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and sportsman everywhere, the Bi-Partisan Sportsman’s Act of 2014 died a horrible death on the Hill, thanks to ongoing political shenanigans.  Despite the bill having overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle, the bill was destined for failure long before the it was put to a vote and amended to death in order to insure it’s failure.  In short, the block was the result of long-term political maneuvering, as the bill’s sponsor, Senator Kay Hagen (D-NC), is running for re-election this November and allowing Hagen to take home a win to North Carolina sportsmen would be in direct opposition to the GOP’s goal to win a majority in the Senate this fall.

In all likelihood, the third attempt to raise the price of the duck will also fail as well if the Federal Duck Stamp Act of 2014 should proceed to vote before the mid-term elections.  The bill is a bi-partisan effort with widespread support amongst sportsman, Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl and has heavy congressional support from both sides of the aisle — which in any other political environment would insure it’s passage.   Waterfowler.com encourages our members to contact their representatives and demand they put policy before politics and vote to pass a clean Duck Stamp bill today

This coming duck season will mark 17th year of migration reporting for Waterfowler.com and we look forward to the continued support and participation from our readers.  As we continue to expand our integration with social media tools on the web and in our magazine, we invite our readers to give the new “Clip” feature in our digital magazine – where they can tag, clip and comment on specific content on social platforms.

We look forward to your feedback on the current issue and Issue #22 when it releases in September. Until our next report, begin your preparations and plans for the 2014-2015 waterfowl seasons today.

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Bipartisan companion bills introduced to increase Duck Stamp price in House and Senate

The stamp’s current buying power is the lowest in its 80-year history.

The stamp’s current buying power is the lowest in its 80-year history.

WASHINGTON—July 17, 2014— Officials from Ducks Unlimited (DU) are voicing strong support for the Federal Duck Stamp Act of 2014, a bill introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate that would raise the price of the Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (duck stamp) to $25 from its current level of $15.

“We sincerely appreciate the interest and commitment of Chairman Fleming (LA) and Ranking Member Vitter (LA) in introducing their companion bills to address this longstanding need to increase the price of the duck stamp, which was last raised in 1991,” said Dale Hall, CEO of DU. Continue reading

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Breeding duck numbers up 8 percent from 2013

Canvasback hen with ducklings:  © USFWS

Canvasback hen with ducklings: © USFWS

Memphis, Tenn.  – July  2, 2014 – The US Fish and Wildlife Service today released its report on 2014 Trends in Duck Breeding Populations, based on surveys conducted in May and early June. Total populations were estimated at 49.2 million breeding ducks in the surveyed area. This estimate represents an 8-percent increase from last year’s estimate of 45.6 million birds, and is 43 percent higher than the 1955-2013 long-term average. This continues a three-year trend of exceptional water conditions and population numbers for many species. Continue reading

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Record Breeding Duck Count, Good Water Sets Stage for Strong Fall Flight

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BISMARCK, N.D. — North America’s spring duck population is at a record level, and the birds returned to find a high number of ponds on the breeding grounds, according to the 2014 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey released today.

The annual spring survey, which has been conducted jointly by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service since 1955, puts the breeding duck population at 49.2 million, surpassing the previous high set in 2012 and 8 percent ahead of the 2013 estimate. Continue reading

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Migration Update – June 16, 2014

June 5th 2014,  Churchill, Manitoba. Survey Crew grounded from snow!

June 5th 2014, Churchill, Manitoba. Survey Crew grounded from snow!

 

While it seems summer arrived early to southern portions of the U.S., spring temperatures arrived very late in the northern states and fishing is barely underway for many off-season hunters above the Mason-Dixon line.  Not surprisingly, the further north one travels, the more prevalent these weather oddities become.

If you have been following the survey pilot reports at FLYWAYS.US , you’ll have noticed that spring has consistently arrived very late to most of the major breeding and survey areas.  On June 5th, the survey team for Northeast Manitoba was grounded by a snowstorm in Churchill – the Polar Bear Capital of the World.

Each year, biologists provide real-time reporting during the annual waterfowl survey. Waterfowl hunters can monitor the breeding conditions and bird counts for areas that supply them with ducks and geese during the fall migration and experience the visual wonders of these remote habitats that are so vital to the continuation of our sport.

Aerial and ground crews from coast to coast provide an up-close and personal report for the most extensive wildlife survey in existence.  The data they collect is used to determine the season length and bag limits for both the U.S and Canada.  The final survey results are published each July in the Annual Waterfowl and Breeding and Habitat Survey – where the compiled results set the framework for each flyway and the parameters in which individual states can propose their seasons.

In addition to the data and reports, crew-members provide a personal perspective on their historical knowledge of survey areas and a clear picture of the trials, tribulations and dangers of the job.  Whether you a hardcore duck geek or weekend waterfowl hunter, we are confident you will find the reports of interest and worth the time spent reading them.

Continue reading

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Trulock Pattern Plus Choke Tubes

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Not having a tight pattern can make all the difference in whatever shotgun sport you choose. In hunting, it can mean you miss bagging your prey; in shooting events, it can mean losing by just a few points. No one wants any of that. Trulock Chokes has just the answer for tightening your pattern – its Pattern Plus choke tubes.
Pattern Plus chokes are similar to factory chokes in that they screw in flush with the end of the barrel. The chokes come in a variety of popular Trulock choke styles, including turkey, modified, skeet 1 and 2, cylinder styles and more. These chokes are available in numerous sizes to fit most any brand and gauge of shotgun. Continue reading

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