Migration Update – May 12, 2015


The Spring Waterfowl Survey is underway and participants are celebrating their 60th year of collecting waterfowl breeding data. The Spring Survey is a cooperative effort of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Canadian Wildlife Service, and state, provincial, and tribal agencies – where participants cover more than 2.1 million square miles of the northern United States and Canada to access the status of primary duck nesting areas in North America. In short, it is the most extensive wildlife survey in existence and an epic adventure indeed.

Hello folks, and, as always, welcome to Waterfowler.com.

It’s that time of year again. Ducks are busy getting bust, and wildlife officials have embarked on data collection efforts to determine the season lengths and bag limits for the 2015-20126 waterfowl season. Without their efforts, the waterfowl season would not exist.

The past few years we have encouraged our members to stay up to date on nesting conditions for their respective hunting areas over at FLYWAYS.US – where their website features real-time reporting from aerial and ground crews as they venture across the continent counting ponds and breeding pairs of ducks. This season is no different – we can’t promote their reporting enough. The news and imagery are just what waterfowl hunters need to stay informed and in touch with our great resource. So, get over to FLYWAYS.US today and celebrate the 60th year of great science with them.

In other off-season news, Issue #23 of Waterfowler.com Journal is already in production and will feature an absolute plethora of great duck and goose hunting stories. If you missed our last two digital issue, don’t worry – our back issues remain online indefinitely and you cant catch up on your reading anytime at over at ISSUU.   If you are interested in supporting the continuation and frequency of our publication by becoming an advertiser, you can call us anytime at 815-337-8300.

While avid duck and goose hunters often spend the majority of the office season pursuing other outdoor adventures and fishing, we remind our readers that local and state organizations are always in need volunteers to conduct conservation and restoration projects during the spring and summer months. Participating in one of these great programs not only promotes good stewardship of the resource, it also is a great way to meet other hunters in your area. If you haven’t already done so, volunteer for a wetlands project in your area today.

Until our next update, step outside and enjoy the great outdoors!

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Migration Update March 20, 2015


The spring snow goose migration is moving along at a rapid pass as spring weather spreads to the Central and Mississippi Flyways. In the past 30-days, snow goose numbers at Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge have soared from zero, to 643,000 on 3/11 and back down to 210,758 on 3/18.   Habit conditions have also varied greatly as the refuge was 95% frozen just three weeks ago.

Hello, folks, and as always, Welcome to Waterfowler.com.

Timing the spring snow goose season is risky business. Each spring mid-continental light geese push to the edge of the snow line and run the gauntlet north to their breeding grounds.   This year, limited amounts of snow cover and a quick spring thaw have opened a fast-track migration deep into the northern prairies. Continue reading

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Migration Update – Jan 31, 2015 – Snow Goose Report


Special Youth waterfowl seasons in the south wrapped up this weekend and marked the official end 2014-2015 General Waterfowl season. While the fat lady has sung on duck hunting across the nation, the song of the light goose can be heard in portions of the Central, Mississippi and Atlantic Flyways. Light goose hunting under the Conservation Order is underway and another season of epic population control is already underway.

Since the passing of the Arctic Tundra Habitat Emergency Conservation Act in 1999, the waterfowl hunting community has done their best to reduce the population of mid-continental light geese and protect fragile nesting areas on the tundra. Despite the extend hunting season and significant increase in the total annual harvest, the Conservation Order has only slowed population growth — not reduced it.

Light geese, being a very adaptable species, have expanded their breeding range inland, away from damaged coastal regions, and continue to increase their population size. Since 1999, spring snow goose hunting has evolved into a multi-million dollar industry that is expected to continue growing for years to come. Continue reading

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Migration Update – October 8, 2014


The first of October arrived and along with it the first significant cold front of the autumn season. Temperatures in the Northern Great Plains, the Great Lakes and the New England states dropped an average of twenty-degrees over the weekend and prompted a flurry of waterfowl activity in the northern tier.

The first push of divers hit the Great Lakes Region on Saturday and Sunday. Large bodies of water that were barren the previous weekend were now host to early flights of red heads, ringed-neck ducks, ruddy ducks, limited numbers of canvasback and scaup, along with a deluge of coots.

The majority of these early diving ducks are in eclipse phase plumage and lack their easily identifiable white bodies and contrasting head colors. Waterfowler.com reminds our readers to take extra caution in areas where canvasback are present and positively identify birds before shooting. Harvest mishaps are preventable if you take the time to identify your target. Continue reading

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Migration Update – September 30, 2014


The general waterfowl season is underway in various northern states and hunters are reporting a great start to the season despite warm temperatures.  As a cold front moves south this week from Canada, temperatures will begin to feel more autumn-like in the north and waterfowl activity is expected to increase as the front passes.

Hello folks, and, as always, welcome to Waterfowler.com.

The autumn season has arrived and along with it a host of options for the avid outdoorsman.  While ducks and geese are the center of the universe for the hardcore waterfowl hunter, statistically speaking, over 85% of duck and goose hunters participate in other outdoor activities.

From deer and big game hunting to upland hunting and fall fishing, the autumn season is a celebration of renewable resources and grand sporting traditions. Continue reading

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Migration Update – July 29, 2014


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. 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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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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