Migration Update – October 8, 2014

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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

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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

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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. 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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Migration Update – April 21, 2014

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Spring has spring across the nation and the majority of snow geese have crossed the 49th parallel into Canada.  Waterfowler.com begins the official off-season with the celebrated return of Waterfolwer.com Journal – in free, digital format for our readers.

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

After an extended hiatus, Waterfowler.com Journal will again be published, albeit paper free and also free of any annual subscription fee.  Thanks to advances in digital publishing technology and the widespread use of hand-held mobile and tablet devices, we are excited about the advances that make it possible.

Over the past two-years, the number of readers that access our website via mobile devices has sky rocketed.  In response to this changing statistic, Waterfowler.com migrated our website to a mobile friendly, responsive layout and the number of hunters who visit our site, from the field and on the road, continues to grow. Continue reading

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Migration Update – March 31, 2014

Spring Harvest - Member Photo Credit; DukGuy

Spring Harvest – Member Photo Credit; DukGuy

The spring thaw is finally underway in the northern tier and light geese have arrived in the Dakotas in significant numbers.  While some juvenile birds remain in parts of Nebraska and Iowa, light geese are another step closer to the 49th parallel and the return to their arctic breeding grounds.

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

The spring migration is generally a hurry-up and wait process.  Ducks and geese are in a hurry to return to the breeding grounds and they wait for a break in the weather to push northward.  Canada geese and mallards, being more cold tolerant and stubborn, generally arrive in the south last and are the first to push north – arriving ahead of light geese.

As southerly winds and warm temperatures pushed to the far north this past week, so did waves of waterfowl and songbirds.  Flights of Sandhill Cranes were reported in northern portions of the Mississippi and Central Flyways along with the return of many duck species to areas with open water. Continue reading

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Migration Update – February 27, 2014

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Photo Credit: Sunrise Snows from MallardMotel.com

A quick glance at the Snow Cover and Surface Temperature maps provide and instant locator for Mid-Continental light geese in the Central and Mississippi Flyways.  The burgeoning population of snow geese continue to stage below the snow and freeze as they await the spring thaw (like the rest of us) and the flight back to their nesting grounds.

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

The Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri remains 97% frozen and light goose numbers are setting at a paltry 18,000 as of the last count.  Light goose numbers are good to excellent in Arkansas at this time and hunter success is fair to good. Continue reading

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