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Migration Update – October 1, 2012

October 1, 2012 in All Posts, Migration Updates

Member Photo Credit: Canman OMaddie

Member Photo Credit: Canman OMaddie

The general waterfowl season is underway in the first northern states. With drought conditions persisting in these states, hunting has been slow and crowded in the limited areas with water. Blue winged teal have been moving steadily and quickly down the Central and Mississippi Flyways, pushing through dry states in search of suitable habitat to the south.

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

As we begin to celebrate our 15th year of migration tracking and reporting we are starkly reminded of the constant conundrums that exist for waterfowl hunters. This season, the most ducks ever recorded will migrate through the North American flyways. Of course, this absolute boon in waterfowl numbers will be met by the worst habitat conditions that we can remember – so much for having our cake and eating it too. Read the rest of this entry →

Migration Update – September 17, 2012

September 17, 2012 in All Posts, Migration Updates

Sunset over Decoys.

Sunset over Decoys.

The recent series of cold fronts that passed behind the remnants of Hurricane Isaac continued to fuel the teal migration in Central and Mississippi flyways. At this time teal are present from the northern portions of the flyway to the gulf coast. While precipitation has increased in many areas of the nation, a study of the current drought monitor map (link below and right) reveals the grim reality faced by todays waterfowl hunters.

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

Reports from the northern states during the resident goose seasons foreshadowed many of the problems waterfowl hunters will face this season. As an abundance of farmers prepare to mow and disc under fields for crop insurance purposes, thousands of acres across the corn-belt will be rendered useless to waterfowl hunters as they become categorized as baited fields. Read the rest of this entry →

Migration Update – August 31, 2012

August 31, 2012 in All Posts, Migration Updates

Early Season Goose Leg Bands - Member Photo Credit Swamp Gas

Early Season Leg Bands – Member Photo Credit Swamp Gas

As the tropical depression left by the remnants of hurricane Isaac continues to slowly move north, much need rain will fall on drought stricken areas within the Mississippi Flyway. While waterfowl habitat and many hunting seasons will be salvaged by the onslaught of precipitation, it comes at the price of devastation for those in coastal areas of the storms path. Our heartfelt concerns are with those crippled with loss that was caused by hurricane Isaac and we encourage our members to provide support to recovery efforts in those areas.

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

On the eve of the annual Dove Opener and official start of the fall hunting season in many states, the events surrounding hurricane Isaac remind us that Mother Nature is both unpredictable and unforgiving. Duck season will be saved in many areas by the storm but it comes at the expense of great loss. Read the rest of this entry →

Migration Update – August 21, 2012

August 21, 2012 in All Posts, Migration Updates

Early goose hunting is underway in the great state of South Dakota and blue winged teal have begun to move in portions of the upper Mississippi Flyway are early indications report that birds are clinging to the major rivers systems due to persistent drought conditions. Reports from the Climate Prediction Center (link below) show little improvement is expected for most of the nation during the next 90-days for all areas except portions of the Great Lakes region.

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

The teal migration has begun and our staff is monitoring the progression with great interest, as the path of these birds will likely provide a good indicator where fall flights will follows if conditions do not improve. Read the rest of this entry →

Migration Update – August 9, 2012

August 9, 2012 in All Posts, Migration Updates

With the start of resident goose seasons just weeks away, now is the time to begin your scouting efforts to insure your success. Extreme drought conditions continue to persist throughout the nation and have had a significant impact on the location and daily movements of local goose populations. With smaller natural marshes and creeks void of water in many states, resident Canada geese are concentrated near deeper water impoundments in suburban areas and expected to have a significant impact on early season harvest rates.

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

While many drought stricken areas have had increased levels of precipitation over the past few weeks, the amount of rain needed to recharge local marshes and streams seems nearly unobtainable in the short-term. As a result, early season hunters will have to adapt to conditions to increase their chance of success in the weeks ahead. Read the rest of this entry →

Migration Update – July 19, 2012

July 19, 2012 in All Posts, Migration Updates

As the most expansive drought in nearly half a century continues its grip on the Midwest and Great Plains, teal hunters are scratching their heads and postulating hunting strategies for coming early seasons. With extremely limited, wet habitat options during the migration the record number of migrating blue and green-winged teal will be concentrated along river the river systems and other large water impoundments. For a species that thrives and offers great hunting success in shallow, inundated areas with ample forage, the drought conditions will challenge bird and hunter alike this September.

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

It’s hot. Damn hot – and dry. Not that you needed us to remind you or anyone else of that fact but misery loves company. Should these conditions continue into the start of the early teal season, there only two favorable outcomes that we can envision; mosquito larva will still be akin to a crusty dried grain of sand, and when you find a group of teal, it will be a mind numbing concentration of them. Of course, the number of hunters compacted into these areas of limited water will parallel the record number of birds expected in the migration. Read the rest of this entry →

Migration Update – July 5, 2012 – Waterfowl Breeding Survey

July 5, 2012 in All Posts, Migration Updates

The results are in from the 2012 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey and waterfowl hunters have a significant reason celebrate. The recorded 46.5 million birds is up 7% over 2011, 43% above the long-term average and the highest ever recorded! Yes, you heard correctly, the highest waterfowl populations ever recorded. While pond counts were down significantly over the extremely wet 2011, pond counts remained 9% above the long-term average.

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

The 2012 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey results raise the bar on population and habitat management with an all time record number of birds. While bag limits are set to manage a no-net loss in populations, it is obvious that low harvest years, such as 2011, can boost overall waterfowl numbers in a big way.

Teal numbers continue to skyrocket with green-winged teal up 20% over last year and 74% above the long-term average. Blue-winged teal are up 3% over last year and rest at a whopping 94% above the long-term average. Mallard numbers settled in at 15% above last year and top out at 40% above the long-term average.

Pintail and wigeon were the only species that remain below the long-term average, with pintail numbers down 22% over 2011 survey results and -14% on the long term average. Wigeon were up 3% over last year but remain 17% below the long-term average.

The published results and other detailed reports are available online in .PDF format at Flyways.us (link below). While our summary covers the highlights, Waterfowler.com recommends that out readers review the detailed document for regional survey data and detailed information on the black duck survey.

While the numbers are clearly astounding news, as waterfowl hunters realized last year, big numbers don’t always equate to outstanding harvests and record breaking seasons. Clearly, the mild winter and drought conditions of 2011 played a vital role in hunter success. As we look at the current drought monitor for 2012 (link at right), habitat conditions will need to improve significantly across the US before the early seasons begin in less then two months. While record numbers of teal will begin their migration near the first of September, if you don’t have water, those numbers will be of little importance to your success. In short, we need rain, desperately before then in many states.

Waterfowler.com encourages our members to begin their preparations for the coming season. During the month of July a number of states host drawings for public access and blind construction permitting, so be sure to check federal, state and county management offices for opportunity in your area.

Until our next report, spread the news. Ducks are back – in record breaking numbers.